Republicans Have An Off-Ramp — They Need To Take It

The attack on Congress last week, and other extremist disruptions which may come in the days ahead, are being driven by the belief that an American election was stolen, and that proud “patriots” need to rise up to defend our democracy from those trying to dishonor it.

The election wasn’t stolen of course, and thus this entire radicalized pro-Trump extremist movement has been built on a lie. To stop the violence, restore order, and allow the next President and Congress — and state governments — to get on with their important business — Republican leaders across the country simply must tell their supporters that the election was legitimate and to stand down, go home, and help bring an end to the ongoing insurrection. …


In 2007 Pete Leyden and I wrote a long form magazine piece called the “50 Year Strategy” which made the case that two new, large and growing demographic groups — Millennials and Hispanics — had the potential to give Democrats a significant political advantage for many years to come. We wrote that piece because in the 2006 midterms, these two groups, starting to get to a significant size in the electorate, swung dramatically towards the Democrats. …


Time to sound the alarm on all the president’s cheating

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on September 3, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on September 3, 2020.
Photo: Jeff Swensen/Stringer/Getty Images

Cash-strapped and facing lagging polling numbers, President Trump is cheating — knowingly breaking the norms, rules, and laws of our political system — to remain in power. It’s not as if we shouldn’t have seen this coming: When the Senate failed to remove Trump for threatening to withhold federal aid from Ukraine unless it investigated Joe Biden and its — not Russia’s — role in the 2016 election, many warned he would read it as a green light to cheat even more aggressively in the election this year. Sure enough, here we are.

The scale of Trump’s cheating is breathtaking: using government resources for his reelection, including partisan attacks on Biden at official, taxpayer-funded events; appropriating the White House itself for partisan activity; launching a clearly illegal $250 million media campaign by Health and Human Services right before the election; sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service; wrecking the census; undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process itself; creating political space for Russia to once again intervene in U.S. politics on his behalf; brazenly manipulating media and using other disinformation tactics; employing deceitful campaign accounting to hide suspicious activity; coordinating with the absurd Kanye West campaign; and too many of Bill Barr’s activities to fit into one column. There is also the Senator Ron Johnson–led probe into a debunked conspiracy theory about Joe Biden and Ukraine — a project that reeks of partisanship and which U.S. intelligence has warned will only help Russia’s own disinformation campaigns. …


Someday, soon, America will have to look at and make sense of Russia’s years of attacks on our interests, its penetration of our political system, its brazen manipulation of our President. It will be a very ugly but necessary process. It is possible that news of Russia waging a successful campaign of assassination of US and UK troops in Afghanistan will be the impetus for a thorough public accounting of Putin’s slow burn insurgency against the US and the West — and it should.

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The Jan 2017 Intelligence Community report on Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election starts this way: “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.” …


Over the next few weeks school will end for most American students of whatever age, from college to pre-Kindergarten. With camps, recreational centers, community pools and sports teams unlikely to be at full strength this summer or operating at all, summer jobs non-existent, parties and social gatherings scaled way back, what exactly are all these kids going to do this summer?

This is more than just about the opportunity costs of young people not having enriching experiences, socialization, education, jobs and physical activity. If kids are home it is harder for parents to go back to work. If kids have nothing to do, some are assuredly not going to use all this free time wisely. Given how many young people we are talking about — at least 75 million or so — this is no small matter, and it is coming upon us very quickly. …


How a nation manages its information landscape in a pandemic is of vital importance. As we are learning, the ill-informed acts of a few can have a dramatic impact on the rest of us. We are now, and will be for perhaps the next eighteen months to two years, truly all in this together in ways which are not always so in a big, diverse nation like our own.

Thus, I think it is important for Democrats and responsible Republicans at all levels of government to dramatically step up their engagement with their constituents in the coming months. With travel and traditional legislating being significantly cut back, our elected leaders have more time to be using modern communications tools to become very present in the lives of their communities, at a time when accurate information can be the difference between life and death. Using tools like Zoom that allow large face to face conversations will not just be effective at communicating vital information, but will also keep the human connection that so many of us are struggling to maintain. …


The US had two choices on how to combat COVID19 — a national shut down or an universal testing/isolation regime like South Korea’s. 9 weeks into the crisis, the US has done neither, and so we now have some of the fastest growing infection rates that any country has experienced since the pandemic began.

Time is running out to prevent the virus from becoming something which fundamentally alters the American way of life. The President has made it clear he cannot lead us through the crisis, and thus is it time for Congress to take responsibility for developing and implementing a true national plan. …


Over the past 10 days, we’ve been calling on the President and Mitch McConnell to match the leadership we’ve seen come from the House in fashioning a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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The President’s mismanagement of the crisis has been a breathtaking sight. Eight weeks since our first COVID case, and twelve since the President was first briefed about the dangers of COVID, our national testing plan is still not up and running and thus we still can’t identify, isolate, and treat those who’ve been infected by a virus whose carriers are frequently asymptomatic; we have no strategy to build hospital beds/quarantine spaces and ensure that our medical professionals have the equipment they need to care for the sick; critical positions in the federal government’s response hierarchy, like the DHS Secretary, remain unfilled; and leadership is desperately lacking in ensuring that our elections run smoothly this year and in figuring out what to do with all of our kids if schools and summer activities remain closed and unavailable. …


“The 15 [cases], within a couple of days, are going to be down to close to zero” — Donald Trump, 2/27/20

In January, Mitch McConnell had his chance. He could have removed Trump from office. The case the House brought was overwhelming. A majority of the country wanted Trump removed. 75% wanted to see all the evidence. This venal, unwell, incompetent, vainglorious man could have been gone. Pence could have brought in Nikki Haley and started fresh, working to put Trump in the GOP’s rear view mirror. …


Even for an era of unrelenting political drama, the events of the past few weeks will earn a special place in the history books. Some combination of Bloomberg’s debate fiasco, Biden’s improved public performances and strong showing in Nevada, fear of Bernie and grave Bernie missteps, Clyburn and South Carolina rallying for Biden, and the incredible sight of Pete/Amy/Beto with the VP in Texas produced one of the more extraordinary electoral nights in our storied history.

It is important to note that the movement towards Biden began before South Carolina. Polls taken midweek last week in FL and NC showed significant movement, as did some late polls in South Carolina. Polls taken on Sunday and Monday showed continued movement, leading us to write on Monday morning that “Biden has a real shot at keeping it close on delegates tomorrow night and then opening up a permanent electoral/polling lead by later in the week — one that if maintained should be enough over time to outpace Bernie on delegates and win the nomination.” …

About

Simon Rosenberg

I run NDN/NPI, a DC think tank. Clinton & DNC alum, Tufts grad, Aspen Crown Fellow. Father of 3 great kids, truly lucky husband. Proud globalist.

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