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Dec 15 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: When Did Republicans Start Hating Facts?

A straight line runs from Reagan to the Trump dead-enders.

Republicans spent most of 2020 rejecting science in the face of a runaway pandemic; now they’re rejecting democracy in the face of a clear election loss.

What do these rejections have in common? In each case, one of America’s two major parties simply refused to accept facts it didn’t like.

I’m not sure it’s right to say Republicans “believe” that, say, wearing face masks is useless or that there was widespread voter fraud. Framing the issue as one of belief suggests that some kind of evidence might change party loyalists’ minds.

In reality, what Republicans say they believe flows from what they want to do, whether it’s ignore a deadly disease or stay in power despite the voters’ verdict.

In other words, the point isn’t that the G.O.P. believes untrue things. It is, rather, that the party has become hostile to the very idea that there’s an objective reality that might conflict with its political goals. [..]

Republicans have been heading in this direction for decades. I’m not sure whether we can pinpoint the moment when the party began its descent into malignant madness, but the trajectory that led to this moment probably became irreversible under Ronald Reagan.

Eugene Robinson: Logic will get Trump out of the White House. But it can’t bring back normal.

The president demands participation in his irrationality. Too many are complying.

President Trump will soon be gone — but, tragically, not forgotten. His campaign to comfort his bruised ego and reinforce his precious “brand” by disputing his election loss long past the bitter end means his legacy will poison our politics long past Inauguration Day.

Logic and reason matter because our democratic processes worked well enough to put Joe Biden in the White House. But these qualities won’t restore normalcy because Trump requires his loyal supporters to ignore them. Volume and passion matter in Trumpworld. Argument and arithmetic do not. [..]

Surely, then, Republicans would universally acknowledge Biden as president-elect after the electoral college cast its ballots? Of course not. While the electors voted, lost-cause die hards were already looking ahead to Jan. 6, when the new Congress will officially count the electoral votes.

There is no reason to believe this will ever end.

There is no reason to believe Trump will ever accept his loss. His attempt to stage what amounts to a coup d’etat is being defeated, but the battle is not yet over. Do not expect Trump’s cries of anguished grievance to fade. Defenders of our democracy are going to have to drown him out.

Amanda Marcotte: Proud Boys’ party is over: Trump fans throw tantrums because they’ve lost more than an election

Right-wing anger is exploding because they know they’re losing — not just the election, but the larger culture war

In vino veritas, or perhaps more appropriately, in Bud Light veritas: These were the words that came to mind while I watched Saturday’s Proud Boys riot in Washington, D.C. [..]

Saturday’s rally was ostensibly about protesting Trump’s loss and claiming that he was the victim of a “rigged” election. But with inhibitions loosened by booze, anger and literal (as well as metaphorical) darkness, the truth was illuminated: The rage about Donald Trump’s electoral fate is about racism. It’s a part of the growing fury taking hold of conservatives as their control over American culture slips further and further out of their grasp. Trump is just the latest vehicle for this anger, but this story is about a lot more than him. It’s bigger even than electoral politics. This is about a more fundamental issue: over Who gets to define America, and the widespread reactionary outrage over being outnumbered by more liberal, more diverse and more cosmopolitan Americans, and feeling unable to stop the tide of progress.

Trump was able to amass an extraordinary 74.2 million voters with a message of resentment at “political correctness” and “woke” culture, a story about how conservative white people are supposedly being victimized by a changing America. But as much as that campaign whipped up millions of Americans, at the heart of it all was a misdirection. What conservatives really want is control over the culture. That isn’t something that can be won at the ballot box, and they know it.

Mary Elizabeth WilliamsThat Wall Street Journal op-ed about Dr. Jill Biden isn’t just sexist — it’s classist, too

There’s nothing “unpromising” about caring for community college students. Prestige-chasing is drowning us in debt 

When the Wall Street Journal ran a recent opinion piece criticizing incoming first lady Jill Biden for daring to use her honorific “Dr.,” the pushback was swift and entirely justified. Of course, Joseph Epstein’s tone deaf pronouncement that it’s “fraudulent, not to say a touch comic” to call her “Dr. Biden” is easily shot-down sexist garbage that should never have been given a platform. But Epstein’s tantrum over her form of address was only the second worst thing about the piece. What’s even more offensive and dangerous is the WSJ’s casual endorsement of the author’s hostility to equitable, affordable higher education.

It’s distracting, I agree, to sift through all the layers of condescension and offhanded misogyny at play in the story to get to the raging classism. But it’s there! Get a load of this horse dung: “Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education,” Epstein writes, “earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.’ Epstein thinks he knows what Biden’s degree is, but a man who concurs with the notion that “No one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child” can’t be expected to know how to Google. (Wait till Epstein finds out how few Nobel Prize recipients in medicine are even clinicians, let alone obstetricians.)

Michelle Goldberg: Just How Dangerous Was Donald Trump?

He failed to bend the state to his will, but he still broke the country.

Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, there’s been an argument on the left over the sort of threat he poses.

The American left’s most famous figures — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky — saw Trump as an authoritarian who could, if re-elected, destroy American democracy for good. But another strain of left opinion viewed Trump’s fascistic gestures as almost purely performative, and believed his clumsiness in marshaling state power made him less dangerous than, say, George W. Bush. [..]

The day when the Electoral College meets to ratify Joe Biden’s victory seems an appropriate one to revisit this debate. Trump tried, in his sloppy, chaotic way, to overturn the election, and much of his party, including the majority of Republicans in the House, and many state attorneys general, lined up behind him. Yet he failed, and it’s unlikely that he will follow calls from supporters, like his former national security Adviser Michael Flynn, to declare martial law.

So what matters more, the president’s desire to overthrow American democracy, or his inability to follow through? Just how fascist was Trump?