While President Trump himself is exempt from the rules of the Hatch Act, it would appear he’s not even trying to adhere to precedent as he vies for a second term.
Let’s be honest: good news on the COVID front is very hard to come by. So let’s note some very limited but still real good news. The post-“reopening” outbreak in the United States – almost entirely a self-inflicted harm – appears to have peaked and is possibly beginning to subside.
There’s a primary election in Kansas today that Republicans are warning could have broad implications on the GOP’s ability to hold the Senate in November.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, we are so locked in the house with Trump, so surrounded by his predation, that the nature and scope of much of his abuse and wrongdoing are only partly visible to us. We all see the constant attacks on vote by mail, the incessant claims that the election will be rigged, that he’ll have to decide at the time whether he’ll accept the verdict of the election. But taken together he is actually depriving the whole nation of the ability to conduct a free and fair election. He is hanging over us as we do the normal work of campaigning and election-ing the possibility he’ll disrupt the process, won’t accept the result or most directly that the whole process won’t end up mattering at all. This in itself is a grave crime against the constitution and the republic.
This week I (virtually) sat down for a fascinating conversation with Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the US Navy War College but likely more known to many of you as a leading anti-Trump conservative voice on Twitter and the cable networks. He’s also an advisor to The Lincoln Project, that outfit of defrocked and lapsed Republican activists and consultants producing slashing ads against not only President Trump but almost every Republican Senator up for reelection in 2020. We talked about everything from US nuclear policy to President Trump to why he believes the current institutional Republican party needs to be burned to the ground before a responsible center-right party of government can possible emerge in its place. You can watch our conversation after the jump if you’re a member.
After a lockdown hiatus we have restarted our TPM Inside Briefings and we’re going to be experimenting with ways to bring the best of them to all our members. In this case we are making available the entire interview.
There’s a strong temptation, maybe a reflex, to be frightened and outraged by the President’s floating the idea of delaying the November election. But the only appropriate response is mockery and ridicule of the President’s weakness and corruption. As a factual and procedural matter, none of this is in the President’s control. In practice, no one can change the date of the election. In theory, Congress could do it. But good luck getting Nancy Pelosi to sign on to that. Even beyond this, it is a case where the ramshackle and decentralized process of American elections works in the favor of democracy. There is no national election. States hold elections. Nothing and no one can stop California, New York, Illinois and Virginia from holding their elections and rendering electors to the electoral college meeting in December.
But the bigger issue, the deeper issue here isn’t factual. It’s characterological.
There was a lot going on this morning.
This is a kind of post I seldom do. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever done one. I have a special 20% discount offer for TPM Readers to subscribe to a new niche publication on hate groups and extremism called The Informant, created and edited by TPM Alum Nick Martin. To start with, the publication has no financial relationship to TPM. I’m not being paid to write this. Neither is TPM. I’m sharing this with you because a) I think The Informant is an important project which I really want to see succeed and b) I think many of you will be interested in becoming readers and subscribers.
When I decided this month’s reading list would be centered around the idea of beach reads I could not have foreseen the number of cooking memoirs my coworkers would suggest. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be too surprised given the number of recipe swaps that take place among TPM staff and the fact that we have a Slack channel simply entitled “food.”
Now I’m hungry.