As long as there exists an upper Acela Corridor audience, the Atlantic will be there to fearmonger Donald Trump and make him the center of their universe. The January issue of Laurene Powell Jobs Monthly was dedicated to Trump — and you can almost hear the trumpets coming out of the editorial meeting as they all congratulated themselves on another job well done.
It was an all-hands-on-deck effort that precedes other all-hands-on-deck efforts, warning of the power of Trump and the fragility of our American democracy. Once again, the Atlantic’s impressive roster of MSNBC green-room regulars gets the equation exactly backwards. In an editor’s introduction, Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg muses how he once had lunch with then-White House advisor Jared Kushner, because in case you all had to be reminded, Goldberg visited the White House. Did I mention that Jeffrey Goldberg gets to visit the White House? Jeffrey Goldberg gets to have lunch at the White House.
Goldberg continues his histrionics about Donald Trump and then attempts to reassure readers that his publication, “as our loyal readers know, is deliberately not a partisan magazine. ‘Of no party or clique’ is our original 1857 motto, and it is true today.” Except we know it’s not true, based on Goldberg’s own past as editor of the far-left Salon and his dispatching of former National Review columnist Kevin D. Williamson over his pro-life stance and tweets.
What jumps off the pages of the current issue are dire warnings of Donald Trump weaponizing the federal government against his political foes — while the Atlantic keeps ignoring the President Joe Biden and his Justice Department doing the same. Thanks to the actions of Biden’s White House and Biden’s handpicked choice for attorney general, Merrick Garland, any actions Trump and his DoJ would take in a second term would be purely retaliatory, just or not, because Biden and Garland set a precedent not seen in our country’s history. These are facts the Atlantic’s staff of DC insider writers continue to disregard, at their own peril.
George W. Bush policy architect David Frum offers more stark warnings, by laying out a second Trump administration’s immediate priorities: 1) Stop all federal and state cases against Trump, criminal and civil. (Actions currently being taken by Joe Biden’s DoJ to slow-walk investigations against Hunter Biden.) 2) Pardon and protect those who tried to overturn the 2020 election on Trump’s behalf. (Constitutional authority that exists with the president, right or wrong.) 3) Send the Department of Justice into action against Trump adversaries and critics. (Actions President Joe Biden and his DoJ are currently taking against Trump himself.) 4) End the independence of the civil service and fire federal officials who refuse to carry out Trump’s commands. (Once again, authority that is the under the purview of the president.), and finally, 5) If these lawless actions ignite protests in American cities, order the military to crush them. (Should protests turn violent like they did in 2020, resulting in more billions in damage, use of force would be warranted.)
For every caution the Atlantic gives about how Trump might use or abuse power should he win in 2024, we can point to a similar action being taken by the current administration. McKay Coppins warns there would only be cronies and loyalists appointed to cabinet positions, which isn’t much of a departure from any other presidential administration. Everything from “a MAGA judiciary” to warnings of misogyny and climate to “a war on blue America” is covered.
Once again, however, the Atlantic is missing the point — that Donald Trump is not a cause, but a symptom of what led the country and the American electorate down his path. I would advise that Goldberg do a check of his own staff writers and their history in Washington as a good starting point. The un-medicated, over-the-top elaborations aren’t for the purpose of persuasion; they’re about confirmation bias and remaining in the good graces of cable and network newsrooms.
Our democracy and our constitutional system were built to overcome the whims of one single man. I wrote as much on January 7, 2021, when I was one of the first commentators on the right to call for Trump’s impeachment. Thankfully, these institutions are also strong enough to overcome the Atlantic’s paranoid team of self-satisfactory highbrows, who have a lot more in common with Donald Trump then they care to admit.