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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Jennifer Rubin: Time to call out the GOP’s new Jim Crow tactics

Millions of Republicans do not support white supremacy, but they delude themselves when they ignore this rotting core of their party.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which oversees elections in Detroit, provoked outrage Tuesday night after its members deadlocked over whether to certify its county’s results for the presidential election. Eventually, Republicans on the board caved to certify the results, asking Michigan’s secretary of state to conduct an audit of the election.

Before the reversal, the Trump campaign’s legal adviser celebrated the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of African American voters [..]

Let’s be brutally honest: We have not seen a coordinated effort of this magnitude and geographic breadth to disenfranchise African American voters since the Jim Crow era. Trump — who has embraced white supremacist symbolism (e.g., the Confederate flag, military bases named for Confederate generals), defended an accused White vigilante murderer, deployed anti-immigrant fearmongering, cheered on Proud Boys and tried to scare White suburbanites with the prospect of racially integrated neighbors — is now leading a campaign that seeks to exclude African American votes. This should remove any doubt that the Trumpist Republican Party, like many right-wing populist parties in Europe, is at its core a racist enterprise.

We are urged not to assume bad motives of our opponents. Any suggestion that we hold accountable the purveyors of lies and racist memes is met with howls of protest. The idea that it would be better for the country and for the center-right to level the Republican Party with a wrecking ball provokes a spasm of rage. But let’s get real.

Karen Tumulty: Lindsey Graham’s claim that he wasn’t interfering in the Georgia vote doesn’t add up

Why in the world was Graham nosing around in the ballot-counting process of a state he doesn’t even represent?

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, when he says that one of President Trump’s most reliable allies pressured him to throw out legitimate votes during a laborious hand recount of ballots in a state that Joe Biden won by a nose? Or Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) who says that he was doing nothing of the sort when the two of them talked last Friday?

“If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,” Graham said. “I actually thought it was a good conversation.”

A good conversation. It is hard to miss the uncomfortable echo of Trump’s claim that he was impeached for a “perfect phone call,” in which he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 to dig up dirt on Biden’s son.

But at least in Trump’s case, it was not hard to see why he and Zelensky would have been on the phone. Heads of government speak to each other all the time.

Why in the world was Graham, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, nosing around in the ballot-counting process of a state he doesn’t even represent?

Amanda Marcotte: The crackpot factor: Why the GOP is worried about turning out the vote after Trump

Future GOP candidates lack Trump’s secret sauce for attracting new voters — his appeal with Crank-Americans

Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the election are fruitless. His legal theater is going nowhere, and it’s becoming apparent that this is more about shaking down credulous supporters for cash than about actually overturning the election results. Michigan pounded another nail in Trump’s coffin Tuesday, when two Republicans who were blocking the vote certification in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, relented in the face of public outrage. It’s all over but the grifting, which will likely continue as long as Trump keeps getting people to give him money for his “legal defense” — money that is being funneled through a PAC and likely straight into Trump’s pocket.

Yet the Republican establishment is still tiptoeing around Trump, coddling his fragile ego by refusing to admit he lost the election. Some are going a step further, such as South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been exerting pressure on state officials to toss out legally-cast ballots. Why are all these Republicans so afraid of Trump, who will no longer be president in 63 days? [..]

Trump is a turnout machine for Republicans, who have been desperately casting around for years now for a way to save their party despite demographic changes that make the Democrats more popular among voters. The question of whether there will be Trumpism after Trump now dogs both Republicans who want to replicate their electoral successes under the reality TV president and Democrats who dearly hope this whole disaster was an anomaly.

Rebecca Chowdhury: Joe Biden Owes His Victory to the Left, No Matter What the Democratic Party Says

Organizers, not consultants, delivered key states like Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. Democrats ignore this reality at their peril.

In the after­math of the 2020 elec­tions, Demo­c­ra­t­ic offi­cials have sparred over who’s respon­si­ble for the party’s unex­pect­ed loss­es in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Mod­er­ates (or ​cor­po­rate Democ­rats” as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.) has dubbed them) claim that calls to defund the police, end frack­ing and ensure Medicare for All spooked mod­er­ate vot­ers and helped tip oth­er­wise com­pet­i­tive con­gres­sion­al races. Mean­while pro­gres­sives point to their more con­ser­v­a­tive coun­ter­parts’ refusal to embrace pop­u­lar poli­cies that increase vot­er turnout and sub­stan­tive­lyaddress insti­tu­tion­al racism or invest in strate­gies like dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing and orga­niz­ing.

Over the past week, In These Times spoke to nine orga­ni­za­tions from Ari­zona to Geor­gia to Penn­syl­va­nia, each of which played a major role in turn­ing key coun­ties and states blue. Togeth­er, these groups showed how Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties increas­ing­ly ignored by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in favor of white sub­ur­ban­ites can defeat Trump­ism by swing­ing entire states. Although the pres­i­dent man­aged to increase his vote share with peo­ple of col­or, these orga­ni­za­tions’ achieve­ments rein­force the impor­tance of mobi­liz­ing low-income vot­ers with cam­paigns that address their mate­r­i­al conditions.

Ursula Wolfe-Rocca: The United States Is Not a Democracy. Stop Telling Students That It Is.

When our students only learn about this exceptionally strange system from their corporate-produced history and government textbooks, they have no clue why this is how we choose our president.

When U.S. voters cast their votes in the 2020 November election, an unchecked pandemic raged through the nation, uprisings against racism and police violence stretched into their eighth month, and new climate change-intensified storms formed in the Atlantic. The reactionary and undemocratic system by which we select our president was an insult to the urgency of the moment. Although the most recent tallies show more than 5 million more people voted for Joe Biden than for Donald Trump, thanks to the Electoral College, it took several days to learn who won. To the relief of many, it appears that this time — unlike 2000 or 2016 — the candidate who got the most votes nationwide also won the election.

When our students only learn about this exceptionally strange system from their corporate-produced history and government textbooks, they have no clue why this is how we choose our president. More importantly, they develop a stunted sense of their own power — and little reason to believe they might have the potential to create something better. [..]

On November 2, 2020, one day before the general election that would deny him a second term, Donald J. Trump issued an executive order establishing the 1776 Commission. The commission’s mandate? A “restoration of American education” to emphasize the “clear historical record of an exceptional Nation dedicated to the ideas and ideals of its founding.” President Trump has been defeated, but this commitment to institutionalize the teaching of American exceptionalism has not. We educators must fight for a curriculum that teaches our students facts not fables. The United States has never been a democracy, defined by freedom and equality for all. But nor has there ever been a time when people did not struggle toward a democratic future, dreaming of freedom, risking life and limb to make those dreams manifest, and creating a more just society along the way. Let’s teach civics and history that affirms for our students there is nothing sacrosanct in the political and economic status quo, that freedom fighters, past and present, are founders too, and we all have a right to be framers — to redesign this structurally unsound house to better shelter our lives, safety, comfort, and full humanity.