“Revenge,” the Telenovela, Still Drawing Big Audiences

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One of the impressive things about Donald Trump is his creativity in taking revenge on people. I mean, who else would have gotten the idea of using the presidential pardon power this way? And yet, it’s right there in the Constitution. He could write “Donald Trump Jr. is pardoned for everything” on a White House napkin and that’s all it takes.

Likewise, the president does have the power to remove someone’s security clearance, but I don’t think that even Richard Nixon ever came up with the idea of using it to get back at any of his enemies. But Trump has. It might not be the biggest deal in the world, but it’s a telling little humiliation for someone who’s accustomed to knowing all the little behind-the-scenes secrets.

Or, on the world scene, has any president refused to sign a pro forma communique with allies just because one of them said something he found slightly vexing?

Then again, what goes around comes around. Has any presidential aide ever roamed the White House routinely recording conversations in hopes of being able to use them for some kind of petty revenge against the president? Not that I know of.

It’s quite the telenovela we have going on here. But how will it do during sweeps week this November?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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