The Plight of Democrats in Talking the Politics of Democracy in Public and in Court

As Taken from Letters from an American:

Yesterday, David Roberts of the energy and politics newsletter Volts noted a Washington Post article illustrated how right-wing extremism is accomplishing its goal of destroying faith in democracy. Examining how “in a swing Wisconsin county, everyone is tired of politics,” the article revealed how right-wing extremism has sucked up so much media oxygen that people have tuned out, making them unaware that Biden and the Democrats are doing their best to deliver precisely what those in the article claim to want: compromise, access to abortion, affordable health care, and gun safety.

One person interviewed,

“I can’t really speak to anything [Biden] has done because I’ve tuned it out, like a lot of people have. We’re so tired of the us-against-them politics.”

Roberts points out that “both sides” are not extremists, but many Americans have no idea that the Democrats are actually trying to govern, including by reaching across the aisle.

November 20, 2023, Letters from an American, Prof. Heather Cox Richardson.


As Taken from Civil Discourse:

A skillful lawyer knows when the judges aren’t buying an argument and moves on. You can build credibility by conceding obvious problems in your argument. Then you explain how the panel can work around them to reach your desired result. There’s no point in standing on arguments that are obviously wrong—for instance Trump’s lawyers’ insistence today that as a candidate, he has an absolute First Amendment right that means he can say whatever he wants to, wherever he wants to, free of consequence.

That’s simply not the case. There are relative rights and concerns that need to be balanced here. Like many cases where different equities need to be balanced, the decision comes down to a line-drawing exercise. Where should the court draw the line that demarcates Trump’s right to engage in political speech from the need to protect the integrity of the trial and the safety of people involved?

But Trump’s lawyer ducked the hypotheticals on what is and isn’t protected speech. What if Trump said that patriots don’t cooperate with prosecutors? Would that be okay, the panel asked? What if Trump called a witness and said that? What if he said it with a megaphone knowing a witness in the case was in the audience? And if he posted on social media knowing that the person he was posting about follows him? Trump’s lawyer declined to concede that any conduct would be objectionable, a poor strategic call when there are lines that are going to be drawn. Trump’s lawyers left it entirely up to the court.

Gag Order. Appealed and Argued, Civil Discourse, Joyce Vance