The 2016 Democratic candidate for Vice President, Sen. Tim Kaine, said the following this week in an interview:
We are so excited that the American public is energized to speak out against the abuses of this administration.…
What we’ve got to do is fight in Congress, fight in the courts, fight in the streets, fight online, fight at the ballot box, and now there’s the momentum to be able to do this.
Fight in the streets?
This is something new and alarming in American politics: a U.S. senator and recently defeated vice presidential candidate responding to the incoming administration’s first efforts to fulfill its campaign promises — i.e., promises it campaigned and won the White House on — by exhorting comrades to “fight in the streets.” Kaine’s statement is nothing less than an official Democratic endorsement of violence and disruption.
Given Kaine’s support for violent Marxist insurgencies in Central America in the 1980s, perhaps the invocation of street violence shouldn’t be shocking. Still, to hear it spoken in the guise of an elected member of the U.S. Senate is not something that happens every day — yet.
But wait. This rabble-rousing stuff goes across the spectrum. Take a look at this tweet storm by Evan McMullin, another defeated 2016 Independent/#NeverTrump candidate for the White House.
If anything, McMullin has taken an even more incendiary approach than Kaine, who is focused on what Democrats are doing and should be doing (including “fight in the streets”). McMullin spins dystopic fantasies about what Trump has not done but that will require direct, not democratic action.
Here is his basic argument.
Congress unlikely to stand up to Trump.
Trump likely to ignore courts.
Trump is an “authoritarian”; mimics despots. “It’s time for everyone to admit that,” McMullin tweets.
Then: “He will attempt to run roughshod over all checks… cultural norms, the press.”
McMullin has positive words for the “powerful” message of the protests, the “macro tone” (read: intimidation) that “Congress cannot ignore.”
Next, he urges that “people engage directly” with their “mainly Republican” representatives and staff, writing op-eds, donating to the opposition.
But even that might not work, he notes, offering, finally, his answer: “old fashioned civil disobedience.”
Note there is no mention of the ballot box (not even in passing, à la Tim Kaine). Nothing about law and order, the democratic process, elections, or “next time,” either.
Both McMullin and Kaine are completely ignoring the fact that they just lost the national election that gave Donald Trump a mandate to enact exactly the program he is following as president. Rejecting the election, then, is their unmistakable point of convergence. Their response is not to work harder for the votes of the American people next time, but rather to go anti-democratic now: to endorse protests, intimidation, street fighting, and civil disobedience.
It’s “the only thing left,” says McMullin. “For Bolsheviks,” he forgot to add.