The Negative Precedent of Trump’s Exoneration

First, let’s begin with a bit of housekeeping. Earlier today we accidentally sent a piece of rank punditry—my web piece arguing that Bernie Sanders can, in fact, win the Democratic nomination and the general election—to our Dispatch email list. Our apologies for overcrowding your inbox! We’re still in the shakedown cruise of the brand-new S.S. Dispatch, and we’ll make mistakes. But do read the piece. I’m seeing the same kind of confidence from Republicans that they can beat Bernie that I saw from Democrats that they could beat Trump. I explain how pervasive negative polarization means that Bernie can win.

And, in fact, today’s French Press is partly about negative polarization. But first, it’s about negative precedents—namely the negative precedent set by acquitting Donald Trump based on his lawyers’ maximalist legal and political claims:

  1. The president’s defenders are granting him a dangerous degree of discretion.

  1. Is a key aspect of America’s constitutional design now dangerous for national unity?

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