June 2, 2023

for a Goldwater moment

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5 November 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932Time for a Goldwater momentBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON – We need a Goldwater moment. We need someone with stature to march into the White House and tell Donald Trump to stop doing what he is doing the same way Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., told Richard Nixon in 1974 that he had to resign.          Trump must quit undermining our democracy. He needs to let the votes be counted and the election play out without disparaging the process by baselessly claiming fraud in a perfectly normal but tedious counting of mail-in ballots.          It is hard to think of any Republican who has the gumption to tell Trump what to do. The GOP has been notable for its inability to stand up to Trump for fear of being mocked or written out of a party Trump has remade in his own image.          The lone Republican with the power and the stature is Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He just won easy reelection to his seventh six-year term. Do the math: that’s 36 years since he was first elected in 1984. He has seen a lot of presidents come and go, and we suspect he will be happy to see Trump leave once the election is certified – and if Trump’s not the winner.          McConnell is an American first, a Republican second, and a Trumpster third. He has steered through the Senate a record number of Trump judges, including three Supreme Court nominees, but we are betting he is not a long haul Trumpster ready to back the president no matter what.          The Republican Party will take a big hit if Trump continues to defy election laws and norms with inflammatory tweets interpreted by his most ardent followers as a call to action. The only person with commensurate power is the Senate leader. Granted, McConnell has not been to the White House for months because he has said, he didn’t trust the lax way they were handling the virus.          McConnell has been conspicuous in wearing a mask, and he was noticeably absent from the September gathering in the Rose Garden to celebrate Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court, in what proved to be a super-spreader virus event.          Now, Trump’s impromptu appearance in the East Room of the White House at 2:30 in the morning to declare that he will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge results that were nowhere near being fully tabulated is the act of an autocrat sneering at the electorate.          By implying that any outcome failing to assure his reelection is bogus, Trump is inciting violence.          Some Republicans criticized Trump’s remarks. One Trump ally was quoted saying the president was having a temper tantrum. And when Fox News called the state of Arizona for Biden. Trump was furious, seeing it as a personal affront from a network whose conservative hosts usually parrot whatever he says.          Like Goldwater almost 50 years ago did with Nixon, McConnell needs to tell Trump that it’s game over, that it’s time to respect the peaceful transition of power in a democracy. The circumstances were different then. Nixon was facing impeachment whereas Trump is facing rejection. But the solution is the same: enough is enough.          Trump may never concede, that is his business. If he wants to adopt what he thinks is the aura of permanent resistance, that is his choice. But he needs to stop inciting violence and stirring the discontent in a divided country into a toxic brew that could get out of hand. It is time for the second most powerful man in Washington to have a Goldwater moment.          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND 


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