Mike Muskal, a wise former colleague of mine at Long Island Newsday, once joked that if one of our stories won the Pulitzer Prize, it was because “it damned well deserved it.” If not, he said with a sneaky smile, the reason must be “scummy politics.”

I laughed, of course. Cute joke, right?

Now I’m no longer laughing because Donald Trump has turned a cute joke into a democracy-killing con job. No evidence of widespread fraud was ever uncovered during the last election, despite 60 or so court cases brought by Trump supporters alleging it. But the majority of Republican candidates nationwide are repeating Donald Trump’s Big Lie that he was cheated out of the presidency. For them, lying is simply a means to an end, moral principles be damned. Now we can likely expect the same from any Trumpist legitimately defeated in the upcoming election. Sadly, the post-election environment will likely be apocalyptic, with both sides fighting out close votes in the courts.

Sadly, discomfort avoidance has largely been the go-to response for many Trump foes -- including those in his own party -- who are keeping their mouths shut because they don’t want to take on the shrieking banshees of the far right.

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This is very good, very true. Discomfort Avoidance is becoming the driving force of our lives.

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Sadly, we can’t handle the truth anymore.

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