Friday, May 31, 2024

Take a Hike, Pal

There are "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" and "even a blind squirrel finds an acorn"; others, probably.  And when not talking about the Middle East, Mehdi Hasan is almost always right.

There is not a snowball's chance in Hell that reporters will demand Republicans explain why Donald Trump shouldn't have to drop out of the presidential race. As economist Dean Baker would put it, "the major media outlets are owned and controlled by people who will pay lower taxes with Donald Trump back in the White House." 

There is a snowball's chance in Hell that most Democrats will demand that Trump drop out of the race. But only a snowball's chance.  In an article article noting that the Biden Administration is determined not to address the corruption of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sam Alito, Politico writes

Biden has publicly warned that Republicans are undermining democratic norms and threatening its institutions. But he is reluctant to extend that argument to the judicial branch, aides say, fearful it could be cast as politically motivated and undermine his broader effort to portray himself as a champion for strengthening democratic institutions. They believe it’s crucial to maintain a clear contrast with Donald Trump, who has readily attacked an independent judiciary for political gain.

“The central pushback should come from the legislative branch, and not the executive branch,” said Anthony Coley, a former senior official in the Biden Justice Department, arguing that Congress has wide-ranging investigatory authority. “That’s the right place where we should be seeing aggressive oversight, and right now they are not meeting the moment.”

In a development as startling as, oh, Derek Jeter being inducted into the Hall of Fame or snow falling in winter in Siberia, Senate Judiciary Committee chairperson Dick Durbin has decided against holding hearings on Alito.

But if Democratic politicians as usual- are downplaying the importance of the Supreme Court, they cannot ignore the NYC, NY jury's verdict on Trump. They should be pushing in the media the argument that Trump should drop out of the race. If the mainstream media is at all consistent, it will like this idea because it assumes that someone more reasonable and prone to obeying the law and established norms would replace him. Of course, the businessman turned actor turned politician would not step aside but it would remind voters that they are being asked to vote for, and Republicans champion, a crook.

And reporters have their own responsibility which, as Hasan recognizes, is to ask each Republican they can get hold of why Donald Trump should not drop out. When the Republican gets angry or pivots to inflation, gas prices, immigration, or whatever, they should ask again. Again... and again.... and again until they get an answer or time arrives for a commercial break.

In the last week of the 2016 presidential election, as Donald Trump was closing in on Hillary Clinton, the Republican mad a powerful (though dishonest argument argument.  "Hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years, probably concluding in a criminal trial." Two days later he asserted "She'll be under investigation for years. She'll be with trials. Our country, we have to get back to work." There were other, similar remarks but my favorite came two days later when the criminal (as he was then, albeit not yet charged) remarked "Hillary Clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time for her many crimes against our nation, our people, our democracy, likely concluding in a criminal trial."

Democrats could blister the media by pointing out the irony of it all. But they cannot do so without publicly insisting that Donald Trump take a hike, and not wait until Election Day to do so. And they can insist that every reporter explain why he or she won't ask Republican guests and interviews whether they will replace Mr. Trump with a candidate without a criminal record. 

There is a 40+-year-old joke joke asking "what do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean" with the answer "a good start." But just as there are many more than 1,000 lawyers in the USA, this is a good start- but only barely, and must be only the beginning:


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