Once again, I’m desperately hoping that none of this narrative is actually true, and that we merely have a well-intentioned administration with some execution problems. I’m also hoping and praying that the structure of our democracy is resilient even to the most sophisticated attacks. I’m hoping that the better angels of our nature will prevail. But with each passing day, the evidence tilts more in the other direction.
Third, popular attention must focus less on whether we agree with what the government is doing, and more on whether the system of checks and balances we have in place is working. It is a much bigger deal that the DHS felt they could ignore a federal court than than Trump signed an EO blocking green card holders in the first place. It is a much bigger deal that Trump removed a permanent military presence from the NSC than that he issued a temporary stay on immigration. The immigration ban may be more viscerally upsetting, but the other moves are potentially far more dangerous.
Second, pay journalists to watch for the head fake. That’s their job. Become a paying subscriber to news outlets, then actively ask them to more deeply cover moves like the NSC shakeup. We can no longer breathlessly focus media attention on easy stories like the immigration ban. The real story is much more nuanced and boring — until it’s not.