Charles Blow: Dignified Silence Doesn’t Work Against Trump

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times columnist, Charles, Blow, had a piece yesterday entitled, “Dignified Silence Doesn’t Work Against Trump” that focuses on Trump’s Republican rivals and Joe Biden for not calling out the disgraceful behavior of the former president. Here is an excerpt.

“Trump is increasing his already overwhelming lead for the Republican nomination, and is tied with President Biden in a hypothetical general election face-off, according to recent polling.

This is astonishing given Trump’s quagmire of legal trouble, but it is the logical result of a candidate running without forceful, widespread opposition and condemnation. His opponents, for varying reasons, have taken the strategic position of ignoring his predicament, fingers and toes crossed that he will succumb to self-injury.

They’re wishing on an avalanche of “ifs.” But there’s no wishing in this kind of battle, no victory without confrontation.

This reluctance to take on Trump has allowed him and his surrogates to develop a narrative of victimhood and justified vengeance while allowing the image of timidity and weakness to harden around his opponents like plaster.

And with this failure to engage, this campaign of cowardice, Republican voters, already primed by Trump to disbelieve facts and believe conspiracy theories, are robbed of any debate that could help modulate their views.

Those voters exist in a void of veracity, and Trump fills it with his version of truth: anti-truth.

But not only are most of Trump’s Republican rivals avoiding attacking him over his various indictments, so is his Democratic one.

Joe Biden refuses to comment on them. He and his campaign have chosen to keep their distance from the chaos and not feed into Trump’s false assertion that his legal woes originate from political animus.

This idea of a dignified silence has a long political history, but its utility and efficacy is unclear in a modern context. It feels a bit like a “Happy Days” nostalgia in a “Walking Dead” reality.

And yet the Biden campaign plows ahead with it. Just last week, the Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond reiterated the strategy: “We’re not going to focus on Donald Trump’s legal problems.”

But Trump’s legal problems aren’t about parking tickets or child support payments; they’re about an ongoing assault on our democracy, and it is hard to square having the candidate who is campaigning on protecting our democracy not address the great threat to that democracy.

And that threat isn’t simply about what has happened, but what could yet happen.”

Blow’s conclusion:

Most of Trump’s opponents, both Republican and Democratic, are placing a risky bet, one that completely depends on the discernment of the American voter. That may, in the end, prove to be a brilliant tactical assessment, but I worry that it’s just as likely to be a tragic miscalculation.”

Blow is so right!



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