Dan Balz Gets Shrill — But Still Misses the Point

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The normally calm Dan Balz is becoming shrill:

America’s democratic system, the world’s oldest, is said to be resilient, with institutions strong enough to defend against runaway actors and with checks and balances designed to prevent too much power from building up in any one place or with any one person. Earlier in Trump’s presidency, that appeared to be the case. Right now, however, that is in question.

….Three years into his presidency, Trump has helped to reveal the weaknesses of the system. In the executive branch, and especially in the White House, there are few if any officials willing to challenge and check the president. To the extent that administration officials could do that, those who tried are gone. He has also demonstrated the degree to which Congress is dependent on a president who operates with some respect for the norms of the system created by the Founding Fathers.

I understand that Balz probably wants to appear nonpartisan here, but this is simply wrong. What allows Trump to get away with this behavior is neither a supine executive branch nor a Congress that’s overwhelmed by the blinding light of Trump’s audacity. It is one thing, and one thing only: a Republican Party that has literally decided to allow Trump to do anything he wants as long as he keeps sending them plenty of conservative judges to confirm. That’s it. None of this could have happened if the Republican Party had even a few dozen members willing to do the right thing and rein him in.

But it doesn’t. Even now, when Trump has been credibly accused of pressuring a foreign country to smear a political opponent, Republicans are either defending Trump or remaining silent. No one is demanding that the whistleblower complaint be turned over to Congress. No one is demanding to see a transcript of the damning phone call. No one is willing to do anything.

That’s why the resilience of American democracy is now in question.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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