Anti-war protests were all the rage in 2002 and 2003. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, protests in New York and Washington D.C. attracted hundreds of thousands of people. They had signs, burned President Bush in effigy, and walked around with small gasoline containers to emphasize the “war for oil” narrative.
Fast-forward to 2011 and the left engaged in Occupy Wall Street protests, aimed at curbing the supposed excess of the financial markets. When Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in November, some spontaneous — and some not spontaneous — demonstrations broke out the same night. After Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March attracted close to 500,000 people to protest Trump’s presidency before it started.
What’s remarkable is that despite the success in organizing these protests and gaining a ton of media attention, they had little if any tangible impact electorally. George W. Bush won reelection in 2004. Barack Obama used the stock market as a means of beating Mitt Romney in 2012. Despite all the anger from the left directed at President Trump, Democrats are 0-4 in special congressional elections expected to send a “message” to Trump.
Now that the Senate is debating and preparing to vote on their version of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), the left again is ready to do some protesting. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, tweeted the following:
Listen up friends: human chain around the Capitol this Wed at 5 to save ACA. Please come into D.C. Nothing more imp than saving health care!
— Neera Tanden 🌊 (@neeratanden) June 25, 2017
It is more of the same. There will be a big spectacle near the Capitol. Tens of thousands will likely show up, disrupt traffic and the event will get a ton of media attention and for what? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the organizations putting the protests together are doing it as a means of getting people to write checks, similar to the garbage conservative “scam” PAC’s that ask for money to “recruit” politicians for leadership positions they don’t want.
The Democrats poured $30 million into a special congressional race only to watch the candidate, Jon Ossoff, get fewer votes than the Democratic candidate — a candidate most people are convinced does not exist — who ran against Tom Price in 2016.
For a time I was convinced Donald Trump’s ineptitude might be a hindrance to Republicans in 2018. But watching Democrats and their manifest incompetence on display going back to the 2016 campaign, I’m not that concerned. For all the ways they can organize protests and get people out on the street to speak truth to power, they cannot channel that energy into winning elections.
The response to the GOP healthcare plan is not a rational response, designed to get people in the middle to say, “You know what? Let’s keep the ACA.” Democrats are instead screeching, “The GOP plan will literally kill people!” That will work great to get their base voters out to form a human chain at the Capitol but what will it do for other voters? Voters who may not be happy with the GOP but aren’t going to listen to a bunch of yelling and screaming along with standard Democratic pablum.
If the left could organize people to vote in the way they can get people to protest, they might actually win something. Something tells me they’ll just chug along doing the same old thing and wake up after election day wondering, “Where did we go wrong?”