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Republicans are better than this. It’s that simple. No moral authority here, and with no presumed heft within the GOP, I still never imagined Republicans would act the way they did on Wednesday. Never.

Republicans complain, Republicans can be petty, partisan, mindless, easily gulled by conspiracy theories, and all manner of other things. But Republicans don’t riot, or “storm,” or break things, or overrun security set-ups. Though they have deep feelings, they protest peacefully. When cities were boarded up ahead of the presidential elections in November, everyone half-awake knew the boarding was to protect private property from angry Democrats in the event that Joe Biden lost.

Some will reply that it wasn’t Republicans rioting or doing whatever it was they were doing on Wednesday; that it was George Soros-funded Antifa members infiltrating a crowd of Trump supporters only to create the perception of rioting by Republicans. Sorry, but such an excuse lacks merit. Even if it’s true that the more riotous types were in Antifa types faking Trump partisanship, what does it say about Trump supporters that they would be so easily taken for a ride by the low-lifes associated with Antifa? If it’s so obvious after the fact that Antifa hijacked what was intended as a peaceful gathering, why wasn’t it obvious beforehand?

To the above, some will say with sympathy that Trump supporters were innocently duped, that Trump had a built a base of the dis-enfranchised, the dispossessed, the allegedly “forgotten” people from parts of the U.S. the elite of the American elite don’t travel to. Sorry, but this excuse similarly lacks merit. While there’s a big divide between the richest and poorest in the U.S., all Americans relative to most of the rest of the world are elite. Americans are the envy of so many for whom merely eating each day is a triumph. These people would give anything to have the very little that the allegedly “forgotten” Trump supporters have. About this, let’s never forget that as evidenced by the location of the march, most in attendance were in town from somewhere else. They had the economic means to get themselves to Washington, D.C. by airplane, train, car, or bus, and they similarly had the means to take a day or two off from work in order to register their disappointment with the presidential election’s outcome. These are privileged people by most any global measure, and most likely by U.S measure. Let’s please stop the excessively trite “forgotten” narrative. It makes us sound spoiled.

And assuming what’s easy to assume, that there were some less than peaceful Trump supporters at the Capitol, let’s not forget that Trump himself told them to go there. As a Wall Street Journal editorial reported it, Trump told the “Save America March” attendees that “’We’re going to the Capitol,’ to ‘try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.’” Trump encouraged the ridiculous, riotous, anti-social behavior. Where’s the embarrassment and shame?

More important, where’s the embarrassment and shame over the sad fact that Trump supporters were in Washington, D.C. to begin with? Republicans are supposed to be better than this too. They’re supposed to be reasonable. They’re supposed to leave all the emotion, protesting, and overdone hysteria to the left. It was the dopey lefties who bought into the flamboyantly absurd view that the legendarily incompetent Russians swung the 2016 election to Trump. And in promoting what was always laughable, they made themselves look foolish. Over and over again they made themselves look foolish. To this day, Democrats believe against all evidence that the Russians tipped the election to Trump.

It raises an obvious question why Republicans, or Trump supporters, would want to be like them. Why? Up front, fraud will be inevitable in any contest that involves counting heads. Still, whenever the promoters of the fraud narrative (including Trump) were asked to show concrete evidence of election-altering kind, they couldn’t.

But the bigger question is once again why Republicans would want to be anything like the hysterical opposition? Trump lost an election, one the proceedings of which were watched closely by lawyers on both sides, and the response of some Trump supporters is to say it was “stolen”? It sounds so Democrat, and worse, it sounds unsophisticated. It creates the perception that Trump supporters are unaware of the happy truth that the president of the United States isn’t dictator, that in fact the president can’t pass any laws at all without the consent of Congress and the Senate.

The sophisticated, Republican response would have been to accept the election’s results with a plan to reverse them with better candidates and better ideas in the future. But wait, some might say, the rally attended in Washington was the “Save America March.” Biden and the Democrats want to destroy America, and they stole the election in order to do it. See above. Presidents aren’t dictators, Furthermore, if someone as inconsequential as Biden could “destroy America,” then it’s safe to say America was never that special to begin with. Except that America is special. Amazingly so. It’s not so easily ruined. When Republicans or Trump supporters claim one election is so consequential that it will dictate whether America survives, they’re insulting the great nation they claim to love.

Some will say it’s not fair, that Democrats riot all the time, that they wreck what’s not theirs when they don’t get their way, and that cities across the U.S. were boarded up ahead of the election not out of fear that Republicans would riot if Trump lost, but for exactly the opposite reason. Let’s unpack this statement.

For one, and paraphrasing P.J. O’Rourke, Americans who think it’s not fair better hope life never becomes fair. The simple truth is that we’re the luckiest people on earth precisely because we’re Americans. That we were born into this massive zone of prosperity speaks to major unfairness inconsideration of what billions of people not American were born into.

For two, yes, it’s true. Democrats break things. They riot. And many in the media act like it’s no big deal. Remember how quickly fear of Covid transmission went out the window when Democrats were looting last summer? Remember how Joe Biden largely stayed silent as his base wrecked the property of others? OK, but why on earth would Republicans want to be like them? Why, if they think the Democrats are intent on destroying the U.S., would they ever justify their own foolishness with the response that “Democrats do it too”?

But the main thing is that Republicans are once again better than this. They don’t riot, or storm, and they don’t “occupy” anything that’s not their own. Or at least they used to not do those things. On Wednesday the Republicans gave away their moral authority for next to nothing. And that’s very sad.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research and Trading (www.trtadvisors.com). His next book, set for release in March of 2021, is titled When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason. Other books by Tamny include They're Both Wrong: A Policy Guide for America's Frustrated Independent Thinkers, The End of Work, about the exciting growth of jobs more and more of us love, Who Needs the Fed? and Popular Economics. He can be reached at jtamny@realclearmarkets.com.  

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