A Sunday Night True Story

Once upon a time, between 2016 and 2018, I got it wrong. On the front page and in the comments. Over and over and over again. While I recognized that Trump had around a 30% chance of winning in 2016, I thought it unlikely to happen. Unfortunately, the antiquated relic know as the Electoral College went off as it is occasionally won’t to do.

What I really got wrong, however, is just how little resiliency our political systems and structures actually had to withstand what we all lived through. I made that mistake because I fell back on what I learned in my education and training as a political scientist, as well as my experience with career civil servants during my time serving on civilian mobilization orders with the Army and DOD. Specifically, that it is exceedingly difficult to overcome then inertia that is a career civil servant.

As a result, I convinced myself that our system was stronger than it was and would hold more firmly against Trump, his appointees, and their agenda. I overestimated what Robert Mueller would do, underestimated what Trump’s appointees, employees, family members, campaign officials, Republican elected and party officials, and surrogates would do to undermine Mueller’s investigation. And I told that to all of you in front page posts and in the comments. I was wrong. And a lot of you suffered as a result of my incorrect assurances.

I won’t make the same mistake twice.

I failed as a front pager between 20-6 and 2018. Instead of helping to make you all better informed and smarter, I made you dumber. I gave you false hope. I helped to make things worse.

Maybe we’ll get really, really lucky and everything will break just right and we’ll thread the needle again in November 2022 and November 2024 the way we did in November 2020. But right n0w Republican controlled state legislatures are doing everything they can to ensure that does not happen. That it doesn’t matter how many voters are registered or mobilized through changing the law to suppress the votes or make them irrelevant by allowing state legislatures to substitute their preferences for the actual will of the voters. That through even more extreme gerrymanders, these elected officials will even more precisely pick their voters rather than allowing the voters to pick their elected representatives. We are quickly regressing to how the US functioned at the state level prior to the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act passed and the Supreme Court took the Reconstruction amendments seriously.

I was not sufficiently skeptical and paranoid in 2016, 2017, and into 2018. I won’t make that mistake again.

I have no idea how this story ends, though as you all know, I’m not particularly bullish about the potential outcomes, so to be continued…

Open thread!

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