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Fri Aug 23, 2019, 09:51 PM


Friday Talking Points -- Something Misbegotten In The State Of Denmark

{Program Note for DemocraticUnderground.com readers:
This is a weekly roundup column of what is going on in the political world. For the duration of the 2020 campaign, I've been instructed to post it under the "Democratic Primaries" category rather than the "General Discussion" category, whenever the primary race is discussed. This discussion may be a large part of the column, or a very small part. Just wanted to clarify this up front, to avoid any objections that most of the post is "off topic."}

The great fear of those who did not support Donald Trump's election in 2016 was that if America hit a crisis point -- a virtual certainty, over a span of four years -- Trump would prove to be dangerously unstable and not know how to deal with it. The consequences could be alarming, as Ted Cruz joked about on the campaign trail at the time:

I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way, having his finger on the button. I mean, we're liable to wake up one morning and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark.

That was supposed to be a joke, mind you. This week, no actual nukes flew (whew!) but President Donald Trump did call off a trip to Denmark this week because their prime minister called the idea that they would sell Greenland to Trump "absurd." She was being honest, but Trump went into a snit and called her "nasty" (a label he's used more than once to describe female politicians who don't agree with him) By week's end, the Republicans were fundraising off the whole misbegotten fiasco by selling T-shirts that depict the United States, now including Greenland.

You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

But to get more serious, let's get back to the nervousness about what Trump would do in a crisis. We are not currently in such a crisis, but the economists are predicting one on the horizon. The longest expansion period in all of American history may be drawing to a close and the next inevitable recession may be about to happen. This is all at some point in the near-to-middle future, mind you. The crisis hasn't hit yet.

But the predictions of when it might hit are very bad news for Donald Trump and his hopes of getting re-elected. If America goes into a recession at some point during the next 12 months, it could easily doom Trump's chance of seeing a second term. This is historical reality -- when the economy tanks, the voters almost always look for someone new. This prospect frightens Trump, and this week we got a sneak preview at how stable he'd be in a true crisis. Which is "not very," obviously.

Here are two headlines from today's Washington Post, for two articles written by conservative pundits: "When Will Trump Supporters Finally Say 'Okay, This Is Not Normal'?," and: "The Speech We Want To Hear: 'This Is Madness'." That last one was written to beg the Democratic candidates to point out in no uncertain terms the craziness emanating from the White House.

That's what conservative writers are saying -- that Trump is a madman and not normal. Liberal writers aren't quite as polite. Just-the-facts journalists were hard-pressed to even keep up with the firehose of contradictions from Trump this week. From early in the week:

Tuesday turned out to be a busy day for President Trump. He poked another U.S. ally in the eye, questioned the loyalty of American Jews, backpedaled on gun legislation and undercut the denials of his advisers on the economy. It was just another normal day in the Trump administration.

Politico summarized the week just by citing some choice Trump quotes:


-- ON FIGHTING CHINESE TRADE PRACTICES: "I am the chosen one." (As he looked at the sky.)

-- DOUBLING DOWN ON ILHAN OMAR AND RASHIDA TLAIB: "You vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel."

-- REVERSING HIMSELF on indexing capital gains taxes to inflation: "I'm not looking to do indexing."

-- AND WAFFLING ON GUNS: "I have an appetite for background checks. We're going to be doing background checks.... We already have very strong background checks, but we're going to be filling in some of the loopholes."

-- ON THE DANISH PM: "I thought that the prime minister's statement... was nasty."

Later in the week, the journalists were still struggling to keep up:

President Donald Trump offered a head-spinning range of policy positions this week, contradicting aides and even himself multiple times on gun control, tax cuts and his interest in buying Greenland.

Trump is no stranger to whiplash-inducing policy shifts that leave his aides and congressional allies flat-footed. And it's well-known that he often parrots the talking points of the last person he talked to on any hot-button issue.

But Trump's recent reversals were notable for their breakneck pace and their far-reaching impact, as they left lawmakers, foreign leaders and voters scratching their heads.

Today, the whiplash continued, as China announced it would be slapping new tariffs on American products, and Trump went completely around the bend, tweeting his fury at all his perceived enemies:

My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?

He followed this up with a rather strange "order" for someone who rails against the dangers of socialism:

We don't need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.

In the classic definition, socialism is government control of the means of production, just to remind everyone. Oh, and here's a fun trip down Memory Lane as well, which Trump tweeted at 2:50 A.M. on March 2, 2018 (emphasis added):

When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don't trade anymore -- we win big. It's easy!


Trump is now off to a meeting of the G-7 this weekend, so we've got that to look forward to as well. The week's not over yet, folks.

There's so much craziness to unpack this week that we're going to have to shift into high gear and present them all as briefly and quickly as possible.

First, some old business. For approximately the 13,000th time, Trump was proven to be a megalomaniacal liar. When Trump visited hospitals in Ohio and Texas after the recent mass shootings, he was upset that in El Paso none of the shooting victims still being treated allowed him to meet with them. So he just made up some nonsense about how popular his visit was, claiming that doctors were actually coming out of operating rooms to shake his hand. The hospital in question responded that that was, of course, pure idiocy. Surgeons never just drop their scalpels and walk out of an ongoing operation -- even to meet the world's biggest egomaniac.

Then there's 13,001. Trump made a claim in a recent rally that he's made before, that a group in Michigan gave him a "man of the year award." He previously made this claim in Michigan, with a Republican congressman sitting beside him. Now that this congressman has left office, he's free to debunk Trump's idiotic and self-serving lie. And he should know, because he was the one who presented Trump with a framed document years ago -- the incident that Trump wrongly remembers as his "Michigan man of the year" moment. In reality, what Trump was presented with was a framed copy of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Which, obviously, Trump never read, since Lincoln's 272 words were far too many for his limited attention span.

Moving on to more nonsense coming out of Trump's pie hole, this week the president flip-flopped on an astonishing number of issues. On Tuesday, Trump addressed the rumors that the White House was considering some sort of tax cut in order to stave off a recession. Trump said: "We've been looking at that," and went on to list the tax cuts under consideration: "So we're talking about indexing, and we're always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax. We're looking at -- I would love to do something on capital gains, we're talking about that, that's a big deal, goes through Congress. Payroll tax is something we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that."

The very next day Trump told reporters: "I'm not looking at a tax cut now. We don't need it, we have a strong economy."

Trump was similarly all over the map this week on universal background checks. First he was for them, then against them, then denied that Wayne LaPierre had talked him out of it, then was kind of for them again, then spoke of defending Second Amendment rights. By week's end, nobody had any clue where Trump actually was on the subject. Oh, and just for the record, two more N.R.A. board members just quit, continuing the exodus.

We wrote about Trump's virulent anti-Semitism earlier in the week, but we had to add this amusing response to Trump telling Jewish voters that they were disloyal to Israel (itself an offensive suggestion) if they voted Democratic, from Bernie Sanders: "I am a Jewish man and I have no concerns about voting Democratic, and, in fact, I intend to vote for a Jewish man to become the next president." Congratulations, Donnie, you've just been Berned.

On Greenland, Trump first enthusiastically confirmed news reports that he was considering trying to buy the island from Denmark. Then Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen poured some cold water on the notion, stating: "Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously. It's an absurd discussion." Trump at first thanked her for saving everyone "a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct," in the same tweet where he called off his upcoming visit. One day later, Trump called the comments "nasty." Actually, Frederiksen's comments were some of the mildest from Danes and Danish politicians -- others were much more scathing.

The real reason Trump decided to bail on his trip to Denmark, however, may have been that Barack Obama is scheduled to go there as well, a few weeks after Trump planned to be there. Which would inevitably mean both men's welcome would be compared by the press, and it's pretty much a certainty -- even before he started talking about buying Greenland -- that Trump's welcome would not have been anywhere near as warm as that given to Obama.

Speaking of Democrats, the 2020 presidential field has shrunk once again. Jay Inslee threw in the presidential towel this week in order to run for a third term as governor of Washington instead. John Hickenlooper, who quit the presidential race last week, officially announced he'll be running for a Senate seat in Colorado. And just today the news broke that Seth Moulton has also dropped out of the race (which will come to a surprise to many, because most voters weren't even aware he was in the race in the first place). This brings the total Democratic field down to "only" 21 candidates.

On a personal note, when we ran a contest a few weeks ago to see who could name the Democrats who would drop out of the race before the third debate round, we offered up our own guesses, in the order we thought they'd leave: John Hickenlooper, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet, Seth Moulton, and Bill de Blasio. We nailed the first one and also named Moulton (out of order), but we blew it with Jay Inslee, bringing our average down. Who will be the next to go? Your guess is as good as ours, but with the deadline to make the cut for the next debate looming, we wouldn't be surprised to see two or three more hang up their spurs in the next week or two.

In contrast to the has-beens, Elizabeth Warren is having a good week all around. She gave a stellar performance at a meeting of Native Americans, even though all most of the media could talk about was her DNA test (to their credit, HuffPost did accurately cover what happened at the event, which we commented on earlier this week). Warren then followed this up with a rally in Minnesota which drew her biggest crowd to date (so big they had to move the event outside to accommodate everyone).

Pete Buttigieg is doing something more Democrats should be paying more attention to -- running some ads targeted directly at Iowa farmers. From one of these ads: "This reckless trade war is tearing apart the very fabric of rural America. And while subsidies might soften the blows temporarily, they can't repair the permanent damage being done to family farms." Farmers are being crushed by Trump's idiotic trade war, and the only way to get their votes is to speak to them. Buttigieg is doing so, and more Democrats need to pick up on this idea.

At the Senate level, there was some good news this week for the husband of Gabby Giffords. Astronaut Mark Kelly is running for John McCain's old seat in Arizona, and a new poll just out showed him up five points over Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed by the governor to take over McCain's seat. This would be a big pickup for Democrats, and would put control of the Senate one seat closer, so it's good news.

Astonishingly, there is also news from the Republican side of the presidential race, as more and more Republicans consider the possibility of running a primary race against their own sitting president, Donald Trump. While William Weld has already launched a bid, there are four other Republicans who appear to be either very close to announcing or at the very least strongly considering the idea: Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake, and John Kasich. Of the four, Flake appears to be the least likely to actually follow through, but the other three sound pretty serious. They all know what a longshot it would be to actually defeat Trump, but at the same time they are all aware that Trump could always completely melt down at any point in time, and if that happens the voters might be open to considering another Republican. While three of them sound very realistic about their chances, Joe Walsh seems to be spoiling for a fight just for the entertainment value of it all. Speaking of how he would run his campaign against Trump (Walsh used the term "bar fight" to describe what he'd do), Walsh summed up what he thought of Trump to the Washington Post: "He's a bully and a coward. Somebody's got to punch him in the face every single day."

While that would certainly be highly amusing to watch, Walsh isn't exactly held in high esteem by his own fellow Republicans. A former communications director for the Republican National Committee responded to a possible Walsh candidacy by pointing out: "No Republican pushed birther nonsense and jerk store politics more than Joe Walsh. No thanks, Joe. You were Trumpy before Trump." Ouch.

And finally, an item for the "Can they even do that?" file. If Trump is challenged in the primaries, the Republican Party in some states (such as South Carolina, one of the early-voting primary states) have a rather novel solution to the problem. Rather than see Trump defeated -- or even challenged -- they would just call off their state's GOP primary altogether. That's right -- if the outcome is in question, then just cancel the election and proclaim Trump the nominee. Heck, Trump himself has proclaimed he is The Chosen One, so why not just anoint him and be done with it?

We have a few Honorable Mention awards to hand out before a rather unusual Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, so let's get right to it all.

To follow up from last week's MIDOTW, Elizabeth Warren will be introducing a bill in the Senate (a companion bill to one already introduced in the House) called the Remove The Stain Act, which would strip the 20 Medals of Honor that were awarded to U.S. soldiers over a century ago for their actions in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Warren explained why this is necessary:

At the Wounded Knee massacre, hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children were slaughtered by soldiers who received Medals of Honor. These acts of violence were not heroic; they were tragic and profoundly shameful. This bill respects and honors those who lost their lives, advances justice, and takes a step toward righting wrongs against Native peoples.

John Hickenlooper, who ended his presidential run last week, this week announced he was running for a Senate seat from Colorado. This is welcome news to Democrats, because he starts the race with a huge advantage in the polls over the Republican currently occupying the seat.

In other dropout news, Jay Inslee ended his presidential run and then decided to run for a third term as Washington's governor. The Onion finished their spoof story by stating that Inslee proceeded by "ethereally transforming into a majestic oak" at the end of his announcement. Inslee obviously thought this was pretty funny, tweeting the story out to his own followers with the line: "I think you'll like my new stump speech." So he's worthy of an Honorable Mention for his sense of humor alone.

Kidding aside, though, we have a pretty minor elected official for our main Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, but an important one nonetheless. Because she represents a minority in politics that has more bias against it than any other minority, if polls are to be believed, because she is an atheist. Or at least an agnostic (the article didn't fully answer this question).

The article centers around a truly endearing event, which is the main reason it caught our eye in the first place:

A newly elected single mother of two wanted her kids to walk away from her swearing-in with an empowering message. So instead of placing her hand on a Bible to take her oath of office as councilwoman for St. Louis County, Kelli Dunaway chose "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss.

Her 5-year-old son, Liam, and her 7-year-old daughter, Bella, held the book in their small hands as their smiling mother was sworn into office Aug. 13.

It was a choice with personal meaning. Dunaway said her single mom was a coal miner who would say if she believed in herself and worked hard, Dunaway could achieve anything.

"In my experience in life, that's been true," the graduate of UCLA School of Law said.

Dunaway went on to explain why she chose the book for her swearing-in ceremony:

The Democrat captured nearly 60 percent of the vote to represent the 2nd District for the county. Her victory, along with another Democratic woman's win, turned control of the council to the party. The governing body is seeing another first since 2010: majority women running it, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

With that green light and it being her daughter's first day of second grade and her son's first day of kindergarten, Dunaway said Dr. Seuss felt right.

"My kids are my only family in St. Louis, and I wanted them to feel part of this," she said. "They're making sacrifices to be part of public service, too, and {the book} has an empowering message."

Dunaway said she's seen a mixed bag of responses to her swearing in with a childhood classic, including those who are inspired by her making her own tradition to those who question whether she takes her role in office seriously.

"I understand it," she said. "A lot of people believe that without God, there can be no morality, and I just don't agree with that."

On the other hand, she says the positive responses give her hope for the future.

The article closes with a quote which starkly points out the headwinds any agnostic or atheist faces getting elected in America:

Dunaway didn't grow up religious. She said she also felt like a Bible wouldn't have been appropriate for her children who are half-Jewish.

She said the part where Seuss writes, "You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes," has resonance with the public.

"You get to direct your own destiny. If that message can spread, it can change the world," she said. "Although we do have to get past the people who think I'm a heathen."

In fact, one of the fastest-growing religious groups in America today is "no religion" or "not religious." But this constituency is one of the least-represented by public figures, because belief in God is seen as almost mandatory for elected officials by most voters -- although this may be slowly changing for the better.

For winning her race so decisively, for sticking to her own principles and choosing the book she wanted for her swearing-in, and for being a strong spokeswoman for the irreligious, we think she's a great choice for this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week, even if her office is a minor one as seen from a national viewpoint. It's rare indeed to see a politician take such a deeply unpopular stance, and the way she chose to do so was positively endearing (because who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?). So we're taking a break from national politics, because Dunaway impressed us more than anyone else this week.

{St. Louis County Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway was just sworn in, and the County Council hasn't yet updated their website with her new public contact information yet, so keep checking their site if you'd like to let her know you appreciate her efforts.}

Once again, we find we don't really have a candidate for the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week.

We briefly considered giving it to the three candidates that have recently dropped out of the presidential race (John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, and Seth Moulton), but they really don't qualify because the number of people that were disappointed by their announcements (their supporters in the presidential race, in other words) numbers only in the tens. Or perhaps "hundreds," on a good day, if the polls can be believed. So while their disappointment might be real, it's not on a large enough scale to qualify, as far as we're concerned.

So we'll just have to put the MDDOTW award back on the shelf for another week, unless anyone has an obvious nomination to make in the comments that we completely missed this week.

Volume 539 (8/23/19)

A theme emerges in this week's talking points, as we run down a list of who Donald Trump has insulted over the course of the past seven days. This list ranges from farmers to God, so it's a rather all-encompassing group. And then, at the end, we have yet another Republican denouncing Trump in the most scathing language imaginable. Maybe this is going to become a weekly thing? One can only hope....

C.B.O. admits reality on deficit

Yet another big item in the "promises broken by Trump" master list.

"Remember Trump promising during his campaign that he'd wipe out both the yearly deficit and the entire national debt while he was in office, because 'only he knew how' to do it? Well, since then both the deficit and the debt have gone through the roof. Trump's big tax cut added trillions because 'tax cuts will pay for themselves' is always a big fat lie. This week the Congressional Budget Office admitted the reality of the situation, which is that there's a good chance that this year's deficit will top one trillion dollars and that we can look forward to trillion-dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see, in what has been described as 'pushing the nation further into levels of debt not seen since the end of World War II.' Can everyone please remember this the next time the Republicans weep and wail about fiscal responsibility? I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the only time we ever see fiscal responsibility in Washington is when the Democrats are in control of things."

#MoscowMitch trending!

Hoo boy. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. No, we mean that, really. Heh.

"Up until now, it's just been Democrats who have been calling the Republican Senate majority leader 'Moscow Mitch,' for his refusal to act to secure America's elections from foreign attacks from Russia. But now his fellow Republicans have also apparently had enough. The Republican lobbying group Republicans For The Rule Of Law is now running television ads in key GOP senators' states denouncing McConnell for his inaction and urging the Republicans: 'Don't let Mitch McConnell stand in your way' of moving the bills forward. All the ads warn of letting Russia get away with attacks on our elections, and feature other Republicans saying things like 'Russia's interference is a threat to our democracy.' Looks like Moscow Mitch is getting some heat from his own side of the aisle these days!"

Trump insults farmers

Donald Trump and his administration insulted a whole lot of people this week, and that's not even including Denmark and Greenland. These next few talking points are a rundown of these insults, with a counter-insult at the end, just to change things up. First on the list is farmers, particularly those who grow corn in Iowa.

"While Democrats are busy travelling the back roads of Iowa in search of votes, Donald Trump apparently doesn't think Iowa's voters are all that important. Just this week the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was giving waivers to 31 petroleum refineries that exempt them from having to use ethanol. This is a very big deal to corn farmers in Iowa and elsewhere. During the entire time Barack Obama was in office, only 10 such waivers were granted, and now the Trump administration has issued more than three times as many in a single year. Chuck Grassley, Republican senator from Iowa, summed up his state's farmers' reaction to the Trump administration's move by bluntly saying: 'they screwed us.' The Minnesota Farmers Union tweeted out: 'This. Is. Wrong.' The president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association called the waivers a 'slap in the face to farmers.' This all happened right after Trump's head of the Department of Agriculture called farmers 'whiners,' please remember. No wonder the Democrats are out there talking to farmers on the campaign trail, because with Trump actively smacking them around like this, there are probably a whole lot of votes to flip out there in corn country."

Trump insults the Medal of Honor

Just unbelievable.

"While mouthing words of praise for a Medal of Honor recipient this week, Donald Trump said the following: 'That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor. I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify.... I said, "Can I give it to myself anyway?" They said, "I don't think that's a good idea."' Now let's all imagine that Barack Obama had joked about such a thing. Think right-wingers would be outraged? I do. Remember what a honkin' big deal dodging the draft was for Bill Clinton? But then it became a non-issue when the Republicans decided to get behind not just one but two draft-dodging presidents. Even suggesting that Donald Trump -- a man who got five draft deferments during Vietnam -- would somehow be eligible for the highest military honor in this country is a disgrace to every soldier that has ever worn this country's uniform, plain and simple. But for some strange reason, Republicans are silent and the media didn't even notice this insulting statement from the draft-dodger-in-chief."

Trump insults Jews

Trump's double standard is alive and well.

"When Ilhan Omar asked why it wasn't okay to talk about people who, quote, push for allegiance to a foreign country, Republicans were aghast. They called her an anti-Semite, for suggesting that American Jews held dual loyalty to both the U.S. and Israel. The outcry was so loud, from people like Liz Cheney and Kevin McCarthy, that Congress passed a resolution clearly aimed at denouncing Omar. Now, though, Donald Trump comes right out and accuses Jews of a 'great disloyalty to Israel' when they vote Democratic, and where is the outrage from the right? In the same week, Trump also praised Henry Ford, who was a Nazi sympathizer and raging anti-Semite, just in case the message wasn't clear enough. Then in an astonishing development that most of the media completely ignored, the Department of Justice apparently sent out an email to all immigration court judges that contained a link to a white supremacist website. Yes, you read that right. They later claimed a contractor had made a mistake, but just for one minute think about what the right would have said if a Democratic president's administration had done such a thing, or anything even remotely close to it. And yet, all we hear from the right is total silence. Trump isn't just blowing a coded anti-Semitic dog whistle, he's coming right out and accusing Jews of divided loyalties while his Justice Department is disseminating white supremacist propaganda. So where is the outrage on the right?"

Trump insults God

Seriously, we never thought we'd be using the term "deification" while discussing American politics, but here we are, folks.

"Donald Trump is not God. Let's just start by saying that, shall we? He just isn't. He's so far from the ideals expressed by the Christian Jesus that it's downright laughable to even consider the notion of Trump being God. But apparently Trump has been entertaining the idea of deification this week. First, he retweeted a conspiracy theorist who proclaimed that Israeli Jews consider Trump 'the King of Israel' and, for good measure, 'the second coming of God' (even though Jews don't believe in a "second coming" -- that's actually the Christians). Trump's reaction in his retweet: 'Wow!' Later, when Trump was asked about his destructive trade war with China, he proclaimed himself 'the Chosen One' while looking skyward. Maybe he should have been looking for lightning to strike him down, which would have been a fitting response to such blasphemy. Here on Earth, the best response I've yet seen came from one of the co-creators of The Daily Show, Lizz Winstead, who tweeted: 'Someone should tell the new "King of the Jews" that Jesus "King of the Jews" Christ was an immigrant that was counted in the census. #AntiChrist'."

The Mooch insults Trump

Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci very publicly broke with Trump this week, with an opinion article he wrote which ran in the Washington Post. It's really an extraordinary screed, coming from a guy who used to be a total Trump sycophant. Last week, we ran an extended rant from Republican Joe Walsh, who is now considering running against Trump in the GOP primaries. This week, it's The Mooch's turn to unload on Trump. And it's worth noting that The Mooch wrote this before most of Trump's craziness this week.

However, in the yes-or-no matter of supporting the president, I have reached a tipping point.

For those paying attention, my public criticism of the president has been mounting over the past two years. His response to the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville was repellent. I was appalled by the administration's child-separation policy along the southern border. His ranting about the news media as the "enemy of the people" was dangerous and beyond the pale. But the final straw came last month when Trump said on Twitter that four congresswomen -- all of them U.S. citizens, and three native-born -- should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

While it's difficult and embarrassing to admit my errors in judgment, I believe I still have the ability to make amends.

. . .

I broke from Trump because not only has his behavior become more erratic and his rhetoric more inflammatory, but also because, like all demagogues, he is incapable of handling constructive criticism. As we lie on the bed of nails Trump has made, it's often difficult to see how much the paradigm of acceptable conduct has shifted. For the Republican Party, it's now a question of whether we want to start cleaning up the mess or continue papering over the cracks.

I challenge my fellow Republicans to summon the nerve to speak out on the record against Trump. Defy the culture of fear he has created, and go public with the concerns you readily express in private. Hold on to your patriotism, and help save the country from his depredations. And to members of the so-called resistance, please leave room on the off-ramp for those willing to admit their mistakes.

Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWeigant
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com
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