I always feel an undercurrent of despair when I talk to liberal partisans about the elections. A sigh that beating Trump is not enough, but all that can be done. Yes, Democrats are just a shot at best to turn the Senate around. And yes, even if they succeed, Mitch “Grim Reaper” McConnell can obstruct the majority with the filibuster, and it would not be a matter for the next president but for the 50th Senator, ideologically, to agree to someone like Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, the change of the Senate rules to remove the 60-vote threshold for legislation. (There is always a budget vote, but this limited path leads through the same conservative elements.)
But this reality need not provoke progressive fear. Anyone who tells you that a democratic victory next November would only mean four years of endless stalemate has not considered the possibilities outlined in this issue. And if you have any doubts about the possibility of strong executive action, let me draw your attention to Donald Trump.
Make no mistake: Trump is an autocrat more than willing to break the law to deliver on his election promises. His appeal to inherent, extreme executive power, mainly suggested by Attorney General William Barr, is indeed dangerous, as was former Representative Brad Miller interprets for us later in this issue. Trump has asserted the right to ignore the oversight function of Congress, reinterpret laws based on his own preferences, hide information from lawmakers and the public, promise pardons before illegal acts take place, acting heads of federal agencies without advice and Senate Approval to Appoint and Raise the Specter of Emergency to Keep its election promises.
But in a significant number of cases, Trump’s path has emerged from a simple proposition: if Congress gives the executive authority, the president can actually use it.[…]
Three more articles worth reading
Awake, by Rebecca Traister. The past four years have spawned a progressive movement so extraordinary that it may outlive the forces threatening its extinction.
The right-wing violence trump card he has encouraged has deep roots in American history, By Dolores Janiewski and Chad Pearson. The extreme right-wing violence that Donald Trump has fomented has deep roots in US history. Throwing him out of office won’t change that – but it would deal a blow to proper vigilance.
The south has already changed, by Adam Harris. Jaime Harrison lost to Lindsey Graham but expanded the Democrats’ vision of what is possible in the deep south.
“In a democracy, someone who is not elected to office can always comfort himself with the thought that there is something not entirely fair about it.”
~~ Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (411 BC)
TWEET OF THE DAY
Now seems like a good time to remind those Trump appoints that the destruction of federal records is a crime. And it will be easier than you think to prove that you did it.
– Walter Shaub (@waltshaub), November 4, 2020
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos that day in 2018– What does Foreign Minister Pompeo mean by “restoring democracy” in Iran?
In 2014, when he was just a Kansas Congressman, Mike Pompeo, now Secretary of State and one of the neo-conservative club’s most combative ideologues, was bragged that it would take just 2000 [bombing] Operations to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity. “Last month he wrote in Foreign Affairs his view on how reintroducing sanctions should bring Iran to its knees and fulfill Washington’s commandments or be overthrown by a population angered by a battered economy. Colin H. Kahl, The co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a former national security and defense official in the Obama administration dismantled what he calls Pompeo’s “dangerous deception” in a subsequent essay in Foreign Affairs.
David E. Sanger at The New York Times Reports:
“We want to restore democracy there,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, declaring that regime change is the goal. “We think the Iranian people want the same thing.”
A genuinely democratic, socially liberal, non-aggressive Iranian government that gives high priority to human rights would certainly be a welcome change from the brutal one that is responsible now. While Iran exhibits some features of democracy, it is characterized by corruption that favors the clerical elite, holds large numbers of political prisoners, perpetrates torture and other brutality, and has a long list of human rights violations that target gay people. The election protests in 2009 showed that many Iranians would like a different form of government. For each of the thousands of demonstrators who dared to face Iran’s pernicious religious zealots on the streets, for everyone Neda Agha-Soltan Murdered by government henchmen, there were undoubtedly dozen who quietly cheered them on from home but were afraid to join the opposition. You deserve better.
Like the Saudis. But neither Pompeo nor Trump make any noise about the sanctioning of the royal autocracy of this kingdom. It doesn’t take imagination to figure out why.