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: Making the Most of the Coming Biden Boom

The economic outlook is probably brighter than you think.

The next few months are going to be incredibly grim. The pandemic is exploding, but Donald Trump is tweeting while America burns. His officials, unwilling to admit that he lost the election, are refusing even to share coronavirus data with the Biden team.

As a result, many preventable deaths will occur before a vaccine’s widespread distribution. And the economy will take a hit, too; travel is declining, an early indicator of a slowdown in job growth and possibly even a return to job losses as virus fears cause consumers to hunker down again.

But a vaccine is coming. Nobody is sure which of the promising candidates will prevail, or when they’ll be widely available. But it’s a good guess that we’ll get this pandemic under control at some point next year.

And it’s also a good bet that when we do the economy will come roaring back. [..]

Those of us worried about the future were relieved to see Trump defeated (even though it’s possible he’ll have to be removed forcibly from the White House), but bitterly disappointed by the failure of the expected blue wave to materialize down-ballot.

If I’m right, however, the peculiar nature of the coronavirus slump may give Democrats another big political opportunity. There’s a pretty good chance that they’ll be able to run in the 2022 midterms as the party that brought the nation and the economy back from the depths of Covid despond. And they should seize that opportunity, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the nation and the world.

Wajahat Ali: ‘Reach Out to Trump Supporters,’ They Said. I Tried.

I give up.

Seventy-three million Americans voted for Donald Trump. He doubled down on all his worst vices, and he was rewarded for it with 10 million more votes than he received in 2016.

The majority of people of color rejected his cruelty and vulgarity. But along with others who voted for Joe Biden, we are now being lectured by a chorus of voices including Pete Buttigieg and Ian Bremmer, to “reach out” to Trump voters and “empathize” with their pain.

This is the same advice that was given after Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory, and for nearly four years, I attempted to take it. Believe me, it’s not worth it.

The Quran asks Muslims to respond to disagreements and arguments “in a better way” and to “repel evil with good.” I tried. [..]

We cannot help people who refuse to help themselves. Mr. Trump is an extension of their id, their culture, their values, their greed. He is their defender and savior. He is their blunt instrument. He is their destructive drug of choice.

Don’t waste your time reaching out to Trump voters as I did. Instead, invest your time organizing your community, registering new voters and supporting candidates who reflect progressive values that uplift everyone, not just those who wear MAGA hats, in local and state elections. Work also to protect Americans against lies and conspiracy theories churned out by the right-wing media and political ecosystem. One step would be to continue pressuring social media giants like Twitter and Facebook to deplatform hatemongers, such as Steve Bannon, and censor disinformation. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump’s Michigan con: His supporters are so blinded by racism they keep falling for it

Ordinary GOP voters can’t even tell Trump is hustling them — their minds are clouded by bigotry and paranoia

If you want proof that Donald Trump is not an anomaly, but rather a symptom of the racism and anti-democratic yearning that define the modern Republican Party, look no further than what’s going on in Wayne County, Michigan. It’s the county that encompasses the majority-Black city of Detroit as well as many of its majority-white suburbs, and the normally staid process of certifying an election there has gone badly off the rails.

This situation starkly illustrates how Trump’s long-shot coup attempt — which is more a money-grabbing con job at this point — relies heavily on everyday Republicans being too blinded by their own racism and hatred for democracy to really grasp the ways Trump is using them, as he uses everyone. [..]

Their formal excuse for this refusal to was that the vote count apparently included a few minor mistakes and anomalies, of the sort that occur in any election, in the precinct counting reports. This would, at most, affect a few hundred votes in a county where Joe Biden won by 350,000 votes.

The real reasons, of course, were racism and a desire to steal the election for Trump. The two Republicans, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, were making a last-ditch attempt to keep the votes of Detroit, a city whose population is nearly 80% Black, out of the final Michigan vote count. It was a temper tantrum based on the longstanding, but usually better-concealed Republican belief that there’s something not quite right about letting Black people have the same right to vote as white people.

Eugene Robinson: Trump is trying to disenfranchise Black voters. The GOP isn’t stopping him.

No one should forget this, and no one should forgive it.

President Trump is trying to cling to power by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Black voters. His desperate legal maneuvering is straight out of the old racist Jim Crow playbook — and the vast majority of elected Republicans, to their eternal shame, are going along with him — whether actively or passively.

In Wisconsin, Trump’s campaign has paid for recounts in just two counties, one of which is Milwaukee County. In Michigan, Trump personally called two Republican officials who now want to decertify the vote in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. In Pennsylvania, Trump’s legal team has challenged vote-counting procedures and made unsupported allegations of fraud in two cities: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In Georgia, the Trump team filed a lawsuit targeting absentee ballots in Savannah, and another suit took aim at the state’s ballot-curing process.

The pattern is obvious and appalling: Trump and the Republicans are trying to invalidate votes in cities with large African American populations — cities that happen to have voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. In effect, Trump is arguing that Black people have no right to vote him out of office. [..]

Trump is weakening our democracy and setting back racial progress by decades. Republicans are acting as his willing accomplices. The nation should never, ever forget — or forgive.

William J Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove: This election showed how the Republicans’ racist ‘Southern Strategy’ is falling apart

Trump lost because of increased turnout among Black and brown people and their white allies. His appeals to fear and division failed

Like parents of a child who has suffered a sudden and unexpected loss, Senate Republicans have suggested they are willing to give the president time to come to terms with reality, asserting with straight faces that he is “within his rights” to challenge election results that disappoint him. All the while, these same senators have been asking Democratic colleagues to convey their congratulations to the president-elect, their former colleague, who they assume will understand the awkward position they find themselves in.

But Trump is not a child, and we cannot pretend that he is the only one who is not willing to move on. Make America Great Again was always a thinly veiled promise that white supremacy could mount a resistance to movements that challenge systemic racism with the prospect of a genuine, multi-ethnic democracy. Trump’s refusal to accept the election results is not simply about his own psychological needs. It is a performance in keeping with the Southern Strategy that has animated the Republican party for half a century.