"They've tried to not only delegitimize the election itself but they've tried to commit acts of terror."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee accused the left of trying to commit "acts of terror" against President Donald Trump supporters Saturday on "Fox & Friends."

What exactly do leftists do that amounts to terrorism in Huckabee's eyes?


Trying to delegitimize the president's election because "the losing side have not accepted the results." (Something that the right would of course never doNever ever.)

Trying to coerce right wingers and policymakers through "intimidation" and "threats of violence." (Unacceptable, indeed. Nobody's denying that. Oh wait...)


And using boycotts to send a political message. (You mean, like this one?)


In his own words: "They've tried to not only delegitimize the election itself but they've tried to commit acts of terror," said Huckabee. "When you try to change people’s behavior by intimidation, by threats of violence, and by actual violence, and by boycotting them and by taking away their liberty, that's terrorism."

Oh, not just terrorism. What we're seeing is "a form of terrorism on the left that is unprecedented in American history," he said. 


Huckabee's comments followed a discussion on "Fox & Friends" about instances in which MAGA supporters have been harassed for displaying their Trump gear in public.

Here are a few recent examples of said "harassment":


A video went viral last week of a man grabbing the "MAGA" hat of (and splashing a drink on) a fellow diner at a Texas restaurant. 

A Florida trucker claimed this week to have been assaulted for flaunting a Trump flag.

A Canadian restaurant manager was fired after allegedly refusing service to a customer who wouldn't remove his "MAGA" headgear on June 28.


A Manhattan judge in April denied a Trump supporter's attempt to seek legal redress for being ousted from a bar because of his support for the president.

A number of Trump officials have been chased out of public spaces recently, including Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.


California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters also came under fire for encouraging the left to harass Trump administration officials in public.


VIEWPOINT

Terrorism is a fraught term. It's generally understood to mean a tactic that employs the imposition of fear of physical violence on a public in order to compel political concessions. Already by this definition, Huckabee's claim seems hyperbolic. 

But even if we grant that the harassment of Trump supporters in the public space creates a threatening political environment and that such acts should be condemned, the use of the term "terrorism" to describe the acts is not just problematic -- it's dangerous.

The past two decades saw the expansion of homeland security agencies and the consequent shrinking of civil liberties. The threat of terrorism was used as justification.

Considering the weight the term carries -- both legally and culturally -- there should be no excuse for using it in rank punditry, not even while describing the worst practices of the other team.

Huckabee warned about the dangers of using rhetoric to delegitimize and dehumanize the other side. He should heed his own advice.