The fence is down and the people are back on the grounds for the first time since the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/4HsSL5HwPm
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 10, 2021
"I can get excitement watching rain on a puddle. And then I paint it… I want life to be thrilling and rich. And it is. I make sure it is." Happy birthday David Hockney, born 9 July 1937 —pictured here with fellow artist-icon, Joni Mitchell#DavidHockney pic.twitter.com/iO63Kwh7Xd
— David Wright ?️??️⚧ (@DWUnabridged) July 9, 2021
Intriguing argument from Adam Gopnick, at the New Yorker:
… Donald Trump invented a game: of bullying, lying, sociopathic selfishness, treachery, and outright gangsterism, doing and saying things that no democratic politician had ever done or even thought of doing, and he did it all in broad daylight. (A notorious line attributed to Nixon—“We can do that, but it would be wrong”—was about paying hush money. Even Nixon wouldn’t pardon his henchmen. Trump did.) It was a game designed for Trump alone to win, but all too many got drawn into it. It was a game that some credit to a Russian model of disinformation but actually seems rooted in old-fashioned American Barnumism, weaponized with John Gotti-style ethics. It was designed, in plain English, to throw out so much crap that no one could ever deal with it all. Trying to bat the crap away, you just got more of it all over you, and meanwhile you were implicitly endorsing its relevance.
Biden, by contrast, insisted that the way to win was not to play. In the face of the new politics of spectacle, he kept true to old-school coalition politics. He understood that the Black Church mattered more in Democratic primaries than any amount of Twitter snark, and, by keeping a low profile on social media, showed that social-media politics was a mirage. Throughout the dark, dystopian post-election months of Trump’s tantrum—which led to the insurrection on January 6th—many Democrats deplored Biden’s seeming passivity, his reluctance to call a coup a coup and a would-be dictator a would-be dictator. Instead, he and his team were remarkably (to many, it seemed, exasperatingly) focussed on counting the votes, trusting the process, and staffing the government.
It looked at the time dangerously passive; it turned out to be patiently wise, for Biden and his team, widely attacked as pusillanimous centrists with no particular convictions, are in fact ideologues. Their ideology is largely invisible but no less ideological for refusing to present itself out in the open. It is the belief, animating Biden’s whole career, that there is a surprisingly large area of agreement in American life and that, by appealing to that area of agreement, electoral victory and progress can be found. (As a recent Populace survey stated, Biden and Trump voters hold “collective illusions” about each other, and “what is often mistaken for breadth of political disagreement is actually narrow — if extremely intense — disagreement on a limited number of partisan issues.”) Biden’s ideology is, in fact, the old ideology of pragmatic progressive pluralism—the ideology of F.D.R. and L.B.J. Beneath the strut and show and hysteria of politics, there is often a remarkably resilient consensus in the country. Outside the white Deep South, there was a broad consensus against segregation in 1964; outside the most paranoid registers of Wall Street, there was a similar consensus for social guarantees in 1934. Right now, post-pandemic, polls show a robust consensus for a public option to the Affordable Care Act, modernized infrastructure, even for tax hikes on the very rich and big corporations. The more you devote yourself to theatrical gestures and public spectacle, the less likely you are to succeed at making these improvements—and turning Trumpism around. Successful pluralist politicians reach out to the other side, not in a meek show of bipartisanship, but in order to steal their voters.
… With so many Americans in the grip of a totalized ideology of Trumpism—one that surmounts their obvious self-interest or normal calculations of economic utility—the way to get them out of it is to stop thinking in totalized terms. You get people out of a cult not by offering them a better cult but by helping them see why they don’t need a cult. This is a difficult wisdom—and one that, perhaps not accidentally, was offered often during the campaign by the man who is now Biden’s Transportation Secretary. Pete Buttigieg said at the time that you can’t defeat a cartoon villain by being a cartoon hero. You defeat a cartoon villain by helping people remember that life is not a cartoon. He put it simply to the press: “Trump appeals to people’s smallness, their fears, whatever part of them wants to look backward. We need to be careful that our necessary rebukes of the President don’t corner people into the kind of defensiveness that makes them even more vulnerable to those kinds of appeals. What we really need to do in some ways is talk past Trump and his sins.”…