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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Ian Martin: The madness of King Trump, America’s sulky George III sequel

Like the deranged King George III, the QAnon lionheart has lost America

e went mad and lost America”. A conventional summary of King George III, the tragic figure who took on the colonies, sending in his troops to “dominate” the streets and crush resistance. Alas, the war of independence didn’t end well, for George anyway. Defeated, bipolar, suffering frequent manic episodes, he retreated to Windsor Castle having nevertheless amassed an impressive library and a reputation for cultured intelligence.

A couple of centuries and 45 presidents later, Old King Trump sits barricaded in the White House doing nothing much. His face puckered into that trademark rosebud of petulance. Barking at underlings. Pretending HE won because a lot of Democrat votes were from dead people and very illegal. His sulky-toddler folded arms, like that time he refused to say a single kind word when fellow Republican and war hero John McCain died. There’s something almost majestic about Trump’s utter contempt for the office of president.

Karl Marx – apparently the evil genius behind peaceful protest and Medicare – said that historical entities appear twice, “first as tragedy, then as farce”. That feels about right.

Amanda Marcotte: Hey, Republicans — your guy lost. Can you please take the coronavirus seriously now?

Coronavirus denialism was entirely about helping Trump win the election — so can his voters move on now it’s over?

In the weeks leading up to the election, Donald Trump made a promise: That “on Nov. 4, you won’t hear” anything more about what he sarcastically called “COVID COVID COVID.” He loved this line and repeated it over and over again at rallies, to raucous cheers from crowds of conservatives who, despite rising rates of coronavirus infection and death, wanted dearly to believe the pandemic was being overblown to hurt Trump’s re-election chances — or even that the whole thing has been a hoax from the start.

Like most things that Trump says and his followers believe, of course, this was not true. The election came and went — and Trump lost, whether or not he admits it — but the coronavirus pandemic remains in the news as pretty much the top story, is as jaw-dropping new records in transmissions are set nearly daily and hospitals are overflowing. In fact, the U.S. had over a million transmissions in one week, meaning that nearly one in 10 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 did so just in the last seven days or so. Public health experts believe things will get much worse, as many Americans ignore the warnings not to travel or socialize over the holidays.

The election is over. Trump’s promise that the coronavirus would miraculously evaporate after the election has been proved false. One major question remains: Will Republicans finally start taking this pandemic seriously, now that there are no political points to score with continued denial?

Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern: Of Course We Should Scorn Trump’s Sleazy Election Lawyers

Donald Trump’s campaign to have the 2020 presidential election decided in the courts has run into a serious snag: the courts. Depending on how you count, the campaign is about 1–24, with one lawsuit after another jettisoned from courtrooms in Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, by judges of all ideological and political stripes, many of whom have made plain that these claims are lacking in even minimal indicia of specificity, accuracy, or detail. As one suit after the next is narrowed or withdrawn altogether, the victim industrial complex that forms the backbone of the Trump strategy will soon have to find something new on which to blame his defeat. The next target is likely to be big prestigious law firms, which they will say were bullied out of representing the president’s interests by vicious partisan attacks. In fact, some prominent attorneys have already begun criticizing the criticism of Trump’s legal team. They fret that going after Trump’s lawyers could lead to a broader campaign against law firms that take on unpopular clients, a practice that undergirds our legal system’s ability to function. Just as someone has to defend accused murderers, someone had to file these Trump suits, they say.

But nothing can be further from the truth. The firms that lined up to try to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in Michigan or Pennsylvania based on claims they failed to research, refuse to check, or never believed in the first place should be scorned and sanctioned—not because they stepped forward to defend an unpopular client who had a right to representation but because they willingly and cynically volunteered to help Trump try to reach victory at any cost.