Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Why Democrats Became The Totalitarians They Warned Us About

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Why Democrats Became The Totalitarians They Warned Us About

How did the Left go from defending the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to demanding censorship, falsely accusing their opponents of being fascists, and seeking their incarceration?

Alex Gutentag and Michael Shellenberger
Nov 19

When Donald Trump became president, Democrats predicted the worst. “Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy,” David Remnick wrote in the New Yorker the day after the election. Trump, Remnick said, was an authoritarian who disdained civil liberties and whose election was “surely the way fascism can begin.”

Liberal commentators have compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler over and over again. Wrote legal scholar Laurence Tribe on Twitter in 2019, “I’m not saying Trump is becoming Hitler, so don’t bother tweeting the distinctions. But the physical and behavioral resemblances aren’t altogether irrelevant. No prior president even suggests the comparison.” Last month, Crown published a new book by Rachel Maddow that compares Trump-supporting Republicans to fascists.

Trump had little respect for the First Amendment, Democrats claimed. He attacked freedom of speech and of the press, striking at our fundamental rights. On top of this, liberal media outlets alleged Trump used his office for personal gain and weaponized the justice system for his own benefit.

After January 6, 2021, the liberals who had been skeptical about anti-Trump hysteria became convinced that the hysterics had been right all along. In 2018, legal scholar Cass Sunstein suggested that Trump would not bring authoritarianism to the United States. Then, after the Capitol riot, he changed his mind, saying that American democracy was indeed under threat from Trump and his supporters. “The events of January 6, 2021, made me think I was actually quite wrong on that,” he said.

But Friday’s release of the first tranche of January 6 tapes confirms that Trump’s actions paled in comparison to the steps Democrats have taken to defeat him and his supporters. The tapes corroborate Public’s previous reporting and show that the Democrat-driven narrative of an insurrection was highly misleading. Democrats used this narrative to demonize tens of millions of voters, to justify their censorship efforts, and to weaponize the justice system against their political enemies…

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