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Feb 26 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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Thomas B Edsall: Does Anyone Have a Clue About How to Fight Back Against Trump’s Racism?

Moderates and progressives have a lot to lose by ignoring each other on this crucial question.

Can Democrats diminish the bigotry that Donald Trump has unleashed in this country?

Stung by the success of Trump’s anti-immigrant, racist campaign themes in 2016, left-of-center advocacy groups — think tanks, unions, progressive academics and Democratic consultants — are developing tools this year to counter the continuing Republican assault on liberal values, based on the optimistic assumption that the reservoir of white animosity is not so deep that Trump is assured re-election.

These efforts on the left challenge the long history of Republican success in exploiting race and a host of ancillary issues — crime, welfare, social disorder, family breakdown, homelessness — a history that includes Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H.W. Bush in 1988 and Donald Trump in 2016.

That history points to the relentless power of racial resentment in American politics. Despite polling that shows greater acceptance of racial equality, this issue is as potent a source of political strength for Trump today as it was for Nixon a half century ago.

Michelle Cottle: Cheer Up, Democrats

In the midst of Tuesday’s brawl of a debate, there were illuminating, even hopeful, moments.

Dumpster fire, train wreck, meltdown — pick your unflattering metaphor and odds are that someone is using it right now to describe Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C.

It was not a pretty scene. Anyone tuning in hoping to gain clarity about the field was instead treated to a two-hour collective panic attack. There was too much yelling and cross talk for a coherent discussion to emerge, and the moderators seemed helpless to impose order. The more punches that were thrown and the more blood spilled, the harder it was to tell who was getting the better of whom. As a result, it’s unlikely much damage was done to any particular candidate — as opposed to the field overall, which wound up looking frantic and fractured. And there was precious little fire focused on the current president. The whole fractious spectacle was like a scene out of Vladimir Putin’s anti-American fantasies. Or a Trump campaign commercial.

This is how democracy works. It’s messy, and it rarely runs like most people think it should — especially when the stakes are as high as they are in this race. But even in the midst of Tuesday’s brawl, there were a few illuminating, even hopeful, moments to be extracted, even if the effort left you with a headache.

Michael Fuchs: India Trump and Modi are undermining the pillars of the US-India relationship

The leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies are pursuing dangerous, nationalist visions at odds with their countries’ founding values

As the global tide of populism challenges the very idea of liberal democracy, Donald Trump’s visit to India highlighted how Trump and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi – leaders of the world’s two largest democracies – are a central part of the problem, pursuing dangerous, nationalist visions that corrode the tenets of democracy. While the United States and India should exemplify the virtues of democracy and respect for universal rights, Trump and Modi are undermining those values.

In the last 20 years the US-India partnership has blossomed, and its potential continues to grow. Trump’s trip was intended to highlight this potential with defense equipment sales, talk of a future trade deal and big crowds at a rally.

Despite the show, the real story is how Trump and Modi’s divisive policies are undermining the three pillars of the US-India strategic partnership: shared values; a robust economic relationship; and an interest in building a peaceful Asia-Pacific in which China is a player, but not a hegemon.

Moira Donegan: The Democratic debate was heavy on vitriol and light on substance

Instead of an informed discussion, voters were treated to a bad-faith fiasco in the service of narcissism, dishonesty and petty grievance

For reasons that remain unclear, there was yet another Democratic primary debate on Tuesday night, the 10th such event of the presidential contest. The seven candidates who qualified convened in Charleston, South Carolina, ahead of the South Carolina primary on Saturday and the slew of Super Tuesday contests next week. It will not be the last debate that we are subjected to – yet another is scheduled for 15 March. Tuesday’s debate, hosted by CBS, was mercifully short compared to some others, wrapping up after just two hours. For my sins, I watched the whole thing.

Perhaps because there have been so many of these debates, the candidates seemed determined to make it dramatic television. At times, they seemed to be vying for ratings. Much of the evening was spent in shouting and cross talk. Biden pointed; Sanders threw his hands in the air in exasperation; Bloomberg delivered practiced jokes he had paid someone to write for him, exuding all the charisma of a rubber chicken. Everyone had grievances; everyone had accusations and recriminations to make against the others. Not that you could hear them: the shouting often made it hard to make out just quite what anyone was saying. The event was heavy on vitriol and light on substance.

Richard Wolffe: Moderates just blew their best shot to stop Bernie Sanders

The Democratic candidates seemed torn between attacking the Vermont senator and attacking each other. That benefited Sanders once again

Who is the happy warrior?

Apparently not a single one of the seven Democratic candidates locked in a doom-laden downward spiral in the final debate before Super Tuesday.

The last Democrat to win the presidency printed posters with HOPE slapped all over them. Judging from Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina, most of the party’s leading voices are either breathless or hopeless.

Yes, the stakes are high, after three years of the presidential dumpster fire called Donald Trump. But the stakes sound even higher if your presidential campaign is also on fire, as it seemed to be for just about everyone on stage.

CBS News, the host of the verbal calamity that was Tuesday’s debate, helpfully placed the two least appealing candidates on the outer edges of the stage.