Brookings Fellow at PBS: 'Alarmism Over Trump Is Dangerous For Democracy'

Pass the smelling salts. Last week, PBS, the public broadcasting behemoth, actually published a column by a clearly left-leaning Brookings Institute Senior Fellow which was mostly backed by reason and an understanding of the nation's constitutional framework.

Shadi Hamid, who is no fan of the President, warned the left and never-Trumpers that their constant "alarmism" over the actions and statement of President Donald Trump "is dangerous for democracy."

Hamid, who works on the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, is sharply critical of many Trump policies:

  • "Trump’s actual policies have been a number of things: damaging, dishonorable, illiberal, and racist, but they have not been undemocratic."
  • "modified versions of the January “Muslim ban” were bigoted and mean-spirited and counterproductive, but there was nothing intrinsically undemocratic about them."
  • "The rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows minors who entered the country illegally to stay, is cruel, but it is not undemocratic."

Despite the clear disagreements, Hamid is alarmed at how he left is consumed by nearly daily panic attacks (bolds are mine):

... We are confronted daily not simply with outrage, but a kind of end-of-worldism: America is on the brink of dictatorship; Trump is going start World War III; the president’s access to the nuclear codes might actually destroy the universe; if he manages to control his impulses, then his withdrawal from the Paris climate change accords will still destroy the universe, just a bit more slowly.

... Every new day, though, seems to bring new cause for panic.

He sharply criticized the left's obsession with impeachment, which, as he noted, began even before Trump was inaugurated.

Now that the effort to prove anything in that arena is sputtering — remember that this column was published six days before the Washington Post reported that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign paid the smear specialists at Fusion GPS to compile the now-infamous compilation of fiction known as the "Trump dossier" — threw ice-cold water on those who are now trying dust off the 25th Amendment to have Trump removed:

A plain reading of 25th amendment makes clear that it doesn’t apply to our current situation. ... President Trump is able to discharge the powers of the presidency; the problem is how he discharges them, and the fact that many Americans believe (rightly) that he is discharging them rather badly. This is primarily a political, and therefore a subjective, judgment. To state the obvious, Americans, like all citizens of a democracy, have the right to elect bad, even very bad, politicians.

Yet someone as well regarded as legal scholar Eric Posner has made the argument, shared by apparently millions, that Americans should consider new ways, however unprecedented, to remove a president who reaches a certain level of subjective badness.

... The argument amounts to something more simple and sinister: that presidents who express ideologies that we find outside the bounds of acceptability can be removed, despite being democratically elected by voters.

... Ironically, the arguments made by the likes of Posner and (Tennessee Democratic Party Congressman Steve) Cohen represent a greater long-term threat to American democracy than anything Trump has done so far.

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It should not surprise anyone that leftists' heads figuratively exploded in the now-closed comments section (486 of them accumulated in about 72 hours), and that defenders of Trump and/or the Constitution often received uncivil treatment. Some examples:

  • "It's like you intentionally ignored all of the valid reasons to remove him in the name of disproving fake ones. What a great strawman, and a sad excuse for an opinion piece."
  • "... a malignant narcissistic, pathologically lying, grifter with the tell tale signs of dementia is running the show."
  • "Ask the Jews how it worked out not being alarmed of Hitler actions."
  • "Given that the majority of voters actually selected the OTHER candidate, one can absolutely argue that all of Trump's actions as president are, in fact, 100% un-democratic." (Well, that's because the Founders wisely set up a republic of states, not a democracy. Sorry.)

But the best comment came from a Hamid defender, and contained only four words: "Thesis proven by comments."

Cross-posted at

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