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taubstumm

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Unicron

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any way to read it if you’re not a washington post subscriber?
Today, we are in a time of hope and illusion. The same people who said that Trump wouldn’t try to overturn the last election now say we have nothing to worry about with the next one. Republicans have been playing this game for five years, first pooh-poohing concerns about Trump’s intentions, or about the likelihood of their being realized, and then going silent, or worse, when what they insisted was improbable came to pass. These days, even the anti-Trump media constantly looks for signs that Trump’s influence might be fading and that drastic measures might not be necessary.
The world will look very different in 14 months if, as seems likely, the Republican zombie party wins control of the House. At that point, with the political winds clearly blowing in his favor, Trump is all but certain to announce his candidacy, and social media constraints on his speech are likely to be lifted, since Facebook and Twitter would have a hard time justifying censoring his campaign. With his megaphone back, Trump would once again dominate news coverage, as outlets prove unable to resist covering him around the clock if only for financial reasons.
But this time, Trump would have advantages that he lacked in 2016 and 2020, including more loyal officials in state and local governments; the Republicans in Congress; and the backing of GOP donors, think tanks and journals of opinion. And he will have the Trump movement, including many who are armed and ready to be activated, again. Who is going to stop him then? On its current trajectory, the 2024 Republican Party will make the 2020 Republican Party seem positively defiant.
Those who criticize Biden and the Democrats for not doing enough to prevent this disaster are not being fair. There is not much they can do without Republican cooperation, especially if they lose control of either chamber in 2022. It has become fashionable to write off any possibility that a handful of Republicans might rise up to save the day. This preemptive capitulation has certainly served well those Republicans who might otherwise be held to account for their cowardice. How nice for them that everyone has decided to focus fire on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
Yet it is largely upon these Republicans that the fate of the republic rests.
Notes of the vote count taken by the staff of the House impeachment mangers are seen after the Senate voted to acquit former president Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 13. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection and attempting to overturn a free and fair election: Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Romney, Sasse and Patrick J. Toomey. It was a brave vote, a display of republican virtue, especially for the five who are not retiring in 2022. All have faced angry backlashes — Romney was booed and called a traitor at the Utah Republican convention; Burr and Cassidy were unanimously censured by their state parties. Yet as much credit as they deserve for taking this stand, it was almost entirely symbolic. When it comes to concrete action that might prevent a debacle in 2024, they have balked.
Specifically, they have refused to work with Democrats to pass legislation limiting state legislatures’ ability to overturn the results of future elections, to ensure that the federal government continues to have some say when states try to limit voting rights, to provide federal protection to state and local election workers who face threats, and in general to make clear to the nation that a bipartisan majority in the Senate opposes the subversion of the popular will. Why?
It can’t be because they think they have a future in a Trump-dominated party. Even if they manage to get reelected, what kind of government would they be serving in? They can’t be under any illusion about what a second Trump term would mean. Trump’s disdain for the rule of law is clear. His exoneration from the charges leveled in his impeachment trials — the only official, legal response to his actions — practically ensures that he would wield power even more aggressively. His experience with unreliable subordinates in his first term is likely to guide personnel decisions in a second. Only total loyalists would serve at the head of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Pentagon. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs will not be someone likely to place his or her own judgment above that of their civilian commander in chief. Nor would a Republican Senate fail to confirm Trump loyalists. In such a world, with Trump and his lieutenants in charge of all the levers of state power, including its growing capacity for surveillance, opposing Trump would become increasingly risky for Republicans and Democrats alike. A Trump victory is likely to mean at least the temporary suspension of American democracy as we have known it.

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We are already in a constitutional crisis. The destruction of democracy might not come until November 2024, but critical steps in that direction are happening now. In a little more than a year, it may become impossible to pass legislation to protect the electoral process in 2024. Now it is impossible only because anti-Trump Republicans, and even some Democrats, refuse to tinker with the filibuster. It is impossible because, despite all that has happened, some people still wish to be good Republicans even as they oppose Trump. These decisions will not wear well as the nation tumbles into full-blown crisis.
It is not impossible for politicians to make such a leap. The Republican Party itself was formed in the 1850s by politicians who abandoned their previous party — former Whigs, former Democrats and former members of the Liberty and Free Soil parties. While Whig and Democratic party stalwarts such as Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas juggled and compromised, doing their best to ensure that the issue of slavery did not destroy their great parties, others decided that the parties had become an obstacle to justice and a threat to the nation’s continued viability.
Romney & Co. don’t have to abandon their party. They can fashion themselves as Constitutional Republicans who, in the present emergency, are willing to form a national unity coalition in the Senate for the sole purpose of saving the republic. Their cooperation with Democrats could be strictly limited to matters relating to the Constitution and elections. Or they might strive for a temporary governing consensus on a host of critical issues: government spending, defense, immigration and even the persistent covid-19 pandemic, effectively setting aside the usual battles to focus on the more vital and immediate need to preserve the United States.
It takes two, of course, to form a national unity coalition, and Democrats can make it harder or easier for anti-Trump Republicans to join. Some profess to see no distinction between the threat posed by Trump and the threat posed by the GOP. They prefer to use Trump as a weapon in the ongoing political battle, and not only as a way of discrediting and defeating today’s Republican Party but to paint all GOP policies for the past 30 years as nothing more than precursors to Trumpism. Although today’s Trump-controlled Republican Party does need to be fought and defeated, this kind of opportunistic partisanship and conspiracy-mongering, in addition to being bad history, is no cure for what ails the nation.
Senate Democrats were wise to cut down their once-massive voting rights wish list and get behind the smaller compromise measure unveiled last week by Manchin and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But they have yet to attract any votes from their Republican colleagues for the measure. Heading into the next election, it is vital to protect election workers, same-day registration and early voting. It will also still be necessary to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which directly addresses the state legislatures’ electoral power grab. Other battles — such as making Election Day a federal holiday and banning partisan gerrymandering — might better be postponed. Efforts to prevent a debacle in 2024 cannot. Democrats need to give anti-Trump Republicans a chance to do the right thing.
One wonders whether modern American politicians, in either party, have it in them to make such bold moves, whether they have the insight to see where events are going and the courage to do whatever is necessary to save the democratic system. If that means political suicide for this handful of Republicans, wouldn’t it be better to go out fighting for democracy than to slink off quietly into the night?
 

flashback

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This state of the nation piece from a few days back is worth a read


i'm not personally convinced Trump will run in 2024, it's a lot of hard work and he hates work at least as much as he hates losing
> Yet it is largely upon these Republicans that the fate of the republic rests.


Yeah, so that's terrifying. I guess the lad might die, else we're fucked.

Electing that lad has permanently broken democracy already to some extent. In my mind at least there's always been a lower bound that you just can't cross. There's certain things you don't have to worry about, because enough humans are coherent enough to not vote for the likes of him. But that was wrong, and people can now write articles like the above assuming that the absolute most catastrophic scenario is going to occur, because there is no lower bound any more.


How do you drag a society back from that?
 

ernesto

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> Yet it is largely upon these Republicans that the fate of the republic rests.


Yeah, so that's terrifying. I guess the lad might die, else we're fucked.

Electing that lad has permanently broken democracy already to some extent. In my mind at least there's always been a lower bound that you just can't cross. There's certain things you don't have to worry about, because enough humans are coherent enough to not vote for the likes of him. But that was wrong, and people can now write articles like the above assuming that the absolute most catastrophic scenario is going to occur, because there is no lower bound any more.


How do you drag a society back from that?

You don't .



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Lili Marlene

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> Yet it is largely upon these Republicans that the fate of the republic rests.


Yeah, so that's terrifying. I guess the lad might die, else we're fucked.

Electing that lad has permanently broken democracy already to some extent. In my mind at least there's always been a lower bound that you just can't cross. There's certain things you don't have to worry about, because enough humans are coherent enough to not vote for the likes of him. But that was wrong, and people can now write articles like the above assuming that the absolute most catastrophic scenario is going to occur, because there is no lower bound any more.


How do you drag a society back from that?
Bush 2 was a worse president in every single way as far as I can see. He, for example, actually stole an election successfully. Trump hasn't managed that yet.


The country may be in a worse place now than back in 2000 but that seems to be by design. This is what they wanted, and they've gotten it.
 

flashback

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Bush 2 was a worse president in every single way as far as I can see. He, for example, actually stole an election successfully. Trump hasn't managed that yet.


The country may be in a worse place now than back in 2000 but that seems to be by design. This is what they wanted, and they've gotten it.
I'm not really talking about what Trump or Bush did.

I'd probably argue that Clinton was a worse president than Trump (three strikes / doubling down on drugs / prison industrial complex / financial deregulation).

I guess my point is more that Trump is clearly unwell, outwardly, obviously, unstable and corrupt, lying, thick as pig shit, and an incapable man. There was never any point in time where you could say "well, you know, this lad might be a bit unconventional but let's see what happens". You could argue that Bush wasn't very bright, he wasn't an intellectual like Obama say, but you could also see an effort of humanity (unlike Cheney).

I guess I'm not thinking about the outcomes, I'm thinking about the "all bets are now off" state of things now. Even Cheney, or maybe to a lesser extent Clinton, both vile human beings, they weren't obviously incapable of doing the job. Like, Cheney could do the job. He'd do a consistently evil, nasty, predatory job. And he'd do it competently. You mightn't like the job he did, but you couldn't really argue the point past there. But now ALL bets off, the Monster Raving Loony Party doesn't work now, because that guy could win in the US.

We're into the era of meme US presidents. Whether or not they're boundlessly evil like Cheney isn't the point I'm thinking here, it's that the US is close to the point of electing Grumpy Cat as President, for the lulz. And if Grumpy Cat Meme gets the Republican nomination then legit scholars have to scamper off and look for the part of the constitution that explicitly says grumpy cats aren't allowed by the POTUS.
 

Lili Marlene

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Sure i get you. TBH they SHOULD elect the grumpy cat meme as president, it'd put things out in the open.

The problem with Trump was always that he had no decorum. Bush can launch a war (an illegal one at that, although I'd probably take the stance that that means nothing) that killed a million people but Trump was impolite and badly spoken and that's his real crime.

Trump moved fast and broke things, he hacked the presidency. Americans love that shit, no? Would he have lost without his useless response to covid?

The entire judiciary, worshipped by the liberal class, is now in the power of the Republican party, who are never even beholden to it when it doesn't suit them anyway. Absolutely snookered the Dems at their own game there. Not bad for a guy who just watches Fox news all day.
 
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