Quick hits (part I)

1) Sorry, I can’t let Howard Schultz go.  Eric Levitz on his vapid town hall:

A promise to make health care affordable for every single American — which is to say, to extend insurance to the nearly 30 million people who currently lack it, and drastically reduce costs for the one in four Americanswho currently forgo necessary medical care because even with insurance they cannot afford it — without increasing the deficit, significantly raising taxes, or disrupting the private insurance market. (Schultz feels no obligation to specify how he would do this.)

This is indicative of Schultz’s broader program. For all his bluster about the Democratic Party’s unrealistic promises — and the left’s refusal to recognize the necessity of legislative compromise — Schultz offered CNN’s audience virtually nothing beyond unrealistic promises and statements that betrayed an ostensible ignorance of the necessity of legislative compromise. On the latter count: Any political observer with a rudimentary understanding of the U.S. Senate would know that, if a voter wants incremental improvements to the health-care system — but not Medicare for All — they will (almost certainly) get what they’re looking for from any Democratic nominee; even president Bernie Sanders will not be able to pass any legislation without the approval of red-state Democrats like Jon Tester and Kyrsten Sinema. Which is to say, to the extent that Schultz is proposing concrete policies, they are just less-detailed versions of the Democratic Party’s consensus positions.

2) Chait on the “emergency.”

As a matter of principle, the Constitution establishes a system that requires the House, Senate, and the president to approve new laws. In some cases, expediency requires the president to act unilaterally. Those rare cases are not defined as emergencies because they’re important — lots of policy is important, even life-threatening. The emergencies are cases where the executive needs to act in an especially urgent way, and where congressional involvement may not be practical…

The anticipation that courts will smack down Trump’s attempted power grab has created some complacency about the brazenness of his attempt. The clever take in Washington is that Trump is claiming emergency powers knowing full well he will probably lose.

But it hardly vindicates the president. Trump impulsively engineered a government shutdown out of the mistaken belief that somehow it would give him leverage over Democrats, and without any understanding of the humanitarian fallout. After he quickly realized it wouldn’t, he made almost no effort to negotiate in good faith, even though it certainly would be possible to imagine immigration policies most Democrats and some Republicans would want enough to authorize more border-security funding.

Having deliberately inflicted pain on his own country on a whim, he is defying democratic norms in order to extricate himself from the humiliation of a retreat. That he is likely to lose may mitigate the offense, but doesn’t excuse it. Trump has at minimum proven that he lacks the temperament or basic competence to serve as president of the United States.

3) Jordan Weissman is right about this plan to allow Medicare buy-in for those 50 and over, “Moderate Democrats Are in Love With a Tepid and Outdated Idea to Fix Health Care.”

4) Yasha Mounk on the “emergency”

Americans often like to imagine that their system of checks and balances is a secure bulwark against the threat of autocracy. But in reality, no set of political institutions is, in and of itself, enough to constrain a popular and power-hungry president intent on destroying the republic. One of the reasons for this is the classic problem of the state of emergency, with which political philosophers and students of the law have grappled ever since the Roman Republic.

As Cicero argued in De Legibus, the safety of the people is the highest law; when a polity faces some unforeseen emergency, there may thus be urgent and legitimate need to loosen some of the ordinary legal restrictions on the powers of the highest magistrate. At the same time, it is obvious that any legal recognition of the need for emergency powers creates a huge opportunity for abuse; if an aspiring autocrat declares a false emergency, he would instantly be liberated from the usual constraints on his power. The history of the 20th century demonstrates that this is no abstract concern: From Adolf Hitler in Germany to Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, some of the most brutal dictators of the past hundred years have consolidated their power by exploiting emergency legislation.

5) I’m covering this in my public policy class and I don’t recall sharing it here before (and if I have, it’s really good).  David Roberts, “What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like.”

6) Nice piece from Paul Waldman, “Warren and Klobuchar demonstrate the fundamental divide among Democrats.’

This is Warren’s articulation of the problem: Not just that the system is rigged — something Trump said in 2016 — but that it’s rigged by and for a specific group of wealthy individuals who shape it for their own benefit. This willingness to name the villains of the story she tells distinguishes Warren from many of the other candidates.

She also said, “We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges—a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change.” She then outlined an agenda for economic and political reform to change how the system operates. So to summarize, Warren says the problem is a system rigged by the wealthy; the solution is a series of broad and fundamental policy changes that take away their power to continue rigging the system. She’s the one to implement them, because though she came from a poor family, she had the opportunities she says are lacking in the United States today, and she has spent a career understanding and attempting to confront the forces that limit those opportunities for ordinary people.

Klobuchar detailed some of the same policy proposals as Warren, such as reforms to reduce political corruption and guarantee voting rights. She did name some particular individuals — a reference to “dark forces” attacking voting rights, another to “tax loopholes designed by and for the wealthy,” and criticisms of pharmaceutical companies and the gun lobby — but she didn’t tie them together in a single us-vs.-them critique. For Klobuchar, the real problem is “our politics,” a system in which everyone is implicated and everyone can have a part in improving.

7) NC legislature considering revising the law on alcohol sales.  Just sad that Republicans still justify laws with rationales like this,

The state could make more money by allowing ABC stories to open on Sundays. North Carolina is one of only eight states that doesn’t allow liquor store sales on Sundays.

“I think we need Sunday free for the Lord’s day,” said Rep. Pat Hurley, a Republican from Randolph County.

8) This professor says that email is “making professors stupid.”  Yeah, it seems like some workdays are all about email management (but in reality, those emails are generally about my teaching, research, and service) and I don’t think it’s making me stupid.

9) Sorry, I cannot let Howard Schulz go, but his campaign really is illustrative about so much in American politics.  Ezra, “Howard Schultz’s campaign is based on 3 ideas, and they’re all wrong.

10) When it comes to advanced analytics, I just love learning about hockey (especially goaltending).  Love this 538 trying to figure out why scoring is noticeably up in hockey this year.  TLDR– it’s not clear, but it’s fun to watch.

11) David Hopkins, “There Are No Clear Lane Markers on the Road to the White House.”

Political journalists are fond of metaphors, and one recent analogy that seems to be rising in general usage is the comparison of the presidential nomination process to a highway with multiple “lanes” corresponding to identifiable party factions or subgroups. According to this view, each candidate and primary voter resides in a specific party lane (or, on rare occasions, can straddle the boundary between two lanes). The best-positioned candidates in the race, then, will be those who can unite the voters in their lane—either because they have it all to themselves from the start, or because they quickly knock similarly-situated candidates off the road…

While some of these analytical attempts to sort out the primary competition contain grains of truth—there are, after all, identifiable constituencies within the parties that are more or less attracted to various candidates—the “lanes” model of characterizing nomination contests is fundamentally flawed and potentially misleading. It rests on assumptions about how voters behave in party primaries that don’t hold up in reality, as the history of presidential nominations (including the 2016 race) makes very clear…

It’s important to understand how candidates behave strategically to build electoral coalitions and, to the best of our ability, to identify what considerations prompt voters to choose a specific candidate. But any conceptual model of nomination politics needs to incorporate a large random error term, representing the varying effects of personal charisma, persuasive advertising, memorable debate performances, catchy slogans, journalistic takedowns, verbal gaffes, and other factors that have proved difficult to anticipate yet can be just as influential as substantive positions or group membership in shaping voters’ evaluations of the candidates. We’re about a year away from primary and caucus participants being asked to officially register their preferences, which means that we’re still a year away from rank-and-file Democrats beginning to settle on their choice of nominee. It’s a long road to the nomination, and the vagaries of timing and luck ensure that many unforeseen twists and turns still lie far ahead.

12) Interesting take on the Amazon HQ2 mess:

No deal has garnered as much attention as Amazon’s, particularly since local politicians engaged in dozens of publicity stunts designed to woo the retail giant. While the company was searching for new offices, its value ballooned to $1 trillion and Bezos became the richest man in modern history. Meanwhile, investigative reports trickled out all year about the company’s brutal labor practices. The news often came with some mention of HQ2.

LeRoy says Amazon has indeed inadvertently highlighted public subsidies, which corporations have been able to negotiate largely in the dark. “I think Amazon is not winning a lot of love from corporate America for that,” he says. Deals between governments and other tech companies—and the secrecy surrounding them—are receiving scrutiny, too. Two nonprofits are suing San Jose, California, over a $67 million deal to sell government land to Google for new office space. The organizations argue city officials illegally signed nondisclosure agreements with the tech giant.

But the outcry over Amazon’s HQ2 search won’t necessarily have a lasting impact on the way government officials hand out subsidies to corporations. Jensen says he’s witnessed a number of governments make cosmetic reforms, like introducing rules requiring companies verify the number of jobs they end up producing, but that fundamental issues often don’t get addressed. “I think the PR of this decision hasn’t been positive and there is a potential for a backlash,” he says. “But I feel like I have seen enough terrible economic development scandals that go by the wayside.”

13) Sean Illing on the “emergency,” “Trump declared a national emergency at the border. I asked 11 experts if it’s legal. Spoiler alert: probably not.”  This is really useful for understanding the legal basis of why Trump will likely lose in court.  And it’s not about the obvious lack of urgency.

14) An interesting take on modern journalism, “Journalism is not dying.  It’s returning to its roots.”

If, however, you explained Twitter, the blogosphere, and newsy partisan outlets like Daily Kos or National Review to the Founding Fathers, they’d recognize them instantly. A resurrected Franklin wouldn’t have a news job inside The Washington Post; he’d have an anonymous Twitter account with a huge following that he’d use to routinely troll political opponents, or a partisan vehicle built around himself like Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, or an occasional columnist gig at a less partisan outlet like Politico, or a popular podcast where he’d shoot the political breeze with other Sons of Liberty, à la Chapo Trap House or Pod Save America. “Journalism dying, you say?” Ben Franklin v 2.0 might say. “It’s absolutely blooming, as it was in my day.”

What is dying, perhaps, is that flavor of “objective” journalism that purports to record an unbiased account of world events. We take journalistic objectivity to be as natural and immutable as the stars, but it’s a relatively short-lived artifact of 20th-century America. Even now it’s foreign to Europeans—cities such as London cultivate a rowdy passel of partisan scribblers who don’t even pretend there’s an impregnable wall between reportage and opinion. The US was much the same until the late 19th and early 20th century. Until 1900 or so, most newspapers were overtly political, and a name like The Press Democrat meant Democrat with a big D. Advertising was a minor concern, as party leaders encouraged members to subscribe to their local party organ, obviating the need for anything more than classifieds.

15) A rare link courtesy of my youngest son, who sent me this interesting article about the rise of “legacy” board games.  Sorry, I won’t be buying games anytime soon in which I have to tear up cards.

16) Before this season, I was feeling pretty flat about Duke basketball– despite a lifetime of fandom– due to all the one-and-doneness.  But, damn, Zion Williamson’s super-human ability and amazing joie de vivre is his play have brought me fully back on board for this season at least.

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The Greene New Deal

Sorry, couldn’t resist.  I can’t believe it’s taken me that long to give a post that title.  So, I’m far from an expert on these things and I remain profoundly uncertain about what is the best political approach on facing climate change.  But, policy-wise, I think Megan McArdle makes a hell of a lot of sense (while being overly harsh on the GND):

Like all myopes, the Green New Dealers can see clearly only what’s right in front of them, which is to say the United States, beyond which they perceive only the fuzzy outlines of a half-mythical European enviro-paradise. And 30 years ago, that was an almost reasonable way to look at the problem. But today, the United States accounts for 4.3 percent of the world’s population, roughly 25 percent of its economic output and 15 percent of its carbon emissions from fuel combustion. Meanwhile China, with 18 percent of the world’s population, has 15 percent of its gross domestic product and 28 percent of its emissions. And India, with a population almost as big as China’s, produces only about 3 percent of global GDP and 6 percent of emissions.

Looking at these three countries brings the scale of the problem into focus. There is a small, rich world that lives in comfort and plenty, and a much larger, poor one that wants to get rich. To do so, those billions of people will pass through an intermediate stage when their developing industries are much dirtier than their highly regulated rich-world counterparts. The global emissions problem is likely to get much worse before it gets any better…

Even if the United States becomes ever more efficient in its energy use, that still won’t prevent the planet from warming. For that matter, zeroing out U.S. emissions and moving the whole country into yurts wouldn’t prevent the climate from warming, because Americans are not the biggest problem anymore. The problem is the more than 6 billion people who aren’t living in the rich world… [emphases mine]

Developing countries aren’t going to put scarce resources into artificially expensive “green” ways of replicating the rich-world lifestyle; they’re going to get there by the least costly route. The solution isn’t figuring out how to subsidize or mandate green alternatives; it’s figuring out how to make them cheaper than the carbon-intensive versions…

There are a number of possible paths to that outcome, and the United States should be walking them all: massive government investment in scientific research, along with a revenue-neutral carbon tax and research prizes to encourage private industry to get into the act.

And, Drum has a somewhat similar take:

This is why I’m basically pessimistic about the Green New Deal. It’s deliberately vague so no one will freak out too much, but deliberately vague won’t get the job done. If we want to seriously slash carbon emissions, there are going to be sacrifices. Less meat. Smaller cars. Higher prices for fossil fuels. (Way higher.) Taxes that go beyond the top 1 percent. What makes us think that will fly in a world where bans on plastic bags or straws provoke a huge backlash?

The answer, I believe, is twofold. The first is enormous investment in R&D. World War II levels. We need to invent the equivalent of radar, codebreaking, and the atomic bomb. The second is, in keeping with spirit of the GND, enormous infrastructure buildout. We have the technology to electrify a big part of our economy already if we only commit the dollars to do it. Both of these initiatives would be popular since they generate economic activity and put people to work. If we manage to demonstrate the minimal sacrifice necessary to fund them with a substantial progressive carbon tax, we have a plan. It’s not a perfect plan. It’s probably not enough all by itself. And it’s not guaranteed to work.

But it’s also not guaranteed to fail.

So, what we need is massive, massive investment in R&D that will ultimately change carbon emissions for the whole damn world.  Is the reach-for-the-skies, clearly unrealistic (e.g., zero omissions by 2030) the best way to get there politically?  Probably not, but I’m open to the idea that it is.  As 538’s Maggie Koerth-Baker puts it, “The Green New Deal Is Impractical, But ‘Practical’ Solutions Haven’t Worked Either.”  But, what I am confident is that policy-wise, we absolutely have to think about what we can do in the U.S. that will ultimately make a difference on a global scale.

How Democratic primary voters are pushing the party off a left cliff

Ummmm, they’re not.  So much goodness in this latest Thomas Edsall column (I mean, seriously, all he does every week is get some of the smartest political scientists studying American politics to talk about how their research pertains to contemporary politics– so cool!).  And I particularly liked this part:

I asked Brian Schaffner, a political scientist at Tufts who is one of the directors of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, whether Democratic primary voters are pushing presidential candidates to take stands on issues further to the left than the general electorate would accept.

Contrary to the view of many political analysts, Schaffner countered with data suggesting that this is not the case.

“I actually don’t think Democratic primary voters are substantially more liberal than Democrats more broadly,” he wrote, adding that many of the party’s new policy initiatives are, in fact, “favored by a majority of those who voted in 2016.” [emphases mine]

He cited the following results from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study survey.

Who favored granting legal status to immigrants? Democratic primary voters: 79 percent support; Democrats in general: 77 percent support; all voters: 55 percent support.

Who would require minimum amounts of renewable energy? Democratic primary voters: 85 percent support; Democrats in general: 80 percent support; all voters: 61 percent support.

Ban assault rifles? Democratic primary voters: 91 percent support; Democrats in general: 84 percent support; all voters: 64 percent.

Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders? Democratic primary voters: 84 percent support; Democrats in general: 78 percent support; all voters: 67 percent.

How about raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour? Democratic primary voters: 92 percent support; Democrats in general: 90 percent support; all voters: 65 percent.

Along similar lines, four political scientists, John Sides and Christopher Warshaw of George Washington University, and Lynn Vavreck and Chris Tausanovitch of UCLA, write in a March 2018 paper, “On the Representativeness of Primary Electorates” that “primary voters are frequently characterized as an ideologically extreme subset of their party, and thus partially responsible for increasing party polarization in government.” On the contrary, they find “that primary voters are similar to rank and file voters in their party” and thus “the composition of primary electorates does not exert a polarizing effect above what might arise from voters in the party as a whole.”

Jacobson of UCSD strongly agreed, arguing that Democrats’ intense dislike of Trump will make them willing to forgive a candidate who fails to adopt all their favored policies if the candidate looks like a winner:

Most Democrats will have as their prime goal — far more important than positions taken by the candidates — making sure Trump does not have a second term.

Who you gonna believe– a bunch of political scientists using empirical data or all the pundits who just know the Democrats are going way too far left.

Image result for off a cliff

I’m voting for the authentic  candidate

Oh man this Dahlia Lithwick piece on the search for authenticity in our political candidates is so good.  My only complaint is that she tends to blame the American public, but far as I can tell, this is mostly an obsession of journalists more so than ordinary voters (and believe me, I’m not afraid to blame ordinary voters).  Anyway…

The launch of the 2020 presidential contest has triggered yet another round of uniquely American anxiety around the stability of character.
We’re only a few weeks into the nascent primary campaign, and already the public discourse is mired in a debate that seems to be consumed with which of the Democratic candidates is in fact tricking us…

It is deeply strange, this American fixation with political “authenticity.” We would rather have a flat, one-dimensional stick figure run for office than sit with the possibility that human beings are multifaceted and evolving and—by necessity and design—apt to show different faces to different people over the course of a political lifetime. [emphases mine] This transcends the much-ballyhooed American proclivity to prefer presidents whom they can have a beer with. It’s not so much that we want a president who is like us; it’s that we abhor the notion that our politicians may appear to be one thing sometimes but are something totally different at other times…

Consider too that Clinton’s two rivals—Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—were exactly and unfailingly who they held themselves out to be. Both are, in a way, perfectly authentic, right down to Sanders’ practice of delivering the exact same speech over and over again. Donald Trump is even more “authentic,” as measured by that standard: We know exactly who he is, exactly what he will say, and exactly how he will react in virtually every setting. He has held himself out as a money-and-image-obsessed billionaire who “does deals” and “loves America” and virtually never departs from performing that one TV-burnished character, whether he’s bigfooting his way through foreign policy or shutting down the federal government because he deems its workers basically useless. Indeed, Trump’s few inauthentic moments have come whenever he’s tried to play anything but that character, be it when he’s tethered to a teleprompter or talking about compassion.

Trump’s careful tending to the hackneyed Monopoly Man caricatures seems to prove that the voter’s quest for authenticity is in fact easily satisfied by flat caricature. In Trump’s case, there’s something extra perverse about the caricature he affects, which is, essentially, his opposite. He isn’t as rich as he holds himself out to be, isn’t as religious as he holds himself out to be, isn’t as competent as he holds himself out to be, and isn’t as youthful or healthy as he holds himself out to be. In fact, his claims about his tan, his hair, his weight, his work habits, his intelligence, and his religious zeal are all delivered with a kind of winking, over-the-top braggadocio that might just convey that you and he are actually colluding on the joke, except that so many people aren’t in on it. In a way, Donald Trump’s political success can be attributed to the fact that, above all else, he holds himself out as authentic by sticking to his limited menu of invented traits (“businessman” and “tough” and “manly”), reveling in their transparent phoniness and repeating them so frequently that they come to appear genuine. He is, in short, the most cunningly crafted, authentic forgery in U.S. political history.

The truth is that the current field of Democratic nominees is full of messy and complicated individuals. That’s fine. It is one thing to demand that political leaders be consistent and coherent about policy. It is something else entirely to demand “authenticity” in the form of being either familiar enough to be a cartoon character or completely uncomplicated in all matters of character and temperament. Before we begin to trash people who haven’t even begun to become the leaders we hope for, let’s recognize that this kind of fundamentalism helped bring us a president who can only be counted on to never surprise us at all.

 

Imaginary wall

Oh, this Chait take on Trump and the wall is fun:

Now President Trump is revealing his fallback plan: pretend he succeeded.

The U.S.-Mexico border runs for nearly 2,000 miles. Early in his campaign, Trump conceded that natural barriers cover half that length. He inherited 654 miles of border fencing, and promised a wall covering a full 654 miles. This would mean upgrading most or all the additional fencing to “wall” status — making it taller, stronger, or wallier — and adding another 350 miles or so of new wall.

He has so far added zero to that total. Yet the wall was never a material infrastructure project, but instead a symbol of defiance and order. Trump is clearly signaling a new stage in which he is abandoning its physical manifestations and conjuring it into reality…

In a speech to police officers Wednesday, Trump elaborated on this imaginary wall. “The wall is very very on its way,” he promised. It is extremely tall — “You’re gonna have to be in extremely good shape to get over this one,” he informed his audience.

As time goes on,  just as a child’s imaginary friend becomes more elaborate and fully developed over time, the wall will surely acquire more specific attributes. It will be strong and powerful, beautiful yet forbidding, possibly even festooned with solar panels. In truth, nearly everybody who wanted to believe in the wall in the first place will believe it exists.

After all, Trump told us that without a wall, waves of violent criminals from Latin America would roam the countryside stealing, raping, and murdering honest Americans. Trump’s fans will look around and see no such violence in their midst. It must mean Trump has built the wall.

Photo of the day

From a recent Atlantic photos of the week gallery:

A drone photo shows a flock of lambs and sheep in Urfa, Turkey, on February 4, 2019. 

Halil Fidan / Anadolu Agency / Getty

Eyes openened

I’ll admit, I’m kind of a sucker for the confessionals from the #neverTrump Republicans who finally admit that, yes, a huge part of Republican appeal in recent decades has been based on racial animus.  Of course, they are at least honest and empirical enough to finally recognize this truth.  Many others are either a) still lying to themselves, or, even more disturbingly, b) are okay with winning votes on racialized appeals as long as they get their tax cuts.

Anyway, enjoyed Peter Wehner in the Atlantic:

Instead of rejecting him, however, the Republican Party eventually nominatedDonald Trump. His defenders say, with some justification, that he has delivered on the agenda that they wanted. But that is hardly the whole story. Trump has shown himself to be a pathological liar engaged in an all-out assault on objective facts—on reality and truth—concepts on which self-government depends. The president is also cruel, and dehumanizes his opponents. He’s volatile and emotionally unstable. He relishes dividing Americans along racial and ethnic lines. He crashes through norms like a drunk driver crashes through guardrails. And he’s corrupt from stem to stern. The difference between Trump supporters and right-leaning Trump critics is how we balance the scales of his conservative achievements (like with the courts) against the harm he’s caused and the ways he’s changed the Republican Party and the country, as we weigh what will be most definitional to his presidency.

Some Republicans quiescently accept Trump’s transgressions, unwilling to take him on, fearful of incurring his wrath. Others convince themselves that the Trump agenda is worth the price of lavishing praise on him and turning a blind eye to his offenses. Still other Republicans protect and defend him at every turn, serving as his attack dogs. As an institution, the party rallied behind him. The few Republicans who have challenged Trump from time to time—Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and Mark Sanford come to mind—feel the anger of the party’s base. It cost all three their seats in Congress. The Republican Party is both shrinking and getting more Trumpified…

At the time the ads ran, and for years after, I thought that they were fair criticisms of Michael Dukakis for his furlough policy. Liberals took them as self-evidently racist; I thought that charge was toxic and partisan.

Willie Horton was a real person who committed awful crimes; to say that this couldn’t be pointed out in an ad because of his race struck me as wrong. In addition, it was Al Gore who first raised the furlough program (if not Horton directly) in the 1988 Democratic primary. Further, I didn’t know any Republicans whom I considered remotely racist; the idea that this ad was a Republican “dog whistle” was one I considered misguided. I didn’t for a moment think that appealing to overt or subliminal racist sentiments would garner anything other than a few votes on the malicious fringe of American politics—and believed that any such gains would come at the expense of the majority of Republicans, who would be repelled by that kind of appeal. If Horton had been white and committed the same crime because of the same furlough program, I believed, an ad with a white Horton would have been made. The point was the criminal who committed the crime, not the race of the criminal who committed the crime.

Similarly, I assumed that the claim that the Republican Party’s effort to win the South’s support in the late 1960s was part of a “southern strategy” relying on a coded racial appeal was unjust. Enforcing law and order is certainly a legitimate issue for politicians to run on, and a basic function of government.

Today I see the Republican Party through the clarifying prism of Donald Trump, who consistently appealed to the ugliest instincts and attitudes of the GOP base—in 2011, when he entered the political stage by promoting a racist conspiracy theory, and in 2016, when he won the GOP nomination. He’s done the same time and time again during his presidency—his attacks on the intelligence of black politicians, black journalists, and black athletes; his response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia; and his closing argument during the midterm elections, when he retweeted a racist ad that even Fox News would not run…

It would be deeply unfair to claim that most Republicans are bigots. But it is fair to say that most Republicans today are willing to tolerate without dissent, and in many cases enthusiastically support, a man whose appeal is based in large part on stoking racial and ethnic resentments, on attacking “the other.” [bold is mine] That has to be taken into account. At a minimum, their moral reflexes have been badly dulled.

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