As the alt-left, supported by members of the Democratic Party, look to tear down more and more monuments across America, the New York Times is warning that the increasing scope of the left’s iconoclasm may be alienating centrists and mobilizing the right.
In an article Friday about the movement to rip down monuments and images in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month, the Times says the disputes have proliferated with “dizzying speed” and suggests that the left’s fervor has started to produce questionable results:
But since the violence in Charlottesville, Va., two weeks ago, the anger from the left over monuments and public images deemed racist, insensitive or inappropriate has quickly spread to statues of Christopher Columbus, the former Philadelphia tough cop Mayor Frank Rizzo, Boston’s landmark Faneuil Hall, a popular Chicago thoroughfare and even Maryland’s state song. An Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee was pulled from broadcasting a University of Virginia football game so as not to offend viewers.
The article goes on to say that as the campaign moves past Confederate monuments, and begins to encompass a number of other grievances, “they have become to some an example of politically correct sentiments gone too far, with the potential to mobilize the right and alienate the center.”
When asked about the removal of statues this month at Trump Tower, Trump said:
George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to now take statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson…are we going to take down his statue because he was a major slave owner?
While initially derided by some media commentators, Trump’s comments seem to be proving more and more accurate. Mayor Bill de Blasio has not ruled out removing a statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle near Central Park in the face of pressure from the left, while the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka called for the removal of monuments to Washington and Jefferson.
Now, with Trump looking to be accurate in his assessment, some Democrats are getting nervous. The Times article cites Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who warned that the Democrats are “driving straight into a trap Trump has set.”
“While I understand the pain those monuments cause,” Begala said, “I just think it in some ways dishonors the debate to allow Trump to hijack it.”
Begala and the Times’ apparent nervousness is supported by recent polls that show significant public opposition to the purging of the statues.
A recent Rasmussen report found that 90 percent were against the removal of Jefferson and Washington from public places. The Times itself notes that polling shows a majority of Americans favor keeping Confederate monuments, while it says support for changing street names and other symbols “falls off sharply.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY