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If Biden winds up withdrawing from the race, I won’t know what kind of country I live in anymore. But I will know it’s not at all what I once thought it was, namely, a country governed by we the people through free and fair primary and general elections. If this attempt to throw Biden overboard is successful, it will perversely prove Trump’s claims of rigged elections true to a new audience of Biden supporters who voted faithfully for Joe in the primaries believing naively their vote meant something. Regardless of what you think about Biden, he’s done nothing wrong to trigger this insane rush to throw him out except have a very bad debate night that raised legitimate questions about his mental fitness, questions knowingly ridiculed and suppressed by the very people now seeking his demise. He’s not accused of any crime, there’s no crushing personal moral scandal. He won all his primaries, and until three weeks ago, EVERYONE on his side and in the media insisted that questions about possible dementia were out of bounds, misinformation, or “cheap fakes”. But now they’ve all changed their tune, not because he did something bad but because he’s losing to Trump. That’s his crime. And if the donors and party’s rulers can force him out as A SITTING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, then everything we believe to be true about American democracy is false. If the President of the USA is ultimately powerless against a secretive cabal behind the curtain, then God help us. Do we really live in a country where a roomful of nameless billionaires can FORCE a president to withdraw? It’s insane. The much lamented cynicism infecting American politics would reach unprecedented depths, and any Democrat thus elected would be seen, rightly, as a stooge, tool, and puppet by most Americans, even among many who voted for them. You wanna save democracy? Then say no to this slow motion coup. I’m genuinely rooting for Joe because something much bigger is at stake here, and no one is talking about it.

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> “secret cabals of donors and political operatives” were “conspir[ing] to force [Biden] out.

Geez I thought it was the other way around.

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Where you say Lara Trump has a dog in this fight because Donald prefers Biden, you can view this as setting things up as a win/win. —- if Biden runs, fine, and if there is an “our Democracy” coup replacing him the stage is set for skewering the Democrats as hypocrites and the Democratic candidate as illegitimate.

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founding

Our political and cultural elite, who are so removed by the average American continues to show us their fake courage by saying now that Joe should drop out. The latest member of the Hollywood elite to speak out:George Clooney. Interesting for him to say something AFTER raising $30 million dollars for the President. Why would people give $30 million dollars at a gathering where they get to meet and greet a man that clearly is not well? Why would the American people listen to people willing to waste their money and make a terrible “investment” for a losing campaign for a cognitively challenged man?

The fact that you need to raise at least $1 billion to run for President shows that the monied class has much too much influence and access to our politicians. The best part is that it is one thing for a billionaire businessman that has actually built something of value that employs people and adds to our GDP. It is another for Hollywood actors since their primary purpose in life is to pretend to be other people, as they make obscene amounts of money for it and have entre and privileges far beyond their contributions to our society.

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Way to be ageist, TFP. "Gramps, stay home, alone, to stop the spread." How about: "Gramps, use protection"? We don't tell randy teenagers and young adults to stay home alone to prevent STD's. Why not just say, stick a fork in yourself, you're done. Obviously written by a millennial.

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One of these congressional clowns still waving the Biden flag should offer Andrea Lawful-Sanders a job.

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Oliver is exactly right. "It’s the inadequately democratic primary system that has led to the mess we’re in." All of this drama is media-driven "infotainment." The media wanted a Trump/Biden rematch, so told the American people to shut up and sit down because this decision had been made before a single primary vote was cast, even though polls repeatedly indicated that about three-quarters of voters wanted neither rerun candidate.

Our primary system has always been chaotic and stupid, with Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina trying to leapfrog over one another to be first, first, first! When I lived in New Jersey in 2016 Marco Rubio was gone from the ballot by the time it got to me, so I was left with a choice between Cruz and Trump. Here in Texas in 2020, with Ron DeSantis no longer in the running, I was left with a choice between Haley and Trump.

We should have shorter campaigns, not yearlong media extravaganzas, a right-to-work plan for Fox News and msnbc talking heads. (I will remind weary voters that the race for 2028 begins bright and early on November 6, 2024! %-)

We should have a national primary immediately after Labor Day in Election year, One Single Election Day (not a month of "ballot-harvesting"), and then we're done. Everyone walking into the voting booth on both Primary Day and Election Day has the same information going in and we're all there at the same time. If you can't make it that day, well, them's the breaks. Better luck next time. You're not that special.

Our electoral system right now is like the absurdly homely Camel: a Horse designed by a Committee.

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I couldn't agree more with these comments. As an Independent voter (one of the 47% or so nationwide) who lives in Pennsylvania, I can't even vote in the primary unless I change my affiliation to one of the two major sclerotic, dysfunctional parties. There is nothing "democratic" about the primary system especially when you add in "super delegates", you have a real cluster.

Shorter campaigns, open primaries (with rank voting), and voting on a Sunday (like the ROW) would help immensely and while we're fantasizing, how about term limits? We have them for President, why don't we have it for other offices and the SCOTUS (give them 20 years and then be on your way!)

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Amen, Chris, on those term limits! Imagine the situation right now, with a president suffering from a degenerative neurological ailment. Congress only began to move when their down ballot chances became threatened. Imagine what our legislature would be like if they only had the country -- and not their re-election prospects -- to think of. They might actually be motivated to do the right thing.

The Founders, geniuses that they were, couldn't imagine anyone wanting to spend more than two years or six years in the swamp that is D.C. (literally as well as figuratively), which is why they didn't build in term limits. They couldn't anticipate that these people would so feather their nests with perks, swanky offices, hot and cold running staff, allowances for everything, making four times the median salary in the country.

Within just a few months most of them become creatures of Washington and have more in common with their fellow martinets than they do with anyone back home, the great unwashed.

We have to flush them out. %-)

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"Even just opting for Kamala Harris would, in its own way, be democratic. After all, she is our vice president."

No. Not a single person voted for Kamala. Even in 2020 she garnered not a single delegate. That would be un-democratic.

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But she was on the Biden-Harris ticket that primary voters voted for. That's what was meant. Her name was on the ballot, whereas other contenders were not.

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Nah. He’s your candidate. No take backs. Y’all could have voted for Phillips and chose not to

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"Putrid decomposition" - The term leaps out at me from one of your articles, and I'm rolling it between my fingers to contemplate it and squeeze out the essence.

I think the term, and quite a few like it, are used in almost every opinion piece that I read lately. It seems apropos to every argument put forth, from Biden's suitability, to Trump's sales pitch about present day America, to the technique needed to sell, say, an essay in The Atlantic. For without it, we aren't properly motivated to outrage or fear. Or action?

What is Boeing's crime, other than (p..... d...........)? What is the state of democracy in the country of your choice?

Overstimulation necessitates escalation of imagery, I'm thinking.

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I'm actually pretty much OK with the Boing deal. But then again, I'm a post liberal, so I don't really have a problem with a state deciding that particular industries and companies are strategically important and therefore "above the law" (to a certain degree). The government's main job is to protect the country, and Boeing (the only major aircraft manufacturer in America and thus effectively a national-flag company in the same sense that Airbus is a EU flag company) is a huge part of how they do that. It is thus strategically important militarily and economically, and destroying the company in court would weaken both of those.

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Ah, good write-up on Houellebecq. I think Steinberg pulled a perfect citation here. Houellebecq is best read as illustrating something important about family and tradition, and maybe even more so religion. You say those words family and tradition and it is brushed aside as quaint, but everyone knows Houellebecq is not quaint. The way writers are supposed to go on about nationality and ethnicity has now become quaint, if anything ever was. Houellebecq has not forgotten that all politics (for good or ill) begins in the home. It's nice to see Steinberg emphasize that.

I wonder if you could draw a line to Houellebecq from Chesterton who might be said to be making a similar point when he coined the term "Americanization" to describe the "idea of making a new nation literally out of any old nation that comes along..." and argued that "the process, is not internationalization. It would be truer to say it is the nationalization of the internationalized. It is making a home out of vagabonds and a nation out of exiles." A nation of exiles sounds romantic, except when it's not. Houellebecq takes stock of the fact that perhaps the entire world doesn't want to be Americanized (or nationalized). He is more crass than Chesterton too of course. I suppose if Houellebecq wasn't reviled it would mean that he had become toothless. People often have to feign offense so that they don't have to consider prophetic voices. Regardless, it turns out that nationalizing the internationalized is rife with challenges in any country that attempts it.

Vive la France.

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Yikes

You win, I surrender

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I wouldn't call it "undemocratic" to replace Biden as the nominee, since voters still get to decide the next president in November, and most democracies still nominate candidates in closed party rooms, and it's kinda of a soft substitution for what should be done (invoking the 25th), if it weren't for Kamala Harris, but it is an ironic break from recent American tradition.

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Idc what “most” democracies do. That isn’t how we do things here.

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I was going to call it un-American, but I'm not sure how long it's been the way things are done here. It seems relatively new, and an unusual amalgam of state legislation and party rules. How we do things here is continually evolving in this respect. Not exactly a bedrock component of democracy.

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If you don’t know maybe best not to speak on it. We’ve had primaries for > 100 years. That’s the way we do things here. If you want to change it fine. The time to do that is not in the middle of the election cycle after millions of people have already cast their ballots. THAT is undemocratic. Just bc your team nominated weekend at Bernie’s doesn’t mean you get to change the rules at halftime.

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Most definitely not my team Russell, and the way primaries are done have been changing more or less continuously. Did the Dems really get to cast their vote for who they wanted in the primaries? Were they lied to about real state of Biden's faculties? If primaries are a necessary component of democracy, the fix was already in.

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No they haven’t. Not in my lifetime anyway. And anyone who allowed themselves to be lied to about Bidens condition was choosing to believe the propaganda media as opposed to their eyes. That’s their problem. The primary is over and the democrat voters overwhelmingly voted for Biden. No take backs. Sorry about your luck.

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And, as I already clarified, it's not my party, not my take back, and not my luck. You can disagree with me, but please don't assume it's because I'm being partisan. I agree with you, from a Republican perspective, it may be better to have the Dems stuck with Biden and Kamala.

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Rules have changed about who can vote in what primaries, in my lifetime.

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Exactly. The Donkeys fixed this year's primaries - just as they did in 2016 to screw Bernie and in 2020 to eliminate the sentient challengers.

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Their voters haven’t demanded a change in the primary election as far as I can tell. A small number of pro jihad Muslims voted uncommitted in a small

Handful of states bc of something something genocide. Otherwise Biden got 90% of the primary votes. This is who they wanted. This is who they get.

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Off and on for 45 years since 1963

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Joe Nocera wildly overstates the case in stating that Boeing "murdered" the passengers on those two flights. Yes, they were negligent. But American and Western European pilots who have encountered that same malfunction reacted in accordance with their training and understanding of the aircraft's systems, disabled the runaway trim, and landed safely at their destinations. Test pilots reproducing the conditions that led to those crashes were likewise easily able to handle the malfunction. In one of those crashes, the same malfunction had occurred on that airplane's previous flight, and the pilot had dealt with it safely, but inexplicably failed to report it to maintenance. So no, Joe (what's with people named Joe this week?), it wasn't murder.

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