Saturday, February 27, 2021

The coming COVID economic boom


2020 was a mess of a year and 2021 isn’t starting off a whole lot better. However, we do have something to look forward to. After just over two months of vaccine distribution, Our World In Data reports that over six percent of the US population has already been vaccinated. As America and the rest of the world become more thoroughly vaccinated and COVID-19 has fewer hosts to which it can spread, we are about to experience a global economic boom.

The question is not whether there is pent-up demand that will be loosed when the pandemic is over, the question is when that pent-up demand will become unpent (to coin a phrase). No one knows exactly when the virus will be relegated to occasional outbreaks among the unvaccinated, but the Atlantic recently surveyed public health experts to find out when they thought the danger would be passed. The general consensus was that the combination of widespread vaccinations and warmer weather will make COVID-19 relatively rare at some point between June and September.

people partying with confetti
Photo credit: Pablo Heimplatz/

As COVID recedes, people will come back out and start spending money. Travel restrictions will be dropped and people will board trains, planes, and cruise ships once again to return to crowded beaches, cities, theme parks, restaurants, movie theaters, you name it. Not all businesses will survive the pandemic, but many of those that do will soon be adding employees to handle the influx of customers.

Many people have suffered financially during the pandemic, but many others have been earning money and unable to spend it. As we say in the South, this money will soon be burning a hole in their pockets. People newly freed from a year’s relative isolation will be anxious to spend, travel, and enjoy life.

People who have lost jobs or wages in the pandemic will also be poised to gain from the recovery. There will be new jobs, promotions, and pay raises as the rising tide lifts all boats. The recovery will be widespread.

The strength of the COVID recovery will likely be strong enough to overcome bad economic decisions, which is one reason I don’t worry too much about the Biden Administration (with another being the independent streaks of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema). If we’ve learned anything over the past 12 to 20 years, it’s that the American economy is extremely resilient. We’ve weathered terrorist attacks, massive government control of large portions of the economy, tax increases (remember that tariffs are taxes too), trade wars, civil unrest, and attempts at central planning by both parties.

Through it all, the economy has withstood the dumbest policy decisions that both parties could throw at it. Even the Great Recession only lasted 18 months. More often, we psych ourselves into believing that the economy is either good or bad depending on whether our tribe’s guy is in office while the economy chugs along like the little engine that could. Until the trade war recession and pandemic hit, the Trump economy and the Obama economy were basically the same, but you’d never know it from listening to the partisans.

I say that to say this: I don’t think that bad Democratic economic policies will kill the recovery. I don’t favor tax increases, increasing the minimum wage, or any number of other Biden proposals, but I also don’t think they will crash the economy or kill the recovery. At worst, the Democrats might make the recovery a bit smaller than it would have been otherwise.

There is always the possibility that something unforeseen might alter the trajectory of the post-COVID recovery. There might be another terror attack on the order of 9/11, a war might break out, there could be a catastrophic natural disaster, or maybe the SMOD will finally show up. The mysterious illness in India could even turn into another pandemic.

A lot of things could happen, but the odds are good that we are due for some much-needed relief in the form of an economic boom. Pandemics are rare in modern life, but remember that the 1918 flu pandemic ushered in the prosperous Roaring Twenties. It’s very possible that the 2020s will roar as well.

If you’re near the end of your rope, realize that things will get better soon. And you can do your part to fuel the boom by getting the vaccine and staying safe until then.

You may be wondering why no one on the Racket has addressed the burgeoning Potato Head crisis. The reason that I haven’t written on it is that, frankly, I don’t care.

I would like to make two points, however. The first is that, as an Alert Reader pointed out on our Twitter account, the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will not become gender-neutral. As AP points out, the toy line is losing the “mister,” but the characters will retain their gender-specific titles. Therefore the whole Potato Head crisis is really misunderstood. Or more likely misrepresented by the Outrage du Jour set.

Second, even if the Potatoes were transitioning to gender-neutral status, so what? They’re potatoes. If we are going to talk science, let’s also discuss the fact that potatoes are asexual and do not have genders. A gender-neutral potato head would be scientifically accurate.. except for the anthropomorphic features.

Better yet, let’s not get on the micro-aggression train at all.

On another note, as I’m writing this, news has come in that the US has launched airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias in Syria in President Biden’s first military action as president. The attacks were in response to attacks on US military personnel and in response to “ongoing threats” per CNN.

This seems to strike the right balance. Biden has alternately been accused of being weak on foreign policy and being a warmonger. I don’t think either accusation is true (and both are ironic coming from people who cheered Trump’s threatens to go to war with Iran and unilaterally withdraw from Syria). President Biden showed that he is not a pushover.

I don’t think for a minute that this is an indication that he’s about to invade and occupy Syria. This is business as usual for a superpower with troops in a hostile land. For better or worse.

Finally, there was another piece of good news this morning as the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage cannot be changed through a budget resolution. The Democratic leadership is under a lot of pressure to ignore the ruling and scuttle the rule. If Biden and Schumer stand firm and abide by the decision, they will deserve a lot of credit for standing up to the progressive left.

As I wrote yesterday, Republicans should meet the Democrats halfway by engaging in good faith talks to find a compromise for something that the country overwhelmingly wants. If the GOP “just says no,” it will increase pressure to eliminate the filibuster and ignore the budget reconciliation rule

The American form of government depends on the ability to compromise with our opponents. We need to rediscover that.

From the Racket

Monday, February 22, 2021

US passes 500,000 COVID deaths; the pandemic was a big deal after all

 The US has passed the half-million mark for Coronavirus deaths after less than a year of widespread transmission of the disease. On the occasion of passing this solemn milestone, I think it is appropriate to take a moment to remember all the people who spent months telling us that COVID-19 was a “hoax” or “no big deal.” My purpose here isn’t to say “I told you so,” but to call these people to accountability.

As I write this, Worldmeter, one of the go-to sites for COVID statistics, puts the US death toll at 511,338. This represents three percent of 19.4 million resolved cases, which is far higher than the one percent or 0.1 percent that many COVID skeptics cite.

To put that number in perspective, the 1918 flu pandemic, which ran from 1918 through 1919, killed an estimated 675,000 Americans. Coronavirus is closing in on that grim total and may surpass it by the time the COVID vaccines are widely distributed.

Globally, the Coronavirus has killed more than 2.4 million people, which also represents about three percent of resolved cases. This is equivalent to the impact of many of the plagues of antiquity.

The current tally already gives COVID-19 the status of third-highest cause of death in the United States as ranked by the CDC. The only killers that are more common are heart disease (659,041 deaths annually) and cancer (599,601 deaths annually). At 173,040 annual deaths, accidents are a distant fourth-place finisher. When you consider that none of these other causes of death are communicable diseases, the danger and furor of COVID-19 should come into focus.

As you see references and remembrances for the half-million Americans who have died from COVID, I encourage you to think back over the past year and recall the people who told you that COVID-19 was nothing to be concerned about.

You remember these people. This time last year I remember many people on social media watching the virus ravage China and saying that it would not happen here because Americans were healthier and we had a better hospital system. I remember people saying that the virus only affected senior citizens and calling it a “boomer remover.” I remember people who said that the virus would disappear in summer and then swore that hydroxychloroquine was a miracle cure.

I remember people telling me that, because there was no vaccine for other Coronavirus diseases such as SARS, there would probably never be a vaccine for COVID-19. I remember people telling me that masks were ineffective against viruses even though they have been used as a defense against influenza and other viruses for more than 100 years. There are many pictures of mask-wearers in the 1918 pandemic. There were even mask mandates.

And all that is just misinformation. We haven’t even gotten to the conspiracy theories. I remember people who said that the COVID vaccine was going to be a hoax to implant people with mind-control chips, tracking chips, or was the Mark of the Beast. I’ve been told that masks are some sort of plot to promote compliance with government edicts and that the pandemic is a ruse to curtail religious freedoms and impose martial law, socialism, fascism, authoritarianism, or some combination of these and other -isms.

Every one of the pieces of misinformation that I listed was wrong. They were lies. Some people promoted disinformation intentionally and some did it in good faith because they actually believed it themselves, but the result was the same.

The misinformation and conspiracy theories about the pandemic got thousands of people killed needlessly. I’ve lost count of the stories that I’ve seen about anti-maskers and pandemic-deniers who got sick and died from COVID-19. Business Insider lists eight such cases here.

In other cases, the anti-maskers caused people that they loved to get sick and die. Jada Woods, a TikToker from Alabama, was known for her anti-mask rants until three of her family members died from COVID.

After Woods posted about the death of an uncle and an aunt who was on a ventilator in December, she posted, “I never took COVID serious until now. Praying for all the families going through the tragedies of the virus. #prayforme #covid19.”

I’m going to make a distinction between the scientists, who were learning about COVID and adapting recommendations to a changing situation and new information, and the people who looked for reasons to discredit the science of the pandemic for their own ends. For example, the early statements from medical experts who said that masks were not recommended have been repeatedly trotted out as examples of scientific inconsistencies, but these have also been explained. In context, those statements were made early in the pandemic before wide community spread of the virus. The changed recommendations were also due to new information about the ability of the virus to spread from person to person in aerosol droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even talking.

This stands in contrast to the people who keep spreading debunked and discredited information. As an example, there was some early hope that hydroxychloroquine could be effective against COVID-19. However, studies have long since shown the drug to be ineffective. We’ve now known for months that the drug was ineffective against Coronavirus. The FDA withdrew its emergency authorization to use the drug for COVID patients way back in June yet some people are still pushing hydroxychloroquine and those who touted it in the spring are mostly silent on their mistake.

Both now and when the pandemic is over, I challenge you to remember the people who told you things like what I’ve discussed here. These people lied to you and misled you. You shouldn’t trust them for medical advice about the pandemic and I wouldn’t trust them for anything else important either. If you can’t trust people to give you reliable information about a life-threatening pandemic, you probably can’t trust them on other matters either.

If you’ve been one of the people who forwarded (or created) misinformation or conspiracy theories, it isn’t too late to change. If you want to salvage your reputation and credibility, you can start by apologizing and correcting bad information that you passed along. Above, don’t continue to spread lies about masks and the vaccine.

We should all be discerning about where we get our information and what we put into our brains. As the computer guys say, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

If we have been following sources, whether they be websites, publications, or individual posters on social media, that are giving us bad information, we should probably terminate our relationship with those sources. At the very least, we should read them with a skeptical mind and corroborate their information with other, more reputable sources.

Among the sources that I consider most problematic are partisan websites, unsourced YouTube videos, lawyers, politicians, and anyone who posts rants on any subject, especially if that person records the video in a car. If your source is any one of these, it should raise red flags. And yes, the effect is cumulative. An unsourced YouTube video of a lawyer ranting in his car would rank very high on my bovine excrement detector. Bonus BS points for anyone who isn’t a doctor but is giving medical advice.

My own personal advice is that, if something seems suspicious, you should go look for primary sources and check the information in context. Remember that if it sounds too stupid to be true, it probably is, although I admit that 2020 and 2021 often reach points at which reality seems more satirical than satire.

From The Racket

Sunday, February 21, 2021

United’s fiery engine

 Passengers on United Flight 328 from Denver to Hawaii got a surprise on Saturday when one of the Boeing 777’s engines caught fire and began shedding parts in mid-air. Video of the flaming engine is dramatic and would have doubtless been terrifying to those on board.


Another video, taken from the ground in Broomfield, Colorado, a Denver suburb, shows large pieces of the aircraft falling from the clouds to the ground.

Other pictures show the large, circular engine inlet cowling resting in the yard of a house. It is remarkable that no one on the ground was injured by falling debris.

Modern jet engines are extremely reliable, so failures of this nature are extremely rare. That doesn’t mean that they are unheard of, however. One of the most famous engine failures of recent years was USAirways 1549’s double engine failure which resulted in a ditching in the Hudson River in 2009. That incident was caused by bird strikes.

With newer aircraft like the 777, there is little that a pilot can do to inadvertently destroy an engine. Where older engines, required close attention to several controls, new engines come with Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) by redundant computers. The pilots have switches to control the flow of fuel to the engine, the ignition, a throttle, and little else for normal control of the engines. Pilot error seems unlikely in an incident like the one yesterday.

It’s difficult to say what would cause an engine fire like the one on United 328. One possibility is a broken or disconnected fuel line that sprayed fuel onto the engine, which was then ignited by high temperatures. This might have been caused by a faulty part, ingestion of a foreign object, or improper maintenance, but it’s impossible to say for sure what happened or why without an investigation.

What we can say is that the pilots handled the situation well. Procedures for handling an engine fire are similar in most aircraft. The fire would have triggered an alarm in the cockpit and prompted the pilots to follow emergency memory items. These steps would have included reducing the throttle to idle and pressing a fire switch that would close fuel, hydraulic, and engine bleed air (which is used for a variety of tasks such as heating the wings to avoid icing and pressurizing the passenger cabin) valves.

If starving the engine of fuel did not put the fire out, the next step would have been to discharge a bottle of fire-extinguishing agent into the engine. From the video, it looks as though this fire might have required both of the fire bottles that most jets carry.

Although airliners can fly with a failed engine, getting the airplane back on the ground would have been a priority. The fire could have damaged other systems before it was extinguished or could continue to burn undetected so the safest thing to do is return the plane to terra firma.

As I watch the videos of large pieces of metal falling from the sky, I have to wonder whether they were all parts of the engine cowling or whether the plane might have shed some skin from the underside of the wing as well. There are fuel tanks in the wing of the 777, so if the fire came close to entering the wing it would mean that a larger tragedy was narrowly averted.

Often, aircraft fires lead to emergency evacuations. In the case of United 328, I have not seen any indication that the passengers were evacuated. In an additional video of the landing, the fire seems to be out, which would have allowed the passengers to deplane normally. I think that we can forgive the passengers for cheering and applauding after this landing.

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The 777 has been in service since 1995 and has experienced remarkably few accidents. At this point, only seven airplanes have been lost and two of these, Malaysia 370 and Malaysia 17, were due to foul play. Of the remaining five hull losses, three involved fires but were not engine fires like the problem United 328 experienced. One plane caught fire while being towed and another while being loaded, an accident which may be the result of lithium-ion batteries in the cargo overheating. The third hull loss to fire was a cockpit fire that also occurred on the ground.

One of the most serious similar incidents was Singapore Airlines Flight 368, which experienced an engine fire in 2016. About 30 minutes after takeoff, the crew noticed high oil pressure and low oil temperature on the right engine as well as strange vibrations. They ultimately elected to return to the airport and the engine caught fire after landing. The cause of this accident was determined to be a fuel leak due to a cracked fuel tube. The fuel ignited after coming into contact with hot engine metals.

All of the passengers and crew of Singapore 368 survived the incident and the aircraft was returned to service. FlightAware shows its last flight less than a year ago on March 25 as the pandemic was heating up.

Interestingly, the Pratt and Whitney 4000 engines used on the 777 have a history of recent problems. In December 2020, a Japan Air Lines 777 suffered an engine failure in which two of the engine’s fan blades broke off. On February 20, 2021, the same day as the United accident, a Longtail Aviation 747 freighter equipped with similar engines had a severe engine failure that rained debris down on a village in the Netherlands. Unlike in Denver, a woman on the ground was injured by falling aircraft parts. Given these similar incidents, NTSB investigators will likely be looking for problems in the design or the maintenance of the Pratt and Whitney engines, a model which has been in service on a variety of aircraft since 1987.

Fires are one of the most serious situations that you can encounter on an airplane, but engine fires are usually easily dealt with by shutting off the supply of fuel. Engine fires and engine-out approaches and landings are practiced frequently in simulators.

Fires in the cabin are far more serious and deadly as well as difficult for the crew to fight. A number of airliners have crashed due to inflight fires within relatively recent history. Cargo airlines are particularly vulnerable to this sort of accident, but passenger carriers are not immune. One of the most famous crashes due to an inflight fire was the 1998 crash of SwissAir 111, which crashed less than 20 minutes after a fire in the plane’s wiring was first detected.

Boeing, fresh from its 737 Max 8 scandal, definitely does not need more bad press. Thankfully, none of the recent incidents involving the Pratt and Whitney engines were fatal, but three uncontained engine failures within three months seem outside the realm of coincidence. If I was an investigator on the United 328 fire, I’d start by looking at new repairs or modifications or recently installed parts on the engine.

from the Racket

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Rush was right... and wrong

 The American right is mourning the loss of Rush Limbaugh today. The iconic broadcaster has been a Republican icon for decades and was the creator of the talk radio industry as we know it today. While the right mourns, some on the left are celebrating the death of someone they saw as a villain. The truth is much more complex.

Although I hadn’t listened to Rush much in years, I once considered myself a “Dittohead.” When I remember first listening to him as a college student in the 1990s, it wasn’t so much that Rush told me what to think as that I heard him and said to myself, “Hey, this is the same stuff I believe!”

Rush Limbaugh (49291182727) (cropped).jpg
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia


Although I didn’t listen often over the past decade or so, Rush’s show was ubiquitous, even after three decades. In the radio market where I live, there are about three conservative talk stations, and from noon to three, they all aired Rush Limbaugh.

I didn’t know Rush personally as many other conservative commentators did. That allows me to talk about the man and his legacy with a bit more objectivity than many of the other people that you’ll hear from over the next few days.

Rush’s greatest contribution to conservatism was in making it accessible at the grassroots level. Prior to the debut of the “Rush Limbaugh Show,” conservative thought was mainly the province of newspapers and magazines. Columnists like Willam F. Buckley and Charles Krauthammer were giant conservative intellects, but because few Americans read National Review or the Washington Post, their reach was limited.

Then along came Rush.

It wasn’t just Rush’s talent that enabled his show to succeed, it was the FCC under the Reagan Administration. Prior to 1987, the FCC enforced “the fairness doctrine,” a policy that required broadcast stations to provide equal time to opposing viewpoints. It is no coincidence that Limbaugh’s show debuted and took off in July 1988. (Knowing this, it’s ironic that many on the right want to re-introduce some form of fairness doctrine to both mainstream and social media). Suddenly, conservative politics were accessible to the masses, and many, as I did, said, “This guy makes sense.”

That was the upside to Rush’s success. The downside is that his success helped turn politics into entertainment and spawned many copycats. To distinguish themselves from Rush, many of these talkers had to become more outlandish and radical. The “shock jock” was born and pushed the boundaries of the envelope.

CNN and the birth of the 24-hour news cycle in 1980 have often been credited with beginning the news-as-entertainment and news-addiction phenomena in America, but conservative talk radio had a lot to do with it as well. If you have three hours of airtime to fill every day, you have to find something to talk about. Even if nothing of consequence is going on, you still have three hours to fill.

What the conservative talkers learned was that outrage sells. This realization led to what I call the “outrage du jour.” The industry scours the country for outrageous stories about liberals and leftists and then gives them national attention. You would have never heard about the latest liberal school board action in Podunk, Iowa or leftist city council resolution in BFE, Minnesota and they don’t affect you, but, by George, you know about them now and you’re outraged about them! What’s more, you assume that radical stupidity in one corner of the country is representative of liberals throughout the country.

Ben Shapiro is a good example of this phenomenon. I used to listen to Ben regularly when he discussed the news, but his show has devolved into an hour-long rant against some obscure article that no one else has ever heard of. On the rare occasions when I listen to Ben these days, most often because I’m curious about his take on some big news story, I usually find that the big event might get a couple of minutes of discussion, and then he returns to attacking the media.

And the left does the same thing. A favorite game of both sides is to focus on the most idiotic and radical examples of the opposition that they can find and then apply that example to everyone on the other side. The tactic leads us to stereotype our political opponents as bad people and undermines our ability to compromise and come together.

This national division and outrage culture is a direct result of the growth of political entertainment and the need to one-up other hosts. This all started with Rush Limbaugh, but in fairness, if Rush hadn’t done it someone else would have. I’m not sure we’d be better off with Howard Stern or Michael Savage as the father of conservative talk radio.

My own split with Limbaugh came as Rush grew into a big backer of Ted Cruz. By giving a platform to Cruz’s intraparty warfare, I see Limbaugh as one of the architects of the current Republican crackup. I’ve pointed out before how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were much better political strategists than Ted Cruz, but Rush and the radio talkers were all-in on Cruz, even after the abortive and disastrous 2013 government shutdown.

It was Limbaugh and the others who convinced the Republican base that they were betrayed by RINOs in an attempt to coronate Cruz as the 2016 nominee. (They also kept the border open by undermining attempts to create a bipartisan solution at immigration reform.) Limbaugh was among those who sold the idea of Donald Trump as a conservative savior and whitewashed Trump’s many problems, which eventually paved the way for Joe Biden’s victory, the Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress, and the brewing Republican civil war that we have today.

By most accounts, Rush Limbaugh was a nice person and many people will speak of him in glowing terms, but his legacy is much more complicated. Rush made the conservative ideology and politics accessible to the average American, which is a good thing, but he also contributed to our national division and helped lead the Republican Party down the dead-end road of Trumpism to a possible split that would leave the Democrats ascendant.

Rush’s journey is closely linked to the journey of the Republican Party through the post-Reagan years as it moved from a party based on conservative principles to one that was based on opposition to Obama, and finally, to a party that is now focused on following celebrity politicians. Rush Limbaugh was not the sole factor in that metamorphosis, but, for better or worse, he was central to the change.

From the Racket

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Democrats don't really want to disqualify Trump

 If there was any doubt that Democratic leadership is not serious about the impeachment trial (version 2.0) of former President Donald Trump, it seems to have been dispelled this afternoon. Back-to-back deals passed in the Senate first allowed impeachment managers to call witnesses and then reversed themselves an hour later.

The story starts with an explosive report about what CNN described as “an expletive-laced phone call” between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy while the Capitol was under attack on January 6. The call, which was first revealed by Republican members of Congress, is said to offer proof that the former president was derelict in his duty to protect Congress and the other inhabitants of the Capitol from the insurrectionists.

man in black suit jacket
Charles Deluvio/

"He is not a blameless observer. He was rooting for them,” one Republican member of Congress said.

In the call, Trump allegedly told McCarthy, "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

McCarthy reportedly responded that rioters were breaking into office through the windows and yelled at the president, "Who the f--k do you think you are talking to?"

McCarthy briefed other Republicans on the call and one of them, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), described the shouting match in both a town hall and an appearance on CNN.

As news of the call became public, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), one of the impeachment managers, asked the Senate to call Herrera Butler as a witness. Herrera Butler, who is apparently the only Republican to go on record with descriptions of the phone call, also asked other Republicans with knowledge of the conversation to come forward.

The Senate initially voted 55-45 to call witnesses, reports Politico, but then impeachment managers struck a deal to enter Herrerra Butler’s statement into the record rather than hearing her testimony. If Democrats really wanted to convict Trump and disqualify him from holding office in the future, this was their moment and they missed it.

I’ve long said that the impeachment trial should not be rushed. Impeachment managers should take their time for investigation and discovery. The insurrection occurred only five weeks ago and there is still much that is not known about Trump’s actions. For example, we didn’t know about the existence of the Trump-McCarthy phone call until a few days ago.

Democrats seem to take the view that Trump’s actions were impeachable on their face. For most of the country, that’s true, but not for the Republican senators who might provide the necessary 17 votes to convict Trump. These senators not only need to be convinced of Trump’s guilt, they need to be hit over the head with it.

House Democrats should be digging into White House communications records and seeking sworn testimony from Trump aides. Vice President Pence, McCarthy, and others in Trump’s inner circle should be subpoenaed. This isn’t going to happen and by the time you read this, Donald Trump may have already been acquitted.

If Democrats really wanted to win Republican votes to convict Trump, they could have handled the entire process in a more bipartisan fashion. We know more Republican votes could have been won. Many Republicans have been critical of Trump’s actions, which after all, risked Republican lives as well as Democrat.

Democrats could have written broader Articles of Impeachment that focused on the big picture of Trump’s attempts to steal the election rather than just incitement. They could have included Republicans on the team of impeachment managers. They could have called witnesses and sought out more evidence. But they didn’t.

Why are Democrats not all-in to disqualify a man who clearly provides an imminent danger to our constitutional republic? I can think of several reasons.

The most obvious reason is the mathematics of impeachment. Presidential impeachments have a history of failing. No president has ever been found guilty by the Senate. Knowing that there was almost no chance of Republicans voting to convict Trump in large enough numbers to make a difference, it is tempting for Democrats to simply take the political win of labeling Trump’s legacy with an asterisk that says, “twice impeached.”

For the same reason, newly-elected President Biden does not want to expend political capital on a losing battle. He would rather focus his energy on enacting a new COVID relief bill and other aspects of his agenda.

Less obvious is that Democrats may not really want Trump to go away. Since he took office in 2017, for Democrats, Donald Trump has been the gift that keeps on giving. His incompetence restored Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House after Democrats won a majority in 2018. In 2020, Democrats won back the White House and, early in 2021, they eked out a Senate majority thanks to Donald Trump’s battle to overturn the election.

Why would Democrats want to disqualify Trump? They probably hope that Republicans will be stupid enough to nominate him again in 2024. Even if he doesn’t run or win the nomination, Trump’s mere continued presence in the political world is moving the Republican Party towards a split that would leave Democrats ascendant for the foreseeable future.

There is an inherent risk in this strategy, however. What if Trump wins in 2024?

At this point, no serious person thinks that Trump can win in 2024 with all the baggage that he has accumulated since 2016… and since last November. But no serious person thought Trump could win in 2016 either. Given Trump’s deterioration over the past few years and months, electing him to another term would be very bad for the country.

I’ve said all along that Republicans should do what is best for the country and vote to ban Donald Trump from American politics. I’m sure that Democrats will vote to disqualify him, but they should take the impeachment process seriously and give Republicans every reason not to acquit Trump. Unfortunately, both Democratic leaders and Republicans are choosing to play politics with America’s future.

From the Racket