Berlingske published their most superfluous and redundant editorial of the decade this morning:
Berlingske believes: Everything and everyone is better than Trump
Birgitte Borup, Berlingske.dk Leader, August 1
There’s no need to parse through the whole thing because there’s very little in it that’s new or novel. The headline alone is just a condensation of the last six years of Berlingske’s coverage of America.
Borup refers to the events of January 6 as “the deadly riots (livsfarlige optøjer) on Capitol Hill,” which is notable, I guess, in that it doesn’t call the event an insurrection or coup but does call it deadly. It’s an unusual formulation in that the only fatality that wasn’t an accident was the murder of an unarmed woman by a security cop.
A June 2020 article from Forbes entitled “14 Days of Protests, 19 Deaths” chronicled each and every one of those nineteen deaths in detail. The protests—and deaths—continued long after those first two weeks. By the end of October 2020, even the leftwing Grauniad was reporting 25 deaths. Meanwhile, by September 2020 it was already clear that “the damage incurred during the post-George-Floyd riots will exceed that of any other period of rioting & unrest in American history.”
If you’re looking for watershed events in America, it would seem to me that one that stretched out over many months and caused billions of dollars of damage and dozens of deaths from coast to coast would weigh heavier on the scales than one in which one person was killed and damage was so minimal that the Capitol was able to finish its business later that day.
But that’s just me.
In Birgitte Borup’s world, in Berlingske’s, the idea that anyone could support Trump after the January 6 storming of Congress is unthinkable. But that anyone could support a Democratic party that actively encouraged and supported the rioting that cost so many more lives, lasted so much longer, and caused so much more damage isn’t even worthy of note.
It’s all unimportant anyway: of course Berlingske wants anyone but Trump and of course Berlingske is going to swallow all American leftwing talking points whole.
So let’s jump to an interesting paragraph toward the end:
At the moment, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, seems to be the alternative to Trump that most people can rally around. He’ll keep pushing populism at full tilt and in a style characterized by protectionism and culture wars. He’ll hardly be able to unite America, but no one can. It is now mostly about preventing the implosion that rests as a constant threat over American society.
Of course no one will be able to “unite” America. It’s the United States of America, not the United People of America. Americans have been fractious from the start. The threat of implosion certainly does feel more immediate than it has at any point in my own lifetime, but it’s hard to figure out how much of that is real and how much is just the hysteria coming at us around the clock from our always-on, interconnected world. It’s easy to get caught up in it all.
Certainly the American far left is doing their utmost to divide the country, and not just rhetorically. That’s troubling when the White House, Congress, establishment media, academia, and big tech are all under the thumb of far left ideologues. (I’ve chronicled that divisiveness well enough that I don’t feel compelled to provide examples here: just browse the old posts.)
I wanted to go directly from Borup’s editorial to the question of Trump and DeSantis, but now that I’ve mentioned the lengths to which the American left has been going to demonize conservatives, I really have to digress for a minute or two to highlight something that happened in the UK over the weekend.
Here’s what happened: first, back in June, some British guy named Laurence Fox posted this tweet (I’m using screenshots instead of embedded tweets):
As you can imagine, there was immediate pushback. Someone named Caroline Russell replied: “As a London Assembly member and a member of the Police and Crime Committee I hope the Met police will look into Laurence Fox using Pride flags to create nazi (sic) imagery and posting the images on a public platform. This is a hate crime.”
Mr. Fox replied: “This is the UK, not China. Good to know you would like to see your political opponents prosecuted for ‘hate,’ locked up and probably worse. So thanks for proving my point for me.”
In fact his post resulted in a temporary ban from Twitter.
As Fox himself told the MailOnline:
While I’m pleased that my account has been reinstated, this temporary ban only served to reinforce the rank hypocrisy which Twitter is engaged in.
Over the Jubilee weekend, I lost count of the number of posts comparing the prominence of Union Jack flags around the country to Nazi Germany.
The prominence of the various pride flags and symbols throughout the month of June however not only goes unquestioned, but its acceptance and celebration are enforced with a sense of hectoring authoritarianism.
My post was clearly meant to highlight this double standard – and the temporary ban which resulted from it effectively proved my point.
Those are all valid points. Another valid point was made by a former Brexit Party member of parliament who tweeted an image of the Union Jack itself getting the same Swastika treatment and asking why that wasn’t “ban-worthy.”
But everyone knows why: because Mr. Fox was correct. The Pride flags are indeed being pushed “with a sense of hectoring authoritarianism.” You cannot object to them. You can burn your national flag, spit on it, shit on it, whatever you like: that’s a sacred right. But you had better stand up and salute when the rainbow flag goes up, me hearties, or things can get real ugly real fast.
Which is where we come to the climax of this horrible story: we come to the part where a man who retweeted Mr. Fox’s tweet just this past weekend is arrested and handcuffed because he caused someone anxiety on social media.
That’s a thing. It’s a crime, apparently. To cause someone anxiety on social media. See for yourself: here’s the video of the arrest.
As the DailyMail summarizes, in case you chose not to click through to the video:
Footage of the arrest was widely shared on social media and showed an officer who told Mr Brady he was being apprehended because his post had ’caused anxiety’ and been reported to authorities.
The image Mr Brady retweeted was of a swastika that had been digitally manipulated and was made out of four LGBT pride flags.
In the video, shot on a mobile phone, Mr Brady can be heard asking the three police officers: ‘Why am I in cuffs?’
One officer responds: ‘It didn’t have to come to this at all.’
Mr Brady replied: ‘Tell us why you escalated it to this level because I don’t understand.’
The officer adds: ‘Someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. That is why you have been arrested.’
So when people suggest that it’s perhaps overheated for American conservatives to worry about the American left, which only wants to unite us all in a joyful world of brotherly love and harmony, they would do well to think of messieurs Fox and Brady. (Or Harry Miller, a former police officer who tried to prevent the officers from arresting Mr. Brady and was therefore himself arrested.)
You don’t have to subscribe to the notion that the Pride flag itself has any authoritarian connotations to acknowledge that criminalizing the criticism of any flag is unquestionably authoritarian, or to acknowledge that a society that handcuffs and arrests a man for retweeting an image that “caused someone anxiety on social media” is not a free society. Full stop.
How thoroughly marinated in your ideology do you have to be not to see that this kind of thing is straight out of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451?
And that’s why in this political moment a lot of us on the American right see ourselves less as ideological conservatives than as anti-authoritarians. That’s why it’s so perverse that the leading angle of attack from the left is basically that the right cannot have power because they are such authoritarian tyrants! (Fascists, Nazis, dictators, whatever.) In their Upside-Down Bizarro world, the people saying “we’re all better off when the government is smaller and we have more individual liberty” are the fascists, and the people who want to control absolutely every aspect of your life are the good guys.
Which brings me back to the Trump-DeSantis conundrum hinted at by Borup’s editorial.
The fact is, the left has succeeded in making Donald Trump radioactive. They won that fight. They couldn’t have done it without his help, of course, but he provided that in spades. He’s a prickly narcissist, an egomaniac, a bully. Always has been, always will be. I’m grateful for the things he accomplished as president but I found his presidency exhausting. Had he kept his mouth shut, even in the face of the most savage and corrupt onslaught faced by any president, his policies would have spoken for themselves and he might still be president. But Donald Trump is constitutionally incapable of keeping his big fat mouth shut.
Yes, I know that he never would have broken through the feckless mess in Washington without all that fire in his belly. His happy warrior persona was useful and necessary. But the constraints that needed smashing have been duly smashed. He’s still useful but no longer necessary.
I have no doubt that Ron DeSantis will face the same onslaught, simply because he’s a conservative and the left has adopted a Lawrencian approach to the right.
The American GLOB is after all hellbent on branding American conservatives as white supremacists, to the extent that even the black conservative Larry Elder was called “the black face of white supremacy” by the L.A. Times. President Joe Biden never seems more engaged or lucid than when painting his phantasmagorical word pictures of the white-supremacist “ultra MAGA” movement. So that’s the approach they’ll take with DeSantis, especially now that their first approach (“his covid policies are genocidal!”) has proven so fruitless. They’ve surely observed the arrest of Mr. Brady in the UK with envious eyes.
How long until it’s an actionable crime in America to wear a MAGA hat?
That ought to be hyperbole, but on the trajectory we’re on right now—well, have another look at that video. That’s a cop putting a man in handcuffs and telling him it’s because something he retweeted caused some unnamed person anxiety.
Has that cop been fired? That would be a good sign. Anything less should be troubling to anyone interested in freedom.
The past few years have demonstrated that the American left’s policies are stupid and counter-productive. Their track record is catastrophic, their rhetoric is infantile, and their leading figures are about as inspiring and energized as the cast of Cocoon before the extraterrestrial bath. So barring any unforeseen events—and what are the 20s if not a proof by example that unforeseen events lurk around every corner?—barring anything truly extraordinary, I think the 2024 race is eminently winnable by Ron DeSantis but eminently terrifying if Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination… or if, rejected by the Republicans, he pulls a Teddy Roosevelt and seeks a non-consecutive second term as a third-party candidate.
I’m sure Birgitte Borup and Berlingske will support whomever the Democrats put up against DeSantis, should he in fact be the Republican nominee, because that’s just how Denmark’s “conservatives” roll. But DeSantis will make it a hell of a lot harder for them to sustain their odium, and for that alone he’ll have my unwavering support.
So what to do with Trump?
First he has to be persuaded to stand down. He’s going to have to put the needs of the country above the needs of Donald Trump. He has a lot of good arguments on his side: “Isn’t that surrendering to all the fake news and poisonous lies and corrupt hoaxes?” Yes, it is. “Isn’t DeSantis promoting virtually all the same policies I fought for, some of which I even managed to implement?” Yes, he is. “Won’t the left feel emboldened by having successfully driven me off the main stage of American politics?” Yes, they will.
But there are a couple of stronger arguments against him: his temperament and his age. America deserves a chief executive with thicker skin and younger blood. America needs it.
Ron DeSantis has both of those things.
He knows how to respond to criticism without making himself look worse than his critics. He can be humorous without being cruel or unkind, can fire off a zinger without sounding like a bully.
He’s got a track record of fighting the progressive and left and winning—and has Mickey Mouse’s scalp on his wall to prove it.
And he’s more than three decades younger than both Biden and Trump.
Let Trump be Trump: let him call himself a kingmaker and go around the country getting his ring kissed and holding massive rallies to energize the base. Let him exult in the adulation of fans instead of voters. He’s a very entertaining guy. He’s funny. He’s engaging. Unlike the current president, he really does have an astonishing amount of wit and energy for a man of his age. So let him do what he does best for as long as he’s got something left in the tank: entertain.
And let Ron DeSantis do what he does best: govern.
And let the left do what America so badly needs it to: lose.