Among liberals, conservatives have a reputation for being closed-minded, even deplorable [comment: that is definitely a Hillary Clinton word]. But in the Washington Republicans I encountered at CPAC, I found a group of people who acknowledged their party’s shortcomings, genuinely wondered why I left my corporate job to join Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and listened to my arguments before defending their own positions.
Although CPAC attendees were as passionate about policy as my liberal friends, they took a more lighthearted approach. At one after-party, they alternated between taking selfies with Milo Yiannopoulos and engaging in a thoughtful, substantive discussion with a Democrat. One notable exchange: I exclaimed, “Of course the Department of Education is necessary!” which drew the rejoinder, “Great! Let’s make 50 of them!”
As I look back on all the people who greeted me warmly, made sure I didn’t get lost in the crowd, and went out of their way to introduce me to their friends, I can’t help but wonder how a Trump supporter would have fared at a Democratic rally. Would someone wearing a MAGA hat be greeted with smiles or suspicion, be listened to or shouted down?
At Hillary rallies, we always filled the stands with our biggest supporters. At CPAC, most of the few liberals in attendance had media credentials, as I did. I’m new to this, but shouldn’t we want to engage with people who aren’t convinced of our viewpoints? Why aren’t there more conservatives at Democratic rallies and more liberals at CPAC? What are we afraid of?
So, to the degree that Wahed's article is meant to suggest that "conservatives" are more open-minded than "liberals," please let me express my substantial skepticism. While I'm happy that Wahed had such a nice visit with the activists of the far-right, I tend to doubt that "conservatives" beat "liberals" on open-mindedness. I REALLY doubt that, as a matter of fact.
There are several signs that strong progressive candidates with grass-roots backing are refusing to take a chance that revulsion toward Trump will be enough to propel Democrats to congressional power and have challenged Democratic incumbents from the left.
"Conservatives" are people, too, and if we want to have a chance, our "liberal" program and platform had better be based on something positive, that appeals generally to the voters at large.