All We Need to Know About the Republican Convention

In olden days, the presidential nominee would appear on the convention’s last night, after having been celebrated almost ad nauseam by previous speakers. He (almost always he) would finally walk out on stage to an ecstatic welcome. “I accept your nomination”. More ecstasy bursts forth.

All we need to know about this week’s Republican convention is that the party’s dear leader will speak every night. It wouldn’t be like him to pass up a chance to be on TV. But why have other speakers? Why doesn’t he simply ramble on for two hours each night. I mean, give the boobs at home what they want.

This is more sober pre-convention analysis from Paul Waldman of The Washington Post:

Much more so than the Republican convention of 2016, when there was at least some drama and dissension — remember when Ted Cruz got booed for refusing to endorse Dxxxx Txxxx? — the one that starts on Monday night will have a much more unified and consistent message. In fact, it will be so unified and consistent that the [Grand Old Party] has decided that it doesn’t even need a new platform.

Policy proposals and an agenda for the future are apparently for the weak. The Republican Party is President Txxxx, and Txxxx is the Republican Party.

To that end, the Republican National Committee adopted this resolution on Saturday, which includes lots of bellyaching about the media being unfair, then reaches its conclusion:

. . . RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

The Republicans still have their 2016 platform, which you can read if you’ve forgotten just how much they loathe Barack Obama. But four years later, they can’t muster up the energy to debate among themselves whether anything in the world has changed, what the party wants to stand for, or what policy proposals ought to be at the forefront of their agenda going forward.

It’s not just that Txxxx doesn’t care about that kind of policy statement. Nobody else in the party does, either.

After enduring mockery over the weekend — and after weeks in which interviewers would ask Txxxx to describe his second-term agenda, to which he’d respond as though he’d been asked to explain Fermat’s Last Theorem — the Txxxx campaign hastily released a list of  second-term priorities. [e.g. making life harder for immigrants, criminals, terrorists and members of Congress, i.e. term limits].

The truth is that the resolution [not the priorities] more clearly describes today’s Republicans. They have some things they want to do, sure — cut taxes, gut environmental regulations, restrict abortion rights — but mostly, what unites the party is that they hate Democrats and they worship Txxxx. That’s about all you need to know.

There was a time when the GOP fancied itself “the party of ideas,” a place where serious people seriously considered serious questions of policy and society, working to devise creative plans that would move the country in a conservative direction.

And when it offered itself to the electorate, the GOP could boil it all down to a few declarations of principle that could be repeated by candidates for every office from dogcatcher all the way up to president. What do Republicans believe in? Small government, low taxes, traditional values and a strong military. This was a source of great political strength; some people even wrote books telling Democrats they should learn from their rivals and come up with their own easy-to-grasp summation of their ideology.

But no more. Like so many other things, this intellectual impoverishment of the GOP is of its own making, the seeds sown long before Txxxx came along. The party always knew most of its voters couldn’t care less about tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate deregulation, so it fed them a steady diet of race-baiting and cultural resentment so they’d keep pulling that Republican lever. It was inevitable that sooner or later a demagogue would come along and distill it all down to just the nasty parts. . . .

On the vast majority of issues, Txxxx has been more conservative than any [establishment Republicans] dared to hope, in large part because he doesn’t really care what his administration’s policies are, outside of a few areas such as immigration that capture his interest.

The trouble is that Txxxx also doesn’t care about the future of conservatism or the Republican Party. It’s all about him. And as it has remade itself in his image, so too is the party all about him. If that’s the case, why bother putting together a platform?

It’s perhaps fitting that this comes at the same time as the GOP’s opponents have engaged in the most vigorous and passionate internal policy debate at least since Bill Clinton dragged Democrats to the center in 1992. It isn’t just that their presidential primary campaign produced enough policy papers to encircle the earth; it was also a very self-conscious argument about who the Democratic Party is, whose voices it represents and where it wants to go.

Health care, immigration, climate change, the size and scope of the welfare state, policing, civil rights, political reform — all that has been subject of extensive argument among Democrats over the past year, and the Democratic platform wound up reflecting both the center and the left of the party.

It still resists easy summary, because hey, they’re Democrats. But none of it depends uniquely on Joe Biden: He could withdraw from the race tomorrow and hand the ticket over to Sen. Kamala D. Harris, and it would be the same agenda.

Likewise, while there are people who love Biden, there are no Biden cultists. On the other hand, while not everyone in the Republican Party thinks Txxxx is a demigod walking among us, perfect in his every word and deed, it’s pretty much the official position of the party that he is just that. . . .

Fixing the Party Can Help Save the World

Democrats have a terrific campaign issue in the Republican attack on the Postal Service. It isn’t clear the party will make the most of it. As an example, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Democratic chairwoman of the House Oversight committee, has introduced legislation to counter the administration’s actions. She wants the Postmaster General to attend a hearing, but not until September 17th. Waiting that long doesn’t suggest urgency. (Note: This afternoon, the Oversight committee invited the Postmaster to attend an “urgent” hearing on August 24th). 

If you’re interested in the world’s future, an article in The New York Review of Books by Joseph O’Neill is important reading. It’s called “Save the Party, Save the World”. It’s a long article behind a paywall. The following 2,500 words are half of it:

Somewhat unexpectedly, ensuring the success of the Democratic Party has become the most important political project in the world. The United States remains the world’s largest economy and superpower, and its constructive international leadership is essential if the climate crisis and other world-historical dangers are to be overcome. This can happen only if Democrats dominate the national government for the best part of the next ten years or so. Republicans cannot be trusted with meaningful power precisely because they form one of the world-historical dangers that must be overcome. Noam Chomsky has accurately described the contemporary Republican Party as “the most dangerous organization in human history.”

The politics that this state of affairs calls for—working to make certain that one party defeats another throughout a series of legitimate elections, in order to avert catastrophe—is a novel one. Canonical political theory doesn’t engage with the scenario. Neither does customary political practice. Even reliably partisan voters don’t feel obligated to be partisan. They reserve the right to calibrate their support for a party in accordance with private criteria that could be trivial or morally serious. It’s a free world, right? But acting in accordance with private criteria, however virtuously, begins to feel absurd at a time when global heating has ripped open the “climatic envelope” that Homo sapiens has occupied for the last six thousand years.1 As for elected officials, their outlook is largely determined by the everyday demands of constituents and donors, by institutional maneuvering, and by personal careerism. Democrats are no exception. They didn’t go into politics thinking of themselves as emergency custodians of the biosphere or as firefighters combating the arson of American democracy. They too find themselves with philosophies and wish lists and time frames that have lost their currency.

Our political situation, then, makes an unfamiliar and potentially repugnant demand on us, namely that we quickly develop a loyalty to the Democratic Party as such. To a degree, this is already happening. The 2018 “Blue Wave” midterms produced an extraordinary partisan grassroots mobilization for a wide variety of candidates. Two years later, Angela Davis and Bill Kristol, whose political views couldn’t be more different, both support the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden. But transpartisan electoral alliances, however useful in the short term, are obviously insufficient to enable the Democratic Party to edge out the Republican Party for the next decade. Much of today’s political energy on the left is not profoundly Democratic or pro-Biden, and it’s not even profoundly anti-Republican. It’s a very narrow negative partisanship—support that is significantly motivated and energized by antipathy against one figure, Donald Trump. What happens to that energy when Trump goes? How will the Democratic Party fare without it?

The long-held approach of the Democratic establishment won’t solve this problem. That approach—to minimize interparty differences in the hope of winning over politically disengaged voters, to crawl upward one step at a time while the escalator is moving downward—has enabled the GOP  [the Republicans] to win most elections for the last twenty-two years. It is self-evidently unfit for the strategic purpose of gaining and exercising long-term power. Recent events have made a return to Democratic government-by-stasis unthinkable. The Black Lives Matter protests and the disastrous Republican response to the coronavirus crisis have budged even the famously stick-in-the-mud Biden into recognizing that a new politics is necessary. If, as seems likely, he wins in November, his administration and its supporters will need a new, broadly acceptable partisan ideology in order to win a series of subsequent elections.

Two clarifications are called for. “Partisan” does not connote gratuitous animosity against one’s political opponents. It refers to embracing a party, and a party identity, as the prime means of advancing a political agenda. It involves identifying the opposing party (rather than its supporters or even its leading figures) as your stated adversary, and waging a perpetual campaign of negative partisanship against that adversary. . . .

Second, “ideology,” in this sense, isn’t exhausted by the concept of a policy agenda. But if Democrats want to win elections repeatedly, they must enact policies that are both effective and popular with Democrats. The emphasis refers to an insight that for years has been mislaid by the left but not by the right: an American political party can’t consistently win elections, midterm and state-level races in particular, without the sustained and vigorous grassroots participation of its base. What about swing voters? They don’t vote much in midterms, and in this polarized era have shrunk to such small numbers that their influence on national elections is much diminished. Swing voters will support you if the big outcomes—jobs and the economy, in particular—are favorable and if your branding strategy (positive and negative) is strong. Base turnout, though, won’t happen unless the grassroots identifies strongly with the party, is united by a common purpose, and is determined to win. What can be done to make this a reality?

E.J. Dionne Jr.’s [new book] Code Red addresses this question. . . .

Dionne’s foundational assertion is important: the present moment offers an “opportunity we dare not miss” for progressives and moderates (these are Dionne’s terms) to jointly create “a movement that can and should be the driving force in our politics long after Trump is gone.” Referring to the spectacular exploits of the Democratic grassroots in the 2018 midterms, he writes:

These newly engaged citizens have created an opportunity to build a broad alliance for practical and visionary government as promising as any since the Great Depression gave Franklin Roosevelt the chance to build the New Deal coalition.

A coalition of this kind isn’t fanciful, Dionne argues. The entire liberal-left spectrum is outraged by the Trump presidency and, more deeply, is “appalled by the extremes to which economic policy has been pushed by a radical, deregulatory, anti-tax right.” Furthermore, the political intuitions of Americans have propitiously changed:

The “common sense” of politics…was redefined in the Reagan era as a belief in the supremacy of markets and the futility of government action. Now, our common sense, while still skeptical of government’s competence (after the Trump years, who could not be?), is deeply troubled by economic concentration, the power of corporations, the growth of monopoly power, and the unfairness of the distribution of wealth and income.

Dionne recalls that Democrats were once capable of doing big stuff, quickly:

The years between 1963 and 1966 saw the most extraordinary outpouring of liberal legislation since the New Deal…. Until the 1966 midterm elections put an end to lopsided Democratic majorities in Congress and strengthened conservative voices in the congressional GOP, an era of consensus enabled a large and confident majority to embrace national action expanding opportunities and alleviating needless suffering. The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education, new environmental laws, Head Start, the Job Corps, immigration reform—these are among the achievements of [the] period.

How do we get there again? “At the risk of sounding like a perhaps unwelcome counselor attempting to ease a family quarrel,” Dionne stages an intervention that tactfully surveys the viewpoints of the mutually infuriating quarrelers. This is of course a slippery undertaking. Big Tent politics encompasses class politics, movements of recognition and representation, moderation and radicalism, socialism and neoliberalism, cults of personality, boldly structural and incremental theories of change, good ideas and terrible ones. Dionne is at pains to not take sides—or, rather, to acknowledge the discrete merits of all sides. But his bottom line, it’s fair to say, is that moderates must accept that their conservative assumptions have been overtaken by events, and that the Democratic policy terrain has been mostly staked out by progressives. Progressives, for their part, must see that their efforts have been astonishingly effective, and move forward in a spirit of alliance and, if necessary, “visionary gradualism.” (Dionne likes this phrase, which he credits to the theorist and activist Michael Harrington, who founded the Democratic Socialists of America.)

The general tilt leftward is embodied by Biden’s apparent metamorphosis from restorationist centrist to agent of change awake to the new political landscape. His campaign website, “Joe’s Vision for America,” sets out a platform that is conspicuously more progressive, both in its rhetoric and in its practical proposals, than those of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. . .

Dionne is not yet fully persuaded by Biden’s new credentials. Nor could anyone be until a Biden administration, backed by a Democratic Congress, exercises power as progressively and aggressively as circumstances (for example, control of the Senate) permit. Biden’s career has largely coincided with the moral, intellectual, and electoral capitulation of the Democratic Party to the GOP. Like his contemporaries Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he has been programmed to not use power in a way that will anger Republicans or upset bankers or frighten the horses in an imaginary Middle America. It’s a generation of decent but passive people who find it difficult to grasp that their job is to enact meaningful policies that Democrats like and Republicans don’t like. . . .

Vital Democratic causes have been advanced not by the party but by activism, in which Millennials and Generation Z have played a crucial part. . . .

Dionne’s central proposal is designed to meet this challenge. In order to strengthen partisanship across varied standpoints, he argues, Democrats require a moral claim to power that is fresh, clear, and collectively shared. “The galvanizing idea,” he says, “should be dignity”:

A politics of dignity can bring progressives and moderates together and also begin to close the deep social divides that have distorted our politics and torn our country asunder. Opening the way to a new spirit of solidarity requires something else as well: An honest reckoning with the urgency of overcoming the injuries of race and gender but also with those of class.

“Dignity” refers to the enlightened idea that all persons are inherently valuable and worthy of respect. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” At the moment, dignity figures only peripherally in American liberal-left discourse, but as Dionne points out, Democrats from Biden to Ocasio-Cortez to Senator Sherrod Brown make regular use of the concept in their public remarks. They do so because dignity synthesizes issues of justice and recognition, tax and economic policy, family values, environmental policy, even statehood for the District of Columbia. It also links struggles associated with working-class white Americans to struggles associated with American minorities. If unifying the Big Tent requires finding a generalizable, unsullied, and instantly useful focal theme, the principle of [human] dignity is as actionable and inspiring as any. . . .

The difficulty . . . is that an ideology of partisanship isn’t something you can exhort into existence. In order for Democrats to cohere around the principles of dignity and grassroots power—the two are closely related, if you think about it—commitment in the abstract won’t be enough. It must be embodied by party relations, structures, and deeds. Specifically, it requires appropriate action by the three main stakeholders: the Democratic Party apparatus, in particular the [Democratic National Committee]; Democratic elected officials; and, finally, the (potential) supporters of the party who are ordinary civilians. Of these stakeholders, the institutional ones have the most immediate agency—the power to generate partisan coherence by action. It’s pretty clear what they must do: gain the trust and loyalty of the younger, more progressive cohort; keep the trust of the more centrist party faithful; and make swing voters trust Democrats more than they trust Republicans. The following steps must be taken.

First, embrace the principle of dignity as a central partisan theme. That will help unify and energize the party through this campaign season and provide a powerful and protective narrative for future partisan action.

Second, appoint figures trusted by the left to senior positions in the Biden administration and in the party organization. The progressive (younger) wing of the party is almost completely without representation in the congressional and DNC leaderships. That is a scandal, and must be fixed right away. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces (entrusted with producing policy recommendations in a variety of areas) are a very good step in this direction.

Third, the Biden administration and its allies in Congress must take the strongest legislative and executive action possible to do what Democrats, younger ones in particular, want them to do. A Green New Deal—with a substantial jobs component, not a pro forma one—will be crucial. Taxing the rich a lot more will be essential, as will a historic leap forward in health care. Doing stuff that Democrats like will be much more powerful in creating partisan loyalty than saying stuff that Democrats like.

Fourth, substantiate the narrative of dignity by reforming the police and ICE, fixing voter suppression, and fast-tracking immigration reform. Such measures are supported by the majority of Americans and are urgently awaited by party loyalists of color. A narrative of dignity—which is also applicable to the economically progressive measures outlined above—will enable a wide range of liberals to support these measures.

Fifth, enact reforms that will correct the dangerous electoral advantages enjoyed by the GOP. Statehood for D.C. is a no-brainer, as is restoring the reach of the Voting Rights Act. Scrap the Senate filibuster rule if need be. Criminalize intentional voter disenfranchisement. Expand the Supreme Court as necessary.

Sixth, start thinking about the 2022 midterms on day one. Because midterms and special elections are won by base turnout, Democrats must internally rebrand their party as the party of grassroots organizers. That entails more than a PR campaign. It will require funding, empowering, and privileging grassroots organizations, and putting the DNC apparatus at their disposal. Primary challenges should not be discouraged. Factional disputes should be viewed as good-faith differences of opinion—unless they undermine the shared partisan purpose and the mutual respect that an ethos of dignity requires.

Finally, stoke negative partisanship. Americans—whether they’re swing voters or party activists—must go to the polls in 2022 and 2024 with a strong (and valid) fear of letting the GOP back into power. Thus, always be negatively branding the GOP in the eyes of swing, or persuadable, voters. Exactly what approach to take in a branding operation is a complex question, but suffice it to say that it must be undertaken, and that the master narrative is: The Republican Party can no longer be trusted with power. Repeat this at every opportunity, then verify this narrative by investigating and bringing to light all Republican misdeeds. Brand them as Republican Party misdeeds, not as aberrant Trumpist corruption.

Call the disastrous Republican economy that Biden will inherit “the disastrous Republican economy.” Call the Republican pandemic crisis “the Republican pandemic crisis.” Always be trumpeting the success of your initiatives, always be talking about the danger of letting Republicans back into power. On no account repeat the mistakes of 2008–2010, when Democrats apologized for the Affordable Care Act and took ownership of the Republican financial crisis. If Democrats comport themselves like the natural party of government, they will be perceived as such and win more elections.

Biden will be crucial in all of this. He has spent fifty years accumulating bipartisan political capital. He is broadly viewed as an exemplar of personal honor. If he responds to this moment of historic need and opportunity, there could be no more credible messenger of the demise of the GOP nor a more reassuring leader in an era of transformative and partisan legislative action. It will be challenging, of course. Many of the steps outlined above will not be possible without having both the Senate and House under Democratic control—but then again, many will be. The challenges can be overcome—but only if Democrats, [all kinds of Democrats], start thinking and acting as partisans.

Tomorrow’s Front Page



Numbers alone cannot possibly measure the impact of the coronavirus on America… As the country nears a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths attributed to the virus, the New York Times scoured obituaries and death notices of the victims. The 1,000 people here reflect just one percent of the toll. None were mere numbers.

Patricia Dowd, 57, San Jose, Calif., auditor in Silicon Valley.
Marion Krueger, 83, Kirkland, Wash., great-grandmother with an easy laugh.
Jermaine Farrow, 77, Lee County, Fla., wife with little time to enjoy a new marriage….

From Joe Biden:

36,000 Americans could be alive today if President T—– had acted sooner.

The hard truth is D—– T—– ignored the warnings of health experts and intelligence agencies, downplayed the threat COVID-19 posed, and failed to take the action needed to combat the outbreak. It’s one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in our history.

We all need to vote for every Democrat in November and damage that other party for decades to come.

Another Post Mortem

When she opened Saturday Night Live last night, Elizabeth Warren pointed out that she’s not dead, she’s merely in the Senate.

Still, Moira Donegan says the Democrats would be more viable for the presidency if:

… if the media and the electorate were less blinded by cynicism, sexism and fear and more willing to see Warren for who she was – the most capable, competent and kindest candidate in the race.

As a woman, the Massachusetts senator always faced an uphill battle of double standards and misogynist resentment. She had to be competent but not condescending, cheery but not pandering, maternal but not frumpy, smart but not haughty. As she rose in the polls last summer and fall, she came under the kind of scrutiny that male frontrunners are not subjected to, and faced skepticism about her claims and character that male candidates do not face.

As she rose in the polls last summer and fall, she came under the kind of scrutiny that male frontrunners are not subjected to.

This is the fate of a lot of women who come close to attaining power, and empirical data backs up the phenomenon: writing in the Washington Post, the Cornell philosopher Kate Manne cited a 2010 Harvard study that found that women are viewed more negatively simply by seeking office. “Voters view male and female politicians as equally power-seeking, but respond to them quite differently,” Manne writes. “Men who seek power were viewed as stronger and tougher, while power-seeking women provoked feelings of disgust and contempt.”

As a result, all of Warren’s virtues were recast as vices in the public eye. Her impressive credentials and superlative intellect became out-of-touch elitism. Her joyousness and enthusiasm were cast as somehow both insincerely pandering and cringingly over-earnest. This kind of transformation of neutral or positive character traits into negative ones is not something that happens to men in similar positions. Sanders can aestheticize his practiced cantankerousness for laughs and sympathy without anyone asking if its a put-on. Biden can use slang from the 1930s without anyone ever questioning whether the ostentatious folksiness of his “no malarkey” messaging might be just a tad affected. But for Warren, every smile was interpreted as a sign of concealed hatred, of secret, nefarious motives.

Her policy efforts, too, were cast as a repudiation of her principles rather than as steps toward realizing them. Her attempt to transform Medicare for All from a symbolic rallying cry into a substantive, workable and affordable policy change that can be made in our time brought, paradoxically, accusations that she was less serious about the policy for trying to make it a reality. Her plans to break up tech monopolies, repair the damage to black wealth done by historic redlining policies and reshape massive federal spending projects to make them environmentally sustainable were all cast as signs of duplicity and lack of commitment to her stated values. Meanwhile, male candidates who did not have substantive plans to implement such policies were believed, largely uncritically, when they told the public that they would put them in place.

In this race, men’s statements – about who they are, what they value, what they would do as president – have largely been taken at face value, even when male candidates have made false or exaggerated claims or contradicted themselves. But Elizabeth Warren was never given the benefit of the doubt. Her flaws and missteps were magnified, and interpreted in ways disproportionate to their significance, while comparatively greater mistakes by male rivals were all but ignored. When she referred to her father as having worked as a janitor, a days–long news cycle asked why, if he was really a janitor, her brother had once referred to him as a “maintenance man”. That these are effectively the same did not matter: the irrelevant non-story was interpreted as a sign of her constitutional untrustworthiness.

Warren was said to be not really running for president, but running as a spoiler; not really happy to meet voters, but shamelessly pretending with her long selfie lines; not really committed to economic inequality, but merely devoting her life to it as some sort of long con. None of these accusations made much logical sense, but that didn’t matter, because they were backed up by the force of feeling – a very strong feeling, held by many men and women alike, that a woman seeking power and status just can’t be trusted.

The epistemic philosopher Miranda Fricker calls this tendency to disbelieve women, and to believe powerful men, “testimonial injustice”: the harm done to speakers when prejudiced listeners discount their credibility. Women face testimonial injustice in particular when they challenge or contradict men, as cultural tropes that depict women as conniving, scheming, and selfish can be mustered to make her seem less credible, him more believable. Fricker doesn’t apply her concept of testimonial injustice to gender conflict exclusively, but it is an obstacle that many women recount in their own experiences of gendered injustice: the sense that they cannot be believed, that they cannot achieve equal credibility and moral footing with men in the minds of their peers, that they will always be assumed to be either stupid or dishonest. Branded as dishonest even as she told the truth, duplicitous even as she kept her promises, Warren faced testimonial injustice on a huge scale, and it ultimately doomed her campaign.



From Brian Beutler’s “Big Tent” newsletter:

If you could construct a perfectly life-like, bionic Democratic president optimized to make headway in our dysfunctional system, and to cleanse the country’s political economy so that future presidents could make further progress, it would look more like Elizabeth Warren than any other candidate who has ever run for president. I’m talking less about the specifics of any of her policy plans than her understanding of what’s gone wrong in America.

If Democrats win the House, Senate, and presidency, the filibuster will hobble their ability to govern; if they get rid of the filibuster, right-wing courts will remain rigged against them; fix the courts, and money and corruption in politics will still limit what’s possible. She knew all that and was prepared to sink her teeth into each of those choke points like Bailey into a stolen burrito. Existing laws give presidents tons of power that could be put to use making people’s lives better, and overwhelming the court’s capacity to sabotage a liberal administration. She was willing to try. Corporate and financial elites exercise power in fine print. She is the country’s leading expert in how to read the fine print, and strip it down, so that those elites stop fleecing the country.

For these reasons and others, it’s sad that she didn’t make it farther along in this race than she did. But it will be an absolute tragedy if Democrats ignore her insights and duck the fights she was willing to pick out of some misbegotten sense that shaking things up is wrong or risky. Neither of the two remaining candidates have shown much appetite for Warrenism, as loosely defined here, and it places their potential presidencies in grave risk. We have to put a lot of work into changing that. Basically everything depends on the winner coming around to her way of thinking.