The pre-election edition of the New York Times Sunday Review was a peculiar 14-page beast featuring all 15 of the paper’s columnists weighing in on Trump (12 liberals, two slightly right-of-center voices, and David Brooks) under the rubric “What Have We Lost.” In the Times’ case, news judgement and emotional maturity would top the list.
Former White House correspondent turned whiny liberal columnist Frank Bruni, who is a grown adult male of 56, “A Kind of Innocence.” (Innocence lost, that is.)
It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.
I was putting too much trust in Americans.
I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.
We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.
Except, it turned out, we weren’t.
Bruni is very disappointed in his fellow Americans.
Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.
I could be overreacting. Maybe, just ahead, there will be moments of grace, enough of them to redeem us. Maybe I’ll look up on or after Nov. 3 and see that Biden has won North Carolina, has won Michigan, has won every closely contested state and the presidency in a landslide. Maybe I’ll have to eat my words.
Please, my fellow Americans, feed me my words. I’d relish that meal.
Becket Adams reacted at the Washington Examiner under the fair headline “New York Times opinion section comes unhinged ahead of the 2020 election.” Adams wrote, “rather than explore seriously and realistically the short- and long-term consequences of the Trump presidency, the project comes across more like a collective nervous breakdown, full of self-absorbed handwringing and wild-eyed proclamations about the future of the republic.”
Paul Krugman contributed to that Sunday atrocity in relatively mild mode, but made up for it in his regular Tuesday slot, “The War on Truth Reaches Its Climax.” It also serves as a pocket history of how Krugman himself has descended from a respected left-liberal economist to a pompous Democratic hack, and how the New York Times further degenerated into Democratic partisanship.
I began writing a column for The Times way back in 2000. My beat was supposed to be economics and business. But I couldn’t help noticing that one of that year’s contenders for the presidency was systematically making false claims about his policy proposals. George W. Bush kept insisting that his one-percent-friendly tax cuts were targeted on the middle class, and his plan to privatize Social Security just wished away the system’s obligations to older Americans.
At the time, however, my editors told me that it wasn’t acceptable to use the word “lie” when writing about presidential candidates.
By now, though, most informed observers have, I think, finally decided that it’s OK to report the fact that Donald Trump lies constantly.
The first big lie is the claim that America is being menaced by hordes of “rioters, looters, arsonists, gun-grabbers, flag-burners, Marxists.”
Anyone who walks around the “anarchist jurisdictions” of New York or Seattle can see with their own eyes that nothing like this is happening. And the data bear out the obvious.
One systematic study found that the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, and that “most of the violence that did take place was, in fact, directed against the B.L.M. protesters.”
Trump’s lies about an anarchist threat have given encouragement to white supremacists, including domestic terrorists….
And if Trump loses? Krugman blamed any post-election violence on Trump voters disguised as Black Lives Matter.
The immediate result may very well be a wave of violence and property destruction — Trump supporters engaging in the behavior they falsely attribute to Black Lives Matter demonstrators.