Before nationwide riots and protests broke out in response to the killing of George Floyd, Democrats were calling for prolonged lockdowns and social distancing. Because Democrat politicians supported prolonged lockdowns to combat the coronavirus, countless Americans missed graduations, lost their jobs, and missed the funerals of loved ones. However, after the riots and protests started, Democrats reversed themselves and encouraged these large gatherings. One day Democrats were telling people they couldn't attend work or hold funerals for loved ones, and the next day they were encouraging massive protests. Understanding the relationship between the Democrat base, media elites, and politicians help explain this seemingly incoherent Democrat behavior.
When the pandemic hit America, the Democrat base agreed with the social distancing policies of the experts. Yet the base dropped their support for social distancing when the Black Lives Matter protests and riots broke out. As the protests spread across the nation, Instagram was filled with black squares as a show of support. The base also defended the protesters on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The Democrat base reversal on social distancing is understandable. The left believes that human nature is perfectible and that problems existing in society result from the functions of its institutions, rather than from a corrupt human nature. When problems arise, the left blames the system and works to tear it down. During the pandemic, that problem was a virus. Blaming an institution for a virus proved difficult.
However, the killing of George Floyd had a clear target, the police. Whether the officer who killed Floyd had racist intentions or not, the left was primed to believe that institutional racism in American police forces was to blame. Therefore, since ostensibly-corrupt law enforcement was an easy institutional target, the base pounced. Protesters even succeeded in creating a society without police in the rioter-occupied streets of Seattle.
Hollywood celebrities and mainstream media outlets joined the Democrat base in support of the protests. These Hollywood celebrities and media figures, together with tenured professors, tech billionaires, and other corporate leaders, form the elite establishment of the Democratic Party. The only limit to the cultural influence of these modern-day aristocrats is what their audience, the Democrat base, will embrace.
During the lockdowns, people looked to elites for guidance. The elites eagerly seized this opportunity to pander to the people’s fears and reinforce them. During the riots, however, the Democrat base sympathized with the rioters. This time, it was the base who demanded the support of the elites, rather than the other way around. The base didn’t look to elites for solutions; they demanded emotional validation from them. The media elites capitulated, pandering to their base.
Democratic elites unanimously condemned police intervention to quell the riots. Celebrities, like Natalie Portman, showed their support for the protesters by advocating to defund the police. CNN host Chris Cuomo also defended the mob saying, “…show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.” Aside from ignoring that the first amendment says, “…right of the people peaceably to assemble” Cuomo also blamed America and its institutions for forcing the protesters to get violent. Many reporters claimed on camera that the protests were mostly peaceful, as rioters tore apart cities behind them.
Democrat politicians are situated precariously between their aristocratic elites and their democratic base. During the pandemic, Democrat politicians followed the demands of the media. One of these politicians was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who said, “if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.” Once the Black Lives Matter protests started, things changed. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, both previously supporting social distancing, began supporting the protests, even joining their call to defund the police. Democratic politicians waffle between pandering to elites and pandering to the people.
Between the Democrat-prolonged lockdowns and the Democrat-defended riots, millions of innocent hard-working Americans lost their jobs, businesses, friends, family members, and dreams. The Democrat-prolonged lockdown policies were not based on coherent political thinking, they were based on Democrats pandering to liberal elites. Democrats have left behind the working class, middle America, and hardworking minorities in the inner city. The Democrat Party has simultaneously become the party of the mob and wealthy metropolitan liberal elites. Democrats' primary interest is pleasing these groups. Voters should remember that when they head to the polls this November.