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:

77 Days: Trump’s Campaign to Subvert the Election – The New York Times

“By Thursday the 12th of November, President Donald J. Trump’s election lawyers were concluding that the reality he faced was the inverse of the narrative he was promoting in his comments and on Twitter. There was no substantial evidence of election fraud, and there were nowhere near enough “irregularities” to reverse the outcome in the courts.

Mr. Trump did not, could not, win the election, not by “a lot” or even a little. His presidency would soon be over.

Allegations of Democratic malfeasance had disintegrated in embarrassing fashion. A supposed suitcase of illegal ballots in Detroit proved to be a box of camera equipment. “Dead voters” were turning up alive in television and newspaper interviews.

The week was coming to a particularly demoralizing close: In Arizona, the Trump lawyers were preparing to withdraw their main lawsuit as the state tally showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. leading by more than 10,000 votes, against the 191 ballots they had identified for challenge.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you all for this superb accounting. So much to do, to try and clean up this disaster. I hope it becomes a priority of the Biden administration to bring back the Fairness Doctrine for all journalism and social media, that was abolished by Ronald Reagan. I keep forgetting what exactly this docrtrine is, so here is a brief reminder:
“FCC fairness doctrine From Wikipedia,
The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011.[1] The fairness doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The demise of this FCC rule has been considered by some to be a contributing factor for the rising level of party polarization in the United States.[2][3]

Peter Wehner | The End of Trump Can Be the Beginning of America – The New York Times

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

“This is a text I received from a prominent conservative Christian minutes after President Biden’s Inaugural Address: “I broke down sobbing. It’s been a long five-and-a-half years.”

Shortly after that, Scott Dudley, senior pastor at Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Wash., emailed me a note that said, “I never thought I would be moved to tears watching a Democratic president get sworn in, but I was. It just felt so good to hear someone who understands and loves this country and constitution, and is an honorable person, take the oath. I’m praying for healing.”

I’ve had conversations with others who tell similar stories.

Joe Biden is an admirable human being, empathetic and generous in spirit, and his speech was elegant and uplifting. But the tears had to do with something else: We had just emerged from a national trauma. It was only two weeks earlier that the Capitol, on whose steps Mr. Biden took the oath of office, was under assault from a mob that had been incited by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in order to undo an election Mr. Trump lost.

David Lindsay on Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address

InconvenientNews.Net  1/22/21   That was quite an exciting day on January 20th.  I’m absolutely joyous, to be living now in the Biden era. I hope you all saw his inauguration, and the evening concert. They were inspiring.

The day was not without controversy. Two women of color on MSNBC and another network thought that the young poet upstaged Joe Biden. I thought Joe gave the best speech of his career, and the speech will be famous.

My sister Marney Morrison replied, “Re Joe Bidon and Amanda Gorman. Both are true – excellent speech and she was the best performer of the day – didn’t diminish him though – all the talent he attracted just raised his event up and amplified him and his administration.”

David Brooks wrote in the NYT today, that his favorite passage was this: “ “Here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days you need a hand; there are other days when we are called to lend a hand.” The Biden values are there: humility, vulnerability, compassion, resilience, interdependence, solidarity. Donald Trump’s patriotism was bloated and fear-based. Biden’s is the self-confident patriotism he absorbed by growing up in a certain sort of country during the American century.”

I hear in that historic speech, a dozen or so beautiful sentences or paragraphs. Hear are my favorite parts.   “We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.

So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.

We look ahead in our uniquely American way — restless, bold, optimistic — and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be. I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

“. . . I have just taken the sacred oath each of these patriots took — an oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us.  On “We the People” who seek a more perfect Union.”

“. . . Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now. A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.

In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  When he put pen to paper, the President said, “If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.”     My whole soul is in it.”

“. . . And so today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh. All of us. Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And, we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured. My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And, I believe America is better than this.”

“. . . Many centuries ago, Saint Augustine, a saint of my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we love that define us as Americans? I think I know. Opportunity. Security. Liberty. Dignity. Respect. Honor. And, yes, the truth.

Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders – leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation — to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

“. . . So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example. We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security. We have been through so much in this nation.

And, in my first act as President, I would like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic. To those 400,000 fellow Americans – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We will honor them by becoming the people and nation we know we can and should be. Let us say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, for those they left behind, and for our country. Amen.

This is a time of testing. We face an attack on democracy and on truth. A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis.

America’s role in the world. (Oops, right here the speech writer chickened out or ducked. Everyone gets to finish this opaque bullet point they way they like. Did they mean, America’s role in the world –diminished, or co-0pted by Vladimir Putin? I think they are probably saying, damaged by Donald Trump, without saying it.)

Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities. Now we must step up. All of us. It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.

And, this is certain. We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world for our children? I believe we must and I believe we will.”

David Lindsay:    I think that last paragraph above is my favorite. I love “cascading crises,” which echos the most ominous term in climate science, “cascading events.”  Cascading events are what will probably end life as we know and love it on this planet, if we continue to party and overpopulate and pollute. The most famous example that comes to mind, is that the melting of the frozen tundras of the world, causes the release of millions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane, which will lead to more global warming, leading to more melting  . . . . .  et cetera.  Scientist have warned for years that we are starting what might someday soon (?) be an unstoppable, cascading chain of events. Joe Biden gets it. He is begging our anti-science fellow citizens to listen to the scientists.

Politico:  “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation,” President Joe Biden said.

Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans. This is America’s day. . . .

Source: Full text: Joe Biden inauguration speech transcript – POLITICO

Thomas L. Friedman | President Donald J. Trump: The End – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Folks, we just survived something really crazy awful: four years of a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, each pumping out conspiracy theories without truth, brought directly to our brains by social networks without ethics — all heated up by a pandemic without mercy.

It’s amazing that our whole system didn’t blow, because the country really had become like a giant overheated steam engine. What we saw in the Capitol last week were the bolts and hinges starting to come loose. The departure of Donald J. Trump from the White House and the depletion of his enablers’ power in the Senate aren’t happening a second too soon.

Nor is Joe Biden’s inauguration, but he has his work cut out for him. Because we haven’t even begun to fully comprehend how much damage Trump, armed with Twitter and Facebook and leveraging the bully pulpit of the presidency and the cowardice of so many who knew better, has done to our nation’s public life, institutions and cognitive immunity.

This was a terrible, terrible experiment.

It’s not that Trump never did anything good. It’s that it was nowhere near worth the price of leaving our nation more divided, more sick — and with more people marinated in conspiracy theories — than at any time in modern history. We need to be simultaneously reunited, deprogrammed, refocused and reassured. The whole country needs to go on a weekend retreat to rediscover who we are and the bonds that unite us — or at least once did.”

Gail and Bret | Trump Isn’t Out the Door Yet – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Bret Stephens: Gail, given what’s happened in the past two weeks, Martin Luther King Jr. Day feels particularly meaningful this year. It seems as if the country is just holding its breath, waiting for the next Capitol Hill mob to descend, somewhere, somehow, on something or someone.

Is this 1968 all over again, or do you feel any sense of optimism?

Gail: Well Bret, I was actually around in 1968 — politically speaking.

Bret: Ah, but do you actually remember it?

Gail: There were certainly a lot of … distractions, what with a cultural revolution around every corner. And a terrible string of assassinations — after King, I can remember when Robert Kennedy was killed in June, feeling like nobody was safe from crazy people and right-wing racists.

Bret: Now it’s like déjà vu all over again. Donald Trump spent five years stoking the paranoia and loathing of his crowds, and now it has been unleashed. We’ll be living with it for years.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Bravo to both of you. Bret, sorry to hear you write:” I also have my doubts about some of Biden’s other ideas, like raising the minimum wage to $15, since a lot of the hardest hit businesses — restaurants in particular — will struggle with the extra labor costs.” I read in this prestigious newspaper, that economists in Europe point out that fast food workers all get $23 in the Netherlands, and it only adds about 30 cents to the cost of meal. Didn’t you study the velocity of money in economics?Oh, you skipped economics. The high minimum wage in European counties is part of why they are statistically happier, healthier, and safer than Americans today.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net. He also has an MBA from the Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Thomas L. Friedman | Trump Is Blowing Apart the G.O.P. God Bless Him. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

“When all the facts come out about the treasonous attack on the U.S. Capitol inspired by President Trump, impeaching him three times won’t feel sufficient. Consider this Washington Post headline from Monday: “Video Shows Capitol Mob Dragging Police Officer Down Stairs. One Rioter Beat the Officer With a Pole Flying the U.S. Flag.”

That said, while I want Trump out — and I don’t mind his being silenced at such a tense time — I’m not sure I want him permanently off Twitter and Facebook. There’s important work that I need Trump to perform in his post-presidency, and I need him to have proper megaphones to do it. It’s to blow apart this Republican Party.

My No. 1 wish for America today is for this Republican Party to fracture, splitting off the principled Republicans from the unprincipled Republicans and Trump cultists. That would be a blessing for America for two reasons.

First, because it could actually end the gridlock in Congress and enable us to do some big things on infrastructure, education and health care that would help ALL Americans — not the least those in Trump’s camp, who are there precisely because they feel ignored, humiliated and left behind.”

Opinion | Trump Is the Republican Party’s Past and Its Future – The New York Times

The op-ed is right on the money. It’s truth, argues that the next step, is for the Lincoln Project to start a new party, so it can disenfranchise, or remove from office, the no nothing racists that have taken over the party.

Dr. McGirr is a historian and the author of “Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right.”

“The appalling siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump insurrectionists, on the heels of their upset defeat in two Georgia Senate races the previous night, will require soul searching among Republicans about the direction of their party. Republicans will certainly seek to pivot from the riot, but the nativism, extreme polarization, truth-bashing, white nationalism and anti-democratic policies that we tend to identify with President Trump are likely to remain a hallmark of the Republican playbook into the future. These qualities will outlive Mr. Trump’s presidency because they predate it: Republicans have been fueling the conditions that enabled Mr. Trump’s rise since the 1980s.

A growing Southern and Western evangelical base pushed the party to replace its big-tent, bipartisan and moderate Republicanism of the mid-20th century with a more conservative version. Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the party had made peace with New Deal social provisioning and backed large-scale federal spending on infrastructure and education. Even as late as the 1970s, President Richard Nixon passed legislation expanding federal regulatory agencies. Yet when Ronald Reagan moved into the White house in 1981, the Republicans sharply slashed government regulations. They cut taxes for the wealthy and oversaw a hollowing out of the American welfare state. At the same time, the party shored up its heavily evangelical base with tough-on-crime policies, anti-abortion rhetoric and coded racist attacks on “welfare queens.” “

Opinion | Congress Should Bar Trump From Ever Holding Office – The New York Times

Deepak Gupta and 

Mr. Gupta is the founder of an appellate litigation law firm in Washington, D.C. Mr. Beutler is the editor in chief of Crooked Media.

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; photograph by Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Congress should use its constitutional power to prohibit instigators and perpetrators of last week’s violent siege of the Capitol, including President Trump, from holding public office ever again.

On Monday, House leaders introduced an article of impeachment against the president for “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” an obligatory action, given the gravity of the president’s transgression. But this is not the only route for ensuring accountability. The Constitution has another provision that is tailor-made for the unthinkable, traitorous events of Jan. 6 that goes beyond what impeachment can accomplish.

Emerging from the wreckage of the Civil War, Congress was deeply concerned that former leaders of the Confederacy would take over state and federal offices to once again subvert the constitutional order. To prevent that from happening, Congress passed the 14th Amendment, which in Section 3 bars public officials and certain others who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution from serving in public office. Although little known today, Section 3 was used in the post-Civil War era to disqualify former rebels from taking office. And, in the wake of perhaps the boldest domestic attack on our nation’s democracy since the Civil War, Section 3 can once again serve as a critical tool to protect our constitutional order.”

Amen!

Bret Stephens | Only Impeachment Can Save Republicans – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

If there’s one thing Republicans in Congress ought to consider as they weigh the merits of impeaching Donald Trump, it’s the story of the president’s relationship with Mike Pence.

In December 2015, then-Governor Pence tweeted, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” In April 2016, Tim Alberta reported that Pence “loathes Trump, according to longtime friends.” In July of the same year, Republican strategist Dan Senor tweeted, “It’s disorienting to have had commiserated w/someone re: Trump — about how he was unacceptable, & then to see that someone become Trump’s VP.”

You know what came next. Pence turned himself into the most unfailingly servile sidekick in vice-presidential history. He delivered the evangelical vote to Trump. He stood by the president at every low point, from the “Access Hollywood” tape to Charlottesville, Va., to Helsinki to the Ukraine call. He indulged Trump’s fantasies about a stolen election.

He betrayed his principles. He abased himself. Then Trump insisted that he steal the election. When Pence refused — he had no legal choice — Trump stirred the mob to go after him.

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Bret Stephens. It is not often that you go to Mitch McConnel for support. “The philosophical case is clear. Senator Mitch McConnell was eloquent and right: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost.” ” I have to disagree with the comment by Socrates. The GOP is not finished, and unfixable. I hope and support that the good citizens of the Lincoln Project do start a third party, which I suggest they call, The Party of Lincoln. If they run against Trumpster Republicans in two and four years, the Trumpsters could all be removed from office, replaced mostly by Democrats. Then, the Lincoln Project conservatives will be able to take back over the the defeated GOP if they want that brand for their own. I am of the same mind as others, like Thomas Friedman, who has written eloquently that our democracy needs at least two healthy, robust parties, to represent the democratic, moral and economic principles of both the left and the right, and hopefully both more centrist than the wing nut radicals of either.