The calls liberals make for tolerance and non-partisan solutions to problems so often end up on a scrapheap as soon as they become inconvenient. Banning Republicans as too “deplorable” for political society is now part of their modus operandi.
Take Crowdpac, a Silicon Valley technology company that was founded in 2013 “to help more people participate in the political process” as voters, donors, and candidates. It promised to give candidates a platform to raise money through grassroots appeals and promoted itself as “non-partisan” and open to people of varying ideologies. It offers candidates who don’t have access to large PACs and corporate money a chance to bootstrap their efforts.
That was then. Now the site is banning Republican candidates as part of its stand against President Donald Trump. Last week, the company announced that co-founder Steve Hilton, a contrarian populist who was the political strategist for former British prime minister David Cameron, was stepping down as CEO. Jesse Thomas, Crowdpac’s new acting CEO, announced that Hilton’s praise of President Trump on his new Fox News show had “created unnecessary drag for many of our users working to raise funds and build support for their campaigns on our platform.”
Apparently, the company is now only interested in helping campaigns that are in sync with its liberal worldview. Republican candidates are banned from using Crowdpac to raise money until the company “can figure out how to systematically confirm that those campaigns and candidates align with the values of our community in a way that Trumpism does not.” Thomas went on say: “The truth is that the actions of President Trump and his movement run counter to our values and the values of the vast majority of our users.”
For his part, Hilton said the parting of ways was mutual and that he wished his former colleagues at Crowdpac well. But he told the Washington Post that his dream of energizing politics on a non-partisan basis had clearly been flawed. Immigration had become a toxic source of conflict within the company. This week, Hilton said that immigration was one of the issues that “the left has become increasingly dogmatic.” He told the Post, “Any position short of supporting open borders is described as racist. That’s nonsensical. I’m an immigrant. My family are immigrants, twice over.”
Many candidates who have relied on Crowdpac as a fund-raising vehicle said they were disappointed in its sudden decision. Nick Troiano, head of the non-partisan group Unite America and a former independent candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania, took to Twitter to say:
“Very disappointed @Crowdpac is suspending all GOP campaigns from its platform, as it apparently adopts a business model of the #resistance while saying ‘we value diversity,’ BS.”
Frank DeMartini, a Republican who is challenging Democratic representative Maxine Waters in California, was also outraged. He told me: “Crowdpac is attacking the very democracy they are claiming to protect. This is a disease that will continue to spread until the Left learns the importance of our First Amendment and free discourse and tolerance.”
Other political observers believe there’s something more at work here than just hatred of Donald Trump. “I believe the company was under a lot of pressure from top donors and political players in California to toe the liberal line,” a former Democratic political strategist told me. He noted that California state senator Henry Stern, a leading Democrat, had publicly called for a boycott of the company, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has suspended his account in his race for governor.
Whatever the reasons for Crowdpac’s decision, the goal of self-professed liberals to keep our politics civil and open to all points of view is too often a cover that is quickly abandoned. Many people legitimately criticize President Trump for his offensive tweets and over-the-top rhetoric, but his ideological critics often quickly leapfrog over him and discredit their own cause.