Baffler - July 22, 2019

"It will get worse for every single one of the 470 days from now until Election Day 2020, because every institution tasked with preventing this from happening and capable of stopping it has instead decided to let it happen. All of it—the racism, the xenophobia, the unsubtle encouragement to violence, the total disregard for the consensus politics of the past century that most liberals still think is possible becauseThe West Wingand cable news and listening to Beltway consultants who never win anything broke them psychologically—will get worse, because this is a monster that dies if it stops growing."

... It will get worse because the media learned absolutely nothing from 2016, and every time Trump kicks the ball a gaggle of a hundred reporters chase it, overanalyzing it, giving Both Sides a chance to opine on it, and asking customers in Ohio diners how they’d like to see the ball kicked next time. It will get worse because the default media frame for covering racism is, “Was this racism?” and because they still believe that congressional Republicans will surely turn on Trump with the next outburst because Republicans are people of honor and integrity, because the entire worldview of legacy media requires that to be true.

It will get worse because the House majority for which so many people fought so hard in 2018 has already signaled that impeachment is off the table, so even the pretense of accountability or oversight is gone. Instead, the House intends to hold endless “hearings” and point desperately to the Mueller Report like the losing coaches point to the rule book in Air Bud, gesticulating wildly as the dog dunks on them over and over, and the crowd loves the dog with all its heart and looks at the losing team with the contempt reserved for such demonstrations of learned helplessness, while the very voters to whom Democrats most desperately want to appeal don’t know or care about rules but sure do notice that one team managed to lose a basketball game to a fucking dog.

It will get worse because the leadership of the Democratic Party is not built, temperamentally or constitutionally, for this fight. It is built for 1996, ready to debate the V-chip or whether the top tax bracket should be 36 percent or 39 percent. It is a party built to negotiate, to concede, and to see “getting something done” as the value-neutral definition of victory. They are clutching to their treasured consensus politics, to their norms and to decorum, and it will never happen because the only people who give a shit about those things are elites with nothing really at stake, now or ever.

It will get worse because the Democratic Party still believes that the mushy center is the place to campaign against Trump, that white votes are the only votes worth winning, that people of color or young people will never vote so why bother giving them a reason to, and that, in the brilliant words of Chuck Schumer, “for every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia.” ...
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