Banana republic watch



Yes, I know, I’m just being hysterical:

President Donald Trump’s order to his secretary of state to declassify thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails, along with his insistence that his attorney general issue indictments against Barack Obama and Joe Biden, takes his presidency into new territory — until now, occupied by leaders with names like Putin, Xi and Erdogan.

Trump has long demanded — quite publicly, often on Twitter — that his most senior cabinet members use the power of their office to pursue political enemies. But his appeals this week, as he trailed badly in the polls and was desperate to turn the national conversation away from the coronavirus, were so blatant that one had to look to authoritarian nations to make comparisons.

He took a step even Richard Nixon avoided in his most desperate days: openly ordering direct immediate government action against specific opponents, timed to serve his reelection campaign.

BTW, the Democratic Party’s flirtation with court-packing is also banana republicanism. But the unique awfulness of Trump has overshadowed that scandal. (And yes, the GOP is partly to blame–they behaved disgracefully in holding up a nomination in 2016.)

PS. Go Jaime Harrison!

Off topic: I took the NYT language/location test, and this is where they predicted I’m from:

Correct answer is Madison. But then just one of the 25 questions could have produced this map. Can you guess which one?