The 2020 issue that matters is democracy itself
The future of U.S. democracy will be on the ballot next year. No one should pretend otherwise. ...
And the Supreme Court’s partisan, antidemocratic decision on gerrymandering, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., showed how dangerous it would be to expand a right-wing majority hellbent on making our system less inclusive, less fair and less equal.
For these reasons, Democratic primary voters should not be knocked for making “electability” their highest criterion in picking a presidential candidate.
Of course, judging who is most likely to win is a difficult and rather subjective enterprise. And this calculation must not be a cover for sexism. But Democrats have no room for error. They need to avoid the sectarian infighting for which their party is famous and find a candidate who can excite turnout while also demonstrating broad reach and political savvy. ...
Aren’t you sick of those who call themselves “constitutional conservatives” letting Trump off the hook for his cavalier attitude toward liberty by suggesting he’s just being, well, Trump?
And speaking of the Constitution, the five members of the Supreme Court’s Republican Machine (two of them named by Trump) shoved aside mounds of evidence, threw up their hands and declared themselves powerless to contain the radical gerrymandering of legislative seats. They did so even while effectively conceding the obvious, well-described in Justice Elena Kagan’s history-will-remember dissent: that gerrymanders “enabled politicians to entrench themselves . . . against voters’ preferences” and “promoted partisanship above respect for the popular will.”
Here’s the maddening thing about the majority’s opinion: Conservatives who were happy to override decades of precedent to throw out laws limiting money’s influence in politics and to gut the Voting Rights Act suddenly discovered judicial modesty on gerrymanders. I was reminded of former congressman Barney Frank’s quip skewering the GOP’s “Reverse Houdinis” who tie themselves up in knots and then say they cannot act — because they are all tied up in knots.
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WaPo - E.J. Dionne Jr.
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I agree, but still have the concern that on some fundamental level, Democratic voters don't seem to care about SCOTUS nearly as much as Republican voters do. I will never understand the people who did not show up in 2016 knowing full well there was an open seat going to whoever won that election. And now a lot of those same people are the ones complaining the loudest at the opinions being written with the help of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
"There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple; the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." -Michael Clayton
USA Today OpEd - Chris Edelson
Donald Trump and Congress are showing us what constitutional failure looks like
Trump's aspiring authoritarianism is an existential threat to America. We must update our laws and Constitution to fix the massive gaps he's exposed.
Americans have lived with the symptoms for so long that, by now, many of us hardly pay more than a moment’s attention when they flare-up. We may observe, in passing, the numbness we feel when President Donald Trump threatens a political opponent with criminal prosecution. There may be a tingling sensation in our moral compass when Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner engage in diplomatic relations at the highest levels or when foreign governments line the president’s pockets.
We shrug with resignation as we acknowledge that the Republican leadership in Congress will do nothing to respond after Trump has openly invited foreign countries to, once again, try to help him win an election. When yet another woman steps forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault or rape, we understand that there will be no congressional hearings to sort out what happened.
We understand that Trump will face no consequences for a chilling racist attack against four non-white congresswomen. We know that it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to conceive of anything Trump could do that would move his Republican allies in Congress to support his removal from office, and we see that many Democrats appear unwilling to even consider an impeachment inquiry.
What we are experiencing is nothing less than constitutional failure. A fully functioning system would effectively respond to direct threats to constitutional democracy by a president who is a would-be authoritarian. In a functioning system, impeachment proceedings would have already begun, and Trump would face the prospect of being removed from office.
In wake of 'send her back' Trump rally chants, Democrats reframe 2020 race as fight for the identity of the country
In the middle of one of the most rancorous weeks in the race for the White House, fueled by President Donald Trump's own racist rhetoric telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back " to where they came from, the field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are drawing battle lines for the general election election to come, focusing on a message of morality. ...
Booker, in an interview with The Washington Post Live on Thursday, said the 2020 election is about more than Trump.
"The referendum in this election is not on one guy in one office," he said. "The referendum in this election is a referendum on who we are, and who we are going to be to each other, and if we can get back to seeing each other with a more courageous empathy, we can have a revival of civic grace and create a new American majority." ...
The undercurrent of the brawl tees up an election fight that is, as Booker said, not only a referendum on Trump's presidency but on the identity of the country. ...
While this most recent campaign rally provided Trump with a platform to energize his base, ahead of a tough re-election fight, it also presented an opportunity for the Democrats, who have tried to cast 2020 as a battle for the "soul" of the country, to fill what they see as a moral void in leadership under the current administration.
"It is not what you want our president to be," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on Capitol Hill Thursday. "He is doing this to distract people. He's doing it to invigorate a band of people that support him... This is not leadership. This is using people as political pawns."
GQ - Jay Willis
Is America Actually Heading Towards Fascism?
We asked experts to break down the elements of this resurgent form of right-wing extremism and the parallels in modern America. ...
Historically, “fascism” referred primarily to regimes in post-World War I European nations—especially in Germany and Italy—helmed by authoritarian leaders who preached an ultranationalist gospel, consolidated government power, and did not tolerate dissent. But today, “fascist” is bandied about as common political insult with little tethering to the ideology itself, muddying the word’s meaning among the general public. To find out if America could actually slide into bona fide fascism, I asked a couple political science professors—Indiana University's Jeffrey Isaac, and Amherst College's Thomas Dumm—to identify the philosophy's historical hallmarks. The parallels between then and now, it turns out, aren’t hard to identify.
1. An Era of Social Upheaval
Fascism tends to arise out of a very specific set of circumstances: when a group of people that once felt politically and economically secure suddenly finds themselves feeling marginalized. After World War I, devastating hyperinflation and unemployment exacerbated the humiliation of Germany’s defeat, fomenting widespread disillusionment among its citizens. In his review of historian Hannah Arendt’s classic work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Isaac describes a “generalized crisis of legitimacy” throughout post-war Europe in which “large numbers of people felt dispossessed, disenfranchised, and disconnected from dominant social institutions,” unsure how they fit into the emerging world order—if at all anymore.
The phenomena that can give rise to fascism—political instability, economic uncertainty, simmering resentment—are “endemic to modernity,” Isaac says. Today, they could include conditions like extreme socioeconomic inequality, the automation of manufacturing processes, the student debt explosion, skyrocketing housing costs, the disappearing social safety net, and the ever-dwindling supply of well-paying jobs capable of sustaining a comfortable middle-class life.
2. A Nostalgia for a Lost, Glorious Past
A critical ingredient of fascism, says Dumm, is the ref-framing of a nation's current struggles as a departure from some glorious, long-lost past. German dictator Adolf Hitler cast his Third Reich as the successor to the pre-war German Empire, and to the Holy Roman Empire before that. His counterpart in Italy, Benito Mussolini, envisioned his reign as a “Third Rome,” heir to similar bygone eras of Roman greatness. During periods of uncertainty, a story about a strong national identity can foster a sense of belonging and comfort. ...
The narrative needn’t be specific, either; in some cases, vague ones might work best. “When Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan came out, the puzzle was, ‘What are you talking about? What’s the baseline for when we were great versus now?” says Dumm. “It becomes sort a cloudy and vague period.” The precise meaning of MAGA is a modern Rorschach test for those vulnerable to fascism’s message, because the era of to-be-restored American greatness exists in the eye of the beholder.
Headed? I guess. To me we're well over the line. There is no sector of government that has not been poisoned or turned into a way to funnel money toward the oligarchs and away from everyone else.
No matter where you go, there you are!
Independent - Robert Fisk: Hitler, tweets and Trump: What do they have in common?
The internet and social media would have fascinated the dictator, who was a fool for technology. So is the president. But it’s the anonymity of hatred that make online trolls and Nazis so comparable