THE PRESUMPTION OF GRACE IN THE AGE OF TRUMP
People are saying, “Impossible….”
The future is now.
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In sweeping and sometimes agitated comments 37 days after he was projected the winner, Biden attempted to unify a polarized and skittish country with direct appeals to the more than 74 million Americans who voted for Trump.
“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said. “We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And now it is time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history. To unite. To heal.” (Washington Post)
From Bret Stephens essential reading column:
Nearly four years on, it’s worth comparing what was predicted about the Trump administration versus what actually happened.
Among the predictions: The stock market would never recover. We’d stumble into war with North Korea or Iran. The free press would be muzzled. Vladimir Putin would rule Donald Trump through blackmail. Trump-appointed judges would dismantle the rule of law and overturn the verdict of elections. Trump would never leave office.
None of this came to pass. Bad things happened under Trump. But nothing so bad that it couldn’t be stopped by courts (such as his attempt to end the DACA program), prevented by Congress (his desire to ease sanctions on Russia), undermined by underlings (his effort to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria), exposed by the press (the child-separation policy), corrected by civil servants (his coronavirus misinformation), rejected by voters (his presidency) or dismissed by the very judges he appointed (his election challenges)….
All of this has convinced many of my fellow conservatives, including those who were initially hostile to Trump, that there’s more than a touch of derangement to those of us who oppose him — a mixture of justified distaste for the man and his manners and unjustified fears about the consequences of his governance.
Trump, as they see him, wasn’t Mussolini II. He was mostly just Archie Bunker II — a blowhard easily kept within the four corners of our constitutional system.
But the catastrophe of Trump’s presidency doesn’t mainly lie in the visible damage it has caused. It’s in the invisible damage. Trump was a corrosive. What he mainly corroded was social trust — the most important element in any successful society.
Ever since I began my conversation advocating for “The Presumption of Grace,” I’ve heard regularly from a decent number of readers whose postures range from confusion to anger.
From the Redlands, it is incredulity that I would expect them to show grace towards Gretchen Whitmer, the architects of an election they believe was at least tainted (and at worst stolen), or Joe Biden.
From the Bluelands, it is outrage that I could somehow imagine that they would even consider a presumption of grace for any member of Team Trump, starting with the man himself, with that corrosion of social trust top of mind.
I have intellectual and emotional compassion for all people who struggle to extend a presumption of grace in what are for them the hardest cases.
I am also regularly not shown grace by both Reds and Blues for that very attitude. If it weren’t for the humorous irony, I would be more upset by that double barreled phenomenon.
I am also frequently asked by individuals if they can have a pass for one or two (or more) exceptions.
For those who buy in to The Presumption of Grace concept, you can still sign up here for tonight’s free virtual Zoom town hall from 7:00pm-8:00pm Eastern Time.
I look forward to strategizing with you and taking your questions.
Extending a Presumption of Grace can be a challenge for all and/but it is also the easiest route to meeting our challenges as a nation.
For those in the Bluelands who say, “I will NEVER show grace to Trumper X,” I say: consider the cases of Mitt Romney, Jim Comey, and Brian Kemp.
All were bete rouges of the left not that long ago; now they are all somewhere between hero and attaboy status amongst the Blues.
On Kemp, check out the essential reading interview he did with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (in which he calls out the attacks against him for refusing to try to overturn the election results), and imbibe the even more essential Washington Post sweet and tart dissection of the Kemp-Trump relationship (complete with, exclusively for the Gang of 500, an on-the-record Kumbaya kicker quote from Nick Ayers).
Based on a survey of 10,000 Blues, interviews with more than 50 dozen Democratic strategists familiar with the thinking of Democratic strategists, and an icy finger in the wind, here is the list, in order, of rightists for whom many Wide World of News readers are certain they could never extend The Presumption of Grace:
15. Ron DeSantis
14. Lindsey Graham
13. Sean Hannity
12. Jenna Ellis
11. Ivanka Trump
10. Jared Kushner
9. Bill Barr
8. Melania Trump
7. Kayleigh McEnany
6. Mitch McConnell
5. the 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump
4. Rudy Giuliani
3. Stephen Miller
2. the 17 Republican attorneys general and 126 congressional Republicans who signed onto the Texas Electoral College case
1. Donald Trump
HALPERIN SAYS: I can grant one or two exceptions per person, but not 74,000,156 exceptions per person.
HALPERIN SAYS: Moscow Vlad beats Moscow Mitch to the punch.
THE “ALL-IMPORTANT”-UNDERSTATES-THEIR-IMPORTANCE GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFFS
On the day Joe Biden goes to a northeast Atlanta drive-in rally for his party’s two senate candidates, “his first campaign stop since his November election victory over President Donald Trump,” you should read:
* The Washington Post on the normal start of early voting.
* The Wall Street Journal on the same with this important information, which seems not good on many levels:
Some voting-rights advocates and Democrats are raising alarms about the availability of early-voting locations. In the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County, local officials said they would open fewer early-voting locations, citing staffing shortages. The county plans to open five sites, plus another two locations for the last week of early voting, compared with 11 for the November election.
“Between Covid, the workload and the holidays, we have simply run out of people,” Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said in a statement. “Many workers told us they spent three weeks working 14- or 15-hour days and they will not do that again. We simply don’t have time to bring in and train up more workers to staff the number of locations we had for November.”
* Politico with shock and no surprise: Donald Trump is raising money for himself instead of for his party’s Senate candidates and some don’t like that.
HALPERIN SAYS: In the last 24 hours, Democratic confidence has ticked up here, matched by mirror-image Republican concern. This is indeed shaping up to be a battle for the ages. Democrats remain underdogs to win both seats, but this is a very creative and sly TV ad:
The New York Times remains your one-stop shop for the latest on the alleged Russian hack of a lot of American government.
HALPERIN SAYS: It doesn’t take the spideysense of Peter Parker to figure out that this situation is both FUBAR and all-too familiar.
Nuggets from the New York Times catch-up on the Biden personnel situation:
Some prominent Democrats are increasingly skeptical that Ms. Tanden can be confirmed and believe she may eventually land in a White House post that does not require Senate confirmation. Transition officials, however, have insisted in public and private that they will fight for her.
Representative Ro Khanna, a California progressive, said there was still enough “fear of Trump” in the Democratic coalition to offer Mr. Biden an ongoing “grace period.”
“Trump continuing to float that he’s a candidate in the future may be a blessing for Joe Biden,” Mr. Khanna said. “It may be what Joe Biden needs to keep the Democratic coalition together.”
HALPERIN SAYS: That is some keen analysis from Congressperson Khanna. I wish I had thought of it.