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Thursday, January 28, 2021

EDITORIAL: What democracy doesn’t look like

Yes, it was an attempt to alter the American political order using means other than an election by the people. And no, there is never an excuse for doing so. It wasn’t last week’s tumult at the U.S. Capitol. Rather it was an earlier, more insidious assault on democracy. The target was not Joe Biden, but Donald Trump. The recent turbulence in Washington failed to shift the direction of leadership, but disturbingly, the original mischief has finally succeeded. In a dark place, the nation needs a guiding light. 

House Democrats invigorated by the coming Biden era rallied Wednesday in the 11th hour of President Trump’s term, voting for a second time to remove him from office. With help from wayward Republicans, they endorsed a “snap” impeachment. The charge: “incitement of insurrection,” stemming from riotous behavior by pro-Trump supporters. No hearings with sworn testimony were held, and no opportunity for the president’s defense was granted. 

It is starkly ironic that it is not Mr. Trump, but his enemies, whose actions have most closely resembled a coup. The Trump-Russian collusion investigation forced the president to navigate a deadly political landscape for his first two years in office. The third year saw him nearly annihilated by a foolish impeachment effort triggered by a diplomatic phone call to Ukraine. Finally, he has been charged with insurrection, which serves no purpose other than to tarnish the Trump legacy of accomplishment, which his adversaries can only envy — secretly, of course.

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Democrats’ closing assault on the office of the presidency has lengthened the odds against President-elect Biden winning over Republicans — either enthusiastically or reluctantly — who could only watch in dismay as Mr. Trump’s reelection bid was derailed by a slew of election integrity issues that ranged from bewildering to appalling. 

“This is what democracy looks like” is a favorite chant of rioters who ravage the nation’s cities. To the contrary, democracy doesn’t look like a siege of the federal courthouse in Portland or the people’s House in Washington. Neither does the Russia-collusion hoax, nor the hounding of a president from the White House.

Rather, democracy resembles the work of well-meaning leaders putting aside dark thoughts and devious schemes in favor of bipartisan service. Democrats have succeeded in dumping Mr. Trump, but the residual light of his accomplishments still gleams. Mr. Biden would be wiser to turn to the light rather than away from it. 

At present, millions of Americans are receiving protection from the deadly coronavirus resulting from the Trump vaccines. Messing with success wouldn’t help, but it wouldn’t hurt to add additional resources for a faster rollout, and maybe a Biden Band-Aid. 

The U.S. economy, which fell headlong into pandemic-triggered recession in 2020, is roaring back to life. The Trump international trade agreements and deregulatory initiatives are still operative and able to rev a Biden economy, if the incoming chief executive can cage his socialistic lieutenants. 

Trump tax cuts, judicial appointments, criminal justice reform and military reinforcement are just some of the successes that have made America greater. They all belong to Mr. Biden now, if his party will forsake mischief for relief.


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