In Search of Normal
Glenn Reynolds is not making a partisan point when he writes in USA Today that electing Joe Biden as President will not return the nation to normal. This is the case, he suggests not only because Donald Trump, his supporters, and those who have favored him as an awkward solution to a terrible problem will not all disappear, but also those who want the power are already promising to move the country into abnormal territory:
.. the deep toxicity of national politics, which grew worse after the 2016 election but which has been brewing at least since the turn of the millennium, is not going to go away. In fact, a lot of what we’re hearing from Biden supporters suggests that it will get worse under a Biden administration.
Democrats are already calling for a Biden administration to pack the Supreme Court by adding new justices until Democrats have a majority, to pack the Senate by admitting Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states, and even to establish a “truth and reconciliation commission” in which Republicans will be dragged in front of the public and forced to confess the error of their ways. And, of course, abolishing the Electoral College. None of that is normal.
Of course, it all depends what you define as “normal.” I suspect, for example, that many of those claiming that label for Biden mean a situation in which everybody inside of the system respects the boundaries for change that preventing a large portion of the American population from actually getting the government they want, whether they win elections or not. If that is your definition, then maybe Biden is your man.
But if your view of “normal” is something more like the ordinary operations of our politics without the daily drama and focus on a single personality, then I’d suggest, first, that such a thing is not possible without also returning to a strict limit on the information that the public ever receives. And I’d suggest, second, that the way to get closer to that ideal is not the defeat of Trump, but rather the defeat of those generating the turmoil.
Think of some movie in which a quirky character somehow takes a position of authority. Being There comes first to mind, but it’s a common plot device, and what makes it work is the spectacle of everybody else in the story attempting to fit the peculiar person into normal. Those are the circumstances in which removing the strange one returns things to expectations.
But that is not what we’ve gotten during the Trump presidency. Rather, we’ve seen his presence expose everybody around him as fraudulent proclaimers of normality. Think of the up-and-coming executives proven to be selfish seekers in movies like Big and Billy Madison. That isn’t just one or two people in our governing class, but practically the entire thing.
If you want real normal, they have to be made to lose and lose again until their ilk realizes that the dishonest, abnormal game is just not going to work anymore.