Saturday, August 8, 2020

A View from Never Trump Land

It's worth paying attention to the world of the Never Trumpers, from The Lincoln Project to Oren Cass' American Compass and Bill Kristol's The Bulwark. Some very good things are being done and said. Like this piece by Richard North Patterson that recently appeared in The Bulwark:

"Politically, the pandemic has remade Biden into a harbinger of hope—a potentially transformative rather than transitional leader. That he now invokes FDR, who helped deliver America from a vertiginous national crisis, marks a striking change of tone and ambition.

From the outset of the pandemic, Biden has called for a concerted federal response which includes spearheading a comprehensive, rigorous and prompt testing regime. Equally fundamental, Biden appreciates that the virus has aggravated pre-existing social and economic pathologies we can no longer ignore. This reflects an underrated virtue: As a practical politician rather than an ideologue, Biden can respond to changing national imperatives by moving with the temper of the times.

He is doing so with considerable skill. Wisely Biden has committed to a careful balancing act: keeping the oft-fractious components of his party together; attracting swing voters while addressing the urgent concerns of minorities; confronting the consequences of COVID-19; and offering meaningful proposals which, as president, he might actually pass.

To this end, he has forged a shared agenda with Democratic progressives which, without embracing their most tendentious economic litmus tests, addresses needs underscored by the pandemic: expanding low-income housing; improving childcare; funding universal pre-K education; offering free community college; establishing a comprehensive infrastructure program; advancing a robust climate-change agenda that creates well-paying new jobs; and providing universal healthcare grounded in a public option.

He’s no Bernie Sanders, nor should he be—after all, Sanders lost. But Biden promises to be the most progressive Democratic nominee in recent years, at a moment which calls for vigorous new initiatives to retrieve us from our national slough of despond.

Concurrently, Biden has rejected the brain-dead catchphrases that repel most Americans and fuel Trump’s race-based culture war: “abolish ICE” and, more recently, “defund the police.” Instead, he proposes broad immigration reform and embraces practical measures to sustain the racial awakening stemming from George Floyd’s murder: banning chokeholds; reforming qualified immunity for police officers; barring the overuse of military equipment by local police; and passing more funding for community policing.

With similar equipoise, Biden supports decriminalizing marijuana use but opposes legalization. He favors removing monuments to Confederate generals but draws the line at Washington and Jefferson. He advocates a ban on public leases for natural gas fracking, but eschews a fracking ban which could cost him Pennsylvania.

This is more than canny calculation—it’s politically farsighted. To win and then govern, Biden must appeal to some of the disaffected voters Clinton lost in 2016 and rally the suburbanites who helped Democrats win back the House in 2018. He is not running to enthrall the febrile progressives who populate Twitter, but as a steady, seasoned leader who can help heal the wounds Trump is determined to deepen at any cost."

Seems pretty sensible to me!

There is no more glaring contrast between Donald Trump and Joe Biden than that presented by the defining issue of 2020—the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats know that very well. Said pollster Geoff Garin to the Washington Post: Trump is increasingly defined…

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