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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Robert Reich: America is being subjected to a stress test – and Republicans are failing

Most elected Republicans are refusing to stand up to Trump. Their cowardice is one of the worst betrayals of public trust in the history of our republic

Financial regulators subject banks to stress tests to see if they have enough capital to withstand sharp downturns.

Now America is being subjected to a stress test to see if it has enough strength to withstand Donald Trump’s treacherous campaign to discredit the 2020 presidential election.

Trump will lose because there’s no evidence of fraud. But the integrity of thousands of people responsible for maintaining American democracy is being tested as never before.

Tragically, most elected Republicans are failing the test by refusing to stand up to Trump. Their cowardice is one of the worst betrayals of public trust in the history of our republic. [..]

That squalor extends down to Republican members of a board of canvassers in Wayne county, Michigan (which includes Detroit) who, after Trump phoned them last week, tried to rescind their approval of ballot counts that went overwhelmingly to Joe Biden. On Friday, Trump invited Michigan’s Republican lawmakers to the White House, hoping to persuade them to ignore the popular vote, too.

American democracy wasn’t designed for this degree of political depravity.

Here’s the good news. The vast majority of officials are passing the stress test, many with distinction.

Amanda Marcotte: Republicans aren’t scared of the Trump & Rudy show — they love this stuff

Republicans aren’t staying quiet because they fear Trump — this clown-car coup has nothing but upside for them

Donald Trump and his, uh, lawyer Rudy Giuliani are moving into the next phase of Trump’s attempted coup, which entertainingly involves Giuliani sweating out the previous day’s martinis into his hair dye while barking incomprehensible conspiracy theories at bewildered reporters.

Unfortunately, the less amusing and more worrisome aspect of the whole ordeal involves Trump’s efforts to lean on Republican-run state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors in states where Joe Biden clearly won.

Like most people reading this, I, too, wish I had a crystal ball and could look into the future at Jan. 20, 2021, to see how this all shakes out. In the meantime, the main point of concern is that nearly all Republican politicians are, to one degree or another, supporting Trump’s efforts. [..]

The common theory in the political class is that this silence is borne out of fear of Trump and his tweeting fingers. Former President Barack Obama, who has been blunt in his concerns about the threat Trump represents to our democracy, characterized the GOP’s passive consent to this coup exactly this way.

Richard Wolff: Let’s count the ways Donald Trump has tried to subvert this election, shall we?

Here are some of the most slimy steps down the slippery slope towards The End of America As We Know It

Donald Trump is the kind of populist who hates the people: specifically, the clear majority of the people who voted him out of office.

So he has set about one last gambit – what Dick Cheney liked to call “the last throes” – to steal the election he lost by gumming up the electoral college.

He will fail in his crass attempts to corrupt the election, just as he has failed in his crass lawsuits to challenge the vote counts. Just as he has failed in his entire presidency.

But let’s not brush aside this moment because of its grotesque ineptitude and corruption. It’s not just another Trump tantrum. It may not be a coup, but it is an attempt to destroy American democracy forever.

So let us count the ways this loser of a president has tried to Trumpify America’s elections.

And let us never forget that he did so in cahoots with the formerly Grand Old Party that used to belong to Republicans but now belongs to the Trumpistas.

Here are some of the most slimy steps down the slippery slope towards The End of America As We Know It.

Karen Tumulty: Republican leaders swore an oath to defend the Constitution. That means telling Trump it’s over.

Who in the Republican Party would be capable of doing what their country’s interest calls them to do today?

Where is our Barry Goldwater? Our John Rhodes? Our Hugh Scott?

As President Trump becomes more and more detached from reality, it is past time for him to hear directly from senior members of his own party that he must accept his loss to President-elect Joe Biden and participate in a peaceful transfer of power.

Trump needs to hear this directly, not via a concerned tweet here and there. Republicans cannot deliver the message by cluck-clucking to the media behind a cloak of anonymity. Instead of stepping up to the national interest that beckons, they have indulged the president’s narcissism and abetted Trump in spreading unhinged conspiracy theories that claim the election was stolen.

And what has that done? It has encouraged Trump to become more and more reckless, more and more lawless, to the point where he is putting the arm on Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in their states.

On Friday, Michigan legislative leaders Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield were summoned to the White House. Reports have it that Pennsylvania officials will be next.

It is a subversion of democracy unlike anything we have ever seen. And it demands a response from the president’s own party, on the order of what happened late Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 7, 1974.