Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: The War on Truth Reaches Its Climax

Trump is telling two big lies, and a third will come soon.

I began writing a column for The Times way back in 2000. My beat was supposed to be economics and business. But I couldn’t help noticing that one of that year’s contenders for the presidency was systematically making false claims about his policy proposals. George W. Bush kept insisting that his one-percent-friendly tax cuts were targeted on the middle class, and his plan to privatize Social Security just wished away the system’s obligations to older Americans.

At the time, however, my editors told me that it wasn’t acceptable to use the word “lie” when writing about presidential candidates.

By now, though, most informed observers have, I think, finally decided that it’s OK to report the fact that Donald Trump lies constantly.

Many of the lies are trivial, often bizarrely so, like Trump’s repeated claims to have received an award that doesn’t even exist. But the president has closed out this year’s campaign with two huge, dangerous lies — and there’s every reason to fear that this week he will roll out a third big lie, perhaps even more dangerous than the first two.

Michelle Goldberg: Finally, a Chance for Women to Defeat Trump

How four traumatic years turned Georgia into a swing state.

After Donald Trump was elected, the first time I felt any hope was at the Women’s March. The second was when I went to Georgia to cover the 2017 special election to fill the House seat vacated by Tom Price, who’d just become Trump’s secretary of health and human services.

Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, an affluent area once represented by Newt Gingrich, was considered safely Republican, but Democrats saw a chance to use the special election to register their fury and disgust with the new president. They poured money and resources into the campaign of a first-time candidate, Jon Ossoff.

When I arrived in the district, though, it wasn’t Ossoff who caught my attention. It was the legions of women who’d never been particularly political before, but who were shocked into activism by Trump’s victory. Many of them had previously put their energy into PTAs and homeowners associations. They had a deep, granular knowledge of their community that couldn’t be bought, and they were using it to find every one of their neighbors who might be open to voting Democratic.

Eugen Robinson: Defeating Trump is only the first step in our national recovery

He awakened something ugly in America. Voting him out is the start of reckoning with it.

Boarding up storefronts in the days before an election isn’t something we do in this country. Supporters of one presidential candidate don’t use their vehicles to create havoc on major highways or to threaten a bus filled with supporters of the other candidate. We don’t go into Election Day wondering if all the votes will be counted — or if everyone will accept the outcome. We don’t turn a deadly pandemic into a political issue. None of this happens in the self-proclaimed greatest democracy on Earth.

Until now.

It is tempting to blame all the chaos and conflict we’re living through on President Trump — and to hope that if Trump is defeated, things will snap back to the old normal. But Trump is a mere symptom, not the disease itself.

As he campaigns for Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama has riffed on a memorable line from his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama: “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” More than that, the Trump presidency has revealed who we are as a nation. [..]

Even if Trump gets the electoral drubbing he deserves, the cleavages he has so successfully and destructively exploited will still endanger us. Covid-19 will still plague the land. No election can erase the fact that we have more cases and deaths than any other nation. Whether or not Trump is defeated, his influence can linger: Too much of the country is refusing to regularly wear masks because the hated “other tribe” insists that everyone should, making a bare face the 2020 equivalent of a “Make America Great Again” hat.

Still, however, I remain a congenital optimist. One thing that gives me hope is the fact that so many of us — nearly 100 million, as of Monday — defied both the raging pandemic and widespread attempts at voter suppression to cast ballots before Election Day.

We can’t begin to solve our problems unless we talk to one another, and elections are the venue for that conversation. We may be yelling and screaming across the divide, but it’s a beginning — and you have a part to play. Vote.

Catherine Rampell: Russia can stand down. The GOP is interfering with election results all on its own.

The Republican Party has been singularly focused on preventing eligible voters from reaching the polls, and blocking already lawfully cast ballots from being counted.

Russia, Iran and other foreign adversaries tempted to interfere in U.S. elections can take it easy Tuesday. They needn’t waste precious resources tampering with vote tallies or degrading the perceived legitimacy of our election results.

Americans like to think of our country as a place with a shared set of democratic values. We’re a nation in which whoever receives the most votes, according to some predetermined set of rules, wins. But recent developments reveal the sharedness of these values to be a fantasy. In the months leading up to the presidential election, the Republican Party has been singularly focused on preventing eligible voters from reaching the polls and on blocking lawfully cast ballots from being counted.

One party, and one party alone, has abandoned the old-fashioned electoral strategy of appealing to a majority. Instead, it has fully, openly embraced voter suppression. [..]

At this point, the only way to avoid a protracted legal battle, and any doubts about the perceived legitimacy of the outcome, would be for Biden to win in an in-person-and-on-Election-Day-ballot-count landslide. That way the absentee, drive-through and provisional ballots that Republicans are trying to invalidate won’t end up mattering.

But even so, the broader issue still would.

Because let’s be honest. America can’t continue calling itself a democracy if it throws out tens or hundreds of thousands of ballots cast in good faith, for transparently anti-democratic reasons, simply because a political party asked for it. We can’t continue to pretend our judicial branch is made up of neutral, qualified individuals calling balls and strikes — at least not when the courts have been packed with appointees vetted for their inclination to cement a partisan agenda that Republican politicians openly expect voters to reject.