Harold Hutchison / January 26, 2021

The First Amendment Really Was at Stake

The 2016 and 2020 elections both pitted radical Democrats against our Constitution.

Along with bulk-mail ballots, failure to follow election law, and disregard for the Constitution, the infighting among conservatives played a large part in President Donald Trump’s failed reelection bid. Many intelligent conservatives who chose to vote for Trump despite his flaws were absolutely correct about leftists’ hatred for conservatives. Yet some conservatives who’ve always opposed Trump on character and personality grounds chose instead to make false allegations to the contrary.

The Dispatch’s David French is a prime example. The former National Review contributor, Iraq war veteran, and Never-Trumper who briefly pondered his own independent presidential bid claims that the stakes of the 2016 and 2020 elections were overstated in terms of American and religious institutions. In other words, a victory by Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden did not pose a threat serious enough to justify supporting Trump. In this case, French was clearly very wrong, in the most charitable of takes. At worst, he was gaslighting grassroots Patriots into ignoring clear and present dangers.

When we discussed the clear differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton near the end of the 2016 election, we noted that one of the biggest issues was freedom of speech. Let’s recap some of what was publicly known around election day:

  • The Internal Revenue Service targeted the Tea Party, and there was no meaningful accountability.
  • In Wisconsin, rogue prosecutors targeted conservative activists with “John Doe” investigations.
  • State attorneys general sought to weaponize RICO to go after opponents of the Left’s environmental policies.
  • The Federal Election Commission was opening the door to target conservative media and talk radio.
  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out an email stating Breitbart News had “no right to exist.”
  • The state of California was trying to hijack the voice of crisis pregnancy centers to force them to promote abortion.

So, at the time of Trump’s first presidential campaign, the First Amendment was clearly at stake, and nothing has changed since then. If anything, the threats have gotten worse.

You don’t have to like Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, or OANN to recognize that under the First Amendment, they have a right to operate. They are news outlets that break news, feature commentary, and act no differently from CNN or MSNBC. The difference is their perspective. For the government to retaliate against them for their reporting or commentary is completely at odds with the First Amendment.

Once again, the evidence is very clear: The First Amendment was on the ballot in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, Americans gained a reprieve with President Trump’s win. Now, in the wake of 2020, the Left seeks to silence dissenting voices, in conjunction with reporters from mainstream media outlets, like CNN’s Oliver Darcy, who eagerly want to silence competing outlets. David French can claim other priorities all he wants, but again, you can see the pattern with your own eyes that the First Amendment has been at stake these last two presidential elections against a radical Left that has decided that silencing opposition is the way you win debates.

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