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.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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