Nebraska senator Ben Sasse has come under fire for this tweet:
Why don't we have more reporting on paid rioting?— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) November 17, 2016
Who pays for it?
Through what orgs?
Who are the "workers"?
He later clarified that he accepts there’s a difference between riots and protests, but his point is that it’s worth knowing whether or not there were any institutional groups on the left that were financially supporting or enabling the violent protests we’ve seen since Donald Trump was elected. It’s an entirely fair question. Nonetheless, left-leaning pundits are declaring that Sasse is “laying the groundwork for an authoritarian crackdown.” This is nonsense.
Earlier this year, MoveOn.org fundraised off of a promise to support protests of Donald Trump. “So here’s the plan: We’ll support MoveOn.org members to call out and nonviolently protest Trump’s racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, and violent behavior — and show the world that America rejects Trump’s hate,” according to a fundraising email. “And to keep it going, we’re counting on you to donate whatever you can to cover the costs of everything involved — the organizers, signs, online recruitment ads, training, and more.”
And already, a left-wing group called the Progress Unity Fund is raising money to support protests of Trump’s inauguration. Progress Unity Fund is a financial backer of International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), an organization that has long provided logistical and financial support for protests—particularly in D.C. and San Francisco. A.N.S.W.E.R.’s first big action was to protest the American invasion of Afghanistan in immediately following September 11. (It’s perhaps notable that A.N.S.W.E.R. is an outgrowth of the communist Workers World Party, which supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.)