Politics

Abbreviated pundit roundup: All the world’s a stage

More on the horrible Uvalde school shooting in the coming days. Meanwhile, a very thoughtful thread on better ways to cover these stories:

Will James/Twitter:

We are past the point at which news orgs in every state should consider formalizing “pool” systems for contacting the families of victims and perparators when there’s a massacre.

Let’s minimize the trauma caused by reporting on these tragedies.
 

One of the worst work experiences of my life was being part of a swarm of journalists descending on Newtown in the hours and days after the Sandy Hook massacre.

Reporters for hundreds of news orgs were knocking on doors, trying for the same thing: humanizing the victims.

Families shut down, understandably, because they were shocked and grieving, and because they were swarmed.
What if just one (local?) reporter knocked, and could say: “I’m here on behalf of the news media. I’m the only reporter who’s going to be contacting you about this.”

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David Frum/Atlantic:

America’s Hands Are Full of Blood

Amid our pain and grief, we must face a bitter truth.

We will learn more about the 18-year-old killer of elementary-school children: his personality, his ideology, whatever confection of hate and cruelty drove him to his horrible crime. But we already know the answer to one question: Who put the weapon of mass murder into his hand? The answer to that question is that the public policy of this country armed him.

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Sudha David-Wilp/Foreign Policy:

Germany’s Christian Democrats Are on a Comeback Mission

The future of governance in the country looks very much like a conservative-green alliance.

Though they might appear to be on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, the CDU and the Greens have been speaking the same language when it comes to the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the war response has been a public relations disaster for the SPD. Scholz has faced criticism for his wavering on Germany’s role vis-à-vis the conflict and has been haunted by the legacy of the last SPD chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who is infamous for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, formerly Schröder’s right-hand man, even received a red light from Kyiv for a planned visit in mid-April. The opposition leader Merz, meanwhile, traveled to Ukraine in May to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, paving the way for Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to become the first German government representative to visit Kyiv since the start of the war.

Back home, the CDU has also benefited from a weakened AfD. Since its founding in 2013, the far-right party has been a major thorn in the CDU’s side. In the 2017 federal election, the CDU lost a little over a million voters to the AfD, which subsequently became the largest opposition group in the parliament. The AfD’s visibility also served as a drag on the CDU’s conservative credentials during the centrist Merkel years.

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WaPo:

‘Ashamed’ Russian diplomat resigns over Putin’s ‘aggressive war’

“For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year,” he wrote, referring to the date the invasion was launched.

“The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country.”

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Amanda Carpenter/Bulwark:

Trump Surrenders to Kemp

Georgia governor stares down the defeated president again.

Think about the split-screen: Trump is probably at home in Mar-a-Lago right now stewing, looking for screwy things to “ReTruth” on his pretend social media platform. Meanwhile, IRL, Republican governors are flocking to Kemp’s side. Kemp ran Trump outta Georgia with his tail between his legs. Kemp won’t say that, of course. He’s a politician courting Trump voters. But, here’s the real rub for Trump: Former Vice President Mike Pence—who shares with Perdue the distinction of having defied Trump’s demands to block Joe Biden’s election—will be in Georgia today to campaign alongside Kemp on the eve of his all-but-certain victory.

Brad Raffensperger (SoS) also won his primary in GA against Jody Hice, arguably as or more important than the Gov race. He’s the guy that counts the votes, which is why Trump called him begging him to find enough votes for Trump to win.

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The Guardian:

Trump shares CPAC Hungary platform with notorious racist and antisemite

Hungarian talk show host who has called Jews ‘stinking excrement’ and Roma ‘animals’ addresses right wing conference

Zsolt Bayer took the stage at the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Hungary, a convention that also featured speeches from Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

The last featured speaker of the conference was Jack Posobiec, a far-right US blogger who has used antisemitic symbols and promoted the fabricated “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory smearing prominent Democrats as pedophiles.

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Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman/WaPo:

Are Democratic attacks on the GOP over democracy missing their mark?

But in the race for secretary of state, Trump-backed Rep. Jody Hice could win, and could end up overseeing the 2024 election in this vital swing state. And in other secretary of state primaries Tuesday, such as in Arkansas and Alabama, Republicans might nominate Trump loyalists who pose a genuine threat to our ability to conduct fair elections and have our votes counted.

Yet Democrats have yet to convince the public to take the threat seriously enough.

A new set of focus groups run by Democratic pollster David Binder from May 10 to May 12 illustrates the point. The research raises a question: Are Democrats getting their criticism of the GOP abandonment of democracy right?

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Aaron Ruper/Substack:

Straight talk from Oliver Willis on lessons from 22 years of progressive blogging

The original online progressive dishes about why Dems shouldn’t go on Fox, how Republicans win the messaging game, and more.

Willis is one of those lefty writers I feel like I’ve been reading forever, and I guess I sorta have been been. He started blogging about politics all the way back in 2000, joined Media Matters a few years later, and was a grizzled veteran by the time he met with President Obama at the White House in 2010. Now, in addition to serving as a senior writer for the American Independent, he has a new Substack aptly titled Oliver Willis Explains.

On it, Willis distills his decades of experience into practical lessons for progressives. Recent themes include words of wisdom about why Democrats shouldn’t go on Fox News, but should use social media to speak more directly to voters and emulate Republicans by using unpretentious language. His headlines are often useful aphorisms like “Liberals Need To Understand: The Media Thinks It’s Doing A Great Job” and “Debunking Can’t Defeat Disinformation.” If you haven’t already subscribed, I highly recommend doing so.

Willis is perhaps the closest thing there is to an OG political blogger. So I figured I would ring up him and ask him about key insights from his 22 years of writing. A transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.

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