Fear and Voting in America

It began in 1972, near as we can tell. You could say that it really began in 1968, or 1964, or 1954, or even 1865 — nothing happens in isolation — but if we’re gonna get at what it is, we’re gonna pin it on 1972.

1972 is the year Democrats lost their nerve. 1972 is the year George McGovern lost to Richard Nixon. Big time. Like, 49-state big time. Jokes about the Socialist Republic of Massachusetts were popular during our teen years.

Democrats never recovered from that one. It’s perverted everything they stand for. Still does.

Democrats are afraid of losing.

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Raise Hell and Take Names

Last weekend, the New York Times published a sympathetic profile of longtime Trump confidante and former presidential adviser Hope Hicks. We know it was sympathetic because it described Hicks’s anguish over a decision whether to testify about Trump to Congress.

The story called that decision an “existential question”.

Twitter had fun with that. Twitter also had fun with the fact that the existential question was whether to obey the law. Hicks wasn’t entertaining an invitation; she was deciding whether to comply with a subpoena.

The fashion-shoot portrait accompanying the story didn’t help, either.

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America’s Original Sins

We live in a corrupt state. It’s not just bad actors — we’ll always have those — it’s the system itself. It’s corrupt in its construction. The compromises necessary to its founding — America’s original sins — have rotted it from within.

We don’t want to believe this. We’re good people! And hey, some 60 percent of us, depending on the day’s polling, really are. We want to do good, be good. Collectively, we have that spirit.

And our corrupt structure of government crushes it.

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The Fall of Democracy in America: An Oral History

“Iraq in its quest for democracy lacks only — only! — what America then had: an existing democratic culture.”

George F. Will, Winter 2004

“As experience in Eastern Europe has shown, democracy doesn’t mean simply holding elections. First, you need a democratic culture, or what is usually called a civil society.”

Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2003

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Six-Zero Hour

Midnight: I’m melting! Melting!

12:05 am: Feeling a strange urge to become a Walmart greeter.

12:09 am: Those seventysomething presidential candidates don’t seem that old.

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The Gaming’s Afoot

It might be useful, before we begin, to recall that the first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon detailed obstruction of justice.

It was useful for us, anyway. Before diving into the second half of the Mueller report — which might have been subtitled “If He Did It” — we wanted to refresh our memory of what an honest impeachment looked like. The dishonest one is more familiar to a contemporary audience, but you really don’t want Ken Starr setting the rules of engagement.

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Ugly Americans

Might as well call it: We’re about to endure one of the ugliest elections in American history.

Granted, we’ve only been around for sixty years of it, so we might be giving undue weight to the present, which, unlike the past, is always uncertain. And granted as well, the 1860 election had certain consequences that we’re not facing. Yet.

Funny thing about the Civil War: It broke out five weeks after Lincoln’s inauguration, and ended—

See, that’s the funny thing. It hasn’t.

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