‘Executive Time’ for the Laziest Person in North America

It’s a big planet, with billions of people, so one cannot account for every last lazybones on every last continent. And yet, and yet, is there anyone on this continent as lazy as Donald J. Trump? Jonathan Swan explains in Scoop: Trump’s secret, shrinking schedule:

President Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump’s demands for more “Executive Time,” which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us.

The schedules shown to me are different than the sanitized ones released to the media and public.

The schedule says Trump has “Executive Time” in the Oval Office every day from 8 am to 11 am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am….

On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pm meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm….

On Thursday, the president has an especially light schedule: “Policy Time” at 11 am, then “Executive Time” at 12pm, then lunch for an hour, then more “Executive Time” from 1:30pm….

Watching Fox & Friends, chatting up cronies, tweeting in substandard English, eating junk food: Trump has every advantage in the world, and this is how he spends his time.

Conservatism & Trump

So will Trump fundamentally alter American conservatism, or is he a mere phase in a longer, unchanging tradition? Three American conservatives, and Britain’s George Orwell, have something to interesting say on the matter.

1. Charles C.W. Cooke:

Whatever its shortcomings—and they are many—the American Right is too complicated and too interesting a force to be ruined or consumed by a single preposterous president. Conservatism in this country long predated Trump; for now, it is tied up with Trump; soon, it will have survived Trump.

Via Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers

2. David Frum:

The most revealing thought in Cooke’s essay is his explanation for why he feels it is safe to go with the Trumpian flow: “Conservatism in this country long predated Trump; for now, it is tied up with Trump; soon, it will have survived Trump.”

This is something many conservatives tell themselves, but it’s not even slightly true. Trump is changing conservatism into something different. We can all observe that. Will it snap back afterward?

You can believe this only if you imagine that ideologies exist independently of the human beings who espouse them—and that they can continue unchanged and unchanging despite the flux of their adherents. In this view, millions of American conservatives may build their political identities on enthusiastic support for Donald Trump, but American conservatism will continue humming in the background as if none of those human commitments mattered at all.

This is simply not true. Ideas are not artifacts, especially the kind of collective ideas we know as ideologies. Conservatives in 1964 opposed civil-rights laws. Conservatives in 1974 opposed tax cuts unless paid for by spending cuts. Conservatives in 1984 opposed same-sex marriage. Conservatives in 1994 opposed trade protectionism. Conservatives in 2004 opposed people who equated the FBI and Soviet Union’s KGB. All those statements of conservative ideology have gone by the boards, and one could easily write a similar list of amended views for liberals.

Conservatism is what conservatives think, say, and do. As conservatives change—as much through the harsh fact of death and birth as by the fluctuations of opinion—so does what it means to be a conservative.

Via Conservatism Can’t Survive Donald Trump Intact.

3. Rod Dreher:

This is why I just shake my head at conservatives who think Trump is an aberration, a Cromwellian interregnum before the Restoration of the monarchy, so to speak. It is certainly true, at least right now, that Trump is cultivating no heirs apparent. But the idea that right-of-center voters will have learned their lesson by voting for Trump, and will come home to the traditional GOP — that’s bonkers.

Think of how Trump (and to a much lesser extent, Roy Moore) is changing what it means to be an Evangelical. American Evangelicalism, like American conservatism, is a broad and durable movement that was here a long time before Donald Trump showed up, and will be here after he leaves. But the way so many white Evangelicals have embraced Trump really is changing Evangelicalism — this, even though Trump is not even an Evangelical! It is impossible to see how white Evangelicalism can return to the status quo ante after Trump leaves office….

My basic point is that whatever calls itself “conservatism” will not have survived Trump, if by “survive” one means emerges from him relatively unchanged. It’s not so much the substantive changes Trump will have made (there may not be many) as it is the role he played in knocking off the GOP’s and the conservative movement’s traditional elites. The definition of “conservatism” is going to be fluid for a long time after Trump, in part because of Trump, and in part because of the intensification of the broader cultural and technological forces that brought Trump to the presidency.

4. George Orwell.

I’ll risk application of Godwin’s Law to include a powerful insight from George Orwell. Orwell wrote to critique H.G. Wells (a socialist, not a conservative) on Wells’s view of the war. Wells held – in 1941 – “that the Blitzkrieg is spent,” etc. That was wildly false, of course: the war stretched on years longer, at vast cost. To contend that the Third Reich was spent in 1941 is to give no meaning to the word spent.

Orwell understood that Wells’s complacent optimism was false, profoundly so:

He [Wells] was, and still is, quite incapable of understanding that nationalism, religious bigotry and feudal loyalty are far more powerful forces than what he himself would describe as sanity. Creatures out of the Dark Ages have come marching into the present, and if they are ghosts they are at any rate ghosts which need a strong magic to lay them. The people who have shown the best understanding of Fascism are either those who have suffered under it or those who have a Fascist streak in themselves. A crude book like The Iron Heel, written nearly thirty years ago, is a truer prophecy of the future than either Brave New World or The Shape of Things to Come.

If one had to choose among Wells’s own contemporaries a writer who could stand towards him as a corrective, one might choose Kipling, who was not deaf to the evil voices of power and military “glory”. Kipling would have understood the appeal of Hitler, or for that matter of Stalin, whatever his attitude towards them might be. Wells is too sane to understand the modern world. The succession of lower-middle-class novels which are his greatest achievement stopped short at the other war and never really began again, and since 1920 he has squandered his talents in slaying paper dragons….

Via Wells, Hitler and the World State.

I’ve long admired this essay of Orwell’s, for its moral and practical clarity. It’s a reminder of how clever men (Wells then, Cooke now) sometimes are – in the most important matters – also obtuse men.

Frum and Dreher are right that conservatism will not be able to outlast Trump unaffected. Cooke’s complacency is at best a false hope, and also a self-serving one (justifying diffidence in the face of Trump’s transgressions). Conservatives like Rubin, Wilson, and McMullin see this and so fight on, but most conservatives are now transformed in to something unworthy (they’re either Trumpists or timid).

I’m quite sure – even in the small town from which I write – that there are self-styled conservatives who believe (as with Cooke) that they’ve no need to oppose Trump wholeheartedly, as our present circumstances are a mere phase before a restoration of the prominent position they’ve long enjoyed.

Trump will meet his political ruin, but it will come through the efforts of those in opposition and resistance who actively opposed him.  The complacent and entitled men who sat on the sidelines of this fight won’t escape the truth of their inaction: head down and eyes averted is a disgraceful memorial.

Whitewater’s Outlook for 2018

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin

An explorer comes to a forest, one he’s not seen before. He’s been in forests before, but not one as dense and dark as this one. He could stop, and make predictions about what it might be like, but however long he takes, the forest yet stands before him. Our national outlook is like this, overcoming even the smallest, most distant places.

The delusional will deny there’s a dark forest, the fearful will sit still, and the faint-hearted will go around.

Americans are neither delusional nor fearful nor faint-hearted.

Predicting, however, is not exploring.

If an explorer, then an exploration: one either goes in or abandons the effort to more intrepid men and women.

Better to rely on past experiences, present understanding, and ongoing observations, walking cautiously but confidently into the forest.

On the other side: something better, either discovered or, if necessary, created.

Rabbi Sharon Brous’s Advice for Small Towns (and Everywhere, Really)

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin

Over at The Atlantic, there’s an interview with Rabbi Sharon Brous, the senior rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational synagogue in California. See ‘I’ve Spent My Life Studying These Books That Say Decency Actually Matters.’ Rabbi Brous describes religious belief among progressives in contemporary America, and two of her observations are particularly suited even to Whitewater (or other small towns). Emma Green conducts the interview —

On the need for interfaith outreach:

Emma Green: You’ve been hanging out with William Barber, right? Wasn’t he recently at IKAR?

Rabbi Brous: Before launching the Poor People’s Campaign, he did a series of massive town halls around the country. They called to ask whether I would speak the night before Rosh Hashanah. And I said, ‘I’ll happily do that if William will come to share a little bit of his Torah with us the next day.’ It was an incredibly powerful moment for our community, and I think for him, too.

There is a bigger national conversation happening right now, and Jews are a part of it. It is about progressive religious voices not being afraid to say there’s decent, and there’s indecent. There are people who are fighting for dignity, and people who are fighting to deprive other people of their dignity. We have to be willing to stand up and fight with a prophetic voice.

One unites and allies with others, including new friends from faraway places, to a general advantage.

On faith and political controversy:

Rabbi Brous: I went to give a talk at a [synagogue] in the early spring, and I asked the rabbi in advance of the talk, ‘Are there any hot-button issues I should avoid?’ I don’t really go there to get them in trouble; I want to make sure I know where the community is. And he said, ‘You can talk about anything you want, but not politics.’ He said, ‘We have three Trump supporters in the community’—three, out of a community of 1800 families—‘and they will go ballistic.’ He was told, after the inauguration, not to say the word ‘Pharoah’ because it seems political, like an attack on Trump. Rabbis are being told, because there are three people who think that the most profoundly indecent candidate for president that we have ever seen, and the most unqualified, reckless, bigoted and indecent candidate has risen to power, that now we can’t speak Torah anymore because it might make people think we’re uncomfortable with that person and his values.

For me, I say what I need to say. I’m not looking to build the biggest, widest tent so that any person with any political perspective should and could feel absolutely comfortable here. I think in those environments, we become so neutral and so numb that we can’t actually say something.

The new normal is not normal. I’m glad I’m not in an environment where I’m afraid to say out loud, ‘This is not okay.’ I say that not because I’m a political pundit, but because I’m a rabbi, and I’ve spent my life studying these books that say decency actually matters….

There’s great truth, and sadness, in her observation. Formerly, in a place like Whitewater, a few local notables – mostly mediocre and wholly entitled – expected and received undeserved deference for their ill-considered positions and self-promoting claims. Theirs was a kind of big-government conservatism, with public resources disproportionately controlled and unevenly distributed. They walked around like they owned the place.

Their own errors were That Which Paved the Way for something worse, and beyond their control: a brassy, loud, ignorant nativism that doesn’t think – and so doesn’t care – about anyone outside itself. See Old Whitewater and Populism.

Neither Old Whitewater nor a new Populism deserves deference and appeasement. These Old Whitewater men and women who are silent in the face of Trumpism either implicitly support its aims or are too weak to resist.

Men and women, having as children graduated from crawling to walking, shouldn’t willingly return to their original method of locomotion.

Rabbi Brous wisely offers a better way: say what one needs to say.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Winds Down

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin

Over these eighteen months, Paul Ryan’s gone from opposition, to appeasement, to support of Trump’s key aims. Perhaps Ryan would have done better with Clinton as president, where he might have been a counterweight to a fundamentally rational chief executive. As it is, Ryan is a lightweight in the face of a fundamentally autocratic, ignorant, and bigoted chief executive. Ryan’s a weak man in a time when a more resolute man or woman is needed.

Speculation about his departure doesn’t upset, it reassures – toadying to Trumpism makes a man or woman unfit for federal service, just as Trump, himself, is unfit. Ryan’s crawled, hopped, croaked, and squatted in the mud long enough.

In Politico, Tim Alberta and Rachel Bade report Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End:

….Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

Here’s how Ryan’s spokeswoman, former Walker aide AshLee Strong, phrased her denial:

“This is pure speculation,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere any time soon.”

That’s a flimsy denial.

No doubt, there are local influencers, movers-and-shakers, dignitaries – whatever – who will miss Paul Ryan when he does depart. They’ve probably enjoyed the illusion that they were that much more important for their exaggerated closeness to a Very Important Person.

Among reasonable men & woman, Ryan won’t be missed: A man or woman who can’t stand up to Trump is overdue for sitting down.

America, Russia…

It’s true that a well-ordered society would not be governed by (an unrepentent) former KGB agent. It’s just as true that a well-ordered society would not be governed by a bigoted, autocratic, dissolute liar.

Yet here we are, and there they are.

‘America the great’

Shikha Dalmia writes, truly, of America the great:

Ever since President Trump sauntered into the White House, America’s image — or “brand,” in marketing parlance — has taken a beating. This month, a Nation Brand Index poll of public opinion in 50 countries found that the “Trump effect” had caused America’s reputation to drop from first to sixth place in world rankings on a whole host of metrics, such as its attractiveness as a tourist, business, and work destination. This is in keeping with the March U.S. News & World Report “best country” rankings, based on a poll of business leaders and other “informed elites” around the world, in which the U.S. fell several notches.

But fear not. America will overcome this loss of respect. Because American greatness has nothing to do with Trump. Indeed, what has long made this nation “great” in the eyes of the world is not its politics or political leaders. America’s greatness stems from the fact that it has set the standards of excellence in literally every human endeavor for the last 150 years.

While immodest, it is not an overstatement to suggest that when it comes to the sciences, arts, technology, and business, America dominates the world. And it does so not by imposing its will on others, but by excelling so much that it forces other countries to compete on a higher plane. Quite simply, America has made the world a better place to live….

We are an astonishing people, having established a world-historical republic, and we will overcome Trumpism just as surely as we overcame Loyalists, Copperheads, Confederates, the Bund, and the Klan.

Hard, long work ahead, to be sure: those earlier stains on our history were eradicated (however imperfectly) only after heroic effort. We have, however, the inspiration of past successes, and our own tenacity, in our favor.

Even now, so many of us in resistance and opposition have made new allies and friends from across the continent. Our position will prove indomitable.

We will see this through, and on the other side of it, an American renaissance will await.

‘Gradually and then suddenly’

David Frum, to explain inevitable failure, instructively quotes Ernest Hemingway on going broke:

A famous line of Ernest Hemingway’s describes how a rich man goes broke: “Two ways … Gradually and then suddenly.” That’s how defeat comes upon a president as well. The live question for Trumpists in 2018 will be whether they can hold onto both chambers of Congress and thereby continue to stifle investigations into presidential wrongdoing. The geographic map is in the GOP’s favor in 2018, but the demographic map increasingly is not. The voters who hear of and are swayed by comments like Flake’s and Corkers’s—more educated, more affluent—are precisely those most likely to show up in an off-year election. Trump and the GOP will not lose all of them. They cannot afford to lose very many of them.

You don’t lose power by losing your base. Herbert Hoover held 39.7 percent of the vote in 1932, a year when Americans were literally going hungry. You lose power by losing the less intensely committed, just enough of them to tip the balance against you….

Via One More Straw Upon the Camel’s Back (“Jeff Flake’s speech won’t be the last straw—but it adds its weight to the growing pile”).

Those of us proudly in opposition and resistance – those of us resolutely committed to centuries of evolving democratic institutions on this continent – will not prevail today or tomorrow. We will see losses, some grievous, in the many days of political conflict ahead.

We will, however, see the demise of our adversaries, and happily our own success, in the shifting cadence that Hemingway describes: gradually and then suddenly.

‘This is an Apple’

I haven’t watched CNN in years, to be honest, but their promotional advertisement about Trump’s alternative facts outlook is spot on.

It’s more common for me to read than to watch cable news, but my two favorites on television are Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow. Watching Hayes or Maddow is always valuable: informative, engaging, and therefore truly enjoyable.

(I’ll also sometimes watch recorded segments from Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity, but only with the general outlook of someone who would watch a nature program on hyenas before going on safari – one should be prepared for what one might meet.)

Kate McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway

Over at Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon’s in a sketch where she plays Kellyanne Conway as though Conway were the monster Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. She’s portrayed Conway before, but here her especially well. (The full sketch is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlt3rA-oDao – the embed above starts part way in.)

In the sketch, Conway, speaking from a storm drain, tries to lure anchor Anderson Cooper (portrayed by Alex Moffat) into the sewer.

McKinnon so cleverly captures the irrationality of Conway’s lies on behalf of Trump – Conway will say anything, however outrageous (and especially if outrageous).

Conway’s not adept at the sophistry of ‘making the making the worse appear the better reason,’ – she’s adept at absurd lies, so fantastical that they’re like what a hallucinatory drug must be like. Nothing she says looks like the ‘better reason’ – Conway’s proffered quotes seem like a lunatic’s obsessions and compulsions. Those who find Conway convincing don’t do so because she offers a better reason – they find her intoxicating because she offers an escape from reason.

McKinnon’s impersonation nicely captures Conway as a deranged, gleeful liar, a liar simply for the dark pleasure of it.

Rural America Turns Against Trump

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin One often reads that it’s rural America that elected – and will always stand by – Donald Trump.

In fact, Trump’s support in rural communities is in decline. Chris Kahn and Tim Reid report Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural America:

According to the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, the Republican president’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country’s population lives. The poll of more than 15,000 adults in “non-metro” areas shows that they are now as likely to disapprove of Trump as they are to approve of him.

In September, 47 percent of people in non-metro areas approved of Trump while 47 percent disapproved. That is down from Trump’s first four weeks in office, when 55 percent said they approved of the president while 39 percent disapproved.

The poll found that Trump has lost support in rural areas among men, whites and people who never went to college. He lost support with rural Republicans and rural voters who supported him on Election Day.

Where his support was once dominant, he’s now only at parity with those in opposition. Trump’s weaker where he cannot afford to be weaker. It’s easy to see why his national support is so low – he’s losing ground even in places once favorable to him.

All those MAGA signs won’t save an autocratic, lying incompetent whose most important supporters – truly – sit in the Kremlin. No crudely designed and cheaply made hats will prove enough. However long the conflict – and it is likely to be long – those in opposition and resistance have as their armament centuries-long political, philosophical, and religious traditions on this continent that will prove overwhelming against Trumpism.

Their Friends Are America’s Enemies

It’s no surprise, truly, that white nationalists who returned to Charlottesville chanted three main slogans: ‘You will not replace us,’ ‘Russia is our friend,’ and ‘the South will rise again.’

Each is false, and little more than a dark hope: the South they want (of slavery, bigotry, and treason) will never rise again, they have already been replaced by a more diverse and competitive population, and Russia (under either the Soviets or Putin) has never been America’s friend.

Putin has returned Russia to dictatorship after the briefest thaw, a return to brutality at home and abroad. Consider only a small video of opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s struggle in Russia, and know that while you consider him, vast numbers more are denied basic rights. The man who makes Russia oppressive for his own people delights in having lifted Trump to power in America, that Trump might in his own way degrade our way of life as Putin in his way has degraded life for his own people.

The Somber Trio

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin Among the most serious harms are those to liberty and physical well-being. One can compensate adequately for many injuries, but damages at law are slight compensation for lost liberties and physical injuries.

We’ve a new national environment, in which actions once impermissible are now encouraged, and redress once required is now no longer recognized. If asked to list the three gravest concerns for this small town, these come to mind, in no fixed order:

Harm inflicted intentionally against immigrants peacefully settled in their communities,

Harm inflicted through overzealousness against other residents (often disadvantaged) but peacefully situated in their communities, and

Unacknowledged harm from sexual assaults against residents on campuses or nearby.

There’s an obvious difference between risk (the chance that something might happen) and harm (what results if it does happen). The harms that might befall some in this community have always been clear; the risks of these harms has grown as Trumpism encourages force where it was once properly discouraged, and discourages peaceful resolution where it was once encouraged.

These greater risks did not begin with Trump. In towns across America, including Whitewater, one can see That Which Paved the Way. Those who have ignored or denied past wrongs have left their communities vulnerable to those who would, with satisfaction & delight, commit new and worse injustices, all the while declaring their actions the very height of order and propriety.

The worst risks, of the worst harms, fall on some of our fellow residents more than others. The moral burden of lessening risks, and of redressing harms, falls on all of us.

Trump in Puerto Rico

President Trump on Tuesday told Puerto Rico officials they should feel “very proud” they haven’t lost thousands of lives like in “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” while adding that the devastated island territory has thrown the nation’s budget “a little out of whack.”

Trump’s remarks came as he touched down in San Juan amid harsh criticism that the administration was slow to respond to the natural disaster and after he praised himself earlier in the day for the “great job” and “A-plus” performance he said the administration deserved for its response to Hurricane Maria….

Via Trump says Puerto Rico officials should be ‘proud’ more haven’t died like in Katrina @ Washington Post.

‘Can Conservative Journalism Survive?’

Conservative Conor Friedersdorf, now at the Atlantic, asks whether conservative journalism can survive. See, entitled just that wayCan Conservative Journalism Survive?

In truth, he’s writing about traditional conservatism (and not just journalists), and the generation of traditional conservatives that brought Reagan to office. I’d recommended the whole essay.

Friedersdorf asks:

….If conservatism is to survive as a constructive force for the moment when Trumpism ends in another bankruptcy, and the country needs a healthy left and right to recover, conservatives need not only to learn from the flaws that caused their countrymen to lose faith in their project; they must openly and explicitly break with populism [Adams: that is, Trumpism] and its excesses, bringing a conservative critique to bear upon them. “America needs a reminder of conservatism before vulgarians hijacked it,” George F. Will recently declared, “and a hint of how it became susceptible to hijacking.”

Who will point out populism’s flaws by drawing on conservatism’s best insights, attack its hucksters as much as the left, and fight for the right as if conservatism could win?

There’s an answer to Friedersdorf’s question: if traditional conservatism cannot see that Trumpism is now a greater threat than the left (rather than deserving of attack merely ‘as much as the left’), then traditional conservatism will continue to whither, declining from kindling to tinder to dust.

The local version of this is believing that hyper-local coverage, ignoring national forces that now reach into every town, will satisfactorily get one through this darker era. Indeed, it’s holding to hyper-localism as if that view were a political party, ideology, or faith. Paine was right, in his Epistle to the Quakers:

Ye appear to us to have mistaken party for conscience; because the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity: And it is exceedingly difficult for us to give credit to many of your pretended scruples; because we see them made by the same men, who, in the very instant that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this world, are nevertheless hunting after it with a step as steady as Time, and an appetite as keen as Death.

There will be a time after this time, of course, but some will come through it so poorly and so dishonorably that they’ll come to regret having come through it at all.

The Erosion of Political Norms (Concluding Part 4 in a Series)

local scene More than one small town has struggled for years under the debilitating influence of political & economic conflicts of interest, misguided priorities, and dodgy or grandiose claims. These conditions where those that  That Which Paved the Way for Trumpism. Those locally who carried on this way made Trumpism more likely, the way a moderate illness might weaken one’s immunity and make a deadly illness more likely.

Trumpism’s national champions contended – falsely – that America in 2016 faced an existential crisis. On the contrary, America’s existential crisis began not with Hillary Clinton’s campaign but with Donald Trump’s minority-vote victory. One might have had conventional, normal politics with Clinton; there was never a possibility of that with Trump.

Trumpism didn’t then face and existential threat – it created an existential threat.

On their own, many of these local problems would have lessened, slowly but inevitably; those who created these problems would have faded, slowly but inevitably. There’s little energy left in the dwindling ranks of those carrying on this way. I was right – then and now – when I once wrote in reply to a prominent social & political figure in town, predicting that ‘not one of those practices will endure to this city’s next generation.’

And yet, Trump’s national success will probably embolden more than one local man or woman to carry on a bit longer than he or she might otherwise have. Their political end will come, nonetheless.

What to do about all this?

First, Trump and his ilk himself will have to go, through whatever lawful means is available.

Second, America will have to assure both full adult access to the ballot, and the integrity of elections against foreign interference (both as foreign propaganda on domestic media and as hacking). One would prefer few laws to many, but even we’ve now many states legislating against easy ballot access. Better a single standard assuring access. We’ll need a policy of automatic voter registration. No one should be required to vote; no one should have to struggle to register to vote.

Third, and the most difficult of all, we’ll have to carry out a long period of a third reconstruction (the first being after the Civil War, the second being during the civil rights era) to assure that we do not again find ourselves in the situation that now plagues us: forces domestic and foreign united to undermine the American constitutional order.  That’s a long project, and I’d imagine – or at least hope – that the Rev. Dr. Barber, and so many other men & women, will guide us through that new, necessary reconstruction.

Previously: The Erosion of Political Norms, Parts 123.

Lauren Duca humbly presents…

Chris Cillizza, formerly of the Washington Post, presently of CNN, eternally a buffoon, wrote today that he thought Trump’s United Nations address was “much more poetic” than Trump’s prior speeches. From this, one can say that CNN wastes at least as much money as Cillizza’s salary & benefits.

(There are, probably, vile limericks that are more poetic than anything Trump has said. There are, with an equal chance, scribblings on bathroom walls more elegantly composed than anything thirty-something operative Stephen Miller has drafted for Trump.)

Lauren Duca, who would like more young women to write about politics, sees Cillizza’s remarks as an oppotunity to encourage others. Although I’m not much for the term idiot, in her observation about Cillizza, Duca’s on the mark…