Looking for News About Trump

I wrote a couple of posts last week about the upcoming election in the United States, focusing mostly on the question whether Biden should release his delegates and withdraw from the race. I still have mixed feelings about that I simply don’t know what’s best. But I do know the stakes. We need to do whatever it takes to prevent Trump’s return to the White House. I still plan to vote for the Democratic candidate no matter who that candidate is.

But I think that in writing those posts I was influenced too much by the weight of media coverage of Biden’s debate performance and concerns about his age more generally. I still think we need to think carefully about those things, and I think that Biden and his advisors need to consider the concerns that others are raising, but I’m more and more upset – even angry – about the way that many in the MainStreamMedia™ are skating over the dangers that Trump poses to American democracy, as imperfect as it is. There are exceptions to this – I’ve just subscribed to The Philadelphia Inquirer, and I continue to appreciate Rebecca Solnit’s writing and other articles and commentary in The Guardian. From Solnit, see in particular her post-debate column and her question why the pundits apparently want Biden out. Perhaps the current discussion about Trump’s complicity with Project 25 will finally burst his balloon (though how often have we thought that and hoped for that?).

Recent elections in Spain, Great Britain, and (perhaps less so) France are reassuring. But one big lesson from those elections is that people need to be involved. And the news media need to live up to their role as the Fourth Estate. Yes, the media need to be objective insofar as that’s possible. But that doesn’t mean presenting both sides of an argument as if each side is valid. Yes, of course there are articles and columns detailing the number of lies that Trump has told. But we need an in-depth analysis of why someone who lies as blatantly as he lies is simply not qualified to be President.

I know that many have seen analogies between Germany in the 1930s and the United States today. I think that there’s something there. In the last two years, I’ve visited museum exhibits focusing on the move toward Nazism in two German cities – Frankfurt and Leibzig. I was struck by how quickly both cities, but especially Frankfurt, moved from being a moderately progressive city to one that supported Hitler. There were many people there who weren’t supportive of Nazi policies early on, but didn’t take them seriously enough to protest against them. And over the course of several years, the tide turned. We need to stand against that tide here, sooner rather than later.

And we need news media that will give us the information we need to have and push us to think carefully about what’s at stake. So sure – give me columns discussing the question whether Biden is mentally capable of being president. Even make the case for why you think he is or isn’t. But also give me columns discussing the question whether Trump is morally and cognitively fit for the office. And give us reasons for thinking that he is or isn’t. Our democracy, such as it is, depends on it.