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OPINION

How the Left Turns Anyone Leading the Right into Fringe Extremists

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The left has mastered many clever tactics to defeat the right in recent years, not based on substantive arguments but rather on tricking people. One is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and the right is falling into the trap. Rule No. 5 states, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” It basically consists of using 4th grader insults to coerce people into a herd attack mentality. They mastered it with former President Donald Trump, “orange man bad.”

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It didn’t used to be that way. Although Rules for Radicals came out in 1972, it didn’t achieve the level of success it has now for quite awhile. Ronald Reagan was able to survive the left’s much more muted attacks and leave an impressive legacy. Even historians rank him the 13th greatest president of all time, and they aren’t known for any bias toward the right. 

Trump was an unknown in politics, who was a registered Democrat for years. Many — if not most — conservatives didn’t support him in the 2016 presidential primary because we thought he was a moderate. He wasn’t a far right conservative with a history of radical statements. But because the left has gotten so good at this tactic, they were able to make the most powerful man in the world running the freest country in the world seem like an extremist.

Trump wasn’t much different than Reagan in terms of policy. But by pouncing on his sarcastic tweets and off-the-cuff remarks, they were able to create this faux impression of him. The reality is Trump has a gifted sense of humor. In another life he could have been a comedian. Now imagine holding comedians up to everything they say on stage — which ironically is what the left is starting to do to them, especially Dave Chappelle. 

Everyone knew Trump was joking when he made his insults. They were over the top and made you laugh. But the left pretended they were serious. The left mastered taking his remarks out of context. They took it to a whole other level when they tried to claim his remarks called for violence on January 6, resulting in criminal investigations.

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A hundred years ago, Trump could have been a funny leader and no one would have batted an eye. But in this politically correct era of snowflakes where everyone pretends to be constantly offended, the left can make traction against someone like that. Think of how many people on the right you know who bought into it; ranted about Trump’s mouth and don’t want him to run again in 2024. 

Trump had the same mouth — if not worse — before he got into politics, and was wildly popular. The Celebrity Apprentice lasted for eight seasons, excellent for a reality TV show. At its debut, viewership rivaled Survivor and American Idol at their heights. And by its last season under Trump, it performed better than Shark Tank and Dancing With the Stars. It’s since bombed under Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Trump accomplished as much as Reagan, if not more. The inroads he made into picking up minority votes alone were incredible for a Republican president in the modern era — especially considering how the left’s main criticism of the right today is that we’re racist. But this new era of judging politicians by how politically correct they are will never allow him to be considered one of the great presidents. They’ve disqualified him based on his clever sarcastic wit.

Any other conservatives at the top fond of saying provocative things are also gradually being destroyed. In Congress, their biggest targets are Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Josh Hawley and Matt Gaetz. Can you remember anything they’ve said that was over the top? Probably not, because taken within the entire context of how they were saying it — sarcasm, metaphor not literally, merely a coincidence, etc. — the comments weren’t particularly remarkable. Only if you distort their statements and believe that they really want to do things like murder fellow Americans could you take them seriously. Never mind that The Squad has said far more provocative things. 

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If Trump is destroyed enough so he doesn’t run again, we’re just going to elect someone like Ron DeSantis, who will deliver exactly the same agenda as Trump. He’s no more of a “radical extremist” than Trump. It’s not like the left is saving us from fascism by moving on to DeSantis instead of Trump. They stigmatize leaders on the right in order to discredit conservative principles, by associating the “horrible” Trump with conservative principles, as well as to hinder us by setting us back in terms of fundraising and support, since it will take awhile to get DeSantis or someone else back to the level of conservative support where Trump was.

Until we wake up and realize that the left is merely using Alinsky’s No. 5 Rule, and push back, the left will continue to take down any of our leaders who dare to have a sense of humor and lead outside of a teleprompter. There is a reason Biden is glued to his teleprompter, the left is fully aware of how successful this tactic is. Trump would have been a wild success in the Reagan years. Political correctness arose at the end of those years, which we thought was horrible, so it’s frightening to consider how much worse it has become since then. Now everything is racist and race relations have worsened due to the false labels. 

You may not personally like the flamboyant style of some of these outspoken leaders on the right, and prefer that more well-spoken conservatives run for office. But even if that happens, the left is going to come after them eventually for minor statements. Look up almost any major politician on the right and you will find a lengthy description somewhere — usually on their Wikipedia page, in contrast to the left whose radical statements are ignored and scrubbed clean from Wikipedia —  about some random statement they made which the left took out of context. 

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