In early January of 49 B.C., Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon, triggering a Roman civil war that eventually led to Caesar’s dictatorship. In early June of 2013, thousands of abortion rights protesters stormed the Texas State Capitol, successfully shutting down a Republican attempt to pass pro-life legislation. The press treated that insurrection as heroic.

In 2018, progressive protesters, inspired by Texas, stormed the Wisconsin Capitol to stop the legislature from passing right-to-work legislation. They forced their way in, vandalized the building and were declared heroes by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, but failed.

In 2021, Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol and were unsuccessful in their insurrection. Unlike the Texas and Wisconsin progressives, the Trump supporters in Washington are, to this day, vilified as insurrectionists and many have been carted off to federal prison — deservedly so.

The problem, of course, is the double standard. When Democrats storm the U.S. Capitol to block a vote on Brett Kavanaugh, they are excused. When they storm congressional buildings to protest for Hamas, they are excused. But get Trump supporters inside the U.S. Capitol and everyone demands denunciations. It should all be denounced. It should all be condemned. But the press and Democrats together rarely condemn the left-wing insurrections.

Remember, after a man killed Asian women in a spa in Atlanta in a demented and depraved act of trying to overcome his sexual addiction, Democrats lectured us on anti-Asian violence. When the data showed most anti-Asian violence in America is done by black men, progressives changed the subject while one University of Colorado professor tried to explain that the black men were just lashing out at others over their own oppression from systemic racism.

We see this, similarly, playing out with Israel. Chant “genocide for the trans community” on any college campus or “George Floyd got what he deserved,” and Ivy League universities will take swift action against the deplorable conduct. But Ivy League college presidents testified before Congress the other day that calling for genocide of the Jewish people needs to be put into context.

Harvard forced an evolutionary biologist among its faculty to take a leave of absence after declaring on television that there are only two sexes, male and female. In a press conference at the United States Capitol, Harvard, MIT and University of Pennsylvania students told the world about antisemitic students storming dormitories, hunting Jews, calling for their deaths, and at least one university official insisting it is true that Israelis harvest the organs of Palestinians. Again, though, the Ivy League wants context for the antisemites and expulsions for the believers of biology.

On CNN the day after the presidents of Harvard, MIT and Penn tried to contextualize calls for genocide of Jews, the network featured stories on former President Donald Trump and a would-be dictatorship nonstop through the day. There were vastly more stories worrying about Trump than about the Ivy League presidents. Having not really paid attention to daytime news in some time, I was shocked at the wall-to-wall obsessive coverage of Trump and what he may or may not do.

Concurrently, the liberal publication The Atlantic is imagining the horrors of a second Trump term. It would, progressives believe, become a dictatorship. I fully believe Trump could very well get reelected and decide he will not leave. But I also fully believe the American system of government is far stronger than the writers of the Atlantic or talking heads on CNN think. Trump may not want to leave, but Congress, the Supreme Court, the military, the states and the Secret Service would toss him out on Jan. 20, 2029.

While I fully believe the system is strong enough to resist the ambitions of any one man and his supporters, it is notable how many on the Left and in the press doubt it. But after years of giving passes to the insurrectionists and genocide chanters of the Left, I understand the Left and much of the press know how many shocks to the system their side has given, and they worry their own insurrections, riots and resistance have led us too far past the American Rubicon. Many, I suspect, would be OK with the collapse of the system for a dictatorship, just not led by someone with an “R” next to his name.

Erick Erickson on December 10, 2023

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