How Much Are Far-Left Activists Fueling Trump?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

It’s a fraught question, but one that this reader tackles after reading Molly’s latest on “the resentment powering Trump”:

I’m one of the more anti-Trump commenters on this forum, but this is a topic where the Trump crowd does have a point. There is a double-standard regarding the bad behavior of the opposition, or at least a perception problem. The opposition should consider that they are actually giving Trump ammo to perpetuate his position.

However, the Trump crowd themselves negate the double-standard when they claim equivalency between, say, BLM and the KKK (as the one quoted gentleman did in the article).

A new poll from Monmouth University looked for empirical evidence of far-left activists driving support to Trump. Here’s Reason’s Robby Soave with the results:

The poll noted that pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces clashed in Chicago last Friday, which prompted Trump to cancel the event. It then asked respondents whether this fact made them more or less likely to support Trump. Just 11 percent said they were less likely to support Trump because of this decision. Another 22 percent said they were actually more likely to back Trump, and 66 percent said their views were unchanged.

Leftist protesters who vehemently oppose Trump would do well to remember that in a free society, even contemptible speakers are permitted to be heard. As New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait wrote in a recent piece:

But the whole premise of democracy is that rules need to be applied in every case without regard to the merit of the underlying cause to which it is attached. If you defend the morality of a tactic against Trump, then you should be prepared to defend its morality against any candidate. Now imagine that right-wing protesters had set out to disrupt Barack Obama’s speeches in 2008. If you’re not okay with that scenario, you should not be okay with protesters doing it to Trump.

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