A Note on the Covington Controversy
Those of you who haven't forgotten about it by now may recall that many of us Never-Trump conservatives were a little too quick to jump on the bandwagon. I think I have an explanation for this.
Attending a pro-life rally wearing a MAGA hat does not make that much sense. On the one hand, the pro-life movement is based on defending the rights of Potential Americans (I believe they are real human beings, but that they are only potentially American since they have been neither born nor naturalized.) On the other hand, part of the MAGA movement is a matter of keeping Potential Americans away. The combination might be based on one of two possibilities: 1) The MAGA-hat-wearing pro-lifers were wearing the hats to annoy the Other Side; 2) they simply hadn't thought through the implications of their ideologies.
The early reports seemed to indicate the first … which is not a very good tactic. Of course, may of us criticized what it appeared to be … and apologized when a more complete video emerged.
Another reason for the early condemnations was that, even if the early reports were wrong, a condemnation could be retracted the next day and then forgotten about. A retraction may even make you look better to swing voters. For that matter, if an early condemnation makes the right-wing base angrier, that might help turnout. In the other direction, a lack of condemnation may increase left-wing turnout.