We rethink the week with Valerie Endress, professor of political communications, Rhode Island College; Dean Spiliotis, Civic Scholar and Presidential Scholar at Southern New Hampshire University; Russell Muirhead, Chair of the Government Dept at Dartmouth College; and David Atkins, contributor to the Washington Monthly and a Democratic activist in California.
We analyze lessons that the country and politicians can learn as a result of this month’s elections. The Democratic Party must understand and address the anger, the fear, the alienation of the 70+ million people who voted for Trump. Dems cannot ignore these voters’ viewpoints, nor pretend that Trump voters were unaware of his more disagreeable actions and behavior. The new administration must demonstrate that its policies will make all Americans’ lives better, including those of Trump voters.
The Republican Party must assess its own soul as well. Will it evolve into an honorable center-right party which appeals to a diverse coalition of people? Or will it remain stuck as the party of white nationalism, which can succeed only by disenfranchisement?
We also discuss whether the Biden administration should prosecute Trump and his cronies for corruption and other crimes committed while in office. Biden himself has hinted that he might not because he doesn’t want to tear the country apart. He wants to look only to the future and enacting programs that will address some of the serious problems that have not yet been solved.
No one, of course, wants to fan the flames of hatred; the country is already polarized enough. But what message do we send if we fail to hold government officials (or anyone, really) accountable when they commit crimes that impose grievous harm on our country or its people or on democracy itself? Some say that this simply encourages more and worse corruption, and a deep slide into totalitarianism. We believe the rule of law must be upheld, and that it is a good thing to assure the American people that everyone will be held equally responsible for upholding it.