Don't normalize this
Calling Trump's behavior quixotic is like calling the Watergate break-in a prank. The press, and the rest of us, watched with little real worry as McConnell blew a permanent hole in the way the senate did business by abusing the filibuster, using budget shutdowns as a regular component of politics, and blocking supreme court nominations simply by not allowing them to be considered. Seeing Trump's contemptible behavior following the election as quirky risks eventually seeing this sort of behavior as normal politics. I share Eric's concerns on this one.
The media should also be making it clear that Republicans set the stage for Trump. They should be saying things like “after decades of Republicans undermining faith in our elections the Republican base has been primed to believe Trump’s claims” instead of just focusing on what Trump is doing. The GOP has been pushing the voter fraud fairytale for a long time. Bush’s DOJ even fired Republican district attorneys who had refused to bring phony voter fraud cases. And instead of expressing sympathy for Republicans who won’t take the risk of losing their jobs, the media should repeatedly make the point that these are people who have no problem making other people risk their lives in war.
I have recently seen a perfect example of the media ignoring Republican wrongdoing and incompetence. Several times I have heard discussions of how the delayed Bush transition may have been partly responsible for 9-11 as if those attacks happened shortly after Bush took office. The media has completely buried the facts. The incoming Bush administration was given strong warnings by the outgoing Clinton administration about the danger Bin Laden posed. Clinton personally briefed Bush and Sandy Berger personally warned Condi. For months after that Richard Clarke repeatedly warned Condi Rice and others. Their response was to demote him. Starting in the spring Bush’s top national security people started warning about a coming attack by Bin Laden. On July 10 Tenet’s team was so worried that he demanded an immediate meeting with Condi and her team. They were told that Bin Laden would attack us soon and those attacks would be “spectacular”.
(That article is from the EU edition of politico not the US one.)
A few days ago I heard Lawrence Wilkerson make the argument that the delayed transition affected Bush’s ability to protect us, citing the fact that they didn’t even have a meeting of top level officials from different departments until mid August. The person interviewing him didn’t bother to ask how the delayed transition had prevented them from having that meeting in the early weeks of Bush’s term. The Clinton administration had had these kinds of meetings several times a month.
The media was outraged when they learned that Trump ignored warnings from his national security people but they are trying to give Bush an excuse for ignoring warnings that we were going to be attacked. By allowing Republicans to get away with outrageous behavior they have lowered the bar for judging all Republicans. By the time Trump was on the scene Republicans were already both extreme and incompetent but had paid no consequences. I think it is really dangerous that the media is not only downplaying what Trump is doing but that they acting like Trump is an aberration, not the result of the path Republicans chose a long time ago. I strongly believe that years of the media normalizing Republicans’ outrageous behavior.
The knot in my stomach will not go away until I actually see Joe Biden take the oath of office and then watch Trump leave the White House. Until then all I can think about is how this slow moving coup, aided and abetted by a press corp to afraid of losing access, is systematically destroying our democratic norms. Yes, Biden won in what is a landslide election. However, Republicans didn't obey subpoenas, simply blowing them off as an annoyance. The Mueller investigation was clearly whitewashed by a corrupt attorney general who said that Trump was exonerated when he wasn't. The President was impeached by a Democratic House and should have been removed by Republicans in the Senate. The Republican majority could have rid us of this cancer in the Oval Office but decided it was in their best interest to let the shit show continue. Trump has hinted many times over the last four years that he would not leave office, that if he lost it would be because the election was rigged. So why is everyone shocked that Republicans do not stand up against what Trump is doing? Thankfully federal judges are standing up to this madman and his corrupt lawyers. However, Trump still has avenues to attempt to complete this coup by getting legislatures to overturn the will of the people. But that's against state laws and the constitution many say. So? When did Republicans over the last four years defend law and the constitution. At the very least, Trump is weakening this nation and is making decisions during the lame duck period that will hinder Biden and the Dems from carrying out all they want to do. This is not over folks, far from it. Where's the Tylenol?
First of all, I want to say that you're are correct in pointing out the danger of Trump and his actions right now. He's doing serious damage to democracy - now more than ever before during his administration. It's going to be a rough road to January 20th.
I do want to say one thing about Trump the person. I've come to a personal conclusion that there is something akin to a multiple-personality thing going on with him. This thought came to me after reading E. Jean Carroll's allegation of Trump's assault on her. Trump went from goofy joking playboy mode to full-on rape in a fingersnap. What really stayed with me about this story is when she tries to push him back, saying, "Get real," and he just repeats the words back to her in a slow drawn-out way that she makes seem trancelike.
I think what we're seeing now is the multiple sides of Trump's personality playing in the same game for different reasons. There is the mobster Trump you point out in your piece who hates to lose and will do whatever he can to get the outcome he wants no matter how improbable. There is the vicious Trump who wants to hurt Biden and the country on the way out the door for his own need for simple revenge. Then there is grifter Trump who sees all of this as kayfabe (to use a pro wrestling term referring to the fake storylines) on the road to a post-presidency aggrievement tour and money grab - perhaps featuring some sort of media entity.
Is it destructive? Yes. The one common thread in all of this is that Trump simply does not care about who is harmed as long as he gets what he wants.
Has impeachment II been ruled out? I mean, we could do it. We have the votes. At least disrupt their scorched earth behavior. The first president in 240 years who does not accept the election results and impedes the upcoming administration should be held accountable as soon as possible. Is this quixotic enough for the press?
I'm starting to think this is partly the results of the gaslighting that's gone on even since the Reagan era--escalated to extremes over the past four years--that Republicans somehow represent the heart of the nation, Republicans are the ones who will protect you (from what, exactly, is vague), the Republicans are the ones who care about your pocketbook because ("as everyone knows") the Democrats are the tax-and-spend party; the ones who want open, unprotected borders; and the ones who want to take your guns, defund the police, kill all the unborn children, and dictate how you live your life. Can't we do better with our OWN propaganda? I don't like the idea, but it may be what is needed.
Actually, it's possible that the media are right on this one, to an extent. Here's what I mean. Orange Hitler IS sulking and angry and all that. What they don't seem to get is that almost every single republican in Congress and the executive branch is doing this. In fact, my theory is that if it were, say, Tom Cotton in the White House, they would possibly finish the coup that the republican party began in earnest in the 1960s.
He came down the escalator declaring this. At least we are calling him a liar and racist now. Some of us have been calling him illegitimate from the get-go.
I have a deep love-hate view of Joe Scarborough but appreciate his once again going down HARD on Repugnicans and, in particular, Mitch McConnell this morning for all their reprehensible silence, and bringing on plenty of guests to follow suit. To your point, Eric, many newspapers are indeed playing softball but at least we do have some in broadcast media — CNN, yes, but particularly MSNBC — who are telling it like it is and calling out truth on this madness. The only problem, of course, is that MSNBC, for the most part, is preaching to the choir — although, from what I understand, Joe's comments do get to some in Congress and possibly the WH.