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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Roger Cohen: Mr. President, Pack Your Bags and Be Gone

Trump wants to preserve, protect and defend only himself.

The ruler broods, alone with his rage and shame, undone by rejection, his mind, like Macbeth’s, “full of scorpions,” plotting to overturn facts and destroy American democracy. His lackeys, and only they remain, try to humor the master in his labyrinth.

Donald Trump, departing president, lost in an election that a division of the Department of Homeland Security has now called “the most secure in American history,” with no “evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”

Mr. President, get the boxes, get the tape, pack your bags and be gone.

He can’t. He won’t. It’s not in the man. Truth is unbearable. Fraud! Rigged! Trump can no more accept defeat than recall the fact that he took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

His only vow is to preserve, protect and defend himself. He has never been able to see beyond that orange face in the mirror. No Bible offers consolation to this man, no creed, no truth, no sense of decency, not even Fox News now, nothing.

Robert Reich: Trump’s refusal to concede is just the latest gambit to please Republican donors

Millions who should be ranged against the American oligarchy are distracted and divided – just as their leaders want

Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

Charles M. Blow: Trump, the Absolute Worst Loser

He has spent his life gaming the system, so it’s no surprise that he can’t accept defeat.

Donald Trump lost the election. He knows it. But he won’t admit it.

He still hopes and believes that there is a way for the courts to erase enough votes to tip the election in his favor. This will not happen.

His legal challenges in swing states across the country are largely being met with defeat and setback. In court, you have to provide evidence. Lies, accusations and conspiracy theory don’t cut it. Trump has spent his life gaming the system. It is unfathomable to him that this system can’t be gamed.

In the end, Trump hopes to push his case to the Supreme Court, where he has seated three conservative justices. That is also not likely to be a winning strategy.

Trump believes he can use the judiciary as a weapon against the American people. The judiciary is not likely to allow itself to be used.

Barring that, he is committed to destroying faith in the electoral process itself. If he didn’t win, he insists he must have been cheated because, in his mind, failure is not a possibility.

Like he has done for the entirety of his presidency, he is lying, concocting a narrative detached from reality.

Michelle Goldberg: The Post-Presidency of a Con Man

Out of office, Trump might seem a lot less formidable.

It’s hard to tell whether Donald Trump is attempting a coup or throwing a tantrum. [..]

But there’s cause for comfort, of a sort, in signs that the president is preparing for life outside the White House in exactly the way one would expect — by initiating new grifts. Trump has been sending out frantic fund-raising requests to “defend the election,” but as The New York Times reports, most of the money is actually going to a PAC, Save America, that “will be used to underwrite Mr. Trump’s post-presidential activities.” Axios reports that Trump is considering starting a digital media company to undermine Fox News, which he now regards as disloyal.

These moves suggest that while Trump may be willing to torch American democracy to salve his wounded ego, at least part of him is getting ready to leave office.

Laurence H. Tribe: Republicans are playing with fire. And we all risk getting burned

The party is challenging the outcome of the election without any proof of fraud. Their degradation of democracy will reverberate for years to come

Our system requires legitimate government, which requires legitimate elections. As Senator Chris Murphy put it, if Republicans convince half the country that “those people that got elected were illegitimately chosen, then so must be the actions they take when they get in office.” [..]

Even if violence doesn’t ensue this election cycle – and I fervently hope it won’t – the degradation of democracy will reverberate for years to come. Democratic self-government is not a condition, it’s a practice. The colonies practiced for over 150 years before forming a union, and even then they succeeded only on the second try. We practiced poorly for a century before unshackling our fellow citizens, and it took another 50 years of effort to enfranchise America’s women. We have not been perfect, but we have constantly endeavored to embody our ideals, to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people will flourish in our great nation.

When we begin to doubt that government does reflect and represent the people, we begin to doubt that it ever can.

Republicans are sowing those seeds of doubt. And if we allow them to germinate and grow, we’ll soon find thorny disunion where our manicured garden of democracy once bloomed. No, the gates won’t be overrun and yes, the Biden administration will take office on 20 January.

But we should all worry whether that will be enough. To Republican leaders: democracy needs your help to flourish. Please, put patriotism above party loyalty before it’s too late.