The New “Progressive” McCarthyism

A decade ago, I sat in my high school social studies class learning about a dark period in American history. Our teacher was referencing the early 1950s when Communism was on the rise. The United States was embroiled in a Cold War with the Soviet Union (USSR), which was under the murderous regime of Joseph Stalin. With China, the most populous nation in the world falling to communist rule in 1949, the American people were rightfully terrified at the idea of the dangerous failed philosophy spreading on U.S. soil.

Enter U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI). The Senator claimed, without substantial evidence, that there were 57 secret communists “infiltrating”  the U.S. State Department, a number that he rose to 81 and later to 205. For over a month in 1954, McCarthy, then the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, conducted a series of televised hearings where he investigated dozens of innocent American government employees for purported un-American activities. The American public, once on Senator McCarthy’s side, quickly turned against him, prompting U.S. Army Chief Counsel Joseph Welch to famously scowl, “have you left no sense of decency?”

At the time, I thought it was absolutely insane that an elected member of the U.S. Congress would go on record wrongly accusing so many people of what effectively amounted to treason. I wondered if the idea of unfairly blacklisting a group of people over their political views would return to this country. As one of the only reds (Republican, not communist) in my deep blue public school, I would often get teased by my peers for my outspoken libertarian conservative views. It was all in good fun back then and it never crossed my mind that right-of-center people like me, or any ideological group for that matter, would ever be the victims of a new type of McCarthyism.

For the last five years, President Donald Trump has been the target of a barrage of uncouth insults and debunked conspiracy theories to an unprecedented extent. The hate for Trump by the left surely eclipses any previous political opposition to an American president seen in recent years. A lot of this was due to their unorthodox staunch opposition to his agenda of cleaning up the “swamp” that is the Washington establishment and putting the interests of the United States before the rest of the world. Lacking any precedent whatsoever is the fact that these attacks were not reserved for Trump and his administration – they were extended to the millions of Americans who supported him. After five years of constantly belittling the President’s supporters, baselessly calling millions of people “deplorables,” “racists,” and “fascists,” it looks like the haters will get their wish with Joe Biden’s projected win in the 2020 Presidential race. Since they’re now celebrating voting out of the man they so despised, it might be time for them to finally call a truce on their war against Trump supporters – right?

Wrong. Last week, former Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan joined forces with Michael Simon and Emily Abrams, two alumni of Pete Buttigieg’s failed presidential bid, to launch a McCarthy-esque blacklist of conservatives they dubbed the “Trump Accountability Project (TAP).” In the words of Sevugan himself, the purpose of the “project” was to “make sure anyone who took a paycheck to help Trump undermine America is held responsible for what they did.” To the founders, this apparently included anyone who worked or donated to either of his campaigns and who served in his administration in any capacity. This type of insanity might as well have also included the 73 million-plus people who simply cast a vote for the President. The project’s goal was to have the so-called Trump “enablers” publicly shamed and somehow prevented from seeking any meaningful employment, “book deals, TV contracts, or six-figure salaries in the private sector.” TAP’s official website claims that Trump supporters are so dangerous because they were “responsible for loosening the guardrails of our democracy,” predictably lacking any facts to back up this allegation. It’s interesting that the same people who supported this project were also saying “democracy works” when the media projected that Trump would lose his election bid. I suppose it’s only “democracy” to them when their candidate wins.  

In a win for actual democracy, the TAP was thankfully shut down on Thursday after only being active for a few days. Their founders claimed that they abruptly gave up because of Biden’s “call to build a more united country,” but we know that is a lie. In reality, they were exposed as being the true un-American, intolerant, fascists they claimed President Trump and his supporters of being. The tables have turned.

Although the actual TAP is dead, the notion that people loyal to Trump must “pay” is very much alive. Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), established herself as the new McCarthy in Congress by asking via tweet if anyone was “archiving these Trump sycophants.” AOC’s tweet garnered 350,000 likes before she had the audacity to delete it – probably because she didn’t want to get “archived” herself. Sunny Hostin, the far-left co-host of “The View,” who has demonized Trump supporters on many occasions, sided with AOC, stating that Trump administration officials must be “held accountable” and “shouldn’t be forgotten.” Finally, Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin, a former Republican now in favor of “burning down” her old party, tweeted that she has a “list” of Republicans who she believes “should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite’ society,” for simply alleging that some voter fraud was present in the 2020 election. It is clear that the left’s (and even some of the anti-Trump right’s) plan was not just to vote President Trump out of office, but to come after the entire new conservative coalition, which is younger, more diverse, and more enthusiastic than it ever has been. I am fully confident that in the end, the intolerant, regressive left will never get their way with silencing the voices of all who oppose them. The Constitutional freedoms of speech and association are essential to our identity as Americans. We don’t stand for tyrants of any ideology. Just like the American public turned hard against Senator McCarthy six and a half decades ago, they will surely rebuke the new McCarthy-ites on the left. Let the public backlash over the brutally short-lived TAP serve as a warning. If the Democratic Party and Biden do not come out and publicly disavow this blatantly anti-American behavior in their ranks, they will once again find themselves out of power, on the outside, looking in.