What About the Alt-Left?

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Secretary of State Clinton’s decision to play the racism card against Donald Trump strikes us as lacking in credibility — given the source. There is no doubt that the Republican nominee has stirred up the xenophobes with his harsh rhetoric in respect of immigration and is being cheered on by the racist David Duke and his ilk. The New York Sun wants no part of them and neither does the GOP. But the Democratic Party has its own fringe for which to answer before Mrs. Clinton has any standing to make a megillah of the “alt-right.” What about the alt-left?

This goes back to Sister Souljah. She was the activist who, in 1992, was asked by Los Angeles Times about violence against whites by blacks in the riots that year in the City of Angels. Was such violence a “wise reasoned action,” she was asked. “Yeah, it was wise,” she answered. “I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” Bill Clinton, then campaigning for president, famously responded by saying that if one “took the words ‘white’ and ‘black,’ and you reversed them,” one might think that David Duke was speaking.

That became known as the “Sister Souljah moment” and helped convince Americans that Mr. Clinton was fit for the presidency. Hillary Clinton isn’t there yet, nor can she get there by blaming Donald Trump for failing to confront the alt-right when she is failing to confront the alt-left. The point is all the more vital because one of the hopes President Obama stirred in his 2008 campaign was for a chance that his unique embodiment of the black and white experience would enable him to lead us to a higher plane. In the event, the eight years of his presidency have seen the return of violent protests to our cities.

It’s not our intention to suggest that there are never grounds for grievance against the police or that the police are always right. Neither is it our intention to suggest that Mrs. Clinton is herself a racist (even if, during the 2008 campaign, there were suggestions that the Clintons were using racist tactics in the Carolinas). It is our intention to suggest that Mrs. Clinton is no more high-minded than Mr. Trump. She still, insofar as we’re aware, hasn’t broken with President Obama’s outrageous claim that the Iranian regime could be rational about its economy even if it was anti-Semitic.

The Democratic Party alt-left agitators protesting against Mr. Trump’s rallies in this campaign have illuminated nothing so much as the fact that the alt-right has no quarter on violence, bigotry, and thuggery. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton was the first to make the ad hominem attack the central feature of her strategy against her general election opponent. She has refused to engage the GOP nominee on the issues — and, indeed, has swung in behind him on certain big issues, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On immigration, one issue where she is playing the race card against him, she vows to pursue Mr. Obama’s strategy.

That consists of acting without Congress, which is one of the things that has so inflamed the issue in the past eight years. Another is the strategy of trying to boost employment with easy money rather than economic growth. It’s a combination that may have delivered what is ostensibly a low unemployment number but has also given us the lowest labor participation rate in decades. This has enabled Mr. Trump to make the argument that, despite the efforts to tar him as a racist, he has the better strategy for striving minorities. We look forward to at least the possibility of the presidential debates getting into all this.

The New York Sun

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