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D.J. Tice is never shy about expressing himself and his latest commentary, as always, was thought-provoking ("Oust Trump. Disappoint the left. Just right," Opinion Exchange, Nov. 8). I, and a majority of Americans, apparently agree — President-elect Joe Biden is the largest popular vote winner ever (not so large in the Electoral College) — with Tice's view that President Donald Trump had to go. I choose to ignore his diatribe, however, about "woke" radical, liberal, wild-eyed Democrats hoping to address such leftist things as racial equality, income inequality, our soul-crushing health care system and out-of-control education costs. Thus, his paean to gridlock — we're saved! Many, maybe most, people are also happy with gridlock. My view is a little different.

It strikes me that when the only thing we agree on is that gridlock, for one reason or another, is a natural and positive goal — I won't get anything but then neither will you! — it speaks to a uniquely American preference for wanting a government that doesn't work. I know, I get it; the founding fathers, in their wisdom, created the inter-branch tension to make sure no one branch could overpower the others. Boy, did we get it! So, here we go, another four years of ignoring the many huge issues and problems facing our country. Is this the way the supposedly greatest democracy in the world should function? Do you really think the founders intended this kind of political ineptitude and paralysis? If so, maybe they weren't as smart as we've made them out to be.

D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis
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I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing, mostly, with Tice as he assesses Biden's lack of a landslide victory.

He gets no argument from me when he writes about Trump voters, "What they're enthusiastic about is Trump as a living, snarling repudiation to America's smug, know-it-all professional, managerial, academic, bureaucratic urban elite — those self-anointed sophisticates ..."

Then he goes into unfamiliar territory. Those sophisticates, he writes, "disdain, as much as anything, Trump's unembarrassed declarations of love for America and respect for everyday, working-class Americans ..."

I admit that Trump is unembarrassed about any of his conduct. But when did he declare "love for America," aside from wrapping his arms around a flag on a podium? And how did he show "respect for everyday, working-class Americans"? By holding super-spreader rallies?

As Farah Stockman pointed out in the New York Times, he is against unions, his 2017 tax cut favored corporations and shareholders, and he's trying to kill the Affordable Care Act.

As Stockman put it, "He's either incompetent or he's a Trojan horse who used blue-collar workers to get into the White House, only to hand over the keys to the one percent."

Hal Davis, Minneapolis
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In his rather vitriolic rant justifying gridlock in national government, Tice stereotypes and insults the 50% (approximately) of Americans who vote Democratic.

Is he saying that Trump supporters, in repudiating "America's smug, know-it-all professional, managerial, academic, bureaucratic urban elite," believe that Democrats do not find support among working class and rural Americans? The votes belie that. Democrats find support among all classes and ethnic groups. In fact, their support is far more diverse than that of the Republican Party.

Am I to consider myself one of those in the loathed group? My parents both grew up on farms in southern Minnesota; neither finished high school. My sisters and I are the first with post high school degrees. One sister did not go beyond high school. We all vote Democratic. I guess I never realized I'm part of an "elite," although I have committed the "crime" of living in an urban area.

And the implication that Democrats (that loathed "elite") disdain love of country, disrespect working class Americans and don't admire the principles this country stands for when it is at its best is beyond insulting; it contributes to the ugly division that is plaguing this country by seeming to justify the stereotyping and loathing of those who disagree with conservatives.

McConnell has veto power over Biden's Cabinet appointments. Where on earth does Tice see any chance of compromise with a party that has done almost nothing more than block Democrats' efforts to deal with our nation's problems, a party that refuses to govern unless it gets its way, a party that demands one set of rules for itself and another set for the opposition? Gridlock will not serve most Americans. But I fear that is what we may face.

Diane Ring, Edina

Trump was a serious threat to the republic. Don't underplay that.

The election is decided. Both Republicans and Democrats had expressed fear about the outcome. In my view, both sides have reason for their fear. And the news media reports these fears as though they are equivalent. They are not.

The Republicans fear socialism, Medicare for All, a higher minimum wage, a packed Supreme Court, loss of the filibuster ... to name a few. I voted for President-elect Joe Biden and also fear some of these. But these are policy issues; they are reversible. Should they occur and enough of us dislike them, we can vote again, and change them.

In contrast, Democratic fears are not about policy. They fear autocracy, demagoguery, authoritarianism and corruption. Attempts exist, possibly as you read this letter, as Trump Republicans attack the very legitimacy of the vote.

Once belief in that legitimacy is gone there is no remedy. Our country would not be changed, it would be gone. Both sides have fears. They are not equivalent.

Walter Jost, Bloomington

He isn't better than you, and doesn't pretend to be

Anyone who cannot understand the appeal of President Donald Trump to a substantial proportion of our population would do well to consider the analysis of author and podcaster Sam Harris, who provides a key to understanding why Trump voters overlook his character flaws and continue to support him. You should listen to his podcast if you can. In a nutshell, Trump does not have a sanctimonious bone in his body. He is who he is and accepts that other people are flawed, too. Many people experience being around Trump as a spiritual laying on of hands because of that total lack of judgment. He is balm to the souls of Americans who are sick and tired of being labeled racist or clueless by people who don't know them. They are tired of holier-than-thou people looking down their noses at their opinions or their way of life. They are tired of "open-minded" educated people who are so judgmental. I am a liberal, and I am sick and tired of that, too.

That's one reason I like President-elect Joe Biden. He is imperfect, he puts his foot in his mouth, he's been around the block. He is an old white guy — so retro! He respects all people, period. He knows in his bones that hashing out our differences results in widely accepted compromises rather than "perfect" solutions forced down the throats of half the population. And the bonus is that Biden doesn't have psychological traits that threaten the security of the United States.

Mary Bolton, Stillwater

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