If Ossoff wins, I’ll say: highlighting your opponent’s corruption is good. If he loses I’ll say: highlighting your opponent’s corruption is good even if it isn’t politically resonant enough for a Dem candidate to win a runoff election in Georgia that he also did not win on Nov 3.
My take is based less on the view that anti-corruption politics are effective (elections are weird and highly variable) than that corruption is bad and corrupt candidates should be held to account.
I do suspect anti-corruption politics are pretty effective in the scheme of things: corruption costs politicians popularity and elected office a lot; all challengers would rather run against corrupt opponents than squeaky clean ones.
Republicans seem to get this too. Obama’s administration was unusually ethical, but Republicans strafed Dems with insincere anti-corruption rhetoric from day one: Solyndra, cornhusker kickback, “crony capitalism,” Lois Lerner, Fast/Furious, Benghazi conspiracy theories, emails...
The shock of it has worn off after 4 years, but the transition between Obama’s scandal free 8 years and the Trump era was very jarring. Even with all the bad faith of those GOP attacks, I’d like to go back—except this time with a commitment to accountability for past crime.
I think ignoring corruption is bad practice, and can have profound consequences, even if data people argue with pseudoscientific rigor that ignoring corruption in favor of other issues is savvy. There’s more to politics than supposedly laboratory-optimized campaign tactics.

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More from @brianbeutler

17 Dec 20
Rules and norms (good and bad ones) don’t mean shit if they don’t apply generally. Republicans just spent four years cheerleading unhinged abuse of Democrats and their constituents by the president. They don’t deserve an apology, they deserve to be pilloried for their bad faith.
But once you’ve agreed in principle that Republicans deserve an apology for pretending that their feelings are hurt, they will keep pouring forth nonsense and demanding satisfaction. The cycle of abuse won’t end until you just say, “no way fuckers, fuck you."
Read 8 tweets
17 Dec 20
I take a more cynical view. Many Republicans clearly *thought* they had entered the “sabotage Biden era” and were thus inclined to block all stimulus, but Mitch realized that they’d miscalculated and being in lockstep “no” mode now might cost them their majority.
Put another way: If those GA races had been decided outright one way or another on Nov. 3, and the question of Senate control were already answered, would McConnell have hopped off the sidelines after months of being an impediment to pass a relief bill? I think the answer is no.
So when McConnell says do it for Kelly and David, he’s speaking to his and his members’ own instinct for self-preservation. It’s convincing not because Republicans are evolving ideology, but because he has the better read on what outcome will maximize GOP power.
Read 7 tweets
4 Dec 20
Who here thinks Mitch McConnell wants to help Joe Biden restore 11m jobs and then some?
Worth thinking medium-term about how this is all set up.

1. It‘s already dogma on the right that Trump created a miracle vaccine in a lab, so Republicans will kick up a shitstorm if anyone credits Biden with any aspect of the public-health recovery.
2. McConnell seems willing to pass one more small stimulus, BUT ONLY WHILE TRUMP IS STILL PRESIDENT. Then he’ll turn off spigot.

If it proves inadequate, the entire GOP will blame Biden for another slow Democrat recovery. If the economy rebounds quickly, well, that was Trump.
Read 4 tweets
30 Nov 20
Republican senators and their mediocre factotums like Drew are gonna do what they’re gonna do, but it will be professional failure to pretend to believe them when they pretend to be mad about government officials making “disparaging comments” about members of the other party.
When I’ve said we need new discourse norms to ostracize bad-faith actors, I was thinking ahead to this moment. How journalists cover Republicans pretending to care about deficits, tweets, etc. will go far toward determining whether the sabotage they’re plotting “works” or not.
Read 8 tweets
24 Nov 20
Can’t overstate how huge a failure it’ll be if reporters go right back to pretending to believe these people when they pretend to be mad about nonsense. ImageImageImageImage
It will, again, be an enormous failure if, after Trump, reporters covering nominations and appointments revert to pretending to believe Republicans when they pretend to have principled views about who should be allowed to staff the government. Image
It’ll fall to liberals and genuinely anti-Trump conservatives to police their own, but it’ll be an immense media failure if Republicans who pretend to have principled views about who should be allowed to staff (or lead!) the government aren’t laughed out of the room.
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov 20
A thought experiment: It is, alas, is EXTREMELY PLAUSIBLE that four years from now Trump will have won a rematch against Biden and we’ll be in the exact opposite situation. Imagine Biden tried to apply the new GOP precedent (no ascertainment, lawfare, lies) to that transition.
On one hand, that’d be wrong, and he wouldn’t do it. On the other hand it’s unacceptable for Dems to be bound by stricter norms than the other party. But on the other OTHER hand, Republicans would completely and shamelessly reverse themselves.
They’d use every tool of power available to them to get the transition started if Biden tried. They’ll sabotage a peaceful transition away from them then happily imprison anyone who sabotaged the transition to their own administration.
Read 6 tweets

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