The Extremist Show Is Just Starting


At the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Charlottesville was a defeat for America but a win for the provocateurs in our midst.



By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Donald Trump failed to follow the script laid down for every president. Any outrage involving white racism or neo-Nazi activity should be responded to with an unambiguous denunciation of white racism or neo-Nazis, without qualification or distracting details. Yes, it might be good for the country if the media were a tad less rigid in enforcing such scripts, but that’s not an excuse for presidential ineptitude.

For journalists, though, details and qualifications are interesting. One such qualification is how Peter Beinart, a former editor of the New Republic, ended his serendipitously timed article in the Atlantic magazine about the rise of left-wing violence. He says violent activists of left and right have become the “unlikeliest allies.”

So how did Charlottesville, Va., turn itself into a stage for their latest, and perhaps age-defining, spectacle?

The city is a Democratic town, run by a Democratic machine. Its elections are typically settled in a Democratic primary. The GOP is a non-factor. Of the three City Council members who voted in February to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a town park, two who thereafter faced re-election are now gone.

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