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echoes of Soviet practices in the U.S.

Seeing Red in America’s Totalitarian Habits

A warning against groupthink is useful. But a warning like Mr. Satter’s, solely against groupthink on the left, is only a warning against the left styled as a defense of liberal norms. Today’s right doesn’t like dissent, either. For many Republican politicians, accepting the election result would have “ended any hope of a career,” to use Mr. Satter’s words. Talk about an “attempt to impose a deluded version of reality.” The right’s leader cultivates a personality cult and campaigns against “enemies of the people.” These are core Soviet practices.

Want to be anti-Soviet? Fight all bad Soviet things. Especially in your own political tribe, where you have street cred. But hanging bogeyman labels on opponents? That’s such a Soviet thing to do.

don't vote third-party

It’s a matter of squandering democracy, not votes

The purpose of voting is not to tell the state your innermost wishes, which the state has no business asking. The purpose is to make collective decisions. If a candidate definitely can’t win, our collective decision as to that candidate has been made: that’s what “no chance of winning” means. If there are two still-viable candidates, use your vote to pick between them.

Voting is not like getting ice cream, where if you don’t like the flavors, you can leave. As a citizen, you’re not just a customer — you’re a co-owner. The “shop” is no less yours if your ideas for it have not caught on. The shop is on fire; will you pace around with a placard, or get a bucket?

sabotaging rallies is wrong

Sabotaging Trump rallies does nobody any good, and could help him

Much as I want to see President Trump defeated in November, I’m appalled by efforts to sabotage his rallies. Rally attendance is core political expression. Stopping others’ expression, whether by physically blocking rally entrances or by hoarding tickets to keep them from would-be attendees, strikes at our core values of free expression and personal autonomy.

We’re free to try to persuade others not to back Trump. If they choose not to heed us, and choose to proclaim their choice, by what right should we stop them?

Reports of Trump opponents sabotaging one rally in Tulsa, Okla., help the president write off as sabotage any campaign failures: flopped rallies, weak polls, even an election loss. Not knowing Trump’s true support can confound his rivals, as happened in 2016. But the main reason not to adopt sleazy tactics is that doing so entrenches Trumpism. If we oust Trump while normalizing his brand of pursuing power at all costs, what will we have won?

impeachment safeguards elections

‘Corrupt Motives’ Charge Will Haunt Politics

When debating whether to make presidents impeachable, the founders noted: “If he be not impeachable whilst in office, he will spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected” (Constitutional Convention, Madison Debates, July 20, 1787). Clearly, at least some “efforts or means” were considered beyond the pale. If wielding state power against challengers was not, what was?

Jews' self-determination

Trump parrots anti-Semitic tropes while purporting to protect Jewish Americans

The new definition of anti-Semitism includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.” Telling Jews by executive order what their “national origin” is constitutes exactly such a denial.

It also reinforces the anti-Semitic trope that Jews’ loyalty is to Israel and not to the country where they are nationals.

impeachment and voters

Impeachment Inquiry Becomes Reality TV

To respond to your editorial statement that this should “all be left to the judgment of American voters in 2020”: Voters don’t have subpoena powers or the power to compel true testimony on pain of perjury. Only Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry has the tools to expose wrongdoing.

While the public record so far may not establish a definite case for impeachment, neither did the public record at the start of the Richard Nixon impeachment inquiry. Had Nixon faced another election, could voters have properly judged him without the “smoking gun tape” the inquiry unearthed?