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Opinion

Op-Ed: Dear liberals: Your outrage helps Trump far more than it hurts him

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(Anthony Russo / For The Times)

Hats. Tanks. Betsy Ross. The Fourth of July.

If these are the things that cause liberals to lose their ever-loving minds in the era of President Donald Trump, don’t sane Americans need to step in and be the adults in the room?

But, no, instead the citizenry — and corporate America — have been infected with the left’s misguided rage. Nike recently quashed plans to release a shoe featuring Betsy Ross’ original American flag after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick decided the banner was the sole province of white supremacists. This decision — this stupid, stupid decision — elicited “attaboys” from the wokest Democratic presidential candidates.

Julián Castro — last seen on a debate stage promising federally funded abortions to transgender women — applauded Nike:

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“There are a lot of things in our history that are still very painful,” Castro said of the flag most associated with the founding of the country he seeks to run. Beto O’Rourke jumped in, claiming that white supremacists have “appropriated” the flag, despite there being no evidence or public awareness of this whatsoever. And even if that were true, shouldn’t the rest of us reappropriate it?

Every time a liberal loses his or her mind over a hat, tank or Betsy Ross, that person causes center-right voters to tighten up in their Trump support.

This flap unfolded at the same time liberals were melting down about Trump’s Fourth of July speech at the Lincoln Memorial, at which he decided to park a couple of tanks and have some military aircraft fly over. Trump haters decried the use of taxpayer funds for what they predicted would be a campaign rally. The more deranged claimed it would mark the beginning of an autocratic military regime akin to North Korea or the old Soviet Union.

As it turned out, the president didn’t announce that the country was being reorganized into the First Galactic Empire and in fact “stuck to a teleprompter and refrained from the combative language he prefers at campaign speeches and on Twitter,” according to The Times.

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With all the unnecessary hyperventilating over Trump, it’s amazing the world isn’t suffering a paper-bag shortage.

After the event, a public relations contractor who did work for the Democratic National Committee channeled the feelings of his fellow frothing liberals into a hilarious series of tweets about his encounter with a Trump supporter at a Washington, D.C., barbecue restaurant. The problem is, he didn’t mean them to be funny.

“Guy wears MAGA hat at my favorite restaurant. I say ‘hey are you from dc?’ He says ‘no.’ I say ‘we don’t tolerate racism in this city.’ His girlfriend then physically jabs fingers into my chest and starts threatening me. Management tells me to leave, not woman who assaulted me,” the story went.

Here’s what I have trouble understanding: Why are people allowing a single president and his hats and speeches to enrage them so? He’s not the first president to have branded hats and give speeches, after all. The way we feel about our country should not be wrapped up in the temporary politicians who occupy public office. It should be wrapped up in the forever ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Not to be blase about it, but in politics you win some and you lose some. Liberals lost in 2016, and they have simply not recovered emotionally.

The glory of American politics is that every two years we can change the Congress and every four the president. There’s no need for such impatience and impetuousness; if you don’t like Trump, you can vote against him and his party in 2020. In the meantime, it is wholly unnecessary to ascribe racism or Nazism to the millions of your fellow Americans who voted differently than you. The definition of Nazi or racist is more than person who just beat me in an election.

Presidencies are bigger than one person. They represent national movements. In the modern era they have engendered personality cults to some degree. (President Obama ramped up this trend significantly.) But Trump represents something bigger: A vote for him was a rejection of the political elites and the media as much as it was an endorsement of his platform (which was basically the Republican platform with a few small tweaks).

Paul Slansky: Reclaim your life from the jaws of Donald Trump »

It must be exhausting to wake up outraged every morning. And here’s the truth: Your outrage is helping Trump more than it’s hurting him, especially when it manifests itself in self-defeating public statements.

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Every time a liberal loses his or her mind over a hat, tank or Betsy Ross, that person causes center-right voters to tighten up in their Trump support. The love for Trump varies across the Republican spectrum (probably more than you think), but the unifying item is that we cannot allow those infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome to run the country.

Liberals — and by extension, the presidential candidates who compete for their unhinged affections — seem downright scary to Americans who have now been labeled racist and Nazi for voting for Trump or thinking Betsy Ross (an anti-slavery Quaker!) was a pretty cool American matriarch.

It feels like liberals wish to impose their views on everyone and punish those who won’t acquiesce. Spitting on Trump’s family in a restaurant is celebrated. Angry mobs go nuts over Supreme Court picks. Antifa goons attack a conservative journalist.

Tell me again, who is the Nazi?

Scott Jennings is a Republican advisor, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and CNN political commentator.


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