The Monday Morning Teaser

Whenever I do a philosophical post like last week’s “Why You Can’t Understand Conservative Rhetoric“, I wonder how well it will catch on, and worry that I’m basically just talking to myself. It turns out I shouldn’t have worried this time: The post is as close to viral as the Sift gets these days. It’s got over 9K page views so far and should pass 10K before it’s done. It’s the most popular Sift post since NRA types realized that they hatedHow Should We Rewrite the Second Amendment?” in 2019. (Of course, neither post compares with ones from the golden age of viral blogs, before social-media algorithms added more friction to the system. Between them, “Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party” and “The Distress of the Privileged” have over a million page views.)

Anyway, this week there’s really no choice about where to focus: The impeachment trial was historic, significant going forward, and the center of the public’s attention. You can take a glass-half-empty view that Trump should have been convicted and banned from future office, or a glass-half-full view that the trial fractured the Republicans and leaves Democrats united.

I take a half-full approach in this week’s featured post “The Week That Broke Trump’s Brand”, which should be out around 10 EST. The House managers’ narrative — that Trump lost the election, but tried to hang onto power through lies and violence — is pretty widely accepted now. The senators differed on how they feel about lies and violence as a political strategy. Democrats rejected it, and Republicans split three ways: some rejected it along with the Democrats, some continue to favor it, and a sizeable chunk in the middle doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of those who favor it.

This is going to be a problem for the country, but we’ll figure it out. The Republican Party, though, is in a serious fix. The lies-and-violence faction is too big to alienate, but not big enough to win with. The 2022 Republican primaries are going to be a circus.

Anyway, there’s still a pandemic to discuss, and a $1.9 trillion package waiting for Congress to act on. That will be the main subject of the weekly summary, which I guess will appear around noon.

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