Matt Kerbel

Liberation Day

  This is a dark moment. This is a time of celebration.  Our country suffers under the acute weight of a deadly plague made unnecessarily lethal and divisive by profound ineptitude, laziness and vengefulness. Tomorrow we will replace incompetence and sloth with energy and skill. We bear the burden of an economy torn apart by a coldhearted ignorance and malice toward those in need. Tomorrow we will elevate the value of expertise and rediscover empathy. We face an existential climate crisis ignored for greed and exacerbated by magical thinking. Tomorrow we will reclaim the importance of science and reason. For four years we have been ground down by a bully’s wrath. Tomorrow we will restore compassion. We have been steeped in lies so total that they have led to violence in the name of keeping a fake promise to honor a false god. Our capitol has been defiled. Tomorrow begins the hard work of repair and reclamation. We are divided by what we believe is real and have been immobilized by a corrupt leader willing to imprison a nation so that he can remain free. Tomorrow he will be extracted from power and lose his legal shield. He will leave.

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Undermine Becomes Overthrow

A little history on how we arrived at the brink of a violent overthrow of a duly elected government.  At the start of what would come to be known as the Reagan era, Republicans had an electoral majority that developed out of a long stretch of economic stagnation and white pushback to the civil rights gains of the 1960s. Between 1968 and 1988, Republicans won five of six presidential elections, four by landslide margins, as majorities soured on the policies of the Great Society and white Southerners realigned as Republicans. The Republican base splintered after reading George H. W. Bush’s

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First Draft of History

I started writing about the Georgia runoff and electoral vote certification three days ago for a piece I had planned to post on Thursday. Then the Capitol was attacked by right-wing insurrectionists at the direction of the president and it suddenly felt quaint to be talking about an election. As I was re-writing, the fallout from the insurrection began and events progressed at such a rapid pace that it was impossible to keep up with them. Things remain fluid and perspective requires time, so — for now — here are a few initial observations about the political ramifications of the

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Accountability

Late last year, I wrote about how the incoming administration needs to address three factors in order to maximize the possibility of avoiding a second wave of authoritarianism in the soon-to-be post-Trump world. I have already considered how important it will be for Biden to be adept at crisis management and attentive to institutional repair. The third critical factor is accountability:  When the Biden justice department begins turning over rocks we may finally learn the extent of the criminal activity perpetrated by the outgoing administration against the people of the United States. What we already know about illegalities large and small

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Institutional Repair

It’s a new year, a time of hope and possibility. Let’s talk about reform. Last week, in the first of three posts about how the incoming administration can prevent a second bout of authoritarianism, I wrote about the crisis management skills Joe Biden will need to exhibit in order to address four intertwined policy emergencies: the pandemic, economic devastation caused by the pandemic, our long overdue reckoning on racial injustice, and the climate catastrophe. Crisis management is but one of three things the Biden administration will need to aggressively pursue, along with institutional repair and accountability. On the matter of

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Crisis Management

If every crisis is an opportunity, Joe Biden is about to inherit the biggest opportunity since 1933. I wrote last month that Biden faces the imperative of making sure the electorate’s rejection of authoritarian leadership is permanent, and that his success will depend on his ability to simultaneously manage the crises he inherited from his predecessor, repair the institutions of democracy that were trashed by his predecessor, and hold his predecessor and enablers accountable for the damage they inflicted on our democratic institutions. Today and in two subsequent posts, I’ll speak about these challenges in turn, looking at the obstacles

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If You Can Keep It

There is a tendency in some quarters to look at the way our nation is surviving the death throes of the Trump administration and proclaim that the guardrails of democracy held. I’m not inclined at this moment to be so generous. Trump will fail in his efforts to reverse the results of the election, but only because of the incompetence of his legal team and the magnitude of the challenge. It wasn’t a close election, but had Biden turned out 12,000 fewer voters in Georgia, 20,000 fewer voters in Wisconsin and 10,000 fewer voters in Arizona, he would have won

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