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.

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Paul Krugman: A Republican Senate Would Be Bad for Business

What’s bad for America would be bad for corporations, too.

So the blue wave fell short of expectations. Joe Biden will be the next president, but unless Democrats pull off an upset in the Georgia Senate runoffs — which, to be fair, they might, given the remarkable strength of their organizing efforts there — Mitch McConnell will still be the Senate majority leader.

Big business seems happy with this outcome. The stock market was rising even before we got good news about prospects for a coronavirus vaccine. Corporate interests appear to imagine that they will flourish under a Biden presidency checked by Republican control of the Senate.

But big business is wrong. Divided government is all too likely to mean paralysis at a time when we desperately need strong action.

Why? Despite the vaccine news, we are still on track for a nightmarish pandemic winter — which will be made far worse, in human and economic terms, if a Republican Senate obstructs the Biden administration’s response. And while the economy will bounce back once a vaccine is widely distributed, we have huge long-term problems that will not be resolved if we have the kind of gridlock that characterized most of the Obama years.

Eugene Robinson: Republicans are wrong. Trump has no ‘right’ to cause this chaos.

While Trump pursues his ‘rights,’ he neglects his duty and abuses the country

Don’t listen to lying Republicans, like Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who say President Trump “has every right to look into allegations” in an attempt to overturn the election. This is nonsense.

Trump has no “right” to file frivolous lawsuits in bad faith and demand recounts that have no chance of changing the outcome. He has no “right” to make wild claims of fraud without presenting a shred of credible evidence. He has no “right” to delay and disrupt the most important performative act in our democracy — the peaceful and orderly transfer of power. But he does have a duty to his country, and, like with so many other obligations, Trump is neglecting it to the point of abuse.

Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris won an election that was not all that close, and GOP quislings McConnell, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) know it. They know this is nothing like the cliffhanger of 2000, which hinged on a few hundred votes in a single state. Trump is trying — or pretending to try — to somehow change or nullify hundreds of thousands of votes in at least six states. [..]

The symbolism of a graceful concession is more important than the nuts and bolts of the handoff, especially for a president-elect with Biden’s vast experience, though especially in this pandemic, the nuts and bolts do matter. The Biblical book of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Trump is petulantly weakening a divided nation’s faith in its hoped-for and unseen foundational ideals — and of all the terrible things this awful man has done to our country, this could be the worst.

Catherine Rampell: Trump has deliberately made our government more dysfunctional. Here’s how Biden can fix it.

Biden must focus on policy, people and public trust.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to “restore the soul of America.” It is a worthy, poetic goal. Another, more prosaic objective also lies before him: fixing America’s plumbing.

By which I mean repairing the machinery of government, which has been corroded by Trumpian incompetence and malevolence. In the months ahead, there are at least three areas that need the Biden transition team’s urgent attention: policy, people and public trust.

The federal government is a massive, slow-moving ship. Even in the best of times it is often dysfunctional. But for the past four years, the Trump administration has deliberately made parts of government more dysfunctional, throwing sand in the gears in order to sabotage programs the president doesn’t like that are nonetheless required by statute.

The processing of various immigration applications has slowed, for instance; the number of enforcement actions against polluters, white-collar criminals and even child-sex traffickers has plummeted.

Where agencies still remain at least superficially functional, they have been steered toward helping the president’s own political and financial interests — by awarding contracts to cronies, say, or weaponizing antitrust and other state powers against perceived enemies. Indeed, arguably the biggest contrast in governing philosophy between President Trump and Biden is not over government size, per se; it’s whether government should serve the interests of the governed.

Amanda Marcotte: The far right is cracking up, as their violent fantasies of Trump’s fascist takeover evaporate.

QAnon, the Proud Boys and white nationalist groups flail around helplessly as twilight falls on the Trump era

The far right had a dream: That one day, people who had been exiled to the unacceptable margins of American political life could play the role of Donald Trump’s brownshirts. [..]

Then came the election. Trump lost. This has been very difficult for those people to accept.

People with fanatical and delusional beliefs famously don’t give them up just because they’ve been hit over the head with reality, of course. The various subcultures of crackpots that have sprung up under Trump are no exception.

Still, the election results have sent these groups reeling. All of them have spent the past four years growing their ranks and orbiting around Trump, convinced that he was a savior figure who would crush their perceived enemies.

For believers in QAnon, that belief manifested in a fantasy that Trump was going to round up all the members of the “deep state,” their imaginary shadowy conspiracy of Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and progressive activists that they believe both secretly runs the world and is also a network of Satan-worshipping cannibal pedophiles. Trump, they told themselves, was secretly organizing “the storm” to round up and destroy this sinister global conspiracy.

But since Trump’s election, Q — a user account that started on 8chan and drifted over to 8kun after 8chan was disbanded — has fallen silent. QAnon faithful believe the account is run by a current or former U.S. intelligence agent and Trump loyalist. In fact, it’s probably run by the father-and-son duo Jim and Ron Watkins, who are conspiracy theorists and definitely not U.S. intelligence agents. Without Q’s guidance, the QAnon cult appears to be confused and angry.

Richard Wolff: Trump’s refusal to concede follows his pattern of incompetence and delusions

The Trump administration has been living in a state of denial for the last four years – this is just the latest incident

Like all good seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the end of the Trump era is a heady mix of sweet melancholy.

There will come a time, soon, when world leaders look back on the last four years with a wry smile and a shake of the head. Instead of the sheer blood-draining horror of sitting beside a sociopathic maniac with the power to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust.

For now, we must savor the last oozings of this Fall of Donald.

He cuts a tired and bloated figure, to be sure. He tweets less, but he does so in ALL CAPS. All the time. He promises the most amazing revelations and achievements, coming very soon, just like he said they would. [..]

But next week is when some states begin certifying their votes. The electoral college meets in one month. Now isn’t the time for making progress, or for recycling the slogans of losing campaigns long gone. A week after losing the election, now is the time to deliver the goods, or be delivered for good.

As all good Arsenal fans know, it’s the hope that kills you. And Trump has likely killed more than 700 fans (or their friends) with his awesome campaign rallies.