Michelle hits this exactly right. There isn't a happy answer here. If you feel conflicted, you're right.

But that reflects a deeper fact of Trump, and those like him: They leave us with no good options.
The media faced a version of this for years. Ignore Trump's worst comments, his most noxious followers, and you're normalizing horrifying behavior. Cover them and you're giving them exactly what they want: Attention, energy.

It was always lose-lose. There was no good strategy.
The same is true with the platforms. Allow Trump and his minions untrammeled use and you become planning and promotional infrastructure for, eventually, a murderous insurrection. Kick them off and you're censors, wielding power few are comfortable you have.
Politics and society rely, to some degree, on virtue and self-restraint. It's not all rules and laws. The worse Trump got, the more awful the choices everyone else faced became.
That's how trolls operate: They push until they win, and your platform/conversation/country collapses, or until you censor, thus feeding their persecution complex, showing the powers-that-be really are silencing them.
The platforms didn't want to make these choices. That's why they refused to make them for years and years. They did nothing and more nothing, and the result was a violent attack on the Capitol that left people dead. They're acting now because inaction failed so totally.
Is this a good equilibrium? No! But there wasn't a good equilibrium on offer. Trump made certain of that. We elected a troll to the presidency, and the results were predictable to anyone who's ever been on a message board.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ezraklein

10 Jan
You should read this whole piece by @TimAlberta. One thing it makes clear: It's not just that "the fringe" no longer exists. It's that what was recently seen as the fringe is now the majority of, at least, the House Republican Conference. politico.com/news/magazine/…
But Washington is full of incentives — from wanting to be seen as evenhanded, to wanting to book House Republicans on shows, to wanting to maintain good sourcing, to wanting House Rs to vote for your bills or meet with your lobbyists — to face that fact clearly.
.@NormOrnstein and Thomas Mann have talked about the consequences that followed their book, the way the media boxed them in as partisans, rather than, as was the case, experts whose reputations should've been burnished for taking professional risk to voice their true conclusions.
Read 7 tweets
8 Jan
I've been thinking about this great @sarahkliff @sangerkatz piece on what Senate Democrats can and can't do on health care, which dives into what budget reconciliation allows.

I want to talk about how Democrats say "can't" when they mean "won't." nytimes.com/2021/01/07/ups…
It's true that budget reconciliation has all kinds of weird rules that make ambitious policy hard. And for the record, I loathe the budget reconciliation process. It's enormously stupid and destructive.
Rather than getting rid of the filibuster, senators abuse an unrelated legislative process that protects bills from the filibuster at the cost of worsening them substantively, and warping the priorities of the entire institution. See argument 6 here. vox.com/21424582/filib…
Read 8 tweets
7 Jan
I want to be careful in how I say this because obviously you can't just break into the Capitol and desecrate offices and hit police officers with pipes. People should be arrested. But I don't think they should be our focus.
These people were lied to, over and over, by officials at the highest levels of the American government, people with power and, presumably, knowledge. They trusted the President, and Republican members of Congress, to tell them the truth, and they believed what they were told.
And what they were told was that a crime of astonishing proportions had been committed. Power over the US government itself had been stolen, in broad daylight. And the thieves were just going to get away with it. Electoral politics had failed.
Read 8 tweets
5 Jan
"where the key division is all about who rules rather than what is done with power"

This is why the identity politics discourse is so backwards: The GOP is increasingly built on pure identity politics, while the Democratic coalition is still built on policy transactionalism.
Because Democrats have to mediate between different groups with different interests to hold their party together, they have to ground their politics in actual policy deliverables.

It's a disciplining internal structure, and there's no real analogue on the GOP side.
I make this argument in my book, but the thing we call "identity politics" is often most visible when it is weakest — when there's competition between different groups with different interests, the role of identity is obvious. When one group is hegemonic, it's often ignored.
Read 5 tweets
30 Nov 20
So Brian Deese will likely lead the National Economics Council. Deese spent the last few years running "sustainable investing" at BlackRock, which kicked off controversy among climate activists, but I think this is good news for climate policy, for a simple reason:
Even if Deese isn't your ideal of climate policymaker, he's the only plausible candidate for NEC whose actual focus and expertise is climate policy. And a WH where the NEC is led by a climate hawk is going to be quite different than one where climate is siloed elsewhere.
To lay my biases on the table first: I reported on Deese's work throughout the Obama administration, and have a lot of respect for him as someone who gets hard things done in government, wants to do the right thing, and grasps policy debates unnervingly fully and quickly.
Read 10 tweets
30 Nov 20
Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Ministry for the Future" is the most important book I read this year. It's near-future fiction about the world climate change is creating, and how it will change us, and we will change it.
There's more to say about the book than I possibly can here, but it's key virtue is it takes our present more seriously than we do. and then it asks questions many are afraid to ask — about capitalism, about the morality of violence, about how we ignore what we already know.
It's not just dystopia, to be clear. It's utopic, in a way. Robinson is imagining a world where we change course. But this is a grim kind of success. It's success with a body count. It's a warning to those reinforcing the status quo of what the eventual snapback might look like.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!