Quick Takes: Democracy Goes Out, Not With a Bang, But a Slow Burn

* While I don’t agree with everything he says, the must-read of the day comes from David Frum titled: “How to Build an Autocracy.” Frum dives deep into how democracy is destroyed – not with a bang – but a slow burn. He ends by sounding a lot like Barack Obama in suggesting that the antidote is all about civic engagement.

Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.

* We’ll take the good news these days wherever we can get it.

President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election…The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.

* I don’t think this is what most Americans thought Trump meant when he talked about “winning.”

In what an official said was the first military raid carried out under President Donald Trump, two Americans were killed in Yemen on Sunday — one a member of SEAL Team 6 and the other the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader who himself was killed in a U.S. strike five years ago.

The raid in southern Yemen, conducted by the supersecret Joint Special Operations Command, was intended to capture valuable intelligence, specifically computer equipment, according to a senior U.S. military official. Three al Qaeda leaders were killed, according to U.S. officials.

Contrary to earlier reporting, the senior military official said, the raid was Trump’s first clandestine strike — not a holdover mission approved by President Barack Obama. The mission involved “boots on the ground” at an al Qaeda camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen, the official said.

“Almost everything went wrong,” the official said.

* This is what happens when you shoot first and aim later:

A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned.

Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show.

There’s nothing illegal about what Phillips did…except perhaps in the fevered machinations of Donald Trump.

* Tonight Trump will announce his SCOTUS nominee. Ed Kilgore says that it looks like it will be an Apprentice-style announcement.

So for his first momentous decision as president that does not involve disrupting international travel, Donald Trump is providing a powerful validation to those who have argued he approaches politics and government as nothing more than a big reality-TV show.

According to CNN, Trump is bringing two finalists (Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman) for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to Washington in advance of tonight’s live TV announcement of the president’s choice. It’s a move right out of The Apprentice.

All of the major networks plan on interrupting their programming to carry the announcement live. Trump is setting them up again, isn’t he? I expect we’ll all be treated to an “alternative facts” Trump infomercial.

* Finally, check this out from the Alt National Park Service:

We’re a growing coalition of 59 National Park Service employees from nine different National Parks. We formed to ensure the protection of the environment for future generations to come. We were forced into a media blackout, hiring freeze, policy changes, and possible reduction in funding. We are here to stand up and speak out against the current administration. We all refuse to be silenced while we watch everything we love crumble.

Apparently they’ve been joined by a familiar face.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.