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Thu Jan 5, 2017, 01:53 PM

DRUMPF exposed "a pre-existing rot" - brilliant essay by Rob GOODMAN (long read)



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ROB GOODMAN has worked as the speechwriter for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senator Chris Dodd. His work has appeared on the floors of both houses of Congress, national television and radio, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Rome's Last Citizen.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/what-trump-taught-us-about-american-democracy-214596
[font size=5]What the King of Hawaii Can Teach Us About Trump[/font]

A political fable from 1819.

By Rob Goodman

.... I can’t be the only one who has lost count of the democratic [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]norms—the unwritten, informal, but hugely important rules that help us govern ourselves—that now seem to be gone with as little consequence[/FONT] as the taboos in the story. If you’re running for president, you don’t even raise the possibility that the election won’t count if you don’t win. You don’t threaten to throw your opponent in jail if you do win. If you change your mind about throwing your opponent in jail, you don’t explain it as an act of mercy, because that’s not how the rule of law works. If you’re running for president, and especially if you get elected, you release your tax returns, so voters can know that you’re not financially compromised by foreign governments, or by corporations seeking to do business with the United States. You put your assets in a blind trust, so you never confuse your self-interest with the public interest. You don’t accuse millions of Americans of voter fraud without evidence. You don’t compromise civilian control of the armed forces. You don’t let your team threaten to lock up journalists who investigate you.

[FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]You don’t do those things, until, one day, you do.[/FONT] The only thing holding you back in most cases is the force of custom, and there are times and places—Hawaii in 1819, or America in 2016—[FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]when custom is so weak that it’s no force at all.[/FONT]

Of course, Donald Trump didn’t need to be a political genius to realize that norms like these were historically weak. He only needed to watch the news. In just the last eight years, [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]we’ve watched the unthinkable become the debatable and then the unexceptionable.[/FONT] We’ve seen President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee denied even a hearing for nearly a year, and we’ve seen his other nominees blockaded at an historic rate. We’ve seen real, live U.S. senators promise that no justice nominated by a Democratic president would ever be confirmed. We’ve seen credible threats to default on the national debt. We’ve seen the president’s budget director denied even the right to propose a budget to Congress. We’ve seen the president expand executive power in response to all of this, in a way that’s troubling even to some liberals. We’ve seen the Senate filibuster go from rare to routine—and watched Senate Democrats retaliate by partially nuking the filibuster. It was laughable when a member of Congress interrupted the State of the Union to call the president a liar—until a movement calling the president a liar about his birthplace launched his successor to power. ....

Instead, we have to come to terms with living in a time of [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]post-norm politics[/FONT]—by which I don’t mean that all of our political norms are suddenly defunct, but rather that [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]the continued rolling back of norms we’ve taken for granted has to stop surprising us[/FONT]. Rather than thinking [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]reactively[/FONT], and [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]feeding the Trump outrage cycle[/FONT], we ought to understand him as exposing a [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: yellow"]pre-existing rot[/FONT]. We need to think about why norms fail in general, and how to act when we can’t rely on them. Only then will we stop underestimating the sheer difficulty of one day rebuilding them. ....

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Reply DRUMPF exposed "a pre-existing rot" - brilliant essay by Rob GOODMAN (long read) (Original post)
UTUSN Jan 2017 OP
KT2000 Jan 2017 #1
Big Blue Marble Jan 2017 #2
uponit7771 Jan 2017 #3
UTUSN Jan 2017 #4
malaise Jan 2017 #5
UTUSN Jan 2017 #6
malaise Jan 2017 #7

Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Thu Jan 5, 2017, 02:31 PM

1. the foundation for chaos

which is what it appears trump wants. When the social fabric is destroyed it is everyone for themselves, which is the world he lives in. That is where he wins.

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Thu Jan 5, 2017, 03:16 PM

2. Thanks!

Brilliant piece, highly explanatory, at a profound level as to what has, is, and will be, changing in our
society and how to prepare ourselves mentally to be up for these coming challenges

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Thu Jan 5, 2017, 04:08 PM

3. "norms" fell when a black president took office of president... shit got real then

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Sat Jan 7, 2017, 04:33 PM

4. Cashing in one Rec with a self-kick for a cold weekend's Read.

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Sat Jan 7, 2017, 04:51 PM

5. Which is why I started a thread begging for a discussion on the criteria we use to decide if

a country is a practicing liberal democracy. Apparently 'a peaceful transfer of power' regardless of everything else is fine.

.... I can’t be the only one who has lost count of the democratic norms—the unwritten, informal, but hugely important rules that help us govern ourselves—that now seem to be gone with as little consequence

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 7, 2017, 05:46 PM

6. As in another thread here wishing for hearings on the 2016 hack, which is not our system.

That is, we don't take timely steps to expose and fix things. We let things happen until, like, *fifty* years later with the JFK assassination conduct a little commission that revises the findings from back when.

And back to how we all got here - because of Coup 2000 - probably all of us remember our leaders on a stage vowing to do something about the electoral process that broke so spectacularly then. And nothing happened, and here we are again with the same outcome.

We all play "If I Were King of the World" like in college bull sessions, about how we would dictate common sense, sweeping fixes to how things work, and we list all the kinks of our political mechanisms, like the Electoral College. I would do away with almost all of the gridlocking Checks-and-Balances, all the Gerrymandering, turn into a single house of Congress and a parliamentary system, etc., etc., but the reality is that the real law of society is that a system like the Roman Empire has to collapse completely - from "A PRE-EXISTING ROT" as the essayist says - instead of rejuvenating. Amirite?!1

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 7, 2017, 06:32 PM

7. Yep the coup in 2000 was huge

but there have been many other coverups. Serious fixes are required or the USA is over

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