- - Saturday, November 18, 2023

Left-wing lunacy should be Republicans’ best friend.

Take California — please.

In Democratic-run Los Angeles, a fire from a homeless encampment got out of hand and caused enormous damage to an Interstate 10 overpass, closing the major freeway. It will be weeks before it can reopen to the roughly 300,000 commuters who use it daily.

In Democratic-run San Francisco, officials cleaned up just enough homeless tents, used needles, human excrement and garbage to give visiting Chinese leader Xi Jinping a Potemkin village experience during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and his visit with President Biden.

But over on the Bay Bridge, a few dozen left-wing lunatics on Friday blocked traffic to protest U.S. support for Israel.

These selfless activists parked their cars and threw the keys off the bridge, strangling westbound Interstate 80 into San Francisco at rush hour. Yay!

Can’t you just see the motorists trapped behind them for hours, scratching their chins and saying: “Come to think of it, I may have to reassess my support of Israel, too. Honey, do you mind if we join them and throw our keys into the bay? Honey? Wait. Where are you going?”

This reminds me of when I was driving around the traffic circle near American University in Washington and some protesters jumped on the hoods of cars and ripped off windshield wipers and antennas.

They were not the Young Republicans.

It would be nice to think that Americans have finally had it with the insanity. There does seem to be pushback on vaccination mandates, climate hysteria, gender madness, our dangerously open border, and the spectacle of Black Lives Matter and others supporting the terrorist group Hamas.

A heartening sign was the massive gathering on the National Mall last Tuesday. A crowd estimated from tens of thousands to nearly 300,000 came to support Israel and denounce antisemitism.

Over on the Left Coast, Seattle voters flipped control of the City Council on Nov. 7 from anti-police ideologues to moderates who campaigned on crime control. They’re all still liberals, but it’s a sign that the radical wing of the party might be reined in.

The big takeaway from the off-year elections in Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky and other places is supposed to be that Republicans had better abandon their opposition to abortion if they know what’s good for them. But it is more complex than that.

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a champion of abortion access, was indeed reelected in a very conservative state. He ran an emotional spot about a 12-year-old raped by her stepfather. When it comes to political ads, it doesn’t seem to matter that hard cases make bad law.

But as political strategist Karl Rove wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “If abortion alone decided the governor’s race, why is it that the rest of the statewide Republican ticket won with 57 percent to 61 percent of the vote and an average margin of 18 points? All those Republicans are strongly pro-life.”

The governor’s individual popularity was a big factor. Even though Mr. Beshear vetoed a bill protecting children from gender-transitioning drugs and surgeries and was overridden by the Legislature, he still managed to convince voters that he is a moderate.

Given the barbarity of these gruesome medical experiments on young people, that alone should have cost him the election.

Going forward, Republicans have to expose how the Democratic Party is radically making America unrecognizable.

In Loudoun County, Virginia, Republican attorney Bob Anderson survived a recount to unseat soft-on-crime Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, who came into office in 2020 backed heavily by Democratic megadonor George Soros. Also, two conservative Christians replaced leftist school board members.

Former Virginia state Sen. Dick Black, one of the most outspoken pro-life legislators ever to serve in Richmond, counsels his fellow Republicans to underscore party differences.

It does not mean leaving out the pro-life message, he says. Far from it. But making abortion the only issue is a trap. Even when Republicans clearly frame the issue, the media distort everything they say, especially when they get defensive.

“Richmond Republicans made the classic mistake of fighting for the center, while Democrats fired up their base,” Mr. Black wrote. “Although everyone knows I’m 100 percent pro-life, I wouldn’t have made this campaign a referendum on abortion.”

He went on to list Democrats’ policies on “law and order, degeneracy and collapsing academics in schools, grocery and rent inflation, racial violence and endless wars.

“We should have attacked Democrats instead of skirting controversy. They have never been more vulnerable.”

To these unpopular policies we could add the open border, exploding crime, the criminalization of dissent, the turning of the FBI and other federal agencies against political opponents, the unprecedented and absurd legal persecution of former President Donald Trump, gun grabs and out-of-control spending.

Unfortunately, the latter issue is not as powerful as a bright party difference, given many Republicans’ connivance in trillion-dollar spending bills — something they need to stop doing.

But the other issues are all potential game-changers.

The GOP has to do a much better job of belling the cat.

• Robert Knight is a columnist for The Washington Times. His website is roberthknight.com.

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