Jan 04 2021

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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Neal K. Katyal and Sam Koppelman: Why Congress Should Impeach Trump Again

And this time, he should be convicted. The country cannot risk his becoming president again.

The emergence of an audio recording of President Trump pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to overturn the results of the election is a harrowing moment in the history of our democracy. And though the number of his days in office is dwindling, the only appropriate response is to impeach Mr. Trump. Again.

Whether he acknowledges it or not, President Trump is leaving the White House on Jan. 20 — but right now, there is nothing stopping him from running in 2024. That is a terrifying prospect, because the way he has conducted himself over the past two months, wielding the power of the presidency to try to steal another term in office, has threatened one of our republic’s most essential traditions: the peaceful transfer of power.

Fortunately, our founders anticipated we would face a moment like this, which is one reason Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution entrusts Congress with the power not only to remove a president but also to prevent him or her from ever holding elected office again. Mr. Trump’s conduct over the past two months has left our legislators with no choice but to use it. That impeachment inquiry would take time, far more than Mr. Trump has left in office. But it would be well worth it.

Charles M. Blow: Supreme Leader of Voter Suppression

Trump is bolstering anti-patriotism in the digital age.

Regardless of what has happened since the election two months ago, or what may happen in the next few weeks, Joe Biden will almost assuredly be inaugurated the president on Jan. 20, and Donald J. Trump’s official reign of presidential terror will end that day.

But, that is cold comfort, as we have trudged through these last months of President Trump trying, at every turn, to overthrow the will of the people by overturning the election he lost in November. Even if his ultimate loss is inevitably secured, it seems as though he is burning down the village as he retreats.

Trump has essentially claimed that fraud occurred during the election in large swing-state cities within counties that have large African-American populations — cities like Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. But there’s a problem with that implicit theory, as The New York Times pointed out in November: “All three cities voted pretty much the same way they did in 2016. Turnout barely budged, relative to other areas in these states. Joseph R. Biden Jr. saw no remarkable surge in support — certainly nothing that would bolster claims of ballot stuffing or tampered vote tallies. Mr. Trump even picked up marginally more votes this year in all three cities than he did four years ago.”

Trump didn’t lose this election in the cities, he lost it in the suburbs. But that thought is antithetical to the war Trump wants to wage in America between the suburbs and what he deems problematic “inner cities” and “Democrat-run cities” — code for where concentrations of Black people and other people of color live. That prevailing racialized perception in conservative politics is part of the danger that Trump’s campaign to undermine the election poses: It threatens to strengthen efforts to disenfranchise Black voters and other voters of color who disproportionately vote for Democrats in the future.

Eugene Robinson: Trump’s Fredo Corleone act is embarrassing and dangerous. But the end is near.

We should stay vigilant, and stay calm.>

“So what are we going to do here folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”

No, that wasn’t Fredo Corleone begging for a favor. It was President Trump, whining at Georgia officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger , on Saturday in a vain, clumsy, ridiculous — and maybe even illegal — attempt to make the vote tallies change the state’s election result to favor him instead of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump’s flailing endgame is pathetic and maybe even dangerous. And while the rest of us must remain alert, we should calm ourselves with the knowledge that, no matter how much Trump pleads otherwise, the national disaster that is his presidency has an end date.

You probably know all the details by now: Raffensperger, a Republican, recorded the call after having reportedly dodged 18 previous attempts by Trump to reach him. Post reporter Amy Gardner obtained the recording. Legendary news anchor Dan Rather, who covered Watergate, summed up the contents perfectly on Twitter: “The audio of Trump with the Georgia secretary of state. Wow. It’s like telling the Nixon tapes to ‘hold my beer.’ ”

Paul Krugman: Things Will Get Better. Seriously.

Reasons to be hopeful about the Biden economy.

The next few months will be hell in terms of politics, epidemiology and economics. But at some point in 2021 things will start getting better. And there’s good reason to believe that once the good news starts, the improvement in our condition will be much faster and continue much longer than many people expect.

OK, one thing that probably won’t get better is the political scene. Day after day, Republicans — it’s not just Donald Trump — keep demonstrating that they’re worse than you could possibly have imagined, even when you tried to take into account the fact that they’re worse than you could possibly have imagined. One of our two major political parties no longer accepts the legitimacy of elections it loses, which bodes ill for the fate of the Republic.

But on other fronts there’s a clear case for optimism. Science has come to our rescue, big time, with the miraculously fast development of vaccines against the coronavirus. True, the United States is botching the initial rollout, which should surprise nobody. But this is probably just a temporary hitch, especially because in less than three weeks we’ll have a president actually interested in doing his job.

And once we’ve achieved widespread vaccination, the economy will bounce back. The question is, how big will the bounce be?

Amanda Marcotte: Trump’s Georgia shakedown call is the same scheme that led to his impeachment — only worse

Sorry, Susan Collins, Trump learned nothing from impeachment: He’s doing it again, except it’s even more dangerous

One of the most soul-taxing aspects of the Donald Trump era is how much it’s like living in a political version of “Groundhog Day.” We endure variations of the same handful of scandals over and over again until we’re numb and unable to tell what happened one day from the next. The result is a weird time dilation, where the past year feels like a dozen as if everything is happening both quickly and slowly all at once.

So it’s probably no surprise that few pundits seem to have noticed how Trump’s call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding that he steal Georgia’s election by falsifying votes is a direct sequel to the scheme that got Trump impeached. And like most sequels, this one attempted to be bigger and bolder — but only ended up being sloppier and more confusing. [..]

It’s almost eerie how identical this latest extortion scheme aimed at Raffensperger is: A leaked phone call, the president demanding that a government official abuse his power or even commit crimes to help Trump stay in office and threatening that the leader does as he’s told or else. Trump then unloads a series of preposterous conspiracy theories on the exasperated official, laying out his disingenuous excuses for why cheating and criming is justified.