Feb 24 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Bernie Sanders Isn’t the Left’s Trump

And this is no time for ego or self-indulgence.

Look, I know the primaries aren’t over, and it’s still possible that Democratic centrists will get their act together. But Bernie Sanders is now the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination. There are many things to say about that, but the most important is that he is NOT a left-leaning version of Trump. Even if you disagree with his ideas, he’s not a wannabe authoritarian ruler.

America under a Sanders presidency would still be America, both because Sanders is an infinitely better human being than Trump and because the Democratic Party wouldn’t enable abuse of power the way Republicans have. [..]

I’m more concerned about (a) the electability of someone who says he’s a socialist even though he isn’t and (b) if he does win, whether he’ll squander political capital on unwinnable fights like abolishing private health insurance. But if he’s the nominee, it’s the job of Dems to make him electable if at all possible.

To be honest, a Sanders administration would probably leave center-left policy wonks like me out in the cold, at least initially. And if a President Sanders or his advisers say things I think are foolish, I won’t pretend otherwise in an attempt to ingratiate myself. (Sorry, I’m still not a convert to Modern Monetary Theory.) But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line.

Charles M. Blow: Don’t Doubt Bernie

Sanders has hurdles to overcome, but clearly, he could defeat Trump.

Stop saying that Bernie Sanders can’t win.

Stop saying that he can’t defeat President Trump. That is by now a given. In fact, in head-to-head national polls, Sanders consistently outperforms Trump.

Sanders is, for the moment, the clear front-runner to win the Democratic nomination. And he has a national infrastructure and a committed band of supporters and donors that make it clear that he could go the distance.

Furthermore, Sanders’s impressive win in Nevada proves that he can attract a broad range of support, at least in one part of the country. This in particular is an significant feat. When Sanders ran four years ago, the breadth of his appeal was indeed an issue, which was an issue similar to the one Pete Buttigieg faces during this election. Since then, Sanders has recognized that shortcoming, and has worked hard to address it.

If Sanders can sustain this momentum, he will be the nominee. And then it will be on to a matchup with Trump. Now, trying to predict what voters will do in November is dicey business, but I am by no means counting Sanders out.

Yes, I know all the issues with a Sanders candidacy.

Jamelle Bouie: Where Might Trumpism Take Us?

For analogies that show us where the nation might be headed, look close to home.

When critics reach for analogies to describe Donald Trump — or look for examples of democratic deterioration — they tend to look abroad. They point to Russia under Vladimir Putin, Hungary under Viktor Orban, or Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Trump, in this view, is a type — an authoritarian strongman. But it’s a foreign type, and his corrupt administration is seen as alien to the American experience.

This is a little too generous to the United States. It’s not just that we have had moments of authoritarian government — as well as presidents, like John Adams or Woodrow Wilson, with autocratic impulses — but that an entire region of the country was once governed by an actual authoritarian regime. That regime was Jim Crow, a system defined by a one-party rule and violent repression of racial minorities.

Max Boot: Why the Russians still prefer Trump

Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, was ousted by President Trump after one of his aides told members of Congress that Russia is intervening in the U.S. elections again in an effort to reelect the president. This finding was met with skepticism from Republican House members who are credulous enough to believe Trump’s boasts that he has been “FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President.”

Trump’s claims of being tough on Russia are belied by the fact that he has a fit whenever any U.S. officials confirm that Russia attacked the 2016 election or tryto safeguard future elections. It’s no coincidence that the previous director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, left office in August 2019, shortly after appointing a senior intelligence officer, Shelby Pierson, to take charge of election security. Now Coats’s successor has been fired because Pierson was doing her job. Maguire’s replacement by Trump propagandist Richard Grenell sends a loud and clear signal that Trump does not want to do anything to impede Russian attacks on the U.S. political system — which he sees as beneficial to his own campaign. In case there was any doubt, Trump on Friday dismissed the findings of the U.S. intelligence community about Russia’s desire to aid his reelection campaign as a “hoax” and “misinformation campaign.”

Greg Sargent: Awful new details about Trump’s purge should alarm us all

President Trump’s ongoing purge of his administration is rapidly getting worse, so it’s urgent that we accurately frame what’s really driving it, to avoid letting it get shrouded in a story line about Trump’s unchecked emotions and pathologies.

So let’s be clear: Trump is not merely purging officials to sate his anger at those who crossed him — that is, as backward-looking retribution against disloyalty.

Rather, the real driver here is that Trump is removing officials who committed the sin of trying to defend the rule of law from his efforts to corrupt it. This is forward-looking: It clears the way for more such corruption of the rule of law and sends a message to others about what awaits them if they stand in the way of this as it continues to devolve.

Two new reports about Trump’s ongoing purge underscore this with great clarity. [..]

The purges are not just revenge. They are designed to remove people who defend the rule of law against Trump’s very deliberate corruption and degradation of it.