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VOTE NOVEMBER 6th 💙 @Rindie62
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CAN THE REPUBLIC STRIKE BACK?
By Andrew Sullivan

Whatever else it will be, Tuesday will be a relief. We will finally find out where we are in the surreal dystopia of the last two years. We will see, in a tangible way, what America now is.

These years have been
2/38 overwhelmed and saturated by a single figure with no political experience, who won almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, has had consistently lower approval numbers than any of his recent predecessors, and speaks and acts in ways no previous president ever has.
3/38 He has cast a staggering spell over a hefty segment of the population, and he has earned the intense loathing of the rest. And for these very reasons, it has been tortuously hard to see what is in front of our noses.

Is this the new normal? Or has this been a
4/38 detour into the freak zone, with a president accidentally elected, a major party temporarily hypnotized, but with a population still aware of something called reality? We’ve tried and tried these past two years to figure that out, and there are many layers of meaning here,
5/38 but we haven’t had a clear test of anything. Polls are not elections. Only elections are elections. We are entering the human phase of the trials.

There are few historical guides. It is hard to think of a precedent for a president who endorses violence against
6/38 political foes, sees the Justice Department as his own personal prosecutor, calls the press “the enemy of the people,” tears children from parents, brags of multiple sexual assaults, threatens to lock up his opponents, enthuses about war crimes, “falls in love” with the
7/38 foulest dictator on the planet, refuses to divest of personal holdings in office, lambastes allies, treats the Treasury as a casino, actively endorses the poisoning of the environment, destabilizes NATO, baits minorities, lies incessantly, and oversees a resurgence of the
8/38 white nationalist right. Any single gesture in any one of these areas would have been political death for most previous presidents. But we live in a time when we have come to expect that all this can now empower and even reward an American politician, rather than ruin him.
9/38 Next Tuesday will tell us whether that expectation is misplaced. Our polarization is so strong a real wave will be hard to achieve. But a president with this record and of this character can still be rebuked, repelled, and rejected, and, more importantly, so can his party.
10/38 I know no more than anyone else, and yet I feel in my bones the opposite of what I felt two years ago. Then, it seemed obvious to me that Hillary Clinton had not sealed the deal, or come close to it, and that the freshness of the underdog and the populist tenor of the
11/38 times could easily give us a Trump presidency. Now, it feels like the opposite. My instincts tell me that every single person whom this president has dismissed, insulted, or demonized will show up to vote. If they do, they will pierce the Trump bubble. They were a majority
12/38 two years ago, after all, before this nightmare of governance began. They could be a bigger majority next Tuesday.

Delivering a defeat to Trump will not, of course, be a defeat of Trumpism. White anxiety and discomfort in the face of mass immigration is not going to
13/38 disappear. As I argued last week, it will likely intensify. The global pressures that suppress wages are not waning. The despair in so much of left-behind America cannot be blotted out indefinitely with fentanyl. The collapse of local communities is not going to turn around
14/38 overnight, and automation is unstoppable. Fear of change is correlated to the pace of change, and the latter shows no sign of deceleration.

You can describe the new divide — and the forces propelling Trump — in many ways: open versus closed, fluid versus fixed, liberal
15/38 versus conservative, anywhere versus somewhere. It’s healthy and natural that a new alignment would form given our new circumstances. But this new alignment is organized less around policy or the role of government, than on the feelings of security and confidence in the
16/38 modern world. And in our current crisis, the closed, fixed, fearful view of the world is, understandably, in the ascendant. Putin, Brexit, Trump, Xi, Salvini, Alternative for Germany, Duterte, Bolsonaro, Orbán — we know the deal by now. Tom Edsall made a vital point
17/38 yesterday in the New YorkTimes, citing a new study. In America, a center-right country, those with “fixed views” are 42 percent of the electorate; those with “fluid views” are 32 percent; and those hybrids in the middle (which is where I find myself) are 26 percent. More to
18/38 the point, the hybrids “are more like the fixed than they are the fluid.”

Trumpism, in other words, is the new normal. It is not going away. And there is no going back. The challenge for the center-right and center-left across the West is to accommodate this new normal in
19/38 ways that do not empower authoritarianism, provoke constitutional unraveling, or incite civil unrest. And it seems to me that the lesson of the last two years is that the Republican Party is unable and unwilling to perform that function. It has turned itself into a cult
20/38 behind a figure hostile to liberal democratic norms, responsible government, and any notion of moderation. It is less a political party than a mass movement sustained by shame-free, mendacious propaganda around a man whose articulated values place him more in the company of
21/38 Putin and Duterte than Merkel and Macron.

The GOP cannot be talked out of their surrender to this strongman. With each rhetorical or policy atrocity, they have attached themselves more firmly to him. The dissenters are leaving; the new members of Congress will be even
22/38 Trumpier than the old. They have abandoned any serious oversight role. Their singular achievement has been supplying judicial ranks who will not stand in the way of executive power. That was the real issue in the Kavanaugh nomination, as Newt Gingrich blurted out last week.
23/38 A subpoena for the president from the special counsel would be fought, he promised, all the way to the Supreme Court, which is when we would see “whether or not the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.” This is a party bent on enabling authoritarianism, not restraining it.
24/38 That’s why I will vote Democrat next Tuesday. I have many issues with the Democrats, as regular readers well know. None of that matters compared with this emergency. I don’t care, in this instance, what their policies are. I am going to vote for them. I can’t stand most of
25/38 their leaders and fear their radical fringe. I am going to vote for them anyway. Because it is the only responsible thing there is to do.

This president is quite clearly unfit for his office. If he is checked by the Congress, he will still be a danger — to the rule of law,
26/38 the Constitution, and civil peace. But if he remains unchecked — and even vindicated by a midterm Republican success? After the themes he has involved and exploited — especially in this final week? After the massive lies he has told, in greater frequency these past few
27/38 weeks than ever before? What he will learn from all that beggars belief.

It is time — way past time — for the opposition to be other than the press. It is time for it to be the Congress where it rightly belongs. Trump loves the unelected press as a foil; he has had a huge
28/38 success in pivoting off it. It is harder to pivot off an elected opposition.

More to the point, the press doesn’t have subpoena power. The Fourth Estate can present fact after fact and it will not deter Trump telling lie after monstrous lie. But Congress has real power.
29/38 The press can’t get his tax returns. Congress can. The press can’t truly discover the depth of the corruption in his administration. Congress can. The press can’t publicly cross-examine Cabinet members, order functionaries to answer questions, kill proposed legislation,
30/38 and air everything where it should be aired — on Capitol Hill. By delivering the House to the opposition, we are doing one small thing to rebalance the scales.

And that balance is desperately needed. Trump’s danger to the Constitution is clear, not least in his looming
31/38 assault on the special counsel. There are only two resorts in the face of it: elections and impeachment. The former is far preferable to the latter. In this instance, a divided government again will provide another advantage. One-party rule has strained this democracy. The
32/38 Electoral College, gerrymandering, the structure of the Senate, and demographics have given us a government actively indifferent and even hostile to half the country. That single party has now taken firm control of the Supreme Court as well. It will very likely retain
33/38 control of the Senate in January. Capturing the House is the only way the republic can strike back.

It may be a critical path to preventing civil unrest. As this past tragic week has again shown, this president has enabled bigots and cranks. The flourishing of white
34/38 nationalism, the rebirth of hideous anti-Semitism, the dehumanization of the brown and the black, the deployment of cruelty against children, the celebration of violence — we have had politicians like this before, but we have never had a president like this. The power of
35/38 words delivered with authority, especially from the White House, should not be underestimated. Trump has brought about a great, mass disinhibition. And when it has murderously erupted into violence — from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh — he has shown himself incapable of
36/38 restraining it. That he unleashed the most racist ad since Willie Horton days after a terror attack on Democratic leaders, a hate murder of two African-Americans, and a mass shooting of Jews at prayer by a far-right bigot reveals who he is. He doesn’t care about the
37/38 stability and cohesion of this country. He cares only about himself. If we survive another two years of this man we will all be lucky. If he remains utterly unchecked, we may very well not be.

The Italian leftist, Antonio Gramsci, famously wrote, “The crisis consists
38/38 precisely in the fact that the old is dying & the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” We live in such a time & we have in front of us one of those morbid symptoms: the current Republican Party. You know what to do.
@sullydish
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