Archive

November 20th, 2016

The 200-year era of 'left' and 'right' is over

    U.S. democracy may be government of the people, by the people, for the people. But who are "We the people"?

    In the United States, every couple of years, one finds out. Elections reveal how the identity of the people - the sovereign person - has changed in body, will, and soul. As with human beings, certain moments in the life of the sovereign being are revealing of its true personality. Donald Trump's victory was one such moment.

    Before the primaries, it was possible to dismiss the electoral relevance of white working-class America, and those left behind by globalization more broadly, and many did: Look no further than the desiccated Washington-consensus platitudes regurgitated by Hillary Clinton and most of the Republican primary candidates.

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Stop protesting democracy: Saying #notmypresident is the same as saying #notmyconstitution

    What was lost in the election last week?

    Decency. Humanity. Morality. All the way around.

    From protesters destroying property in Portland, Oregon, to racists destroying a sense of safety in Silver Spring, Maryland, too many people are undermining the foundation of our country in the aftermath of a polarizing election. And our first order of business is to fix it. Because this is about democracy, really.

    Donald Trump is going to be our president. And saying #notmypresident is the same as saying #notmyconstitution or #notmycountry or #notmyAmerica.

    It is our America. All of us.

    Yes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. A majority of Americans who voted last week - and a totally shameful 43 percent of y'all stayed home, and you better not have been at those protests if you did - voted for her.

    But the same constitution that gives protesters the right to peaceful assembly also created the electoral college that gave Trump the White House.

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It's not just Trump. People freaked out over Nixon and Reagan, too.

    Donald Trump's election has been greeted by a considerable portion of the country with panic. Large swaths of commentators have described his victory as a potential disaster for the nation - placing a "xenophobic racist" and "clown" in the Oval Office. One Hillary Clinton supporter outside her hotel in New York the morning after the election said, "I'm feeling physical pain. I'm shocked. I'm sad." Articles with headlines like "Day of Mourning," "An American Tragedy" and "Autocracy: Rules for Survival" have bounced across the Internet. As the New Yorker's David Remnick wrote, "This is surely the way fascism can begin."

    At times like these, it helps to look to our past for perspective. And the truth is that we've been here before, many times, throughout the 19th century and in living memory.

    In 1968 and 1980, the same liberal, educated and urban swaths of the country voiced similar fear and despair about the outcome - a sense that the nation as they knew it could not survive. And yet here we are, decades later, still enamored with the republic they were sure was doomed.

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Giuliani explains why Trump can't do a real blind trust: It 'would basically put his children out of work'

    Good-government types were already crying foul over Donald Trump's intention to put his children in charge of his business during his presidency. And now that those same children are on Trump's transition team, these groups are even more concerned about conflicts of interest.

    Trump loyalist Rudolph Giuliani seemed to acknowledge in a CNN interview Sunday that it wasn't an ideal set-up. But then he offered a remarkable defense. "He would basically put his children out of work if - and they'd have to go start a whole new business, and that would set up the whole - set up new problems," Giuliani said on "State of the Union."

    Giuliani added: "It's kind of unrealistic to say you're going to take the business away from the three people who are running it and give it to some independent person. And remember, they can't work in the government because of the government rule against nepotism. So you would be putting them out of work."

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Clinton may have lost, but women still won

    There will be the temptation to see Hillary Clinton's defeat as evidence that a woman can't rise to the top. If we're not careful, the dominant gender will whisper in the backroom, let's not nominate one of them again.

    But it will happen, nonetheless -- and thanks to Clinton. Just seeing her win her party's nomination and triumph in three debates has ingrained the idea that a female president is inevitable. Multiple female candidates will stand upon Clinton's shoulders as she stood on others'. In her memoir "Hard Choices," she wrote that the venerable Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith's challenge to Barry Goldwater for her party's nomination in 1964 inspired her to run for class president. They both lost and they both soldiered on.

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As a sheriff, I know that jail is not always the answer

    When a Charleston, South Carolina, patrol officer stopped a young mother outside Walmart after store officials reported that she was shoplifting groceries, her first thought was of her children. Who would watch them if she were arrested? She could not afford the food she had taken for her family - let alone a babysitter, an attorney or bail.

    As the sheriff for Charleston County, I know that if the encounter had taken place a few years ago, she would likely have gone to jail, sending her and her children's lives into an economic and emotional tailspin. In the past, law-enforcement officers had no alternatives to taking someone to jail for nonviolent offenses such as shoplifting. Fortunately, that was not true in her case.

    Instead, the officer employed a new approach called "cite and release." Rather than jailing the woman for a low-level, nonviolent offense, the officer gave her a citation for shoplifting, instructed her to appear in court at a later date and let her go. She returned home to her children that day instead of spending weeks in jail awaiting trial at no benefit to public safety and to the detriment of her family.

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Actually, Democrats, you don't need those white men

    The Republican Party kept telling Donald Trump that he needed to win over demographic groups outside the conservative base, like Hispanics. He didn't. He won anyway.

    Well, Democrats, take heart. You, too, can ignore well-meaning advice from your allies. Disregard anyone who tells you to reach beyond your base. You don't need working-class white men. You already have the constituencies that you need.

    As analysts continue to crunch the numbers on how Trump won, the key demographic that represented his path to victory was rural counties in the Midwest. Hillary Clinton mostly held on to the large urban counties that voted for President Barack Obama, but she got routed in midsize cities and rural areas. Essentially, Trump got the rural Midwest to vote like the rural South, a trend in motion for the past few elections as states like West Virginia, Indiana and Missouri trended red. Despite this, the election was close, coming down to 100,000 voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Everything broke right for Trump -- at least in the Electoral College. He lost the popular vote.

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I wish President Trump failure

    The people chose Hillary Clinton. But it's the electoral vote that counts, not the popular vote, so Donald Trump will be president. And no, I'm not over it.

    No one should be over it. No one should pretend that Trump will be a normal president. No one should forget the bigotry and racism of his campaign, the naked appeals to white grievance, the stigmatizing of Mexicans and Muslims. No one should forget the jaw-dropping ignorance he showed about government policy both foreign and domestic. No one should forget the vile misogyny. No one should forget the mendacity, the vulgarity, the ugliness, the insanity. None of this must ever be normalized in our politics.

    The big protests that have followed Trump's election should be no surprise. You can't spend all those months trashing our nation's values and then expect everyone to join you in a group hug. Trump made the bed in which he now must lie.

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Girding to defend freedom of the press

    What really makes America great?

    It's the meaning of 45 words found in the Bill of Rights. Here they are, the entire First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    Everything we have - everything that makes us unlike any other nation - flows from those words and the protections they offer for free expression.

    Donald Trump's presidency is very likely to threaten those First Amendment rights.

    If they are damaged or removed, we'll be like a lot of unenviable places.

    "Freedom of speech is a rare thing, after all. It's one of the big differences between the United States and a place like Cuba," wrote John Daniel Davidson last March in the Federalist. "Cuba has no freedom of the press - or rule of law. Libel is whatever the regime says it is."

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November 19th

Now the Democrats must rebuild from the ashes

    Hillary and Bill Clinton have been at the center of U.S. politics for the last-quarter century; for more than 100 years only Richard Nixon showed such durability.

    Now, as Democrats face their worst crisis since the 1920s, it's time for the Clintons to ride into the political sunset. New ideas and new faces need to emerge. Despite Hillary's graceful concession speech and some of the virtues of her campaign, many Democrats believe her shocking loss to the unpopular Donald Trump was in no small part self-inflicted.

    The Democrats, who see themselves as the governing party, are in deep despair. Republicans will control the White House, both chambers of Congress, with the prospect of making the Supreme Court more conservative. Republicans also control two-thirds of the state houses.

    The losing party faces an internecine ideological battle, as the Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders left-wing insist they need a sharper, better-defined populist agenda and more moderate Democrats argue for a more centrist message.

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