Democrats and Republicans No Longer Speak the Same Language

Republicans — surprise! — took a stricter line, excluding measures such as direct aid to state and local governments. House Republicans tweeted out a pie chart that categorized only 8 percent of the bill as aimed at “crushing” Covid-19 — a figure limited to direct health spending — while 27 percent was labeled “State and Local bailouts.” “Stop calling it a ‘Covid relief’ bill,” the House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy grumped on Twitter.

Opinion Debate What should the Biden administration prioritize?

  • Nicholas Kristof, Opinion columnist, writes that “Biden’s proposal to establish a national pre-K and child care system would be a huge step forward for children and for working parents alike.”
  • The Editorial Board argues the president should address a tax system where “most wage earners pay their fair share while many business owners engage in blatant fraud at public expense.”
  • Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents El Paso, writes that “the real crisis is not at the border but outside it, and that until we address that crisis, this flow of vulnerable people seeking help at our doorstep will not end.”
  • Gail Collins, Opinion columnist, has a few questions about gun violence: “One is, what about the gun control bills? The other is, what’s with the filibuster? Is that all the Republicans know how to do?”

Fake news. Pre-Trump, most folks thought of fake news as media sources that trafficked in lies, conspiracy theories and other disinformation. (See: Infowars.) Mr. Trump changed the definition to mean the reporting of any information he didn’t like. Plenty of Republicans seem happy to stick with that position as it suits their needs.

Cancel culture. This is a touchy one. Generically speaking, canceling involves ostracizing someone who has done something deemed beyond the pale. Progressives have been accused of overreaching in this department, especially on social media. Thus the rise of the derogatory term “cancel culture.”

In practice, Republicans have learned that complaining about “cancel culture” serves their overarching narrative of victimhood and whips up their base — the result being that pretty much every time someone is mean to them they claim they’re being unfairly canceled. Conversely, some Republicans aim to dismiss even serious infractions — like, say, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s past endorsement of murdering Democratic leaders — as a liberal plot to cancel conservatives.

Political speech. The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, just opened a fresh front in this debate. He scolded corporations for criticizing the restrictive voting measures being pushed by Republican-led state legislatures and advised companies to stay out of politics. Mr. McConnell stressed, however, that he was “not talking about political contributions.”

So, campaign cash qualifies as a Republican-approved form of political speech. Actual speech, not so much.

Crisis. Many Americans, and pretty much all Republicans, see the record number of migrant children arriving at the southern border — a situation that has overwhelmed the nation’s broken immigration system and resulted in vulnerable young people being crammed into overcrowded facilities — as a crisis. But the Biden White House has expressly rejected the “C” word. The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, has suggested that terms such as “challenge” or “difficult situation” are more appropriate.