Can Trump Count on Evangelicals in 2024? Some Leaders Are Wavering. – The New York Times

6 MIN READ

On Sunday, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a longtime supporter of Donald J. Trump who has yet to endorse his 2024 White House bid, shared the stage at his Dallas megachurch with one of the former president’s potential rivals next year: former Vice President Mike Pence.

The next day, Mr. Trump lashed out at Pastor Jeffress and other evangelical leaders he spent years courting, accusing them of “disloyalty” and blaming them for the party’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections.

While Pastor Jeffress shrugged off the criticism, others weren’t as eager to let it slide, instead suggesting that it was time for Mr. Trump to move out of the way for a new generation of Republican candidates.

The clash highlighted one of the central tensions inside the Republican Party as it lurches toward an uncertain 2024 presidential primary: wavering support for Mr. Trump among the nation’s evangelical leaders, whose congregants have for decades been a key constituency for conservatives and who provided crucial backing to Mr. Trump in his ascent to the White House.”

David Lindsay Jr.

NYT Comment:

Thank you Maggie Haberman AND Michael Bender, for this excellent report. I am confused by the comments, that pastors are breaking the law by appearing with polititicians. My guess is that you do not surrender you first ammendment rights, when you become a non-profit church. Please could someone go into this complicated subject and explain it. Are laws being broken?

David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Robert B. Semple Jr. | Biden Set an Ambitious Goal for Nature. It’s Time He Went After It. – The New York Times

Mr. Semple, a reporter and an editor for The Times from 1963 to 2018, writes about the environment for the editorial board. He won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1996.

“Compared with the United Nations climate change summit in Egypt in November, the U.N. biodiversity conference held in Montreal this month may have seemed distinctly minor league.

There were no heads of state, save Canada’s. The proceedings generated few front-page headlines and little play on the evening news. Yet the issue confronting delegates from nearly 200 nations who are parties to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity was nothing less than what many scientists believe to be a planetary emergency: the alarming decline of biodiversity, which threatens the world’s food and water supplies.

This is an emergency, not incidentally, inextricably tied up with global warming. And what the conference ended up agreeing to was also significant: an ambitious pledge to protect nearly one-third of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030, a strategy whose shorthand is 30×30.”

” . . . . Second, Mr. Biden should press the Agriculture and Interior Departments to complete inventories of old-growth and mature forests and recommend protections in those deemed worthy of protection, much like the Tongass. If there is one alpha culprit in biodiversity loss, it is the clearing of forests and wetlands for farms to feed an exploding world population and, to a lesser extent, to produce biofuels. According to some estimates, the world’s natural forests are home to at least two-thirds of the world’s species. Intact forests also absorb and store enormous amounts of carbon, so preserving them assists not only the species that live there but also the struggle against climate change.”

David Brooks | Biden’s America Finds Its Voice – The New York Times

   Opinion Columnist

“The cameras mostly focused on Volodymyr Zelensky during his address to Congress on Wednesday night, but I focused my attention as much as I could on the audience in the room. There was fervor, admiration, yelling and whooping. In a divided nation, we don’t often get to see the Congress rise up, virtually as one, with ovations, applause, many in blue dresses and yellow ties.

Sure, there were dissenters in the room, but they were not what mattered. Words surged into my consciousness that I haven’t considered for a while — compatriots, comrades, co-believers in a common creed.

Zelensky and his fellow Ukrainians have reminded Americans of the values and causes we used to admire in ourselves — the ardent hunger for freedom, the deep-rooted respect for equality and human dignity, the willingness to fight against brutal authoritarians who would crush the human face under the heel of their muddy boots. It is as if Ukraine and Zelensky have rekindled a forgotten song, and suddenly everybody has remembered how to sing it.

Zelensky was not subtle about making this point. He said that what Ukraine is fighting for today has echoes in what so many Americans fought for over centuries. I thought of John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Theodore Roosevelt, George Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, the many unsung heroes of the Cold War. His words reminded us that America supports Ukraine not only out of national interest — to preserve a stable liberal world order — but also to live out a faith that is essential to this country’s being and identity. The thing that really holds America together is this fervent idea.”

“. . . .  American policy has oscillated between a hubristic interventionism and a callous non-interventionism. “We overdo our foreign crusades, and then we overdo our retrenchments, never pausing in between, where an ordinary country would try to reach a fine balance,” George Packer wrote in The Atlantic recently. The result has been a crisis of national self-doubt: Can the world trust America to do what’s right? Can we believe in ourselves?

Finding the balance between passionate ideals and mundane practicalities has been a persistent American problem. The movie “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis was about that. Lincoln is zigging and zagging through the swamps of reality, trying to keep his eye on true north, while some tell him he’s going too fast and others scream he’s going too slow.

Joe Biden has struck this balance as well as any president in recent times, perhaps having learned a costly lesson from the heartless way America exited from Afghanistan. He has swung the Western alliance fervently behind Ukraine. But he has done it with prudence and calibration. Ukraine will get this weapons system, but not that one. It can dream of total victory, but it also has to think seriously about negotiations. Biden has shown that America can responsibly lead. He has shown you can have moral clarity without being blinded by it.”

David Lindsay: Great column Mr. Brooks. Here are the three most liked comments:

Katileigh
New YorkDec. 22

At long last. A recognition that neither smooth oration nor tough talk matter. What both Biden and Zelinsky do is lead from the heart with competence, confidence, courage, and calm. It’s making all the difference. Thank you, David, for giving credit where credit is due.

20 Replies3296 Recommended

Jon commented December 22

Jon
San Carlos, CADec. 22

Joe Biden has done a great job given the cards he was dealt. He inherited a mess and has steadily just been cleaning up the mess. He has not gotten nearly enough credit for just being a good steward. Life gets a lot worse when there is bad stewardship.

11 Replies3113 Recommended

Kevin Leibel commented December 22

Kevin Leibel
Chapel HillDec. 22

I actually love President Biden with all my heart. He’s been doing the right thing since taking office, he has a team that earns my respect and his policies are leading the US in the right direction. The war in Ukraine is an existential fight between good and evil and I am so very proud we are on the right side.

10 Replies2394 Recommended

Carlos Lozada | How the House of Trump Was Built – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

When journalists write books on the presidency of Donald Trump, they tend to choose one of three options. They write about personality, they write about paper, or they write about people.

This choice not only determines what kinds of work they produce but also affects how their audiences interpret Trump’s continuing influence over American life. In personality-driven narratives, the former president’s uniqueness and unpredictability render him mesmerizing but always verging on self-destruction; after all, when you suck all the air out of the room, you risk bursting. Writers who focus on paper — meaning the investigations, memos and ritual documentation of Washington, which Trump challenged with equal measures of deliberation and carelessness — depict his presidency as a tug between disruption and procedure, as the political system and Trump resisted and adapted to each other. An emphasis on people tells the story of Trump’s craven enablers, his true believers, his embattled opponents and, looking ahead, his most opportunistic imitators.”

Letter from David Lindsay

to: letters@nytimes.com,  NYT Managing Editor <nytnews@nytimes.com>

” One of the great questions of this time has always been whether Trump changed the country or revealed it more clearly. The answer is yes; it is both. He changed America by revealing it. On Jan. 6, Trump was the man who could win the country back for those who yearned for him long before they imagined him. If he can’t do it, someone like him will do. Or someone like him, perhaps, but more so.  .”

But it probably would have been better if it allowed comments. It is my experience that the finest essays at the NYT can stand up to scrutiny and even attacks.  I even have a little niche, often defending centrist writers, who are attacked by the left wing mob that likes so much to like each other’s comments. This essay expanded our already extensive knowledge of one of the greatest conmen and grifters of our age. It is way past time that the Department of Justice take him down. And yet, the irony of my desire, is that he is now the not so secret weapon for the moderate democrats. When he falls, the right, and the fossil fuel corporations,  will probably be strengthened, and the environmental movement weakened. And woe is US. The scientist say we have only about 8 years to turn our great ship around, before hitting the icebergs.

David Lindsay

blogging at InconvenientNews.net

Charles M. Blow | Gods Don’t Bleed. Trump Is Bleeding. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“I wrote in 2019 that Donald Trump ascended to folk hero status among the people who liked him, which meant that his lying, corruption, sexism and grift not only did not damage him, they added to his legend.

The folk hero is transcendent. He defies convention and defies gravity — in Trump’s case, political and cultural gravity. He overcomes the impossible, wins the improbable, evades authority.

He was a classic trickster figure, common in folklore.

For instance, for a Black child growing up in the American South, Stack-O-Lee (or, among other variations, Stagger Lee, as we pronounced it) was a folk hero. “Stack” Lee Shelton was a Black man, a pimp, who in 1895 shot another man dead for snatching his hat. The story became the subject of so-called murder ballads. Shelton bolstered his legend when, after being released from prison, he killed another man during a robbery.”

Excellent essay. I also liked the top comment:

Hari Prasad
Washington, D.C.Dec. 21

“Trumping Democracy”, a documentary on YouTube, is well worth watching. It shows clearly how the billionaire Robert Mercer, planned to put Trump in the White House and succeeded. The most insecure voters in swing states were targeted by crunching big data using Cambridge Analytica, also controlled by Robert Mercer. Facebook’s dark messaging was personalized for them, and programmed to disappear soon after. They still exist in Facebook’s archives but have been sealed. The campaign was directed by Steve Bannon, Mercer’s chosen hit man: Trump won by 77,000 votes in three swing states against Hillary Clinton’s 3 million vote margin in the popular vote. Americ’s billionaires have too much power.

16 Replies1291 Recommended

Nicholas Kristof | Trump Struggles, but America Is Still Feverish – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Has America’s fever broken?

An optimist could make a case. Donald Trump, the central figure in America’s febrile ailment, was further tarnished this past week, including by the conviction of his company for fraud. Trump wasn’t personally in the dock, but his reputation was — and the fraud involved checks he personally signed.

Meanwhile, the Senate Republican candidate whom Trump anointed in Georgia was defeated on Tuesday. That came after a midterm election in which some prominent Trump-backed candidates were trounced.

Trump’s willingness to socialize with Nazi sympathizers and his calls for a suspension of the Constitution also suggest that he is marching into extremist territory in a way that may leave him marginalized and less of a threat to the country. My own bet is that in the next presidential term from 2025 to 2029, there’s more chance that Trump’s federal housing will involve a prison than the White House.”

David Lindsay: NIcholas Kristof left the NYT times, moved home to Oregon, and ran for Governor. The State Supreme Court decided he had insufficent residency, and said he could not run.  Oregon’s loss, is the NYT community’s gain. Welcome back Nichola Kristof.

Jesse Wegman | Is Donald Trump Ineligible to Be President? – The New York Times

“. . . . There is another, less-known solution in our Constitution to protect the country from Mr. Trump: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from public office anyone who, “having previously taken an oath” to support the Constitution, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or gave “aid or comfort” to America’s enemies.” . . . .

Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser – WSJ

“What will Democrats do when Donald Trump isn’t around to lose elections? We have to wonder because on Tuesday Democrats succeeded again in making the former President a central campaign issue, and Mr. Trump helped them do it.

Trumpy Republican candidates failed at the ballot box in states that were clearly winnable. This can’t be what Mr. Trump was envisioning ahead of his “very big announcement” next week. Yet maybe the defeats are what the party needs to hear before 2024.

Looking at the Senate map, the message could not be clearer. In New Hampshire, the Trump-endorsed Republican Don Bolduc lost to Sen. Maggie Hassan, 53% to 45%, as of the latest data. At the same time voters re-elected Republican Gov. Chris Sununu by 16 points.

“Don Bolduc was a very nice guy, but he lost tonight when he disavowed, after his big primary win, his longstanding stance on Election Fraud,” Mr. Trump said. “Had he stayed strong and true, he would have won, easily.” We doubt New Hampshire voters simply wanted Mr. Bolduc to stay kooky.

In Arizona the Trump-endorsed Republican Blake Masters trails Sen. Mark Kelly, 51% to 47%. This is a state successful Gov. Doug Ducey won by 14 points in 2018. Mr. Ducey could have won the Senate seat, but Mr. Trump pledged to go to war with him because Mr. Ducey refused to entertain 2020 fraud theories.

In Pennsylvania, the Trump-endorsed Republican Mehmet Oz lost to John Fetterman, 51% to 47%. This is a tough state for the GOP. But Mr. Fetterman was a weak candidate: He’s a lefty with a record of wanting Medicare for All and a ban on fracking, and he’s recovering from a stroke. David McCormick would have been a better Republican nominee, but he wouldn’t say the 2020 election was stolen, so Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Oz.

In Georgia, the Trump-endorsed Republican Herschel Walker trails Sen. Raphael Warnock, 49.4% to 48.5%. This is going to a December runoff, which Mr. Walker could win. But Gov. Brian Kemp won re-election by eight points. Mr. Walker’s flaws as a candidate were obvious, but Mr. Trump helped clear the primary field and other candidates opted out.

In Ohio the Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance won a solid victory over Rep. Tim Ryan, 53% to 47%, while Republican Gov. Mike DeWine won by 26 points. Mr. Vance was a poor fundraiser. As of Oct. 19 he’d pulled in $12 million to Mr. Ryan’s $47 million. What saved him was $32 million from the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a Super Pac aligned with Mitch McConnell. Mr. Vance trailed in the polls until mid-October.

Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Trump-endorsed gubernatorial choice, lost by 14 points. Tim Michels in Wisconsin and Tudor Dixon in Michigan fumbled winnable gubernatorial races. Also in Michigan, Mr. Trump helped John Gibbs beat GOP Rep. Peter Meijer in the primary in the Grand Rapids seat because Mr. Meijer voted to impeach him. Mr. Gibbs lost by 13 points. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler also voted to impeach Mr. Trump, who helped Joe Kent beat her in a primary. Mr. Kent is trailing in that Washington state district.

Mr. Trump could have stayed quiet in the final weeks of the campaign except to spend money to help his candidates. But he did little of the latter and instead staged rallies that played into Democratic hands. His rally in Latrobe last week might have hurt Mr. Oz with suburban voters who cost Mr. Trump the state in 2020.

Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat. The GOP was pounded in the 2018 midterms owing to his low approval rating. Mr. Trump himself lost in 2020. He then sabotaged Georgia’s 2021 runoffs by blaming party leaders for not somehow overturning his defeat. That gave Democrats control of the Senate, letting President Biden pump up inflation with a $1.9 trillion Covid bill, appoint a liberal Supreme Court Justice, and pass a $700 billion climate spending hash.

Now Mr. Trump has botched the 2022 elections, and it could hand Democrats the Senate for two more years. Mr. Trump had policy successes as President, including tax cuts and deregulation, but he has led Republicans into one political fiasco after another.

“We’re going to win so much,” Mr. Trump once said, “that you’re going to get sick and tired of winning.” Maybe by now Republicans are sick and tired of losing.”  -30-

Source: Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser – WSJ

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American  

Open in app or online

” “Anecdotal data point,” conservative commentator Tom Nichols tweeted this afternoon, “Had lunch with an old friend, a fellow former [Republican] (but not in politics or media or anything) and he said that things feel different after the Pelosi attack. Not sure why. I feel the same thing; not sure that it’ll matter, but have that same sense.”

Perhaps it is the echoes of lawyer Joseph Nye Welch, who in 1954 on television confronted Joseph McCarthy as the Wisconsin senator shredded people’s lives by accusing them of being communists: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness…. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Perhaps it is the many observers pointing out that in a time when more than half the Republicans running for office have refused to acknowledge that Democratic President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and when Republican legislatures are claiming the right to choose presidential electors without the input of voters, “American democracy is on the line.”

Or perhaps it is the sheer horror of Republican politicians joking about a brutal attack on the Speaker of the House, the second in line for the presidency, an attack that left her elderly husband with a fractured skull, but Nichols is right: something feels different.

Tonight, President Joe Biden gave a speech on democracy. He began by describing the attack on Paul Pelosi, then noting that the attacker’s demand, “Where’s Nancy?”, echoed the words “used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January the 6th, when they broke windows, kicked in the doors, brutally attacked law enforcement, roamed the corridors hunting for officials and erected gallows to hang the former vice president, Mike Pence.”

That enraged mob had been whipped into a frenzy by former president Trump’s repeating the Big Lie that the 2020 election had been stolen. That lie, Biden said, has “fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.”

Biden urged us to “confront those lies with the truth,” for “the very future of our nation depends on it.” “We must with one overwhelming unified voice speak as a country and say there’s no place, no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America. Whether it’s directed at Democrats or Republicans. No place, period. No place ever.”

“Democracy itself” is at stake in the upcoming election, Biden said. He appealed “to all Americans, regardless of party, to meet this moment of national and generational importance.” Nothing is guaranteed about democracy in America, he said, “Every generation has had to defend it, protect it, preserve it, choose it. For that’s what democracy is. It’s a choice, a decision of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

“We the people must decide whether we will have fair and free elections and every vote counts. We the people must decide whether we’re going to sustain a republic, where reality’s accepted, the law is obeyed, and your vote is truly sacred. We the people must decide whether the rule of law will prevail or whether we will allow the dark forces and thirst for power put ahead of the principles that have long guided us.”

Biden warned that the same forces that challenged the 2020 election, despite all the confirmations of its results, are setting out to question the legitimacy of the 2022 election. MAGA Republicans are “trying to succeed where they failed in 2020, to suppress the right of voters and subvert the electoral system itself. That means denying your right to vote and deciding whether your vote even counts.” They’ve encouraged violence and intimidation of voters and election workers, Biden said. “It’s damaging, it’s corrosive, and it’s destructive.”

“And I want to be very clear,” Biden said, “this is not about me, it’s about all of us. It’s about what makes America America. It’s about the durability of our democracy. For democracies are more than a form of government. They’re a way of being, a way of seeing the world, a way that defines who we are, what we believe, why we do what we do.”

Biden warned that “we can’t take democracy for granted any longer.”

“Democracy means the rule of the people, not the rule of monarchs or the moneyed, but the rule of the people. Autocracy is the opposite of democracy. It means the rule of one, one person, one interest, one ideology, one party…. [T]he lives of billions of people, from antiquity till now, have been shaped by the battle between these competing forces, between the aspirations of the many and the greed and power of the few, between the people’s right for self-determination and the self-seeking autocrat, between the dreams of a democracy and the appetites of an autocracy.”

“What we’re doing now is going to determine whether democracy will long endure and… whether the American system that prizes the individual bends toward justice and depends on the rule of law, whether that system will prevail. This is the struggle we’re now in, a struggle for democracy, a struggle for decency and dignity, a struggle for prosperity and progress, a struggle for the very soul of America itself.”

Biden listed the “fundamental values and beliefs that unite us as Americans.” First, “we believe the vote in America’s sacred, to be honored, not denied; respected, not dismissed; counted, not ignored. A vote is not a partisan tool, to be counted when it helps your candidates and tossed aside when it doesn’t.” “Second,” he said, “we…stand against political violence and voter intimidation.” “We don’t settle our differences…with a riot, a mob, or a bullet, or a hammer. We settle them peacefully at the ballot box.” Third, he said, “we believe in democracy…. History and common sense tell us that liberty, opportunity, and justice thrive in a democracy, not in an autocracy.”

“At our best,” the president said, “America is not a zero-sum society where for you to succeed, someone else has to fail. A promise in America is big enough…for everyone to succeed…. Individual dignity, individual worth, individual determination, that’s America, that’s democracy and that’s what we have to defend.”

He urged voters to judge the candidates by whether they would accept the legitimate will of the American people. “Will that person accept the outcome of the election, win or lose?” The answer to that question should be decisive. “Too many people have sacrificed too much for too many years for us to walk away from the American project and democracy…. It’s within our power, each and every one of us, to preserve our democracy.”

“You have the power, it’s your choice, it’s your decision, the fate of the nation, the fate of the soul of America lies where it always does, with the people, in your hands, in your heart, in your ballot.” ”

Source: Fwd: November 2, 2022 – dalindsayjr@gmail.com – Gmail

With Falsehoods About Pelosi Attack, Republicans Mimic Trump – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Speaking on a conservative radio talk show on Tuesday, former President Donald J. Trump amplified a conspiracy theory about the grisly attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, that falsely suggested that Mr. Pelosi may not have been the victim of a genuine attack.

“Weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks,” Mr. Trump said on the Chris Stigall show, winking at a lie that has flourished in right-wing media and is increasingly being given credence by Republicans. “The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out — so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out.”

There is no evidence to suggest that. Mr. Pelosi, 82, was attacked on Friday with a hammer by a suspect who federal prosecutors say invaded the Pelosis’ San Francisco home, bent on kidnapping the speaker and shattering her kneecaps.

But Mr. Trump, a longtime trafficker in conspiracy theories who propelled his political rise with the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, has never let such facts get in his way.”