Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro failed to provoke the hoped-for riots and press coverage that many conservatives were expecting when he spoke at Berkeley last night. Although protesters were loud, there was almost no violence and while there were two arrests, the required footage of masked black bloc antifa operatives swarming and beating plausibly deniable provocateurs did not develop.
"I think it was maybe too cerebral," said a senior conservative activist who spoke off the record. "Shapiro is a bit of a twat and he's really good at being annoying--but he didn't manage to put it over the top this time. Plus there were, let's be frank, hella-riot police. We need to get the administration and law enforcement to step back again if we want fireworks."
Other conservative voices praised the lack of police intervention in Charlottesville VA for the Unite The Right Rally.
"I don't know how--or even if--that was arranged," said a Republican strategist who asked not to be named, "but it was good. I mean, it wasn't great--someone got killed--but if they control the crowd too well we're going to have an uphill battle. We need burning trashcans. Ideally burning cars. We need broken windows and beat-downs. If we're going to sell antifa as 'as-bad-or-worse than neo-Nazis, we need some pretty fantastic footage to work with. There are only a few places in the USA where we can get that--and Berkeley's one of them."
"You saw, the last time, we had to go to a bunch of shots of Europe and the UK to make the numbers and the organization look right. Someone even photoshopped a Greek riot. That's good--but going outside the US has potential problems. If people get wise they start seeing the problem as fake-news and that doesn't help us at all. Heck, it'd have been better if they had banned him. At least that'd be a scalp."
Hopes, however, are high for Milo Yiannopoulos' upcoming 'Free Speech Week' also taking place at the Berkeley campus.
"Look at this line-up," enthused the source. "It's brilliantly Orwellian. It's gonna push all of antifa's buttons and we've even got Steve Bannon speaking on the last day. If that can't set Berkeley on fire, well, I give up. This'll work. This had better work."
"If you go into the crosstabs you've got like maximum 12% support and only 5% strong support for antifa from the Democrats--but when you look at the core Tea-Party voters on the Alt-Right it's like 20% support. White Nationalism gets around 17%--and even freakin' Neo-Nazis get 13%. That, for our core Trump-supporting base is 1% higher support for Neo Nazis than the democrats have for antifa. It shows we're not doing our jobs right. The russian bot-traffic is helping but we need a riot--something big. Maybe--I hate to say it--even a homicide."