Willie Brown to Democrats and Media: Stop Calling Riots ‘Demonstrations’

A protester walks past a building ablaze during protests Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha
AP Photo/Morry Gash

Former San Francisco mayor and California State Assembly speaker Willie Brown wrote Saturday that Democrats should stop calling riots “demonstrations” because “burning and looting” will help re-elect President Donald Trump.

In a San Francisco Chronicle column titled, “Burning and looting in the name of justice will hand election to Trump,” Brown wrote: “The biggest threat to a Democratic election sweep in November isn’t the Republican in the White House, but the demonstrators who are tearing up cities in the name of racial justice.”

Noting that new polls showed voters are increasingly worried about crime, Brown said that Democrats were in a “heck of a bind”:

If they stand up and condemn the “demonstrators,” the left wing will label them as Trump flunkies and they’ll be in all sorts of trouble.

If they keep quiet or offer passive responses, voters will assume they’re OK with burning and looting.

The answer, he said, was to “have everyone, including the media, stop calling the after-dark destruction ‘demonstrations.'”

He explained:

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did not cross the bridge at Selma under cover of darkness. You can’t even read a protest sign at night.

The demonstrations end when the sun goes down. After that, it’s trouble for trouble’s sake.

Brown’s point echoes an argument this reporter recently made at Breitbart News, in which I wrote:

The civil rights movement was effective because the tactic of non-violence, adapted from Gandhi and applied by King and [John] Lewis, evoked the empathy of observers.

Moreover, Dr. King also used the common language of Christianity to challenge his countrymen to live up to the ideals of their Constitution — and their Bible.

Today’s protests have abandoned the tradition of Dr. King and embraced the ideas of Saul Alinsky, for whom chaos was the goal. (They have even vandalized a statue of Gandhi.)

Brown has admitted that he gave Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) her start in politics by arranging paid government jobs for her while they were dating in the 1990s.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Clarification has been added to the third blockquote to note that it comes from the author, not Brown.


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