Who will challenge Trump's enablers?
In the meantime, we learned how low the right will sink to advance the interests of accused pedophile Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican Senate candidate, and to discredit mainstream journalism. Thanks to meticulous reporting, the Washington Post exposed the efforts of conservative activist James O'Keefe to bait the paper into publishing a false account that Moore had a sexual relationship with a woman when she was 15 and encouraged her to have an abortion.
Please think about this: These conservatives are defending the sanctity of life by setting up a woman to lie about having an abortion. In the effort to bring down fair-minded journalism, nothing is sacred. It is another case of corruption, and at an astonishing level.
Recently, my friend (and Brookings Institution colleague) Benjamin Wittes issued a widely-noted series of tweets arguing that the left and the right needed to engage in a "temporary truce" to confront the emergency Trump represents and "unite around a political program based on the protection of American democracy and democratic institutions."
I could not agree more. As a liberal, I salute the anti-Trump conservatives (most of them writers) who understand the threat the president poses and have spoken out unequivocally and bravely.
But here's what also needs to be recognized: At the moment, political power in our elected branches (and, in effect, in the Supreme Court) is held by Republicans and conservatives. They are using Trump to push through outlandish policies on taxes and health care. They are lauding Trump's executive orders that scuttle regulations safeguarding consumers, workers and the environment. They are ecstatic about his filling the judiciary with his, and their, allies. Progressives cannot be asked to pretend this isn't happening. We're a long way from a "truce."
It is an unfortunate fact that the corruption Trump exemplifies has seeped deeply into the Republican Party and substantial segments of the conservative movement. The burden is on the responsible right to dismantle the permission structures that are allowing Trump to wreck our democracy, despoil our values, and endanger our standing in the world. Otherwise, the people will have to do it themselves by voting his Republican enablers out of office.
E.J. Dionne's email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.
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