Saying the quiet part out loud

Let me be clear: there are absolutely no circumstances, no matter what happens between now and November, under which I will support Donald Trump’s re-election as President. Even if Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden are true, they don’t even come close to the number of times Trump has been accused of assaulting and harassing women, with much stronger evidence to boot. And the Trump Presidency – as the great Anne Appelbaum explains in this Atlantic piece – has strengthened authoritarians around the world and wounded America’s reputation to the point where it may never recover:

…The “disinfectant” comments—and the laughter that followed—mark not so much a turning point as an acceleration point, the moment when a transformation that began much earlier suddenly started to seem unstoppable. Although we are still only weeks into this pandemic, although the true scale of the health crisis and the economic catastrophe is still unknown, the outline of a very different, post-American, post-coronavirus world is already taking shape. It’s a world in which American opinions will count less, while the opinions of America’s rivals will count more. And that will change political dynamics in ways that Americans haven’t yet understood.


I wish I could say for certain that a President Joe Biden could turn this all around, but by next year it may be too late. The memories of the prime minister at the airport, welcoming Chinese doctors, will remain. The bleach jokes and memes will still cause the occasional chuckle. Whoever replaces Pompeo will have only four short years to repair the damage, and that might not be enough.

And if Trump wins a second term? Any nation can make a mistake once, elect a bad leader once. But if Americans choose Trump again, that will send a clear message: We are no longer a serious nation. We are as ignorant as our thoughtless, narcissistic, ignorant president. Don’t be surprised if the rest of the world takes note of that, too.

That said, don’t think I didn’t notice this:

Tolchin, a former New York Times reporter and founder of Politico, was responding to a Times editorial calling for the Democratic National Committee to investigate allegations against its nominee. And Tolchin, an alleged journalist, thought this was too much and that the media has a duty to cover for Biden.

I, too, think defeating Trump is our top priority. But I am not a journalist and do not pretend to be a journalist. I express my opinions on a blog when I’m not busy with my day job.

Tolchin does purport to be a journalist, and he is demanding that his colleagues put their thumbs on the scale. He is entitled to his opinion as much as anyone else – indeed, I kind of appreciate it when journalists reveal their partisan and ideological leanings – but that is not the same as openly calling for his profession to refrain from doing its job.

And I don’t doubt for a second that many of his colleagues agree with him, even if they’re more discreet about it. In the long run, that will destroy the reputation of mainstream journalism more than anything the President tweets about.