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Jerry Shenk


Tea Parties or Organized Tantrums?

by Jerry Shenk
 

In 2009, Democrats and left-wing news media first blacked out the Tea Party phenomenon, then ridiculed it before smearing it as a racist reaction to America's first black president. Today, Democrats and media are ironically hyping the suddenly-reputable prospect of left-wing demonstrations becoming a "Democratic Tea Party" which some hope will distract Americans from the Party's institutional crisis.

Unlike 2009's Tea Parties, the Democrats' "Resistance" disruptors aren't protesting policy excesses. They're merely overreacting to a shocking electoral failure. Other than "we're angry," "Resistance" has no organizing principle, no compelling practical reason to exist, nothing to offer other than paranoid delusions about a "coup" — i.e., Donald Trump's election.

Among other contrasts, "Resistance" protests have ended in violence, while Tea Party protesters left event venues tidier. Lacking self-awareness, today, clearly-disoriented, self-described "anti-fascist" protesters are resorting to violent fascist tactics.

But anger isn't policy. In order to become an effective Democratic movement, left-wing protestors must decompress and deal maturely with additional electoral defeats, including likely 2018 Senate losses. They must do the hard loyal-opposition work tea partiers did in 2009: organize at the grass-roots level, engage in party primaries, influence their own party's establishment and realize upsets like Senator Scott Brown's Massachusetts win which predicted the 2010 wave election. They won't, because protesting is fun, attention-grabbing — and lots easier.

In 2009, Democratic members of Congress who faced policy-based public disapproval from a gathering "Tea Party" movement made the mistake of avoiding, denigrating and dismissing peaceful protesters. Democrats' mainstream media allies barely covered them. In 2009, few Democrats held district town hall meetings.

Today, angry liberals are flooding and disrupting Republican town hall meetings. Since there's only-limited political courage among most elected officials, predictably, GOP members, like 2009 Democrats, are alarmed.

This time, however, caution is justified. The "Resistance" crowd includes professionally-trained left-wing Obama-linked activists with playbooks. Twenty-five thousand are trained, as many are in training, and thousands more disgruntled fellow-travelers are joining. But, among 320 million Americans, the angry scolds are a tiny minority.

One might advise Republicans to avoid the mistakes Democrats made eight years ago, but, considering the commonality of sensational, staged, confrontational, viral internet events, the national media's support for left-wing causes and its antipathy to Republicans and, especially, President Trump, members should avoid trained agitators and communicate with authentic district voters using mail, email, public statements, local television/radio, social media and conference calls. Presumably, "Resistance" activists have mastered email.

Left-wing theatrics only impress other leftists. The voting booth is the appropriate place to judge members' legislative records and decide their futures.

"Resistance" will find many outlets, but, lacking an organizing — or any — principle, noisy, aggressive bullies cannot pass close scrutiny or persist indefinitely. Trained community organizers and gullible followers will exhaust their novelty, and their overwrought vulgarity will discredit them among majority American "normals."

If Democrats indulge their whiny, fascistic impulses and allow the hard left to become their public faces, the Party will suffer more humiliations as "Resistance" joins "Occupy Wall Street" on history's political trash heap.


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