A New Normal?

Given the daily headlines highlighting the incompetence and corruption of the Trump Administration, an assertion that America will not and cannot “go back” to a normal Presidency isn’t exactly welcome.

But that was the premise of an essay in Politico Magazine  a couple of weeks ago.

President Donald Trump has spent three years incinerating a group of practices commonly lumped together under the nebulous category of “norms and traditions,” causing the chattering class to worry that he’ll “destroy the presidency,” “undermine American democracy,” “erode” our institutions with each break with precedent or decorum. There are also those, including presidential candidate Joe Biden, who insist that things can go back to normal when Trump is gone. Either in January 2021 or January 2025, these optimists hope, America will experience a restoration of these timeless customs.

Here’s the problem: Many of these “presidential norms and traditions” that Trump has left by the wayside aren’t timeless at all; they’re actually quite new. They grew up alongside and in reaction to the expansion of both the federal state and the presidency—a process that began in the early 20th century but gained steam from the 1930s onward. With the growth of what Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called the “imperial presidency,” each occupant of the Oval Office has left his imprimatur on the development of what we think of as normative presidential conduct.

In other words, these norms emerged as a response to America’s changing needs.

Noting that America has changed dramatically over the 200+ years of its existence, and that  those changes require corresponding adjustments in governance is the sort of otherwise obvious observation that gives self-styled “originalists” fits. They like to believe that “living constitutionalism” is just judge-made law, unmoored from constitutional foundations. In reality, living constitutionalism is the rational application of “original intent,” because it requires safeguarding the original values that animated our Constitution and Bill of Rights in situations that the Founders could never have anticipated.

Our challenge is to decide which of the numerous norms being trashed by Trump are needed to protect those foundational values, and thus must be restored.

The article points out that many of the behaviors we think of as long-established– congressional oversight mechanisms and restrictions on FBI and CIA political activity, for example–are relatively new, prompted by the criminal abuses of the Nixon Administration.

All of which is to say, the idea of independent agencies staffed by nonpartisan career public servants, free of political interference, is a very recent development. Once unraveled, it is not certain to be reassembled.

New, however, is not the same thing as unimportant.

The takeaway is not that certain traditions lack value. On the contrary, it’s pretty reasonable to expect that presidents not misdirect law enforcement and civilian officials to do their political bidding, that presidents be transparent with the media, and that courts remain free of political influence. The point, rather, is that these norms were not timeless features of our system. They emerged over 50 or so years in response to excesses that accompanied the growth of the federal state and in response to a popular sense that citizens required greater visibility into, and accountability from, federal officeholders whose purview grew enormously in the modern era.

As I read through the article, I was anticipating some sort of prescription for how we might re-institute the norms that have clearly proved their importance. I didn’t get it. The article ended by noting that “broken eggs can’t be mended.”

Perhaps we can’t fix broken eggs, but we can–and must–fix America’s federal government.

Once Trump is gone–and I fervently hope that departure occurs sooner rather than later–we need to take a step back and decide what rules, systems, and cultural expectations are essential to advancing–and perhaps finally beginning to live up to– American values and ideals.


  1. Sheila,

    “Our challenge is to decide which of the numerous norms being trashed by Trump are needed to protect those foundational values, and thus must be restored.”

    The norms for fascism are different than those for a democracy. What do you expect from a fascist like Trump?

  2. Jo Biden is wrong of course. Try as he might, he cannot take the country “back”. What we can do, what we must do, is move forward with hard lessons learned to write new laws and new regulations and put into place traditions and norms that future generations can live with and thrive.

  3. “Our challenge is to decide which of the numerous norms being trashed by Trump are needed to protect those foundational values, and thus must be restored.”

    I must copy and past the same quote Marv used to make his point; there is no other and no better way to state the need for restoration of, not only values but, the salvation of democracy, Rule of Law and support and return to the Constitution of the United States of America. A close look at the steady levels on the Stock Market are vested in the buying of canned goods and bleach, etc., and Kroger is standing strong as Americans are stocking up due to coronavirus to prepare for possible closing of businesses. As the Director of W.H.O. reported globally; “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” to override Trump’s foolish disregard for human lives because he says it won’t happen here…even as it IS happening here.

    Those who view Joe Biden’s campaign as being based on President Obama’s reputation are forgetting, or unaware of the fact, that Trump has repealed or destroyed life-saving and basic economic realities as set by past administrations of both parties over decades. Bernie’s “pie-in-the-sky” and fairy tale solutions offer no indication of how he will end current problematic situations regarding 47 years of for-profit health care since Nixon repealed the law or how colleges have become corporations with sports business now a major part of their foundations. His supporters are caught up in the words “free” and “no debt” and ignore the fact that his small tax increases are on top of all current taxes plus the cost of ending current health care and student debt problems…as if those problems will simply vanish with a wave of his magic wand. Only fools would put four new tires on a car that quit running four years before.

  4. It makes Trump sound like the evil genius. I doubt that he set out to upset norms. I think it is more a reflection of his constant inward focus and grabbing at what he wanted with no understanding of the consequences.

  5. Sorry, DaleB, upsetting norms is EXACTLY what Trump set out to do. Steve Bannon and his idiotic brand of Mercer-fueled fascism was in his ear 24/7. Have you ever listened to that fucking lunatic try to speak?

    Yes, broken eggs cannot be repaired. The good news is that we know how to make new eggs. The formula is written in our laws and our history. Going “back” is not going to happen. Today is tomorrow’s history. Rebuilding what worked, like the rule of law and Congress doing its job, is what needs to happen in order for new norms that are positive and progressive to be implemented.

    November’s election is much more than just removing the yellow muskrat from the Oval Office. Amy McGrath must unseat Mitch McConnell. Having this turd in the Senate punchbowl for a single day longer than just one is perpetuating the disaster in democratic government that he practices…along with his abjectly corrupt wife. I expect Alabama will finally give the world the horrors of Roy Moore, but to offset his idiocy, hate and bigotry, John Cornyn must also be removed from office. Yet another female combat veteran, M.J. Hegar, is opposing him in Texas. Taking the Senate to a significant Democratic majority is critical to the United States have ANY hope of having “norms” that allow us to govern ourselves as a democratic republic. This is the time where Ben Franklin’s warning is most poignant and urgent: “It’s a Republic, madam, if we can keep it.”

  6. Trump and people like him flourish in chaos. That’s what he presents as “shaking things up.” Vernon is absolutely correct when he says it’s most important to take the Senate away from McConnell. He has done more to damage the rule of law than all others combined.

  7. One thing for certain is the Security-Military-Industrial-Wall Street Complex will continue to push for more funding, more weapons, more adventurous Political-Military forays all over the earth. American Military Adventurism and Imperialism have been rather unchecked since LBJ, it became the new normal after a brief hiatus after the Vietnam War. Few people question this anymore.

    Anyway, why do we need Science and Experts in Science when Pastor Pence can Pray it a Way.
    This situation is exacerbated by a downsizing of scientific expertise within the US government. The EPA’s staff numbers, for example, are a third smaller than they were when Trump took power. In the first two years of the Trump administration, more than 1,600 federal scientists left various government agencies, according to Office of Personnel Management employment data.

    The administration has attempted even deeper cuts: Trump’s 2021 budget proposal, submitted just days after international alarm was raised over the coronavirus, included a 16% reduction in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Trump has said that the CDC and other agencies could rapidly restaff if needed but this concept runs counter to the standard practices of government-run research.

    Why would any person who has been downsized from the Federal Government EPA, or CDC want to go back, knowing they can be axed the next day.

  8. For the misinformed JoAnn “Boomer” Green, there is a website that can remove your ignorance: https://berniesanders.com/issues/how-does-bernie-pay-his-major-plans/.

    Sometimes, I believe you guys/gals are closet MAGA fans dressed in “Vote Blue No Matter Who” tee shirts.

    The problem is Vernon, we’ve already lost the “republic” and the “democracy.” And yes, our voting populace sat by and let it happen, but we were warned all along the way.

    Ike warned us of the emergence and growth of the military-industrial complex. He told us what would happen if we didn’t check the great powers these men were accumulating. It’s grown exponentially despite his warnings.

    We speak in terms like shared values, freedom, dignity, etc.

    The people running the country speak in terms of money, power, greed, etc.

    Trump may make these Oligarchs cringe at times, but what has he done to disrupt their power, limit their greed, or redistributed their incomes for the betterment of this country?

    Have the CEOs of the Top 100 come out and decried Trump a failure?

    And, where is the opposition to these Oligarchs coming from? The unions are already in their back pockets. The Democratic Party? Already controlled by the Oligarchs.

    So, where exactly is the resistance or counter-insurgency, going to come from?

    I see lots of FDR quotes floating around on social media lately because they realize it’s gotten that bad, just on a global, more powerful scale.

  9. Todd; I have read numerous sites with Bernie’s plans to enact Medicare for all and end student debt. They all “explain” how he will pay for these changes in the future; he had not explained what he will “do” with the current situation of health care and student debts plagueing this country today. It will not just disappear. After posting my comments I returned to my TV and “Morning Joe” which was in the middle of their newscaster reporting analysts findings of the same issues against Bernie’s plans. Medicare for all would be the best solution but after 47 years of health care being for-profit corporate conglomerates; it is just not feasible.

    I had thought Liz Warren would join Bernie after ending her presidential campaign but she has been asking him to please stop the Bernie Bros from attacking her on line; evidently this is a major problem or she would not go public with the information. Bernie is still using divisive tactics against his remaining primary opponent (unless I missed Tulsi Gabbard dropping out). He continues his insults and listing past history in his fight against Joe who was one of 77 Senators who supported George W.’s war in Iraq. George W. has since been one of the many who supported that war but now admit it was a mistake.

  10. I am a capital i Idealist. I believe that more people are good, moral and care about others and our democracy. Because of the work I do, I have had a chance to interact with and observe many of the atypical politicians who ran for the US House in 2018. (No, not “The Squad”).

    While not all were elected, the diversity they showed – most not big business people or big time lawyers or having been politicians – rather, small business people, teachers, farmers, nurses – reflected the hardcore values of America. The ones that were elected have shown that norms are behavior – they hold town halls constantly, they try to work across the aisle, they compromise, they don’t always follow the dictates of Party leaders.

    If we get enough people like that into DC, they will rise to the Senate (like Amy) and the government will be run “by the people” – the good people.

  11. The Originalists never address this question. If the Founding Fathers thought they had all the answers, so no modifications would be necessary, whey did they include in the Constitution, the ability to amend it?

  12. The ship of state stops, starts and steers ponderously and even mysteriously. It could even be wrecked on rocks we cannot see yet by the end of this year.

    That’s the main reason why a never single party or single issue voter like me is adamantly blue no matter who for November. It’s the only way to avoid time wasting politics on the bridge while we juke and jive through the perils of recovery.

    There’s so much to do so urgently to catch up now with the times while sweeping up the considerable mess left behind by 4 years without a President and in the grips of a two bit demigod and his crime family.

  13. No, Todd, we have NOT lost the republic or our democracy. That will happen, though, if Trump gets reelected and Republicans aren’t removed from office. They have NEVER wanted a republic. They WANT an oligarchy. It’s how their delusion tells them that they can obtain more wealth and power forever.

    The problem with our oligarchs and their slavish attachment to profits above all else is that one fine day soon, there will be no more resources to exploit, and too many starving people who clamor for food and shelter. The oligarchs, as has always happened in history, will be torn to shreds by those wishing to survive. Yes, that sort of dystopia is not unimaginable. Places like India and many of the “stans” are on the brink of total anarchy as it is.

  14. Todd, good response on Bernie’s Plans @ 8:49 am. The Corporate Media like FOX, MSDNC and CNN jump all over Bernie’s Medicare for All Plan, it makes sense look at the billions of dollars these Networks profit from by Advertisements from the Corporate HealthCare Industry.

    I do not ever remember FOX, MSDNC, or CNN interviewing any one who has gone bankrupt from medical bills, or people who have no insurance at all, or people who have to make a choice between a Doctor Visit and food on the table because of High Deductible Insurance Plans, you will not see this, or hear this.

    Here is is another piece of information unreported by MSDNC or CNN.
    This what you need know about the DNC:
    Corporate Lobbyists Control the Rules at the DNC
    Two-thirds of DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee members are corporate lobbyists or corporate consultants, including ten at-large DNC members appointed by DNC Chair Tom Perez.


    HA, HA, people all worried and hand wringing about the Russians, when the DNC is staffed by Corporate Lobbyists.

  15. Chris Knapp, thanks for your post yesterday of Anand Giridharadas video. He’s certainly an engaging speaker.

    One question he raises is if we have a moral or intellectual issue or both.

    He argues moral and makes a strong case for that as an unavoidable feature of capitalism. Certainly true but the whole truth?

    I see much evidence of the failure of a front end loaded education system which is based on much different times in the expansion of human knowledge. That plus our cultural rugged individual objectivism is leaving us ill prepared to avoid out living our knowledge.

  16. More people should read The Federalist Papers, where the Founders noted that change in the future will be necessary as conditions evolve. That observation, of course, has application in general far beyond politics. Compare the Silicon Valley of 2010 with the New York Harbor experience a century before when horses and buggies plied the waterfront, or the operator-operated phone system of that day with the push of a button these days which can, for instance, move billions across international borders in quest of cheaper wages, proximity to raw materials etc.

    My metaphor-laden response to today’s topic > The “broken eggs” observation is not new to Trump’s Big Brother instincts or the federalism of Wilson and FDR. We were far worse off during the Civil War and Reconstruction days than we are now. We can (and I hope will) change political directions this fall, even though there remains a Trump-fanned geographical resentment of the results of the Civil War to this day – a Humpty Dumpty broken egg apparently impervious to repair.

    So where are we on this continuum forecast by our political forebears? We are in the new eggs stage, and I will go out on a limb and suggest here for the critiques of others that Biden will be our candidate, that he will defeat Trump, that he will govern more progressively than many expect (especially from an old senator from Delaware whose corporate governance rules are notoriously weak), and that the old nursery rhyme of “All the king’s horses and all the King’s men, cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again” will prove wrong because with a change in personnel in Washington we will not be going back to the way “things used to be” but rather will establish a new normal composed of New Deal idealism blended with accelerating AI which will in turn afford us far more choices for our future than we have today. Time, as usual, will tell.

  17. The people who take networks to task for analyzing this or that health care plan are missing the point altogether. OUR CURRENT GOVERNMENTAL ARRANGEMENT WILL NOT, REPEAT, NOT, PASS THE NECESSARY LEGISLATION TO TAKE INSURANCE COMPANIES OUT OF THE LOOP. Getting rid of Citizens United decisions is the first step. THEN making lobbying of any stripe illegal. THEN electing non-corrupted representation in Congress. That means publicly funding elections. THEN we can do more than “just” add the public option. Putting price caps on drugs will create a constant string of lawsuits from the stockholders running the drug companies.

    Look, I agree absolutely that our health care system is idiotic and based on greed not health care. But there are 32 major nations who have pulled off universal health care INCLUDING capping drug costs. Part of the reason we pay so much for OUR drugs is that drug companies aren’t making sufficient profits (for their stockholders) overseas, so WE have to fill the profit gap for no other benefit except to enrich the stockholders.

    Bitching at MSNBC, et., al., accomplishes nothing. Presenting a health care plan that is DOABLE in the short run until we get a government that isn’t corrupt is where we all should be heading.

  18. Gerald – nice hopeful thoughts – agree! And, with any luck with turnout, there will be enough “old progressive” ideals from the new generation of House and Senate leaders to carry it through – like Amy and Bullock,etc.

  19. The new norm!

    The new normalcy is not new, nor is it or should it be considered normal.

    What happened to Germany during what was known as the 2nd Reich, including the 1st world war, did Germany ever regain its normalcy after its Emperor went down the rabbit holes at the end of the 1800s? The anger by the population was never abated, it festered, and eventually, it led to the 2nd world war and of course the Holocaust. But before that, the demonization of the non-Aryans, which is kind of Stupid when you think about it. Because Aryans were not Caucasian! They actually were from the Indian continent, and interestingly, those Aryans from the Indus River Valley, which is part of Pakistan, used the swastika on their temples. Their beliefs were more in line with Persians which is today’s Iran. Those particular Aryans actually laid the foundations of the cast system which disenfranchised a majority of those on the Indian continent. The upper crust/cast controlled everything, i.e. trickle-down economics, sound familiar?

    Of course it’s loaded with hypocrisy, because these Aryans were not white, nor blonde haired and blue-eyed. By the way, the swastika was used in worship by the religion of Jainism which if you really get into it, really goes against everything that the Germans believed in, so, their whole image was based on hypocrisy and lies, it all sounded good, but had no basis in fact or reality. Like I said before, I love history! It reveals a lot about the human condition, which is an illness.

    There is no normalcy, normalcy is what’s happening at the moment. The most recent example is the above-mentioned, Germany! Their society never went back to what it was before Imperial Germany, it brought the world extremely close to self-destruction, and it’s still close. You would think that Americans would understand that, but the stupidity runs deep, part of the human condition I would suspect, LOL! When this is all said and done, there will be those, and make no mistake about it, there will be those who seek retribution. And since the die has been cast already, whoever is the next in line for the Imperial presidency, is going to wreak havoc on someone, after all, it’s the human way! Never learn from history, and constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.

    I weep for my grandchildren, this is not sustainable, the world is too connected, even more so than during the 1st and 2nd world war. If one self-destructs, they all go down. When they all go down the rabbit hole, what’s left? Where are the minority that have foresight going to go? There is no place to go! There is no fix,


    This world will not be the same, there will be a complete new structure, an antithesis of what was put in place after the 2nd world war, you can see the beginnings of the tearing down now, this will be a world of emperors, and subjects! Emperors appoint their princes, their upper cast, everyone else better learn how to survive on the crumbs. That is if this planet does not completely self-destruct!

  20. When you think back to the beginning of America and the founders who risked being hanged for treason, and consider them in context with Trump, the contrasts couldn’t be more stark. After the colonists won the Revolutionary War, there was impetus to name Washington as King of America. He strongly refused, and reminded the founders that they were creating a NEW country with the vision that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Of course we all know that “all men” didn’t include black or brown ones, Jews, and certainly not women, but that’s beside the point.

    A lot of the Constitution ASSUMES that the Executive would be driven first by patriotism, because that’s what drove our founders to risk their lives to establish something brand new. They assumed that the Executive would respect the power of Congress and the oversight over the Executive given to the House of Representatives, because the Executive was first and foremost a patriot–willing to die for the ideals that founded this country, because that was their motivation.

    Never could the founders have dreamed of anyone seeking the presidency solely for selfish reasons–the need for power and adulation due to mental illness known as narcissism. It was beyond imagination that someone seeking the presidency would even consider accepting help from a foreign government to sway the election, much less actually seek out such acceptance. Leveraging military aid appropriated by Congress to help an ally in exchange for ginning up false accusations against an opponent was something that they could not have comprehended. Neither could they have conceived of a presidential candidate bragging about assaulting women, incarcerating children and taking babies away from their parents to punish the parents for seeking asylum.

    Then, there’s the behavior: pettiness, vindictiveness and profanity. To the knowledge of Presidential historians, no POTUS has ever publicly uttered profanity in the Blue Room, because they understood that they were standing on the shoulders of great men who did great things in this room. Bess Truman was once asked whether she was upset when Harry said “bull manure”, and she said “no”, because it took her a long time to get him to substitute “manure” for “shit”. Trump, on an open mike in the Blue Room, called something one of his opponents said about him “bullshit”.

    I haven’t even touched on the institutional changes because you have covered those so well. Trump is indeed an outlier–anything but a swamp drainer or breath of fresh air. His entire goal was praise, adulation, attention and trying to deny Barak Obama a legacy. He is a monumental failure, but he has what no other president has had–his own network to spread lies, pivot and accuse anyone who opposes him and stir up the dupes who are also racists, xenophobes and misogynists. He also has Russians able and willing to hack into emails and the computer systems of any opponent, and who have shown they will manipulate social media to spread lies, just like they did in 2016. He needs to go, but he’s already cheating again. Russia’s helping him, and the Senate refuses to pass multiple bills tendered by the House to take steps to secure the 2020 election. Does anyone believe our founders could have anticipated this aberration stinking up the White House?

  21. Democrats may select certain “rules, systems, and cultural expectations (that) are essential” to a great society and ATTEMPT to resuscitate them. In fact, I think democrats are duty bound to such a mission…but healthy rules, systems, and cultural expectations are not duty bound to result.

    The pathosis of powerful interests and iron-heeled influences that brought rules, systems, and cultural expectations down in the first place will not retire or go away or vacation simply because they lost an election. They will increase their efforts. They will increase their payoffs; their threats; their bribes; their blackmail; their lies; their propaganda; their bullying; the caliber of their weapons, and their jawboning.

    What we are up against is not a township faction that wants to change the school colors or institute a new grading system or eliminate dress codes–these are not movements that voting and elections have the ability to quell. These criminals intend to kill the social/political environment in which even the weak and unlucky survive. Get it? It has become a matter of life or death, far more serious than school colors and far, far beyond arbitration by ballot.

    In their hearts, these bastards are chanting in unison: Give me domination or give me death.

    It’s war, baby; and we’re dead if we don’t accept that fact, even if we win a hundred elections.

  22. Just to draw attention to Elizabeth Warren dropping out, it was just days before the observance of International Woman’s Day of 2020! Not just Elizabeth Warren but all of the women who are attempting to change the impossible. I’m sure Sheila will touch on this on her post March 8 which is the official day. There is a lot of regalia at the United Nations today! So if Sheila decides to post Sunday, I will have a lot to say!

  23. Larry,

    “What we are up against is not a township faction that wants to change the school colors or institute a new grading system or eliminate dress codes–these are not movements that voting and elections have the ability to quell.”

    That’s for sure.

    As you said, “The pathosis of powerful interests and iron-heeled influences that brought rules, systems, and cultural expectations down in the first place will not retire or go away or vacation simply because they lost an election.”


    I’ve been trying to find Einstein’s quote to the effect that “you can’t fight fascism with democracy.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it more specifically: We must have CIVIC COURAGE. He had it, but his fellow Germans, except for a few exceptions, didn’t.

  24. Thanks for the realism, Larry!

    Too many Dem Party Loyalists believe their party is still a sacred entity run by people for the people, blah, blah, blah.

    “Humanity has reached the edge of the climate abyss because what passes for ‘democracy’ is a propaganda myth, sold endlessly to the public by politicians, Big Business and the state-corporate media. That myth acts as a thin veneer covering rampant global capitalism. We are now in the terminal stages of this destructive system.

    Noam Chomsky has put the basic contradiction between genuine democracy and capitalism in these stark terms:

    ‘Personally, I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control.’

    (Quoted in ‘Chomsky on Democracy & Education’, edited by C. P. Otero, RoutledgeFalmer, London, 2003, p. 335)


  25. In 2004, I worked with Professor Henry Giroux on a common project. The next year, his book “AGAINST The New Authoritarianism” was published. In the first sentence of the first paragraph in the first chapter of his book, he gave us all an early warning:

    “The re-election of George W. Bush makes clear what most dominant intellectuals on the left and the right have refused to acknowledge. The United States is not simply a centre-right government supported by the majority of the populace; it is a country moving rapidly towards a form of authoritarianism that undermines any claim to a practicing democracy.” p. 30

    See “Against The New Authoritarianism” by Henry Giroux (Arbiter Ring Publishing, Winnipeg, Canada, 2005.

    Because of this and his other books, Giroux was forced out of his teaching position at Penn State, left the U.S., and now teaches and resides in Canada.

  26. Thanks, Marv. I believe Chris Hedges refers to Professor Giroux as well.

    I found this nugget of truth:

    [W]hat neoliberalism has done since the 1970s is it has created such economic misery, it has so accentuated levels of inequality, it has created such suffering, it has dismantled entire towns, it has concentrated wealth in the hands of the financial elite, and it has legitimated an enormous culture of cruelty. And it operates off the assumption that the market can solve all problems — not simply in the economy, but in all of social life — so it becomes a template and a model for all social relations. In doing so, it is at odds with any notion of the welfare state, any notion of labor unions, any notion of workers’ rights, and any notion of economic rights. It privatizes, deregulates, and commodifies everything. It sets up a series of competitive attitudes that degrades collaboration. It highlights self-interest at the expense of modes of solidarity. It so accentuates matters of inequitable relations in wealth and power that you have an enormous concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the financial elite, and this is enacted by all kinds of policies that undermine the foundations of a democracy — all of its basic institutions, from the press, to public goods such as schools and media, to politics itself.

    “Henry Giroux on His Latest Book — The Terror of the Unforeseen — and How Neoliberal Capitalism Sets the Stage for Fascism (August 19, 2019), Media For Us

  27. Todd,

    Chris Hedges has changed for the good over the years. He was a courageous war correspondent, but was somewhat naive on the subject of race in the U.S., probably stemming from his exclusive, private, prep school days.

    The project with Professor Giroux was for me to fly from Jacksonville to New York and challenge Hedges on his failure to mention the serious problem of racism during the book signing and discussion of his new book at the Barnes and Noble [flagship]Bookstore at 46th and 5th Avenue. I got my chance. It was a very successful trip.

  28. Well stated, Theresa – What has always bothered me about some of the “moderates” (Biden Klobuchar) was their implication that there was a giant reset button and if they were just elected, it would be pushed and everything would be as before.

    Gerald – I hope you are right about Biden – I always note that he pulled Obama to the “left” on marriage equality – he may surprise us, and having no “future career” to worry about, he might really push for the benefit of the working and middle classes.

    In any event, the consensus here seems to be that either (a) all hope is lost unless we have revolutionary change – probably led by Sanders, or (b) we need to look at the problems of these Trump years and devise an even better version of what we have had in the past. I tend to fit into the latter camp.

  29. Len,

    “In any event, the CONSENSUS here seems to be that either (a) all hope is lost unless we have revolutionary change – probably led by Sanders, or (b) we need to look at the problems of these Trump years and devise an even better version of what we have had in the past. I tend to fit into the latter camp.”

    That’s your version of consensus, it sure the hell isn’t mine. I’m not into losing.

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