- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2016

For all the fretting about a peaceful transition of power before the general election, Democrats and their media allies seem unworried about protests challenging the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s stunning White House win.

Demonstrators have rallied around the catchphrase “Not our president” to convey their dissatisfaction, fueled in part by the split between the popular vote and electoral vote count as well as accusations of Russian tampering in the election. Protests have largely remained peaceful, but violence has broken out in a handful of metropolitan areas, including Portland, Oregon; Oakland, California; and Los Angeles.

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said denunciations from top Democrats have been conspicuously absent, especially after the party raised fears during the campaign about Trump supporters not going quietly in the event of a loss.

“I see very little leadership from top Democrats calling on supporters of Hillary Clinton to stand down from these protests,” Mr. Wood said. “Of course, the protesters, so long as they are nonviolent and not attacking property, have a perfect right to express themselves. Whether it’s constructive and wise to be protesting an election which, by all accounts, was legitimate, seems to be a more doubtful matter.”

In a White House press conference Monday, President Obama stressed the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election: “Those who didn’t vote for him have to recognize that’s how democracy works, that’s how the system operates.”

Asked about the anti-Trump protests, the president said, “It takes a while for people to reconcile themselves with that new reality.”

Mrs. Clinton acknowledged Mr. Trump’s victory in her concession speech on Wednesday but has remained silent about the widespread protests questioning the election’s outcome and expressing outrage over the president-elect.

Others have egged them on.

“We have a First Amendment,” Sen. Bernard Sanders told USA Today when asked if the protests are good for the country. “People are angry. People are upset. And they want to express their point of view that they are very frightened, in very, very strong disagreement with Mr. Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.

“We may want to take a look at the whole Electoral College, which is seating a man for president who didn’t get the most votes,” said the senator from Vermont, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Cory A. Booker, New Jersey Democrat, went so far as to say, “God bless the protesters.”

“When you have a president that in his campaign, who ran saying things that aren’t just contrary to fact but literally threatening to use presidential power in a way that would erode the rights and privileges and equality of large sectors of Americans, then God bless the protesters,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The unrest also is being sponsored by a cadre of left-wing groups, including at least one with ties to liberal megadonor George Soros. MoveOn.org organized 200 “United Against Hate” rallies across the country, which it billed as “Peaceful Gatherings of Solidarity.”

“The gatherings — organized by MoveOn.org and allies — will affirm a continued rejection of Donald Trump’s bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny and demonstrate our resolve to fight together for the America we still believe is possible,” the Soros-funded group said in a press release the day after the election.

Planned Parenthood, which heavily backed Mrs. Clinton in the campaign, also encouraged its supporters to attend the MoveOn.org rallies.

“People are uniting across the country to stand against hate,” the nation’s largest abortion provider said in a Facebook post. “Join MoveOn.org tonight for a gathering of solidarity, resistance, and resolve near you.”

Several colleges and universities have gotten in on the action.

Students at George Washington University marched from Kogan Plaza to the White House on Thursday. Diego Rebollar, a freshman at the school, said he found the actions of his fellow students hypocritical.

“I understand people are upset, but things on campus have been a tad bit excessive,” Mr. Rebollar, 18, said at the Young America’s Foundation forum this weekend. “It’s really hypocritical because a lot of the same people protesting are the ones who criticized Mr. Trump just a few weeks ago for saying he might not accept the election results.”

Mr. Wood said the media have largely cast the protesters as mourning the outcome of a bitterly contested election. He said Mr. Trump’s backers would not have received the same treatment had the outcome been reversed.

“I’m certain that the media would have treated something like a tea party or a pro-Trump protest in a different light,” he said. “We’ve had models of that in the past eight years, where dissent by anyone right of the progressives is treated as threatening, illegitimate. Frequently it’s called racist, other terms of opprobrium that are meant to say that it is out of place and unwelcome.”

Dave Boyer, Julia Porterfield and Valerie Richardson contributed to this report.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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