Goldberg laments misuse of democratic norms for partisan gain

Jonah Goldberg‘s latest column at National Review Online blames partisans in both major political camps for selective appeals to tradition.

[Vice President Mike] Pence’s shtick, so common among defend-Trump-at-all-costs partisans, is that tradition, custom, and norms should be observed by everyone but the president himself. Trump ran as a “disrupter,” the logic goes, so he has a mandate to disrupt as he pleases. Everyone else should adhere to the playbook.

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Obama was correct when he said that this ugly chapter in our politics “did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause.” I’ve said the same thing for years now.

For Obama, and for millions of liberals, Trump is the fruition of years of right-wing perfidy. Obama has more of a point than many of my colleagues on the right care to admit. …

… But Obama also has a massive blind spot that many on the left share. The tit-for-tat dynamic of norm-breaking goes back decades, and Obama has played his part.

When running for president in 2008 and 2012, Obama let his lieutenants demonize John McCain and Mitt Romney as racists.

In office, Obama violated not just democratic norms but also his constitutional oath by effectively granting amnesty to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally despite having insisted that he did not have the power to do so.

And although Obama was passionate in criticizing Trump’s attacks on the news media, his administration was far from pure in this regard.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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