The editorial chutzpah of the mainstream media – The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN, in particular – never fails to amaze me.
Earlier this week, a New York Times editorial writer discussed the “last ditch effort” that would involve electors stepping up to deny Donald Trump the presidency – remarkable talk in the pages of a news entity that purports to be the national newspaper of record.
Imagine for a moment if the tables were turned and Hillary had won the presidency under similar circumstances – an Electoral College victory but with a popular vote deficit. Any talk of denying her the presidency through some Electoral College ploy would be laughed right out of an NYT Editorial Board meeting as muddle-headed right-wing idiocy and condemned as the rankest expression of hate mongering and authoritarianism.
But there seems to be a lot of surprising talk among the mainstream media in recent weeks, notably regarding state sovereignty issues.
Today, for example, the NYT Editorial Board expressed its solidarity with California’s desire “not to be an accomplice to deportation.”
Amazing, isn’t it? Now that the tables are turned, frank discussions about federal power are remarkably in vogue – in the “national newspapers of record, of all places – but only so long as they relate to the grievances of blue states. I caught myself simultaneously laughing out loud and shaking my head in disbelief watching California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren bemoan the Electoral College outcome in a recent congressional hearing. She even conceded that secession has ascended to respectable levels of discourse now that citizens in respectable blue states such as California and Oregon were contemplating it.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am hoping fervently that this blue-state resistance against President Trump unfolds with zeal. It has the potential to open up a serious national dialogue about the future of federalism.
Moreover, these recently expressed blue state grievances reflect what a deeply divided nation we are. If all this acrimonious discussion talk about standing up to a Trump presidency reveals one thing, it’s that we are far too big and diverse a nation to be governed any longer by a federal model conceived more than century ago in the Industrial Age by progressive centralizers. To put it another way, imposing a one-size-fits-all domestic policy on a country characterized by this much ethnic, cultural and political diversity is sheer madness.
There, I’ve said it.
But let’s not forget that there would be little, if any, discussion of these issues if Hillary Clinton had emerged the victor last month.
That’s the disturbing part to all of this as I see it. Federalism, until now, at least, has remained off limits, simply because the “right” kind of people – the political leadership in the blue states – have been unwilling to discuss it. But I am holding out hope that Americans on both sides of the great political divide have finally begun to see the federal impasse for what it is: the big belching, flatulent elephant in the American living room.