I am embarrassed to admit that I initially supported the war in Iraq (though at least I admit that rather than try to rewrite history as do many public figures). I got swept up in the post 9/11 nationalism and wasn't very sophisticated in my thinking about such interventions. But I also think part of the reason for my support was because the opposition was often so irrational and, well, loony. At least subconsciously, I must have been thinking, "I can't be on the same side with these idiots."
This was a useful experience, though, because in the years since I have frequently found myself allied with the Left on certain issues where I have been appalled by their opposition tactics. Black Lives Matter is a great case in point. I absolutely agree with the premise that police forces need more accountability and that the costs of the current lack of accountability fall disproportionately on African Americans. I thought this initial BLM 10-point plan was really very good. But ugh, their tactics. Blocking highways and threatening drivers, where does that get us? Or the whole tactic of forcing someone to choose between "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter" -- I mean seriously, WTF? How is this kind of social justice rhetorical trap at all useful? And now the movement has so much cred that it has been hijacked by the Left to support climate change legislation and all sorts of unrelated matters, so it likely will never make any actual progress on police accountability. It would be easy to recoil from all this and shy away from my passion for increasing police accountability because my allies are so off-putting in their tactics, but my Iraq War experience has taught me that this would be a mistake.
And now, we have the opposition to Trump, and all the same loony Left tactics are emerging. We get lectured by celebrities, and discover that the deepest threat of Trump may be the marginalization of actresses who make $20 million a picture. We get roads blocked and public violence. I wonder if all this is driving folks who originally found Trump distasteful into his arms?
I fear that all the oxygen is getting sucked out of the room with protests of crazy hypothetical scenarios while ignoring the real problems that are occurring already. So everyone is focusing on women marching on Washington, despite the fact that Trump is almost certainly no worse in his personal behavior towards women than Bill Clinton and is likely, on women's issues, the furthest to the Left of all of the 16 original GOP presidential candidates. We focus on some hypothetical future slight to women while ignoring his economic nationalism, economic interventionism, corporatism, and cronyism that is already on display with Carrier and the auto makers.
As I wrote here, the ability to criticize public figures has limited bandwidth. Sure, an infinite number of things can be discussed on the Internet, but only a few reach a general consciousness across society. One way to look at it is to compare it to an NFL game. In an NFL game, coaches only have two challenge flags they can throw to challenge a bad call by the referees -- after their challenge flags are used, they are out of luck. The Left is using up all our challenge flags on their own social justice bogeymen, and causing everyone to miss the opportunity to challenge Trump on more relevant faults (of which there are many).
The other problem with the Left's tactics is that they are not well-matched to Trump and likely will be counter-productive. All this crazy protest is more likely to cause Trump to petulantly lash back. This one of his worst qualities as a leader, but it is a fact all the same. Take abortion, for example. My gut feel is that Trump has never had any problem with abortion, and likely has supported it in the past. Hell, he's probably secretly paid for a few. If women's groups had gone and sat down with him quietly and said, "hey, we are worried about creeping restrictions on abortion in many states", Trump probably would have been sympathetic. This is the Trump, after all, who mythologizes himself as a deal-maker. But groups on the Left can't seem to do this, in part because of tribal virtue-signalling on the Left. The Left has decided that their tactic will be to treat Trump as illegitimate, so any group that goes to talk to him is marginalized and excoriated by the rest of the Left. So rather than sit down and work with a likely-sympathetic Trump, they head out into the streets to denounce him in the craziest possible terms, tactics that may well drive him into exactly the actions that women fear. If abortion was a big issue for me, I would be pissed at women's groups for their bone-headed tactics.