The cataclysmic conclusion of 45

by Pete Mazzaccaro
Posted 1/6/21

If I may draw back the curtain, so to speak, behind the editorial processes at the Local, I work with Arnie cartoonist Richard Anderson on a theme or idea for the cartoon that will relate to the …

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The cataclysmic conclusion of 45

Posted

If I may draw back the curtain, so to speak, behind the editorial processes at the Local, I work with Arnie cartoonist Richard Anderson on a theme or idea for the cartoon that will relate to the column I intend to write next week. This works well most of the time, but the news on Friday has a way of changing by the time I get ready to write on Monday.

Last week, the fight over cash aid payments to Americans was the biggest story. After late negotiations two weeks ago, produced an agreement that included cash payments of $600 for every American making less than $75,000, President Donald Trump threw the entire plan into disarray. After showing no interest in the process, he said $600 was stingy. And then he went golfing. And the country drifted perilously close to a government shutdown before Trump relented and signed the $900 billion proposal.

There’s a good debate to be had around the cash payment part of the relief package. Is $600 per person enough? Is the broad application of those payments – referred to by some economists as the “money from helicopters” approach – without more considered means testing a waste? Or will those who get the money who have not lost their jobs actually put a lot of that money back into the economy by purchasing goods and services, which is what most agree happened the first time a stimulus package was passed in the early days of the pandemic?

But just as those arguments were being made and we were left considering the impact of the U.S. Senate’s defeat of a House proposal to transform those $600 payments into $2,000, Trump decided to make more news Sunday, calling Georgia Secretary of Rep. State Brad Raffensperger, in which he begged Raffensperger to reverse course and simply “find” the votes to overturn the election. Raffensberger released those recordings after Trump attacked him and misrepresented the phone calls. The contents are shocking to those of us still capable of experiencing shock after the last four years

The situation is being called “extraordinary” and “without precedent.” None of these adjectives, however, does justice to the cataclysm that would result were Trump and a bunch of congressional enablers get their way. It’s not incompetence and it’s not a con. It is a naked attempt to subvert an election, to seize power and destroy the democratic foundation of the country.

It is notable that a number of Republicans have admirably stood up to the President and will not take part in the fantasy that he’s won the election. That list includes Pennsylvania’s Sen. Pat Toomey. It also includes lawmakers who have mostly carried water for the president like Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Tom Cotton.

The pandemic has taught us that much should never be taken for granted. The end of Trump’s corrupt presidential term has taught us we should never take democracy for granted either.

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