Anthea Butler thought she’d heard it all before.It's quite possible that Turning Point USA would have compiled this list no matter how the election turned out -- but during the Trump years I think we're going to see a lot more scapegoating of college professors and other left-leaners who are outside of politics.
A religious studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a black woman who teaches a class about the religious right in America and has a fiery liberal persona on social media, Butler’s been ridiculed in recent years on primetime TV by the right’s Sean Hannity and called out on AM radio by Rush Limbaugh....
But when a fellow professor contacted her a few weeks ago and told her she’d been placed on a brand new nationwide “professor watch list” intended to help conservatives identify faculty liberals, Butler felt like rising McCarthyism on America’s campuses just surged to a new high water mark.
The watch list [was] created and promulgated by a nationwide youth-oriented conservative group called Turning Point USA....
I say this because I remember the George W. Bush era. For most of Bush's presidency, Republicans had all the power in Washington. Bush was popular for many of those years. He and his fellow Republicans had a free hand.
But the right never wants the public to believe that Republicans are responsible for what's going on in government, even when they are responsible. So conservatives look for scapegoats in and out of politics, and they talk about them as if they have tremendous power. Recall the amount of effort the right invested in denouncing Ward Churchill, a professor who wrote an inflammatory essay in the wake of 9/11. If you paid attention to the right back then, you might have thought Churchill was the most important academic in America.
But what was the right supposed to do? There was no Democratic president. Democrats didn't run the House or Senate. So Churchill had to be portrayed as a national menace. The same with liberal-leaning celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and the Dixie Chicks.
It's going to be hard for the right to blame Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for the state of America when Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell are running everything. So expect a lot of anger to be directed at academics and entertainers. Hey, when things go wrong, you can't expect Republicans to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, can you?