Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Paul Krugman: Voting G.O.P. Means Voting Against Health Care
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has only raised the stakes.
If you or someone you care about are among the more than 50 million Americans suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, you should be aware that the stakes in this year’s election go beyond abstract things like, say, the survival of American democracy. They’re also personal. If Donald Trump is re-elected, you will lose the protection you’ve had since the Affordable Care Act went into effect almost seven years ago.
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made this even more obvious. In fact, it’s now possible that coverage of pre-existing conditions will be stripped away even if Trump loses to Joe Biden, unless Democrats also take the Senate and are prepared to play serious hardball. But health care was always on the line.
Now, Trump denies this; like almost every other politician in his party, he keeps insisting that he has a plan to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. But he and they are lying. And no, that’s not too strong a term.
On Trump: In early August he promised that he would soon release a great health care plan to replace Obamacare, probably by the end of the month. We’ve heard nothing since, which isn’t surprising, since he has made and broken similar promises many times.
It’s safe to assume that there was never any basis for these promises; there is not now and has never been a secret skunk works in the executive branch devising a brilliant new health plan.
Charles M. Blow: Conservatives Try to Lock In Power
They want to maintain control for generations to come.
The death of the iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has shocked the political world, altered the contours of the upcoming election and induced an overwhelming dread among liberals who fear some basic rights could now be in jeopardy.
Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices in the Senate may want to jam a nominee through the confirmation process, but it remains unclear whether the Senate will hold a vote before Election Day. If it did, it would represent a colossal act of hypocrisy since many of the same senators refused to even give Barack Obama’s last nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing, arguing that it was inappropriate to fill a seat on the court in an election year.
But Republicans have the power to force a vote, and barring defections, they could exercise it.
This is all about power for a group of people who feel their grip on power slipping away.
They are trying to reshape the courts for a generation, if not longer, so that as their numerical advantage slips away, their power imbalance will have already been enshrined. As America becomes less religious and less white, more galvanized to fight climate change, more open to legalizing marijuana and more aware of systemic racism, the religious conservative spine of the Republican Party is desperate for a way to save a way of life that may soon be rendered a relic.
Eugene Robinson: Democrats, it’s time to get mad — and even
This is a moment to get mad and to get even. The way to do that is to crush President Trump and pulverize the Republican Party in the coming election.
Trump has the power to name a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week. He says he will nominate a woman, surely an archconservative just raring to kill the Affordable Care Act and reverse Roe v. Wade. The GOP-led Senate has the power to confirm her. And because it can, we should expect that it will.
Doing so would be hypocritical, given the way Republican senators held up Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, cynical and corrosive to the very idea of democracy. But so what? We’re talking about Trump, who desperately wants voters to focus on something other than the nearly 200,000 people who have died of covid-19 on his watch. We’re talking about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who could not care less what mere citizens might think. And we’re talking about the Senate Republicans, who reliably roll over and give Trump and McConnell whatever they want.
No one can stop them if they decide to go through with this putsch-like power play. But Democrats can make them pay by taking their power away. All of it.
Our ongoing constitutional crisis is the result of Mitch McConnell’s sinister plot to take over the federal courts
Ever since Donald Trump’s oversized suit-clad carcass first befouled the Oval Office, there’s been talk in the media about if and when he would cause a constitutional crisis. The assumption underlying this discourse is that a constitutional crisis would hit us like a thunderbolt and we would collectively realize, all at once, that the very fate of our democracy was on the line. Instead, there’s been a series of mini-constitutional crises, from Trump stomping all over our laws against foreign emoluments (an old-timey phrase for being bribed by foreign leaders), obstructing justice during Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s role in Russian election interference, blackmailing the Ukrainian president to extract dishonest election assistance and about a dozen other instances it would be tedious to list.
The result has been a steady erosion of the political norms and laws that protect our democracy, culminating in Trump’s last big push to steal or corrupt the 2020 presidential election.
If Trump successfully does that, it could well be the killing blow for our tattered democracy. But it’s important to understand that the credit for orchestrating the demise of our once-great nation should largely go to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man possessed by the same lust for power and moral turpitude as Trump, but not hobbled by Trump’s stupidity or short-sightedness.
Even when it looked like the clock had almost run out on their tacit trade, GOP lawmakers kept their eyes on the prize.
Was it worth it?
Republican lawmakers must ask themselves this question at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, whenever that is. Perhaps then they will finally inventory every misdeed they ignored or encouraged, every scar they seared into our republic and its institutions, in pursuit of their holy grail: another Supreme Court seat.
Two Republican senators, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), have said they oppose a vote on a Supreme Court nominee so close to the election. This principle, of course, was widely endorsed by Republicans four years ago, when the GOP-controlled Senate refused to even hold hearings for the nominee President Barack Obama had put forward in March.
Pundits keep asking whether other senators might suddenly grow a conscience and keep to this principle, too.
But that’s the wrong way to think about how most Republicans will make this decision.