Yesterday, in a post about authoritarianism on the left, I recalled the old liberal saying, “friends don’t let friends vote Republican.” In America, no one, friend or foe, can stop us from voting how we please. But liberals were saying, perhaps partially tongue-in-cheek, that friends should do what it takes to keep their friends in the Democrat fold.
My post discussed the case of Alan Dershowitz. He doesn’t want to vote Republican, he just wants to point out certain instances of unfairness in the investigation of President Trump — unfairness of the sort that runs contrary to the civil libertarian tenets Dershowitz has made a great career upholding.
For this, it appears, former friends are shunning him. Friends don’t let friends speak in favor of the civil liberties of a hated Republican.
In the same vein comes a Mother’s Day ad (see below) produced by leftist billionaire Tom Steyer. The ad is based on a theme sometimes used in public service ads regarding youth drug addiction — a mother points out early warning signs (stealing, the wrong friends, etc.) and advises parents to talk to their child about narcotics before it’s too late.
In Steyer’s ad, though, the Republican Party is substituted for drugs. The ad concludes:
This Mother’s Day, talk to your child about the GOP. I wish I had.
Thus, one of our two major political parties is treated as the equivalent of narcotics addiction — either a deadly personal failing or a deadly mental disease, take your pick. And parents aren’t just urged not to let their kids be Republicans, they’re instructed to view them as sick, or in crisis, if they are.
Some Democrats have criticized the ad, not because it treats an entire mainstream political party as sick, but because it may hurt Democrats. This was the objection of former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett.
Lovett is right to worry that Steyer’s ad may hurt Democrats. The ad may do so because it pulls back the curtain on the attitude of the left towards those who disagree with them. To the extent the left views being Republican as a deadly personal failing or mental illness, Americans can easily imagine the measures it would advance to cure the “problem.”
Steyer’s Mother’s Day ad is, in at least one sense, similar to his drive to impeach President Trump. Democrats are unhappy with Steyer’s push for impeachment because they understand it has the potential to hurt them in the 2018 election. Dems are fine with impeaching Trump, they just don’t want voters to believe this is their intention.
Similarly, many Democrats share Steyer’s view of Republicans as in need of being de-programmed. They just don’t want voters to notice that this is how they feel.
Many voters noticed in 2016 and some voted for Donald Trump as a result. Steyer’s ad is a timely reminder for 2018.