In the past few days, Democrats and their allies in the #NeverTrump movement have started the ominous practice of compiling blacklists of Trump supporters or those who refuse to immediately trumpet Joe Biden’s contested and as yet unconfirmed victory in the November election. CNN, perhaps afraid of falling behind, ran a report listing every single Republican senator who has refused to congratulate Biden so far. At the bottom on the screen, the outlet singled out the president’s dastardly “enablers” who dared to stand up for Trump’s right to raise legal challenges in response to serious concerns about potential fraud.
On Tuesday, CNN published a list of 49 Republican senators guilty of the unspeakable crime of waiting for the final confirmed election results. The chyron screamed, “TRUMP’S DEFIANCE FUELED BY ENABLERS LIKE BARR, MCCONNELL, FOX.”
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) November 10, 2020
Both Attorney General William Barr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have rightly defended the president’s legal authority to raise challenges. It remains unclear why CNN targeted Fox News, however, since Fox had long since called the race for Biden. In fact, many conservatives have faulted Fox for rushing to call the State of Arizona for Joe Biden. Some of Fox News’s more outspoken conservative hosts have defended Trump’s challenges, but the network as a whole arguably does not belong on such a list.
As my colleague Victoria Taft reported, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin threatened to cancel any Republican “making baseless allegations of fraud.” She declared that any such Republican “should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite’ society. We have a list.”
Michael Simon, a former Obama administration analytics staffer, started a “Trump Accountability Project” to keep a list of Trump supporters. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked, “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee [a] decent probability of many deleted Tweets [sic], writings, photos in the future.”
Simon responded (in a now-deleted tweet), “Yes, we are. The Trump Accountability Project [is]. Every Administration staffer, campaign staffer, bundler, lawyer who represented them — everyone.”
Blacklisting is a sordid American tradition, tracing back to the days of the Red Scare. Soviets used the tactic to exile their enemies from polite society, and many organizations in America used blacklists to target alleged communist sympathizers. The Southern Poverty Law Center uses a similar tactic to silence conservatives and Christians who dare question the far-Left’s orthodoxy, placing mainstream conservative organizations on a “hate group” list with the Ku Klux Klan.
This totalitarian rush to exile dissenters from polite society is terrifying.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.