Go write a post on Facebook or Twitter condemning the alt-right and the white supremacist influences creeping into the conservative movement. Assuming you have right of center friends, in less than 5 minutes you’ll have someone respond with something about Antifa and left-wing agitators. Pointing to “the violent left” makes these folks feel better.
This false equivalency is mentally weak, morally bankrupt, and just plain lazy.
If you are a consistent conservative, your disdain for groups like Antifa, which are more about promoting socialism and radical social justice views than combating fascists, is implied. The left has always had their radicals, including violent ones, and conservatives have always opposed them. Sure, call them out, but it’s not going to fix anything.
We have a moral obligation to serve as vanguards of our movement’s image. When groups like those that descended upon Charlottesville attempt to co-opt “the right” and claim to be part of our movement, condemning them isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
You will hear folks cry that these white supremacists aren’t even conservatives. They are correct, but with the mainstream media writing the story, your low-information political observer is easily confused. Our liberal opponents in the media will do anything to tie these racist radicals to our cause, and we shouldn’t make it easier for them just because liberals have their own radicals who are often ignored.
Worse? Our side has enablers. Look at this response from Virginia gubernatorial loser and prospective U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart:
But Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, blamed “half the violence” on counterprotesters and criticized fellow Republicans who condemned the white nationalists.
“All the weak Republicans, they couldn’t apologize fast enough,” Stewart said in an interview with The Washington Post. “They played right into the hands of the left wing. Those [Nazi] people have nothing to do with the Republican Party. There was no reason to apologize.”
Stewart is blatantly signaling to the alt-right factions that rallied behind his failed campaign for Governor. First off, no one “apologized” for the Charlottesville Tiki Torch Nazis, they condemned them. Stewart is conflating the two so that he doesn’t have to go on the record opposing their cause. He wants their votes.
It’s precisely because of candidates like Stewart that these white supremacist groups do have something to do with the Republican Party. With such blatant signaling, plus Stewart adopting their preferred language throughout his campaigns, he has welcomed these factions of hate into our fold.
Want to know why conservatives like myself think it’s more important to condemn the alt-right than highlight the actions of the left-wing radicals? Because they’re stealing our image. They’re worming their way into our political movement. They’re supporting candidates in our primaries and bolstering the worst elements within our wings.
If the Antifa elements of the violent left wrested control of the Democratic Party from their leadership tomorrow, the nation would reject them and elect conservatives. If the alt-right wrest control of the GOP, the nation will reject Republicans and elect socialists. That is why the alt-right is a fundamentally more dangerous threat to America and the conservative movement. That is why they should be our target.