Opinion | Is There a Lockstep Mentality on the Left?

To the Editor:

Re “Groupthink Has Left the Left Blind,” by Bret Stephens (column, Nov. 17):

I have read a great deal lately about how the woke left delivered the victory to President-elect Joe Biden and should be recognized and rewarded for its contribution. This incisive and insightful piece by Mr. Stephens may lead us to quite a different conclusion.

Perhaps the dogmatic groupthink of the radical left and the media attention it garnered actually nearly cost Mr. Biden the election and seriously eroded what could have been a blue wall in down-ballot contests. At the risk of excommunication from the liberal community I have always embraced, let me say that “leftism” continues to break a singular rule of combat: Never hand your opponent a loaded gun!

Cullen Schippe

To the Editor:

I could be more sympathetic to Bret Stephens’s argument that leftist elites — who allegedly demand conformity of thought — are alienating centrist liberals if more than a handful of congressional Republicans could acknowledge that Joe Biden won the presidency. Clearly no political party has a corner on lockstep mentality.

If my choice is between lemming Trumpers who reduce all liberals to socialists, Communists and anarchists and ditch our democratic norm of accepting fair election results, or leftist woke forces, I will gladly take my chances with the latter.

Amy Lefkof
Charlotte, N.C.

To the Editor:

Three cheers for Bret Stephens as he articulates exactly what I feel as a white, female, senior lifelong Democrat. I am tired of the woke part of the Democratic Party making me feel guilty for the accident of my birth: being white of Northern European descent.

I am tired of the politics of identity when identity does not decide how everyone sharing that identity thinks or acts. I am tired of the liberals who cannot look beyond the personality of the president to recognize that he may actually have done something good.

Get out from behind the screen of pious disapproval and learn about others who can actually be rational when they make decisions that don’t agree with yours.

Lynn Bent
Portola Valley, Calif.

To the Editor:

I consider myself one of those “woke” whom Bret Stephens refers to. I strive to be actively attentive to important issues, especially of racial and social justice. I also believe we have a moral obligation to “stay woke,” to take a stand and be active, challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises.

I firmly believe that Donald Trump has harmed the soul of America. Wokes forever!

Louis Campagna
Ridgefield, Conn.

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens is right that many on the left had blinders on during the election. Which is why I am optimistic. President Trump may have lost the match but he is not down for the count. The House races saw important G.O.P. gains, and Republicans may well win the majority in 2022. Republicans are likely to hold on to the Senate. And Mr. Trump somehow managed to get three conservatives seated on the Supreme Court.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see his victorious return in 2024, after people tire of the lockdowns and high taxes imposed by the Biden administration.

David Tulanian
Las Vegas

To the Editor:

Even as a lifelong liberal Democrat, I readily concede, as Bret Stephens contends, that the left has turned its back on complexity and nuance, and harmed its own moral standing in the process. The progressive wing of the party fails to appreciate the extent to which it alienates a large segment of the population, or the reasons. And I get how no one wants to feel looked down upon.

But how are we to respond, Mr. Stephens, to those who claim, as U.S. deaths pass 250,000, that the virus is a hoax, or those who insist, with no evidence whatsoever, that they know — just know — that the election was rigged, stolen, fake?

Karen McAndrew Allen
Shelburne, Vt.

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens’s column would be more persuasive if the centrist faction of the Democratic Party actually stood behind policy positions that are up to the task of addressing the massive social failures left in the wake of decades of neoliberalism and winner-take-all capitalism. The center instead only offers more of the same corporatist policies that gave rise to the cult of Donald Trump in the first place.

To win big, Democrats must pay heed to the needs of disaffected Trump voters. The party must present an inspiring vision for the middle class that addresses systemic macroeconomic issues such as the widening wealth gap, access to health care and education, monopoly power and money in politics.

We can fight right-wing populism only with left-wing populism. Moderation just holds the door open for demagogues.

Robert Ferry

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