Thomas Edsall | Why Trump Still Rules the Republican Party – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/21/opinion/trump-republicans.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

There is so much here to understand Trump’s political successes, I recommend you read the whole thing. I picked one of many good parts.

“. . .  At the heart of what the authors call “Trump-speak” is a

politics of reassurance, which relies upon a threefold rhetorical strategy: it tells audiences what is wrong with the current state of affairs; it identifies the political agents that are responsible for putting individuals and the country in a state of loss and crisis; and it offers an abstract pathway through which people can restore past greatness by opting for a high-risk outsider candidate.

Once an audience is under Trump’s spell, Homolar and Scholz write:

Rational arguments or detailed policy proposals pale in comparison with the emotive pull and self-affirmation of an us-versus-them crisis narrative, which creates a cognitive feedback loop between individuals’ ontological insecurity, their preferences for restorative policy, and strongmen candidate options. In short, “Trumpspeak” relies on creating the very ontological insecurity that it promises to eradicate for political gain.

The authors describe “ontological security” as “having a sense of presence in the world, describing such a person as a ‘real, alive, whole, and, in a temporal sense, a continuous person,’” citing R.D. Laing, the author of “The Divided Self.” Being ontologically secure, they continue, “allows us to ‘encounter all the hazards of life, social, ethical, spiritual, biological’ with a firm sense of both our own and others’ reality and identity. However, ontological security only prevails in the absence of anxiety and danger.” . . . “

Max Frankel | The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo – The New York Times

Mr. Frankel was the executive editor of The Times from 1986 to 1994.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Collusion — or a lack of it — turns out to have been the rhetorical trap that ensnared President Trump’s pursuers. There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.

Run down the known facts about the communications between Russians and the Trump campaign and their deal reveals itself. Perhaps, somewhere along the line, Russians also reminded the Trump family of their helpful cooperation with his past financial ventures. Perhaps, also, they articulated their resentment of Mrs. Clinton for her challenge as secretary of state to the legitimacy of Mr. Putin’s own election. But no such speculation is needed to perceive the obvious bargain reached during the campaign of 2016.

Early on, emissaries of the Russian oligarchs sent word of their readiness to help embarrass and undermine the Clinton candidacy. And in June 2016, the Russians lured the Trumpites to a meeting in Trump Tower with a promise of “dirt” against Mrs. Clinton only to use the meeting to harp on their hunger for sanctions relief. As the Trump family openly acknowledged, the Russians spoke at that meeting of a desire to again allow Americans to adopt Russian children. Since the adoptions were halted to retaliate against the American sanctions, it required no dictionary to interpret the oligarchs’ meaning: “dirt” for sanctions relief.

That relief and a warm new relationship with Russia were then freely discussed in public and in private. There was even an effort to concoct a grand diplomatic bargain by which the Russians would be allowed to legalize their seizure of the Ukrainian Crimea. Michael Cohen and other Trump advisers promoted the idea of letting the Russians “lease” the seized territory for up to 100 years so as to sanitize the reciprocal lifting of the sanctions that Mr. Obama had imposed to punish the land grab.”

David Lindsay: I missed this story, but it appeared today, 3/10/21, in a small piece in the NYT that a court dismissed a Trump law suit charging defamation, regarding this op-ed above.

 The sentence above about offering to allow adoptions to resume is confusing to this reader. Perhaps it is used an example that the Russians offered as many benefits as they could think of, if the Trumpsters would promise to remove the economic sanctions, that were hurting Putin and his group.

The message though is still clear, as expressed in the subtitle of that Frankel op-ed: “The campaign and the Kremlin had an overarching deal: help beat Hillary Clinton for a new pro-Russian foreign policy.”

Here is the link to the NYT story of today

Maureen Dowd | Trump’s Taste for Blood – The New York Times

“. . .  But once Trump got into politics, he realized, with growing intoxication, that the more incendiary he was, the more his fans would cheer. He found that he could really play with the emotions of the crowd, and that turned him on. Now he had the chance to command a mob, so his words could be linked to their actions.

Trump never cared about law and order or the cops. He was thrilled that he could unleash his mob on the Capitol and its guardians, with rioters smearing blood and feces and yelling Trump’s words and going after his targets — Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence.

It was Manson family-chilling to watch the House impeachment managers’ video with a rioter hunting for the House speaker, calling out: “Where are you, Nancy? We’re looking for you, Na-a-ncy. Oh, Na-a-ncy.”

It was like watching his vicious Twitter feed come alive. Others were chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” even as a gallows, complete with noose, was erected on the lawn. Watching those shivery videos, it hit home how Pelosi and Pence could have been killed and the melee could have turned into a far worse blood bath.

Trump not caring about the fate of his vice president was the inevitable sick end of the pairing of the Sociopath and the Sycophant.”   . . .

“. . .  CNN reported Friday night that Kevin McCarthy called Trump during the riot, telling him the mob was breaking his windows to get in. The then-president told him: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” The conversation ended in a shouting match. Yet McCarthy still voted against impeaching the president.

These dreadful Republicans are all Falstaffs, trampling the concept of honor, blowing it off as a mere airy-fairy word, not worth sacrificing anything for, not worth defending your country for. “Honor is a mere scutcheon,” Falstaff scoffed.

McConnell and the other craven Republicans realize now that they should not have played along with Trump as long as they did, while he undermined the election. But they still refuse to hold him accountable because he controls their voters.

The Democrats put on an excellent case, and they were right to impeach Trump. But if the Republicans won’t convict him, then bring on the criminal charges. Republicans say that’s how it should be done when someone is out of office, so let’s hope someone follows through on their suggestion.

A few days ago, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election there. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could drag Trump into court on tax and fraud charges. Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., has said that Trump could be charged for his role in inciting the riot.

Maybe a man who gloated as his crowds screamed “Lock her up!” will find that jurors reach a similar conclusion about him.”  -30-

 

Thomas L. Friedman | What Trump, San Francisco and the Deer in My Backyard Have in Common – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“What do the left-wing San Francisco Board of Education, Donald Trump’s right-wing G.O.P. and all the deer that hang out in my neighborhood have in common? So much more than you’d think. And the future of American democracy rides on understanding why.

Let me start with the deer. The reason they are so comfortable lollygagging through our yards and multiplying like rabbits is that they know from experience that they have no predators — no hunters, no mountain lions out here in suburban Maryland. So, they do all sorts of stupid stuff, like walk into the middle of the road and get hit by cars, rub the bark off tree trunks and eat all our flowers.

Well, those deer are like the San Francisco Board of Education when it recently decided — in a self-parody of political correctness — to prioritize renaming 44 public schools that had been named for people who, it argued, had exhibited racist behaviors in their lifetimes, including Abraham Lincoln, Paul Revere and Senator Dianne Feinstein. They put this task ahead of getting kids back into those schools, which have been shut for the pandemic.

Such nonsense happens because, like my deer, San Francisco’s school board has no political predators. Liberal Democrats dominate politics there, so there’s no serious threat from a conservative alternative.

That is a lot like Trump and his followers, whose attachment to him has become so cultlike that every other Republican leader knows that challenging Trump is potential political suicide. The result: He, too, has no serious predators (I don’t count a waffling Mitch McConnell). This reality, plus Trump’s warped character, made him so reckless that he believed that he could shoot a whole branch of the U.S. government in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and his base would stick with him. And he was right!

My deer and San Francisco’s school board are local problems. The fact that one of our two national parties would stick with a leader who dispatched a mob to ransack the Capitol in hopes of overturning our last election is an acute national problem — a cancer, in fact. And like any cancer, the required treatment is going to be painful for the patient.

For me, that starts with getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate, granting the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico statehood (they each have more U.S. citizens than Wyoming) and passing a new Voting Rights Act that forbids voter suppression. While that may sound hyperpartisan, it’s the necessary, but not sufficient, remedy for America to regain its political health.” . . .

Frank Bruni | When You Don’t Have Trump to Hide Behind – The New York Times

“In case you hadn’t noticed, the Lincoln Project — an organization as pointedly anti-Trump as any other, its rise and political relevance symbiotically tied to his — is unraveling.

It’s unraveling because one of its founders, John Weaver, was using his position to proposition young men. It’s unraveling because peers of his in the organization apparently sat on complaints about that, too pumped up by their currency as Trump slayers to let accusations against Weaver impede their mission and kill their buzz.

It’s unraveling because it can no longer hide what a financial boondoggle it was for some of its central players, who spoke of principle while lining their pockets. Yes, they made dynamite ads and an eloquent case about Trump’s betrayal of America. Their firms also made money from the hero status that they were accorded by Trump haters the world over.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Frank Bruni for this thoughtful, disturbing column. I was huge fan of of the Lincoln Party, but refused to support them financially, without more information. I reposted their brilliant ads, but surprisingly, there weren’t very many. Apparently my instincts not to send money were OK, but the real reason was that I was tapped out giving to Biden and DSCC et cetera, and many contributions to Individual candidates running to turn the senate blue. But many of the comments here say that the Lincoln Project made a major difference in the outcome of the races. Did they. Please, somebody research and help up all understand, how important were these petty crooks at bringing down Trump and other Trumpsters. We need more information, to safely and correctly figure out the place the Lincoln Project deserves in the last election, which was successful in ridding us of Drumpf the con artist, and liar in chief. The seditionist who impowered Putin, and betrayed our allies the Kurds and rebels of northern Syria. Maybe the Lincoln Project folks deserve all the accolades I just read through in the comments here after Frank Bruni’s thoughtful piece. Maybe they don’t.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Michelle Goldberg | Impeachment’s Over. Bring On the Criminal Investigations. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“A few hours after the Senate voted in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Saturday, I spoke to the lead impeachment manager, Jamie Raskin. He was crushingly disappointed. Despite Republicans’ indulgence of Trump over the last five years, despite the fact that three Republican senators met with Trump’s lawyers before they presented their defense, Raskin had so much faith in the overwhelming case he and his colleagues brought that, until the end, he held out hope of conviction.

“I’ve always been seen as a rose-colored-glasses guy,” he said. Raskin’s openhearted belief that Senate Republicans maintained a remnant of patriotic solidarity with their fellow citizens is part of what made his presentation so effective; he threw himself into it without fatalism or cynicism.

The House managers forced the Senate to reckon with the scale of the terror Trump unleashed on Congress. “I did see a bunch of the Republicans who voted against us, including Mitch McConnell, crying at different points,” said Raskin. The case was strong enough to win over even two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy, who’d initially voted against holding the trial at all.

But when it comes to McConnell and his caucus, cynicism always prevails.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Michelle Goldberg. This piece is flawless and sensational. It feels to like the best of your many good pieces, and probably the best. Your opening, about the big uncynical Jamie Raskin, believing he could turn the stone hearted Republicans to do their duty, had me close to tears. The top commenters loved this too. You took my breath away with your indictment and praise of Mitch McConnell: “The senator’s excoriation could have doubled as the House managers’ closing summation. To Raskin and the eight other managers, McConnell’s speech was at once a vindication and an insult, showing that they’d proved their case, and that it didn’t matter. McConnell voted to acquit on a manufactured technicality, arguing that a former president is “constitutionally not eligible for conviction.” His bad faith is awe-inspiring; it was he who refused to move forward with a trial while Trump was still in office. With his split-the-baby solution to Trump’s manifest guilt, McConnell seemed to be trying to stay on the right side of his caucus while calming corporate donors who’ve cut off politicians who supported the insurrectionists. But — and here’s the imprtant part — McConnell signaled openness to Trump’s prosecution in other forums. “He didn’t get away with anything yet — yet,” said McConnell. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”
Let the courts go after the con & bully.

Maureen Dowd | Trump’s Taste for Blood – The New York Times

“. . . .  CNN reported Friday night that Kevin McCarthy called Trump during the riot, telling him the mob was breaking his windows to get in. The then-president told him: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” The conversation ended in a shouting match. Yet McCarthy still voted against impeaching the president.

These dreadful Republicans are all Falstaffs, trampling the concept of honor, blowing it off as a mere airy-fairy word, not worth sacrificing anything for, not worth defending your country for. “Honor is a mere scutcheon,” Falstaff scoffed.

McConnell and the other craven Republicans realize now that they should not have played along with Trump as long as they did, while he undermined the election. But they still refuse to hold him accountable because he controls their voters.

The Democrats put on an excellent case, and they were right to impeach Trump. But if the Republicans won’t convict him, then bring on the criminal charges. Republicans say that’s how it should be done when someone is out of office, so let’s hope someone follows through on their suggestion.

A few days ago, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election there. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could drag Trump into court on tax and fraud charges. Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., has said that Trump could be charged for his role in inciting the riot.

Maybe a man who gloated as his crowds screamed “Lock her up!” will find that jurors reach a similar conclusion about him.”   -30-

Michelle Goldberg | You May Want to Forget Him, but Trump’s Trial Must Be Thorough – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

“Here’s a confession: I’m dreading the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, which begins on Tuesday. There are some nihilists who miss the former president’s presence in the news cycle, or who think others do, but I hated the last five years and am relieved that it’s over and he’s gone.

The Senate trial will almost certainly not bring justice, because Republican senators make up half the jury, and even if many of them privately disapprove of Trump’s insurrectionary attempts to cling to office, their base does not. If this process drags on, it will slow the urgent work of passing an economic rescue package, increasing human suffering and possibly the chance that the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene will retake the House in the midterms.

Yet it is still crucial that when the Senate trial commences this week, the House impeachment managers take all the time they need to make their case.

According to Politico, there’s tension between several managers, who reportedly want to call witnesses, and senior Democrats who just want to get the trial over with. The desire to rush is understandable, because Democrats are sacrificing valuable legislative time. But if they miss the opportunity to give the country the fullest possible picture of Trump’s treachery, that sacrifice will be in vain.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the real jury for this trial is not the Senate but the public. Most Americans have decided on Trump’s guilt: according to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent say Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again. But it’s still important for Democrats to tell the comprehensive story of how Trump tried to steal the election, and how that attempt ended in death and desecration.

This is necessary not just to cement Trump’s disgrace, but because his election lies are being used to justify new restrictions on voting. Trump’s attack on democracy didn’t begin on Jan. 6, and even though he’s out of office, it hasn’t ended.” . . .

Thank you Michelle Goldberg for this excellent and inspiring piece. It reminds me of my own fickle convictions. I was moved by the following comment, to remember a position I had months ago, that now seems timely, serious, and potent.

Richard Blaine
Not NYCFeb. 8
Times Pick

Over 100 Police were sent to hospital. 5 people died. . The Republicans effectively sought to impeach Bill Clinton for receiving oral sex in the Oval Office. . But inciting an insurrection isn’t enough? . Pressuring electoral officials to steal an election isn’t enough? . If that doesn’t merit conviction, then what does? . The GOP ran endless sessions on Sec. Clinton’s e-mails and “Benghazi”. Now they want this trial to end immediately. The Democrats should not do them that favor. . They should conduct a methodical, thorough investigation. Subpoena the man, and force him to obey the rules. For once. . They should take evidence from every witness. review every document, e-mail, text, and video. . If it takes two years, it takes two years. It took Watergate a long time to build momentum. . The Democrats should keep at it. Until the man’s support evaporates. Until Republican Senators are no longer afraid. Until the Republicans can no longer face the daily water torture of another disclosure, each worse than the last. Until the Republicans stop their bad-faith posturing and denial. Until they learn the meaning of shame. . Until the Republicans are so desperate to end the trial that they admit the truth, and vote unanimously to convict. . Get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes. It is about the Rule of Law and the survival of Democracy. . Nothing is more important.

13 Replies769 Recommended

‘Trump Just Used Us and Our Fear’: One Woman’s Journey Out of QAnon – The New York Times

Last week there were many articles I wanted to share from the NYT. I put it all off to get other stuff done, but this one news report haunted me. I had learned so much about some of the Trump supporters who embraced QAnon, which is mysterious source for a collective of conspiracy theories. Is Q an agent of the Russian FSB, formerly called the KGB? Q is doing a great deal to undermine the foundations of our democracy.

“. . . The theories can be malevolent, causing real-life damage to people who end up in their cross hairs: the parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook mass shooting who have been harassed by conspiracists, or a Washington pizza restaurant shot up by a man who had come to take down a child trafficking ring he believed was housed inside. Q sweatshirts dotted the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

But while much has been said about how people descend into this world, little is known about how they get out. Those who do leave are often filled with shame. Sometimes their addiction was so severe that they have become estranged from family and friends.

The theories seem crazy to Ms. Perron now, but looking back, she understands how they drew her in. They were comforting, a way to get her bearings in a chaotic world that felt increasingly unequal and rigged against middle-class people like her. These stories offered agency: Evil cabals could be defeated. A diffuse sense that things were out of her control could not.

The theories were fiction, but they hooked into an emotional vulnerability that sprang from something real. For Ms. Perron, it was a feeling that the Democratic Party had betrayed her after a lifetime of trusting it deeply.

Her immigrant family, from the former Yugoslavia, were union Democrats in working-class Detroit who had seen their middle-class lifestyle decline after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. As an inspector for the insurance industry, she spent decades in factories seeing union jobs wither. Still, she stayed with the party because she believed it was fighting for her. When Bernie Sanders became a presidential candidate she found him electrifying.

“He put into words what I couldn’t figure out but I was seeing around me,” said Ms. Perron, who is now 55. “The middle class was shrinking. The 1 percent and corporations having more control and taking more of the money.”

She felt sure the Democratic establishment would back him, and she began volunteering for his campaign, meeting many new friends in the movement. But she felt that the news media was barely covering him. Then he lost the 2016 primary. When she began reading through leaked emails that fall, it looked to her like the party establishment had conspired to block him.” . . .

What We Learned from Trump’s Effort to Overturn the 2020 Election Results – The New York Times

“For 77 days between the election and the inauguration, President Donald J. Trump attempted to subvert American democracy with a lie about election fraud that he had been grooming for years.

New York Times examination of the events that unfolded after the election shows how the president — enabled by Republican leaders, advised by conspiracy-minded lawyers and bankrolled by a new class of Trump-era donors — waged an extralegal campaign that convinced tens of millions of Americans the election had been stolen and made the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol almost inevitable.

Interviews with central players, along with documents, videos and previously unreported emails, tell the story of a campaign that was more coordinated than previously understood, even as it strayed farther from reality with each passing day.

Here are some key takeaways: