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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Opinion | Justice Alito is right about America’s deep division

By meerna Jun12,2024

I disagree with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s position. on political and legal issues. Or about ethics. He should withdraw from matters related to former President Donald Trump’s campaign. But he’s right about the divisions in our nation today – and I wish more liberals and moderates in positions of influence shared his perspective.

“One side or the other will win,” he told liberal director Lauren Windsor, who posed as a conservative activist and secretly recorded the conversation.

He added: “I don’t know. I mean, there may be a way of working – a way of living together in peace, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental issues that really cannot be reconciled. They really can’t be tampered with. So it’s not like you’re going to split the difference. Rolling Stone was the first to report the comments.

Today’s split between liberals/Democrats/blue states and conservatives/Republicans/red states is deep and, as Alito says, in some ways impossible to bridge. The average voter in California does not hold completely different views from the average voter in Wyoming. But white Christian nationalist, anti-critical race theory, anti-transgender activists, and Texas voters actually hold views that are incompatible with those of New York leftists who believe that colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy are the foundations on which America was built.

We’re not just in a “culture war” over whether people should read the New York Times’ “1619 Project” or use the term “Latinx.” In Republican-run states, it is very difficult to join a union or get an abortion. They take power away from liberally elected officials and sometimes remove them from office. A person with views shared by many white, born-again Christians (opposition to abortion and gender-affirming care, that blacks would, on average, be as well off as whites if they worked harder) will almost never be elected to an important position in a blue state.

Most importantly, key figures shaping Republican Party policy are behaving as if conservatives are in an existential war with the left. They include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Judge Clarence Thomas, activist Christopher Rufo and Trump advisers Russ Vought and Stephen Miller. If Trump returns to the White House, he has made clear that his administration will treat federal workers, leftist college professors and students, and others whom conservatives dislike as enemies of the state.

I don’t want Democratic officials, news outlets, nonprofits and other reluctant conservatives to take actions as radical as these Republicans. The Biden administration should not name the groups it would target if the president wins a second term.

However, I would like to see powerful institutions and individuals of the left and center understand that the country is in the middle of a non-military civil war and act with the focus and purpose that such a belief brings.

You could say that many people are concerned about the prospect of a Trump victory in November. That’s true. But the problem isn’t just with Trump. Banning abortion in many states, weakening the Voting Rights Act, rolling back state criminal justice reforms, and enacting sweeping restrictions on talking about race in public schools and colleges all occurred over the past three years while Trump was out of office. Conservative activists and officials attack leftist institutions and values ​​every day. They are using all the power they have, from Republican-dominated courts to state legislatures to congressional hearings, leading to the resignations of the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Alito’s use of the term “side” was spot on. There is a conservative side that is much broader than just Trump. And he wants victory, not compromise. Abortion was already quite restricted in red states in 2021. Yet conservatives still insisted on ending it Roe v. Wade he fell over – and he did it.

In contrast, Democrats act as if they are fighting Trump alone. In 2021, even as the Supreme Court became increasingly radical, Biden not only took the weakest possible approach (establishing a commission to study the issue), but essentially ignored its findings. He bragged about the relatively toothless gun control bill he passed with Republicans in Washington, ignoring how state-level conservatives are weakening restrictions on gun rights in much of the country.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (R-Ill.) refuses to even hold hearings on the Alito-Thomas controversy.

Many news organizations, including some liberal ones, are framing politics as Trump vs. D.C. Democrats. They barely address state policy, essentially ignoring the places where most political action takes place. The media still often judges the effectiveness of politicians based on their ability to act across party lines. But Republicans like Vought are achieving their goals without any support from liberals.

I can’t prove that prominent Democratic politicians and other prominent figures from the center and left have a different perspective than Alito. Perhaps privately they also acknowledge that the country is in a deep conflict that one side must win. I assume Biden supporters would argue that the president recognizes deeper divisions but believes the best way to address it is to win re-election, in part by being more conciliatory.

This is why I am skeptical of this view. Democrats in very blue areas like Durbin, who don’t have to court Republican voters, still aren’t taking much urgent action. They act as if reaching an agreement with a conservative lawyer is a huge achievement.

The media seems constantly surprised by extremist actions by the Republican Party, such as Trump’s renomination as president. But it is not shocking that a political movement that believes it is in a life-and-death struggle stands behind a man who has demonstrated both a deep commitment to the movement’s causes and a willingness to use any means necessary to win political battles.

There are two visions of American progress. Liberals are willing to compromise on some issues, but the most powerful conservatives are unwilling to meet in the middle. The best way to lose a battle is to pretend it’s not happening – and unfortunately that’s exactly what many prominent liberals and moderates do.

By meerna

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