1. Unilateral Disarmament
Gerrymandering is poisoning our democracy by making it harder for voters to hold their representatives accountable and pushing both parties out to the extreme. (When districts become “safe,” the balance of power in primary contests shifts away from the center.)
Both parties participate in gerrymandering. But not equally. And one party has been making a good faith effort to try to roll gerrymandering back, while the other party has been leaning into it.
What’s the result?
Look, I don’t want to get out over my skis here—and again, Democrats have not been total angels—but election reform should not be a suicide pact.
Is it bad that Dems are “giving up” some seats by not pursuing gerrymandered districts? No! It’s actually good! This is what we want from our political parties.
But while unilateral disarmament can, theoretically, be part of a peaceful solution to conflict, it can also be a provocation.
2. Drop the Hammer
A month ago I suggested that Joe Biden ought to consider commuting the QAnon Shaman’s 41-month prison sentence.
Many of you did not like this idea. My argument was partly based on ideas of morality and cosmic justice and partly based on the necessity to turn the insurrection into a one-off event and not the kind of recurring crime that we expect and prepare for as a society.
Now I’d like you to consider Crazy QAnon compared with Trevian Kutti.
Who is Trevian Kutti? Reuters has the full story:
Kutti claims that she was a member of “the Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump” and that her services were later “secured” to work for the presidential campaign of Kanye West.
On January 4, 2021, Kutti showed up on the doorstep of a lady named Ruby Freeman in Georgia. Freeman had served as a temporary election worker and had been getting death threats since the onslaught of Republican charges that the election had been stolen.
Freeman called the police. The police escorted Freeman and Kutti to the station, where Kutti initiated a conversation, which was videotaped. I’ll let Reuters take it from here:
[Kutti] said she was sent by a “high-profile individual,” whom she didn’t identify, to give Freeman an urgent message: confess to Trump’s voter-fraud allegations, or people would come to her home in 48 hours, and she’d go to jail. . . .
Starting on Dec. 3, Trump and his campaign repeatedly accused Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, of illegally counting phony mail-in ballots after pulling them from mysterious suitcases while working on Election Day at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. In fact, the “suitcases” were standard ballot containers, and the votes were properly counted, county and state officials quickly confirmed, refuting the fraud claims.
But Trump and his allies continued to accuse Freeman and Moss of election-rigging. The allegations inspired hundreds of threats and harassing messages against them and their family members. . . .
“I cannot say what specifically will take place,” Kutti is heard telling Freeman in the recording. “I just know that it will disrupt your freedom," she said, "and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”
“You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up,” Kutti continued. She added that “federal people” were involved, without offering specifics. . . .
“If you don't tell everything,” Freeman recalled Kutti saying, “you're going to jail.” . . .
On Jan. 5, the day after Freeman's meeting with Kutti, an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation called Freeman and urged her to leave her home of 20 years because it wasn’t safe, Freeman said.
The following day, Jan. 6, Kutti’s prediction that people would descend on Freeman’s home in 48 hours proved correct, according to a defamation lawsuit Freeman and Moss filed last week against a far-right news site. Freeman, the lawsuit said, left hours before a mob of angry Trump supporters surrounded her home, shouting through bullhorns.
I’m not a lawyer. I can’t tell you that Kutti broke the law.
All I can tell you is that she showed up at the private residence of an election worker, represented herself as possibly being an agent of the federal government, and threatened an election worker and a member of the worker’s family with loss of liberty if they did not testify to what she wanted them to testify. Which may or may not have been an attempt to suborn perjury, or to intimidate an election worker, or to impersonate a federal officer, in the furtherance of an attempt overthrow the results of a presidential election.
But putting legal responsibility aside, Kutti’s moral transgression is about a thousand times worse than QAnon Shaman guy.
If there’s any justice at all, law enforcement organizations will fly-speck Trevian Kutti’s entire life, because what she did—what we can watch her doing, on tape—is flat-out evil.
And you know what else is evil? This insane slide deck that was being circulated inside the White House on January 5.