Claremont Institute

The Resistance and the New Violent Left

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Coining one of the enduring slogans of the 1960s, Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver once remarked, “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem—there ain’t no more middle ground.” Today, Donald Trump’s fiercest opponents, dubbing themselves “The Resistance,” embrace a new take on Cleaver’s words:  Either you’re part of the Resistance, or you’re part of the evil the Resistance is resisting. There is no neutrality. As William Voegeli, Senior Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, recently wrote:

[T]he Resistance justifies its words and actions by citing Trump’s transgressions and defects. His sins easily become his supporters’…They “hate” and “despise” all Trump supporters, the “worst of humanity,” every last “stupid and selfish” one a racist.

But can this increasingly-violent strain of American politics be reduced to an emotional reaction against Trump’s character, or does it reflect a deeper anti-democratic undercurrent that is just now beginning to boil? Claremont Senior Fellow Angelo Codevilla explains:

[The] ruling class—government bureaucracies, the judiciary, academia, media, associated client groups, Democratic officials, and Democrat-controlled jurisdictions—have joined in 'Resistance’ to the 2016 elections: 'You did not win this election,' declared Tom Perez recently, the Democratic National Committee’s chairman. This is not about Donald Trump’s alleged character defects. The Resistance would have arisen against whoever represented Americans who had voted not to be governed as they have been for the past quarter-century. It is a cold civil war against a majority of the American people and their way of life.

Does this campaign threaten the very nature of our democracy?

This distinguished panel examined this political movement, its cultural and ideological underpinnings, and the need for a statesmanship capable of preventing this cold civil war from turning hot.

Panel:

  • Angelo Codevilla, Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute
  • Henry Olsen, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • William Voegeli, Senior Editor, Claremont Review of Books 
  • Michael Walsh, American music critic, author of Devil’s Pleasure Palace and The Fiery Angel
  • Ryan Williams, President, Claremont Institute (moderator)