Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: With the election slipping away, Trump reaches for a fantasy

Trailing in the polls and with Republicans in disarray over the unemployment insurance extensions and the contracting economy, Donald Trump tweeted about delaying the elections. And it was totally on brand: a thing someone never should do, he did.

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020

The reaction was swift and near-universal.

The President's tweet gives life to the theory many have been talking about for over a year now: that the President may attempt to disrupt our free & fair elections, or a transition in power. It sent a shiver down my spine, as I hope it does all of my colleagues of both parties.

— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) July 30, 2020

And even though the President doesn�t have the authority to postpone the election, the self-serving nature of his comments & the way they upend the very tenets of what it means to be American, is so disheartening. Our elections aren�t about you, Mr. President. They�re about us.

— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) July 30, 2020

That they are.

Daily Beast:

‘He’s Terrified of Losing’—Trump Goes Into Hyperdrive to Delegitimize The Election

As much of the political world went into an uproar over Donald Trump floating the idea of delaying the November election, inside the president’s orbit, his Thursday morning tweet suggesting just that was seen as something far narrower and more strategically focused.

The president isn’t really trying to delay the vote. He is trying to preemptively delegitimize the likely results.

MORE: Former Pres. Barack Obama: "If all this takes eliminating the filibuster�another Jim Crow relic�in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, than that's what we should do."

— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) July 30, 2020


U.S. suffered worst quarterly contraction on record as virus ravages economy

When the economy was tumbling in the second quarter, Trump pumped up the third quarter. Now the high hopes are slowly deflating.

The U.S. economy crashed in historic fashion this year — shrinking at a nearly 33 percent annualized pace in the second quarter — as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged businesses and sent joblessness soaring. The question now for President Donald Trump, trailing in the polls and facing a daunting reelection effort, is just how much conditions can snap back in the months leading up to Election Day.

At least for the moment, the spike in Covid-19 cases, the potential for fresh trouble this fall and a bitter fight over how to pump more federal money into the ailing economy suggest the sharp bounce-back Trump is counting on may not show up in a way he envisions.

Watch the LDS vote in Arizona

— Bill Scher (@billscher) July 30, 2020


Does $600 a Week Make People Shirk? Evidence Is No

Yale study challenges Republican theory that expanded jobless benefits discourage people from working.

It’s a bit surprising that extra benefits don’t seem to raise unemployment, considering that many workers get a higher income from unemployment insurance than they got from working. One reason could be that workers who quit rather than being laid off aren’t eligible for unemployment insurance. They’re also required to keep looking for work, and they can lose their benefits if they refuse a “suitable” offer. On top of that, workers presumably realize that an employer’s paycheck is a better long-term bet than a check from the government that’s designed to be temporary.

"Nobody likes me": Trump usually pretends that he's wildly popular. Yesterday, however, overcome by self-pity, he slipped and told the truth about his standing.

— Steve Benen (@stevebenen) July 29, 2020

Henry Olsen/WaPo:

Sorry, Republicans. The polls really are that bad.

Many Republicans are responding with disbelief to polls showing President Trump well behind former vice president Joe Biden nationally and in all the swing states. Some say the polls are undercounting Republicans, while others cite 2016 as evidence that the polls are just wrong. Sadly, neither explanation holds water.

The evidence that polls undercount Republicans is slim at best. Five of the seven matchup polls between Trump and Biden in the RealClearPolitics average as of Tuesday morning have cross-tabulations that show the share of Republicans in their samples. Those shares range from a low of 24 percent to a high of 36 percent, with an average of 31 percent. That’s not far below the 33 percent GOP share in the 2016 presidential election exit polls, and the difference between the two cannot explain Trump’s massive deficit.

See also Nate Cohn/NY Times:

Are the Polls Missing Republican Voters?

Registered Republicans were actually more likely than registered Democrats to respond to the Times/Siena survey.

If polls using partisan characteristics from voter registration files showed a fundamentally different race, this could be a sign that the other polls were biased on partisanship. But the recent surveys that are weighted by party registration or primary vote history offer nearly the same picture as polls that are not. Arguably, they offer a picture even worse for Republicans.

Can a reporter please ask Trump about reports of white supremacists inciting violence across the country? MN: VA: DHS memo on this:

— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) July 29, 2020

Dave Grohl/Atlantic:

In Defense of Our Teachers

When it comes to the daunting question of reopening schools, America’s educators deserve a plan, not a trap.

It takes a certain kind of person to devote their life to this difficult and often-thankless job. I know because I was raised in a community of them. I have mowed their lawns, painted their apartments, even babysat their children, and I’m convinced that they are as essential as any other essential workers. Some even raise rock stars! Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Adam Levine, Josh Groban, and Haim are all children of school workers (with hopefully more academically rewarding results than mine). Over the years, I have come to notice that teachers share a special bond, because there aren’t too many people who truly understand their unique challenges—challenges that go far beyond just pen and paper. Today, those challenges could mean life or death for some.

Federalist Society cofounder backed Trump during Mueller and impeachment: "But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president�s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate."

— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 30, 2020


Misinformation on coronavirus is proving highly contagious

As the world races to find a vaccine and a treatment for COVID-19, there is seemingly no antidote in sight for the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham cures.

The phenomenon, unfolding largely on social media, escalated this week when President Donald Trump retweeted a false video about an anti-malaria drug being a cure for the virus and it was revealed that Russian intelligence is spreading disinformation about the crisis through English-language websites.

Experts worry the torrent of bad information is dangerously undermining efforts to slow the virus, whose death toll in the U.S. hit 150,000 Wednesday, by far the highest in the world, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Over a half-million people have died in the rest of the world.

The House Minority Leader accidentally calls one of his own, "Congressman Covid."

— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) July 29, 2020

Katherine Eban/Vanity Fair:

How Jared Kushner’s Secret Testing Plan “Went Poof Into Thin Air”

This spring, a team working under the president's son-in-law produced a plan for an aggressive, coordinated national COVID-19 response that could have brought the pandemic under control. So why did the White House spike it in favor of a shambolic 50-state response

Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

James M. Lawson: "Let all the people of the USA determine that we will not be long as our economy is shaped not by freedom but by plantation capitalism that continues to cause domination and control rather than access and liberty and equality. "

— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) July 30, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”

Jamelle Bouie/NY times:

To Overturn Trump, We Need to Overturn White Supremacy

For that to happen, some monuments — and the historical myths they supported — are going to have to come down.

Another way to put this observation is that police brutality, the proximate cause of these protests, is simply an acute instance of the many ways in which the lives of black Americans (and other groups) are degraded and devalued. And while the most consequential form this degradation takes are material — the Covid-19 crisis, for example, has revealed to many Americans the extent to which black lives are still shaped by a deep racial inequality that leaves them disproportionately vulnerable to illness and premature death — there are also many symbolic statements of black worth, or the lack thereof, out there for all to see.

It’s not overreach, it’s overdue.

Great chart from @aedwardslevy on opinion on police reforms.

— Natalie Jackson (@nataliemj10) June 12, 2020

Andrea Benjamin/WaPo:

Polls show strong support for the protests — and also for how police handled them

Americans have a history of supporting causes in the abstract, then retreating.

Beyond the direct expression of outrage, one purpose of protests is to sway public opinion. By that standard, the demonstrations against police violence that followed the killing of George Floyd in police custody appear to have been successful — at least by some measures: A Washington Post-Schar School poll released this past week found that 69 percent of Americans think Floyd’s killing signals a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with 29 percent who consider it to be an isolated incident.

That represents a significant change from 2014, when a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 43 percent of Americans felt that the killing of unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City signified a broader problem (compared with 51 percent who thought they were isolated affairs). The new Post-Schar School poll also found that a large majority of Americans, 74 percent, generally back the protests — a trend that extended even to Republicans, 53 percent of whom support them. Echoing other commentators, Slate said the polling suggested that the Black Lives Matter movement “has made staggering gains in just two weeks.”

There may be reasons for optimism among those who, like me, believe strongly in curbing police violence, but we should also be cautious in interpreting the polls. Declarations of a revolution in American consciousness are premature. For one thing, polls also reveal that a surprisingly high proportion of people thought that police behaved reasonably in response to the protests — despite the footage of the violent clearing of Lafayette Square, the shooting of journalists with pepper guns and the countless baton-beatings that police dished out.

John, we begged you to testify in impeachment. We tried everything, right up until the very last minute of the trial. You persistently refused. Now you want us to feel sorry for you & buy your book? Forget it. #BoycottBolton

— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) June 12, 2020


Most Americans, including Republicans, support sweeping Democratic police reform proposals - Reuters/Ipsos poll

The poll (here) conducted online of 1,113 U.S. adults showed bipartisan support for many of the Democrats' proposals.

For example, 82% of Americans want to ban police from using chokeholds, 83% want to ban racial profiling, and 92% want federal police to be required to wear body cameras.

It also found that 89% of Americans want to require police to give the people they stop their name, badge number and reason for the stop, and 91% support allowing independent investigations of police departments that show patterns of misconduct.

Lots of support for various reforms that would save lives and improve America. But �defunding the police� is underwater 29-49 among African-Americans (26-60 with whites).

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 12, 2020


Trump and NASCAR diverge over the place for symbols of America's racist past

President Donald Trump, upset after catching wind of his own military's openness to changing the names of certain bases honoring Confederate commanders, decreed such a change wouldn't happen on his watch.
NASCAR, responding to an appeal from its only full-time black driver, declared it was banning the Confederate flag at its races, where the historic symbol of Southern secession has been a common sight.
The dueling announcements, made within the same three-hour window, illustrate the entrenched position Trump has staked out as the nation continues to reckon with historic disparities on race and police brutality and as he frets about his diminished political prospects.

According to our forecast, Trump is at 46% in the popular vote today and has a 15% chance of winning. That�s worse than he ever got in our model if we rerun it for 2016. (Graphs on this coming soon.)

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) June 13, 2020

Todd Gitlin/WaPo:

This isn’t 1968. It’s 1969.

Today’s movement more closely resembles the antiwar Moratorium protests than the unrest of the previous year.

Yes, there is something of 1968 in 2020. But the 1968 synapse oversimplifies greatly. The uprising underway now signals a vastly more popular and widespread movement reminiscent of the great outpouring of anti-Vietnam War action in October and November 1969, under the aegis of a national project called the Moratorium, which, amid outrage long in the making, cried out: Enough.

Disgusting. You have a concern with a guideline? Sure, voice it. But to launch ad hominem attacks (or even worse, threats) on public health officials is despicable. These are true public servants. I promise they�re not doing it for the paltry salary or the underfunded office.

— Daniel Liebman MD MBA (@D_Liebman) June 12, 2020

Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

Republicans have no response to tackle racism

In an inadvertently honest moment on Tuesday, McConnell declared, “None of us have had the experience of being an African American in this country and dealing with this discrimination, which persists here some 50 years after the 1964 civil rights bill and the 1965 civil rights bill.”

In using the pronoun “us,” McConnell appeared to be speaking on behalf of the 52 non-black Republicans, an odd formulation but a telling acknowledgement that they lack the diversity necessary to appreciate the full American experience. Goodness knows they have made little effort to try to educate themselves about systemic racism — as many continue to deny it even exists.

I continue to think that Biden�s core political advantage in this cycle is that none of his opponents believe he has real popular support and thus assume something will sink him. It�s basically the same phenomenon that helped Trump win.

— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) June 12, 2020

Geoffrey Skelley/FiveThirtyEight:

The Latest Swing State Polls Look Good For Biden

Hard as it may be to believe, Election Day is now less than five months away. And at this point, former Vice President Joe Biden has a clear lead over President Trump in the national polls. But recent state-level surveys also give Biden an edge over Trump in a number of key swing states. And of course, how Trump and Biden do at the state level matters the most, as that’s how the outcome in the Electoral College will be decided.

NY Times:

Trump’s Actions Rattle the Military World: ‘I Can’t Support the Man’

“The news of wanting to deploy the military domestically has caused a huge sense of outrage among most families I know,” said Sarah Streyder, the director of the Secure Families Initiative, which advocates diplomacy-first foreign policy and works on behalf of military families. “A lot of military families live on Facebook. Social media is very important for this transient community.”

Numerous military spouses concurred. “From what I see from my friends communicating online, spouses have grown much more vocal in opposition to policies,” said Kate Marsh Lord, a Democrat who is married to a member of the Air Force and lives in Virginia but votes in Ohio. “I have seen more spouses speak out on issues of race and lack of leadership than in my entire 15 years as a military spouse.”

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Republicans on record as opposing change, defending traitors

It’s remarkable that more than 150 years after the Civil War ended, Republicans are still fighting a rearguard action.

Roll Call:

Senate chairman vows fight over Confederacy issue

Inhofe plans to water down language requiring name change for bases honoring Confederate generals

Oklahoma Republican James M. Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday that he will try to dilute his committee’s newly adopted proposal that would require the Defense Department to rename bases and other assets named after Confederates...

First, he said, he would change it from a requirement to change Confederacy names to an option: “‘shall’ respond should be ‘may,’” he said.

Secondly, he said state and local communities should be involved not just in informing the commission’s work but also in ultimately making the decision over whether and how to rename bases.

This is not going to end well for them.

Susan B Glasser/NewYorker:

Trump Hates Losers, So Why Is He Refighting the Civil War—on the Losing Side?

A week of protest, pandemic, and political unrest in the capital.

I know it is hard to remember all the crazy things that happen in the course of a week in Trump’s America, but I will try hard to remember this one: a week when I saw troops in the streets and worried about a years-long economic crisis; a week when an untamed pandemic killed up to a thousand Americans a day; a week when massive nationwide protests suggested that our dysfunctional, gridlocked political system might finally actually do something about the plague of police brutality and systemic racism. And then there was the President, who chose to spend the week refighting the Civil War—on the losing side. This, too, I will remember, and so, dear reader, should you.

Dear Republicans, You can't call yourselves "the party of Lincoln" AND wave the Confederate flag. Love, History

— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) June 11, 2020

That Trump St. John's Church/Bible photo op didn't go any better than gassing peaceful protesters did in retrospect. And don't forget: They thought it was a tremendous win ... which is a good argument for why Trump is going to lose. 

Bayonets. For use on US citizens.

— hilzoy (@hilzoy) June 11, 2020

NY Times:

Milley Apologizes for Role in Trump Photo Op: ‘I Should Not Have Been There’

President Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square, current and former military leaders say, has started a moment of reckoning in the military.

“I should not have been there,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a prerecorded video commencement address to National Defense University. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

His first public remarks since Mr. Trump’s photo op, in which federal authorities attacked peaceful protesters so that the president could hold up a Bible in front of St. John’s Church, are certain to anger the White House, where Mr. Trump has spent the days since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis taking increasingly tougher stances against the growing movement for change across the country.

� � � � � The Economist's forecasting model for the US presidential election is now live! We think Joe Biden has around a 5-in-6 shot at winning the presidency.

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) June 11, 2020


Staring down a polling slide and growing unease, Trump campaign enters perilous moment

A months-long precipitous slide in the polls, an unfocused message, and deepening doubts about his ability to soothe a nation wracked by a trio of crises have suddenly recast President Donald Trump as an undisputed underdog in the 2020 campaign.

It’s even raised the possibility that if conditions don’t improve, Trump could lose decisively to Joe Biden in an election less than five months away, according to more than a dozen interviews with leading GOP and Democratic officials and strategists — potentially upending long-held expectations that the White House race would be determined by razor-thin margins in a small handful of states…

“If this election were held today, it would be Biden by double digits, easy,” said James Carville, the lead strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. “Things could change, but they generally don’t.”

Other Democrats, who remain reflexively cautious due to the lingering scars of 2016’s surprise result, are still heartened by the data showing blossoming support for Biden and dismal numbers for Trump.

Here's the fact: Trump's re-elect is in tremendous trouble. No serious analyst I know of believes he's anything but an underdog. His chance of winning is something like 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 based on history... It's quite possible he pulls it off, but it's bad.

— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) June 11, 2020

Trump's relative strengths, right now, are not as relevant. He still does better on the economy, for instance, but that's under the radar. Among no col whites, I'd guess he's still strong on immigration. But these issues aren't salient right now.

— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) June 11, 2020


Analysis: As US reckons over race, Trump becomes a bystander

At a moment of national reckoning over racism in America, President Donald Trump is increasingly becoming a bystander.

He wasn’t in the pews of churches in Minneapolis or Houston to memorialize George Floyd, the black man whose death sparked protests across the country. He hasn’t spoken publicly about the ways Floyd’s death during a police arrest has shaken the conscience of millions of Americans of all races. And he’s dismissed the notion of systemic racism in law enforcement, repeatedly putting himself firmly on the side of the police over protesters.

I think having your first rally in months on Juneteenth in Tulsa in our current moment, and while this also is going on, is the on-brandiest on-brand thing the president* ever has done.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) June 11, 2020

Geoffrey Skelley/FiveThirtyEight:

Trump’s Approval Rating Has Dropped. How Much Does That Matter?

For the last three weeks, President Trump’s approval rating has steadily ticked downward. It now sits at 41.1 percent,1 according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker.

This is notable, because it’s the lowest Trump’s approval rating has been since the House of Representatives was in the midst of conducting its impeachment inquiry in November 2019.

It’s not exactly hard to unpack why this is happening now. Trump has gotten consistently low marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and many Americans also don’t approve of how he’s responded to the protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police officers last month.

The question is: Just how much does this latest shift in approval numbers matter?…

This is doubly true if independent voters are also turned off by Trump, as they backed him by 4 points in 2016, according to the exit polls. And there’s reason to believe Trump might already be in trouble with independents. That CNN poll found, for instance, Trump trailing by 11 points with this group, while a Monmouth University poll conducted in late May and early June had Trump down by 16 points. Other surveys have found Trump in slightly better shape with independents, although still trailing Biden. For instance, an early June poll from NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist had him behind by 4 points, and the latest survey from The Economist/YouGov had him down by 3 points. The margins here matter, but at this stage, the polls generally agree that Trump’s losing among independents, which isn’t a good sign for his reelection chances.

Of course, with roughly five months to go until Election Day, Trump has time for his approval rating to bounce back, just as it has previously. Trump’s actions, as we’ve seen, can negatively affect his ratings, but it’s also within his power to boost them. But the more Trump’s approval rating hangs out around the 40 percent mark, the harder it is to imagine him attracting enough support to win reelection — especially given his inability to broaden his appeal. And as we’ve said before, Trump’s base won’t be enough.

Despite his rhetoric, Trump is losing the argument on Law & Order. That�s it. That�s the tweet. Read the graph.

— Navigator Research (@NavigatorSurvey) June 11, 2020


Biden Is Convinced Military Would Remove Trump If He Refused To Leave White House

Joe Biden is “absolutely convinced” that the military would remove President Trump from the White House if he refuses to leave after a reelection loss in November.

“This president is going to try to steal this election,” Biden said in an interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Wednesday night.

When asked if Biden had considered what would happen if he wins but Trump refuses to leave the White House, the Democratic presidential nominee said he had.

“I’’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden said.

Anxiety is growing in Republican circles that Trump could be heading for a resounding defeat in November. But so is concern that the party will be able to abandon his direction even if he does. Here's why.

— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) June 11, 2020

In other words, a post-Trump GOP will be more Trumpy as sane people flee.

NY Times:

As Americans Shift on Racism, Trump Digs In

With much of the country acknowledging that protesters’ frustrations are justified, the president increasingly sounds detached from many voters in the political middle and even some of his allies.

At a time when the country is confronting three overlapping crises — the coronavirus, an economic collapse and a reckoning with racism and injustice — Mr. Trump’s inability to demonstrate empathy illustrates the limitations of his political arsenal. He is well equipped to compete in a campaign where slashing negative attacks are the order of the day, and few salesmen speak in superlatives like the former hotel magnate. Yet when the moment calls for neither pugilism nor promotion, he has little to say.

Reinforcing Mr. Trump’s instincts and decisions are a small group of advisers, like those who arranged for the president to hold a campaign rally on June 19 in Tulsa, Okla. — on a day dedicated to honoring black emancipation, Juneteenth, and in a city that saw one of the worst episodes of racial violence in the country’s history a century ago.

Social distancing saves lives. Proud of the work we�ve done in Michigan to prevent spread of #COVID19

— Dr. Joneigh Khaldun (@DrKhaldun) June 12, 2020

Errol G Southers/USA Today:

Black ex-cop: I understand the anger but don't defund police. It could make things worse.

If you strip police funds, the first cuts will be community interaction programs that require humanity and commitment, not guns, tanks or pepper spray.

I am an African American. I grew up during the civil rights era, and I saw firsthand police abuses and brutality against people who looked like me. It is what motivated me to pursue a career in law enforcement, to be a part of the change I sought in the world. This career led me to city police forces in California, to the FBI and ultimately to serve as assistant chief at the Los Angeles World Airports police department. Across my years in law enforcement, I saw plenty of the bad qualities in the profession, but I saw something else as well — the positive impact police programs and outreach have in supporting safe, strong communities.

When police command staff are presented with a reduced budget, the decision-making is simple. They will not reduce expenses for personnel and equipment. They will cut the costs of the many programs police departments provide that are outside of day-to-day law enforcement. There are offerings like cadet and Explorer programs, which bring together young people and police in community service and personal development.

Biden Outlines Plan To Reopen Economy, Including Testing Every Worker <-- YES �� EVERY �� WORKER ��

— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) June 11, 2020

Rupert Murdoch Predicts Trump Will �Crash And Burn� In November Election via @TPM

— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) June 11, 2020


Most Americans, including Republicans, support sweeping Democratic police reform proposals - Reuters/Ipsos poll

Trump and Biden have both said they oppose “defunding” police departments.

Yet the Reuters/Ipsos poll found that support varies based on how it is defined.

For example, 39% of respondents supported proposals “to completely dismantle police departments and give more financial support to address homelessness, mental health, and domestic violence.”

But 76% said they supported moving “some money currently going to police budgets into better officer training, local programs for homelessness, mental health assistance, and domestic violence.”

82% of Americans want to ban police from using chokeholds, 83% want to ban racial profiling, and 92% want federal police to be required to wear body cameras.

— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) June 12, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The protests are only growing as Trump loses the argument

Portland Press-Herald:

Our View: To President Trump: You should resign now

He lacks the character, maturity and judgment to lead the country in a perilous time

President Trump: We’re sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign.

You have never been a good president, but today your shortcomings are unleashing historic levels of suffering on the American people.

Your slow response to the coronavirus pandemic has spun a manageable crisis into the worst public health emergency since 1918.

We are also in the middle of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. There is no national strategy to recover from the shock that is disproportionately affecting people who were already struggling to make it.

More newspapers need to follow the lead here set by Maine.

• protester violence gives way to peaceful protest

• suspension and arrests of police have been made

• tear gas under public discussion and, in some regions, banned

• NFL, Facebook and other bastions of enabled amorality paying attention

Progress of sorts, uneven but welcome.

JUST OUT: New HuffPost/YouGov polling finds that Americans support the protests, and view George Floyd's death as part of a broader pattern of police behavior. That's a change from the protests of the 1960s -- and from just a few years ago.

— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) June 5, 2020

Lee Drutman/FiveThirtyEight:

If Republicans Are Ever Going To Turn On Trump, This Might Be The Moment

This is one of those rare moments of uncertainty when it’s possible that the wall of Republican support sheltering Trump finally crumbles. It is still unlikely to happen, but as I’ve written before, if it does happen, it will happen suddenly….

Most likely, Senate and House Republicans will eventually find a way to defend Trump’s actions, as they have done before (remember the impeachment trial?). Trump may not be perfect, they may say, but the Democrats are much worse. This is the prevailing rationalization of our zero-sum politics.

But in moments like this, when nobody knows exactly what to say or do, a few unlikely public critiques of Trump could have a surprising cascade effect. And if the president continues to transgress widely-shared democratic values — putting congressional Republicans in an increasingly difficult electoral position — we may yet see a consequential crack in the Republican Party.

A.G. Sulzberger just told the Newsroom that the Cotton oped was "contemptuous." "This piece should not have been published."

— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) June 5, 2020


An op-ed controversy led to a New York Times revolt. Here’s what happened and why the Times was wrong.

Earlier this week, the Times editorial board ran an op-ed piece from Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton calling for the military to be deployed to cities during protests about the death of George Floyd, racial inequality and police brutality. Cotton’s over-the-top editorial included such phrases as “feckless politicians,” “orgy of violence” and “bands of miscreants.”

But aside from being embarrassingly over-written, the op-ed appeared dangerous. Cotton wrote, “delusional politicians in other cities refuse to do what’s necessary to uphold the rule of law.”

Do what’s necessary? What does that mean?

Readers accused the Times of publishing divisive and potentially harmful rhetoric that was suggesting something akin to martial law. The pushback was just as loud inside the Times as dozens of Times employees tweeted the same thing: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”

In a letter to leadership, an unspecified number of Times employees wrote, “We believe his message undermines the work we do, in the newsroom and in opinion, and violates our standards for ethical and accurate reporting for the public’s interest. It also jeopardizes our journalists’ ability to work safely and effectively on the streets.”

Democrats hold a narrow lead over Trump on trust to decide �how and when� to reopen the country. That lead widens by 9 points when adding the word �safely� to the message.

— Navigator Research (@NavigatorSurvey) June 5, 2020

CJ Chivers/twitter:

The New York Times is about to begin an all-staff meeting w/ the paper's leadership to discuss the Op-Ed by Senator Cotton. I neither expect nor deserve to have front-of-line mic time there, so will speak here.
I say what follows as a longtime @nytimes employee and foreign correspondent who covered police, military, and intelligence service violence against peaceful citizens in authoritarian states.
I also say it as a former @usmc infantry officer who commanded a Marine company federalized to deploy into the greater LA area in the 1992 to quell unrest. (My company deployed to Compton.)
With these two sets of experience, I know first-hand the grave risk to citizens, including risks not obvious, related to assigning military units to this kind of duty, and am also aware of how such action could further the militarization of American society already underway.
Amplifying a call from an official of the ruling party for a federal crackdown of aggrieved citizens exercising rights of assembly & speech was wrong on its face, and made more so by a glaring, gratuitous insult included therein.

Note that the upper numbers were unusually high - during Trump's brief bump at the beginning of the pandemic. White evangelicals & white mainline are back to 2019 avg. But: white non-college & white Catholics have fallen significantly below 2019 avg.

— Natalie Jackson (@nataliemj10) June 5, 2020

Jack Jenkins/Religion News Service:

Should Trump worry about white Catholic and mainline Protestant votes?

As the 2020 election season heats up, both parties are likely to begin vying for the votes of a crucial group of white, Christian voters.

And no, it’s not white evangelicals.

While white evangelicals have garnered more attention than other faith groups over the past few decades, pollsters and political activists believe white Catholics and mainline Protestants could have an outsized impact in November 2020.

The reason has to do with their location and persuadability. Unlike white evangelicals, whose support for Republican candidates and Trump has become increasingly ironclad, white mainliners and Catholics tend to change their minds about candidates from election to election. Many also live in Rust Belt swing states that Trump won only by narrow margins in 2016.

"Would you support or oppose allowing cities to bring in (x) to support their response to protests." National Guard: Support: 57% (-9) Oppose: 33% (+13) Military: Support: 42% (-13) Oppose: 48% (+18) Morning Consult / June 5, 2020 / n=2014 / Online (% chg w June 1)

— Polling USA (@USA_Polling) June 5, 2020


Pushback against law-enforcement violence hits 11th day; National Guard ordered to disarm

A national pushback against police violence and law enforcement excess continued Friday, as Minneapolis voted to ban chokeholds, the National Guardsmen in the nation’s capital were ordered to disarm, and protests following the death of George Floyd stretched into an 11th day.

Meantime, a fresh round of outrage swelled around the country over law enforcement officers using excessive force against citizens peacefully exercising their rights.

And in Buffalo, officers pushed back against the pushback. Fifty-seven members of the police department -- the entire emergency response team -- resigned to protest the suspension of two officers shown on video shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the sidewalk and suffer a serious injury, officials said.

Vice President Biden leads President Trump among white college-educated women 67% (!) to 28% (!) in new NPR/PBS/Marist poll out today.

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) June 6, 2020

Jeremy Konyndyk/twitter:

OK, let's address these "why did we lock down if BLM protests are ok" takes. There are lots of pundits arguing this means public health advice is all relative to ideological sympathies. That's not it. It's about balance of risks.
I'll say up front: I think there's a chance these protests will amplify transmission. But I also think there are steps that can be taken (and visibly are being taken, frequently) to mitigate that risk.
We know far more about COVID transmission than three months ago when US social distancing started. Guidance at that time was based on emerging evidence from China and on diseases thought to be similar, e.g. SARS and influenza. We now have growing evidence on COVID itself.
The evidence tells us a few things (this all predates the protests):
Risk reducers: - Outdoor/full sun activities - Masking - Brief (<10 minutes) or distant contact - Limiting group size  
Risk amplifiers: - Prolonged close contact - Large crowds - Enclosed spaces - Vocalizing

New ABC News poll. Trump disapproval on coronavirus: 60% Trump disapproval on handling of George Floyd's murder: 66% Americans who think his murder reflects broad problems with policing and is not an isolated incident: 74%

— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) June 5, 2020

JUST IN: Only 32% of Americans approve of Pres. Trump's reaction in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, while about two-thirds disapprove, per new @ABC News/Ipsos poll.

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 5, 2020

Amy E. Walter/Cook Political Report:

How Do We Know We Are at a Tipping Point?

What you can also see, however, is the impact that the postgraduate cohort has on the overall lean of the combined white college and postgraduate community. White postgrads had never been all that strongly identified with Republicans and now identify with Democrats by 24 points. However, the more dramatic movement is among white four-year degree holders who, 25 years ago, overwhelmingly affiliated themselves with the GOP and who now lean Democrat by three points. Their inflection point came a bit later than the postgrads — more like 2012 than 2004.  

Bottom line: 2016 was not a tipping point; it was a galvanizing one. The real tipping points came at the tail-end of the Bush-era or during the Obama-era. In other words, the election of Donald Trump didn't shift partisanship, but it did deepen it.  

Here's a Marist poll with Biden +7... and at the 50% mark. (He leads big on handling race relations 52% to 35% among voters.)

— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) June 5, 2020

What happened in 2016 shouldn't have been that surprising. The tipping point state's margin was about 3 pts different than the national margin. Historically, the average dating back to 1856 is 2. Something greater than 5 would be well outside the historical bound.

— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) June 5, 2020

Another polling point (see yesterday’s discussion as well): tracking over time is so valuable for insight. Some of the movement we see takes years and years. There’s only 5 months before the election and some of these long term shifts aren’t going to suddenly disappear.

New @amyewalter column a reminder how much the white col-educated vote has shifted in the last 15 years. They identified with Rs by a 17-point margin in 2004, and a 12-point margin in the blue wave of 2016. Now Democrats hold a three-point advantage.

— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 5, 2020

And this: 

BS: If you want to protest, here�s an idea: Take a knee in silence during the national anthem before @Kaepernick7�s next start

— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) June 5, 2020

It isn't that Roger Goodell is doing the right thing (too little too late), it's that he is a creature of the Trump loving owners, and this tells you how profound the protests are and how deeply they are reaching.


George Floyd protests created a surge in voter registrations, groups say

  • Voter registrations, volunteer activity and donations for groups linked to Democratic causes are surging in the midst of protests following the death of George Floyd, according to voting advocacy organizations.
  • This surge in registrations could end up being one of the factors that helps tip the election between apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
  • The efforts are by groups including Latino voter registration organizations, Rock the Vote and one co-chaired by former first lady Michelle Obama.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Important stories to help you make sense of it all

Ed Yong/Atlantic:

Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing

A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend

Why do some people get really sick, but others do not? Are the models too optimistic or too pessimistic? Exactly how transmissible and deadly is the virus? How many people have actually been infected? How long must social restrictions go on for? Why are so many questions still unanswered?

Done in parts, and hard to abbreviate (even though that’s what we do!)

��All of us who traveled with [Pence] were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required by the @MayoClinic and to prepare accordingly,� tweeted Herman, who covered the trip as part of his rotation as one of the pool reporters

— Lisa Rein (@Reinlwapo) May 1, 2020

Michelle Cottle/NY Times:

Republicans, It’s Too Late to Back Away From Trump

G.O.P. lawmakers have enabled all of the president’s misadventures up to now. They can’t disavow his response to the coronavirus.

Even so, it has been their response to Mr. Trump’s handling of this pandemic that has shown what his Republican enablers are truly made of. Day after day, the president has come before the nation in news briefings and on Twitter, spreading not simply nonsense but dangerous nonsense — downplaying the risks of the virus, peddling quack remedies, misrepresenting the availability of diagnostic testing and protective equipment, picking fights with governors struggling to protect their states and, of course, deflecting blame onto everyone from the World Health Organization to the Obama administration.

Through it all, few Republicans have managed to muster even a peep of protest. And they have been happy to promote the president’s story that everything is China’s fault — just as they have supported his efforts to turn an apolitical pandemic into a partisan battle between red and blue states.

Here's a very important story from @moorefromcj. �If we don�t listen to the experts in infectious disease, epidemiology and pandemic preparedness, and follow their lead, we will all be contributing to the spread of this virus," says UM Dr. Howard Markel.

— Susan J. Demas ðÂ�Â�Â� (@sjdemas) April 30, 2020


Republican-led states signal they could strip workers’ unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, sparking fresh safety fears

The message to workers is “endanger your life or starve,” critics say

The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days, reflecting their anxious attempts to jump-start local economic recovery roughly two months after most businesses shut their doors. In Iowa, for example, state officials even have posted a public call for companies to get in touch if an “employee refuses to return to work.”

Hey, GOP, people vote in November.

NEW: Republican official says on private conference call that voters aren�t giving GOP senators sufficient credit for pandemic aid. "The numbers are good for our folks, but they are not as great as they are for the governors."

— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) April 30, 2020

Hmmmmm… 🤔 🤔 🤔

Three stories, three outlets, about Trump being told he is losing:

CNNTrump erupts at campaign manager as reelection stress overflows WaPo: Trump presented with grim internal polling showing him losing to Biden NY Times: Polls Had Trump Stewing, and Lashing Out at His Own Campaign

I'm guessing the 'drink bleach' story is peaking

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) April 30, 2020

James Hohmann/WaPo:

Five important coronavirus questions that scientists and doctors are racing to answer

“Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said that remdesivir ‘isn’t a breakthrough drug,’ and that the totality of evidence, with its mix of good and bad results, offers a ‘confusing picture.’ But he said the drug is a ‘good start,’’” per Chris and Laurie. “A number of leaked trial results and small remdesivir studies without placebo controls have whipsawed stock markets in recent weeks … The medical journal The Lancet Wednesday released results of a negative clinical trial of remdesivir in China that was terminated early because investigators, as the China outbreak subsided, were unable to recruit all of the 453 patients they sought. In the 237 patients that did participate in the placebo-controlled trial, there was no statistically significant difference in time to clinical improvement, the Chinese investigators reported. Deaths were roughly the same.

New today, we laid out two cases against Trump for his current response and asked people which bothered them more. By a pretty clear margin, that Trump's words and actions are putting people's health/lives at risk is more concerning than lack of leadership and plan.

— Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) April 30, 2020

Gabe Sherman/Vanity Fair:

Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Two Months of Magical Thinking

Obsessed with impeachment and their enemies and worried about the stock market, the president and his son-in-law scapegoated HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and treated the coronavirus as mostly a political problem as it moved through the country.
When the coronavirus exploded out of China, Kushner was the second most powerful person in the West Wing, exerting influence over virtually every significant decision, from negotiating trade deals to 2020 campaign strategy to overseeing Trump’s impeachment defense. “Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official told me. The previous chief of staff John Kelly, who’d marginalized Kushner, was long gone, and Mick Mulvaney, a virtual lame duck by that point, let Kushner run free. “Jared treats Mick like the help,” a prominent Republican said.

Jared Kushner called 1m infections, 60k dead, a shuttered economy, 25m+ unemployed, and 3-6% drop in GDP for now with much larger likely to come "a great success story." If our leaders refuse to see where we're failing, they can't help us get better.

— Ian Bassin (@ianbassin) April 29, 2020

Michael J Stern/USA today:

Why I'm skeptical about Reade's sexual assault claim against Biden: Ex-prosecutor

If we must blindly accept every allegation of sexual assault, the #MeToo movement is just a hit squad. And it's too important to be no more than that.

When women make allegations of sexual assault, my default response is to believe them. But as the news media have investigated Reade’s allegations, I’ve become increasingly skeptical. Here are some of the reasons why:

►Delayed reporting … twice. Reade waited 27 years to publicly report her allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her. I understand that victims of sexual assault often do not come forward immediately because recounting the most violent and degrading experience of their lives, to a bunch of strangers, is the proverbial insult to injury. That so many women were willing to wait in my dreary government office, as I ran to the restroom to pull myself together after listening to their stories, is a testament to their fortitude.

Even so, it is reasonable to consider a 27-year reporting delay when assessing the believability of any criminal allegation. More significant perhaps, is Reade’s decision to sit down with a newspaper last year and accuse Biden of touching her in a sexual way that made her uncomfortable — but neglect to mention her claim that he forcibly penetrated her with his fingers.

As a lawyer and victims’ rights advocate, Reade was better equipped than most to appreciate that dramatic changes in sexual assault allegations severely undercut an accuser’s credibility — especially when the change is from an uncomfortable shoulder touch to vaginal penetration.

►Implausible explanation for changing story. When Reade went public with her sexual assault allegation in March, she said she wanted to do it in an interview with The Union newspaper in California last April. She said the reporter’s tone made her feel uncomfortable and "I just really got shut down” and didn't tell the whole story.

It is hard to believe a reporter would discourage this kind of scoop. Regardless, it's also hard to accept that it took Reade 12 months to find another reporter eager to break that bombshell story. This unlikely explanation damages her credibility.


This seems like the endgame here, push Biden to open up the papers and then rummage around (a la Hillary�s pilfered emails) and then find stuff to hit him with.

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 30, 2020

An underappreciated stat:

When it comes to the #2020election, about 1/3 say #coronavirus will be either major (14%) or minor factor (20%) in their vote. About two-thirds (64%) say they've already made up their minds. That �swing� group related to the pandemic could be determinative

— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) April 29, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Where we are now in the new normal

Polling seems pretty clear: an articulated stay at home strategy has salience with the public, along with a plan to reopen under explainable circumstances. That is not what we are getting from many states, and the risk of blowback should we get another spike is enormous. 
Politicians want to tell the public "not to panic" and then they want to say "it's over". That is their driving need.
And it is exactly why you need Fauci (or Nancy Messonnier form CDC) and not Trump out in front as a messenger, and a truth teller. Deborah Birx, alas, disqualified herself. 

Those simple truths are why this article (Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not, New Yorker) was so powerfully excellent by Charles Duhigg, one of the single best pieces I've read this entire pandemic . Cannot recommend it enough.

You have to tell the truth and persuade the public. You cannot persuade the public by not telling the truth. That's my beef with Birx. Might save her job, but look at the cost, to her job as spokesperson, to the country. Trump is a lost cause, sure, her boss, but that is a given . This piece  (Dying for cute toes? I hate to say it, Georgia, but on this one, we're as dumb as we look, USA Today) is on point about doing it right and what the public will tolerate, and reminds me of a story.
c. 2007-8 I was at a CDC tabletop, there to be a gadfly and criticize (by invitation). It was day 2 or 3 of a simulated flu pandemic, and the CDC head Julie Gerberding was having the morning division meeting in the situation room. She wanted to know if the GA schools had closed. 

She called the GA emergency manager to find out but they didn't know yet. GA was a home rule state and the schools were not closed centrally. Gerberding simply wanted to know if her staff could report in on time (everyone gets that now re child care, but not then).  The GA EM said we will know by 11.
I said to Dr Gerberding 'wanna know now?' She said how? I said 'call your hairdresser, they know everything happening locally.' (If it were evening, same with bartenders). I wasn't kidding, I was trying to get her to appreciate social networks.  Works the other way, too. Persuade the salons and bars and restaurants and you win the public. And it can be done. if you tell the truth, if you articulate the reason. Hard to do when you have to fight the WH, and without CDC, who has been muted. And here we are.
Americans appear to be losing faith in what President Donald Trump says about the coronavirus pandemic, with almost everyone rejecting Trump's remark that COVID-19 may be treated by injecting infected people with bleach or other disinfectants, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
The April 27-28 public opinion poll found that fewer than half of all adults in the U.S. - 47% - said they were "very" or "somewhat" likely to follow recommendations Trump makes about the virus. That is 15 percentage points lower than the number who said they would follow Trump's advice in a survey that ran at the end of March.

And 98% of Americans said they would not try to inject themselves with bleach or other disinfectants if they got the coronavirus, including 98% of Democrats and 98% of Republicans. That is a near-unanimous rejection of an idea that Trump floated at a time of widespread anxiety about the virus….

Overall, Trump's overall popularity has not changed much over the past week. Forty-three percent of Americans said they approve of his overall job performance, and the same number also approve of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among registered voters, 44% said they would vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, while 40% said they would back Trump if the election were held today.

This may be the real reason Trump is throwing a bone to meatpackers

— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) April 29, 2020

Margaret Sullivan/WaPo:

Trump has played the media like a puppet. We’re getting better — but history will not judge us kindly.

Traditional journalism is under siege, NBC News chief Andy Lack wrote this week: President Trump continues to “put the bully in bully pulpit,” and the coronavirus crisis has taken a toll.

“But we’re winning,” proclaimed the headline of Lack’s piece published on, which argues that news organizations, because they are still able to tell citizens the truth of what’s going on in the country, are victorious.

I wish I could agree.

Even if you get past the objectionable notions of “winning” and “losing,” I very much doubt that history will judge mainstream journalism to have done a terrific job covering this president — including in this difficult moment.

On the contrary, the coverage, overall, has been deeply flawed.

Here's the full trend line on Trump's coronavirus approval, which picks up this week where it's been for the last two weeks: under water.

— Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) April 28, 2020

Older voters, eh?

Ronald Brownstein/CNN:

Older voters could offer Biden a new path to the White House

The dominant assumption among Democrats for years has been that the best way to expand the Electoral College map is to expand the electorate by turning out millions of additional young people and minorities. But Joe Biden's campaign may be pointing Democrats toward a different path to widening the presidential battlefield.

The former vice president's surprising strength among older voters in polls could offer him an unexpected opportunity to broaden the electoral map, even if he struggles to mobilize large numbers of new voters.
People older than 45 composed a larger share of voters than the national average in 2016 in all six states that both sides consider the most likely to pick the next president, especially ArizonaMichigan and, above all, Florida, according to census figures. Improving on the Democratic performance among those seniors offers Biden an alternative route to tipping the six key swing states -- which also include North CarolinaPennsylvania and Wisconsin -- than by exciting more young people to vote, which could prove a difficult challenge for him.
"If there are significant shifts in support demographically then you don't necessarily need to boost turnout," says Democratic consultant Michael Halle, who directed Hillary Clinton's battleground state strategy in 2016.

In an average* of surveys conducted thus far in April that released crosstabs on who those aged 65 and older support for president, Biden leads Trump 49-47%. Trump carried this group 53-45% in 2016. *RMG Res., Suffolk, Optimus, R&W, YouGov, MC, Civiqs, Pew, CNN, Quinnipiac

— Brandon (@Brand_Allen) April 28, 2020

David M Drucker/ Wash Examiner:

Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan's message machine counters Trump with daily media offensive

Some Republican insiders see ulterior motives. Hogan has often questioned Trump’s agenda, rhetoric, and conduct, and in 2019, he was the leading choice of Never Trump Republicans as they sought a GOP challenger to the president. Other Republicans say the governor’s actions are less political and only appear so because, however typical they are for crisis leadership, they stand in stark relief to Trump’s grandiose approach.

“He’s trying to fill a void left by Trump,” said Terry Sullivan, a veteran Republican strategist. “He’s serving as a calm, sensible leader who’s providing real information the public needs to hear.”

The White House rejects this assessment of Trump’s leadership.

Excited that my research note on what partisan donors want (with @namalhotra) is now out at POQ. We report the results of a survey of large partisan campaign donors and compare their policy preferences to voters'.

— David Broockman (@dbroockman) April 28, 2020


Trump's poor poll numbers trigger GOP alarms over November

Pump up Trump or go after Biden? Top Republicans are advocating different strategies for a struggling president to win reelection.

There are indications that Trump’s response to the crisis is taking a toll. His campaign’s internal polling shows that the president’s initial bump in managing the virus has dissipated, according to a person familiar with the results. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released over the weekend revealed that voters thought Biden would do a better job than Trump in managing the virus by a 9-point margin, and new surveys show Trump trailing Biden in Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Alarm about Trump’s standing is trickling to down-ballot races. A Fox News poll released earlier this week showed the GOP candidate trailing 10 percentage points in the Michigan Senate race, a contest the party has been targeting aggressively.

The potential flips in the new @RachelBitecofer Senate forecast Likely D AZ CO Lean D ME NC Toss Up MT KS (if Kobach is R nom) Lean R AL

— Bill Scher (@billscher) April 28, 2020

Rachel Bitecofer/ Niskanen Center:

Negative Partisanship and the 2020 Congressional Elections

The image of a disaffected Republican Party, embarrassed by their “chaos” president, so far runs into an irrefutable data-reality that Republican voter turnout, even in the 40 suburban districts Democrats flipped, was robust — and it did not break in favor of Democrats in rates any higher than normal for the polarized era. Instead, the blue wave that washed through America’s suburbs in 2018 was powered by a massive turnout of Democrats and independents, who showed up in droves to toss Republican House incumbents out of office and send a message to Donald Trump.

As the GOP struggles to defend itself from a second cycle powered by Trump backlash, I expect it may resist any efforts to expand voting access even in states where it has the power to do so. That said, although the top-line turnout number is important, at the end of the day (and as Wisconsin shows) suppression can only take you so far in the face of a riled-up opposition. Far more important than the overall turnout is who is voting. As my colleague,  Niskanen Center President Jerry Taylor, eloquently put it after the negative partisanship model delivered him a successful election prediction: Right now, Wisconsin voters “would drink bleach for hours in those lines to kill the GOP,” an oddly prophetic claim given that the president suggested bleach as a potential cure for coronavirus at his press conference on April 23.    

�@Olivianuzzi asks Trump: "If an American president loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died over the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be reelected?"

— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 27, 2020

NY Times:

How a Digital Ad Strategy That Helped Trump Is Being Used Against Him

A former Facebook employee is using a tool he employed to help President Trump win to conduct tests for a progressive group, Acronym, dedicated to ousting Mr. Trump from office.

Nearly all messaging about impeachment was received poorly, and low-information and swing voters tended to side with the president. Pacronym quickly dialed back some of its impeachment advertising.

The most consequential test, however, was over the killing of Mr. Suleimani. Though responses mostly hewed to partisan lines, the team saw significant movement among Trump-leaning voters away from the president when presented with critical commentary from a conservative messenger. It is a tactic known as “boosted news,” or the practice of paying to place news articles in the newsfeed of users.

For those of you who complain when I post conservative outlet pieces, read the above carefully. Turns out good practice (reading widely) is good politics. 

Hard to reconcile the polls with anything other than a landslide Biden win TBH. But the election is still a far away off, so even if Biden +8 pop vote/+150 EVs or so is our mean estimate, a loss is still well inside the 95% confidence interval.

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) April 27, 2020


Pseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already

The scientific community must take up cudgels in the battle against bunk.

Cow urine, bleach and cocaine have all been recommended as COVID-19 cures — all guff. The pandemic has been cast as a leaked bioweapon, a byproduct of 5G wireless technology and a political hoax — all poppycock. And countless wellness gurus and alternative-medicine practitioners have pushed unproven potions, pills and practices as ways to ‘boost’ the immune system.

Thankfully, this explosion of misinformation — or, as the World Health Organization has called it, the “infodemic” — has triggered an army of fact-checkers and debunkers. Regulators have taken aggressive steps to hold marketers of unproven therapies to account. Funders are supporting researchers (myself included) to explore how best to counter the spread of COVID-19 claptrap.

On the Tara Reade accusation:

thoughtful piece

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) April 28, 2020

Another Senate model:

Updated @LeanTossup Senate Model: Pop Vote: Democrats: 53.6% Republicans: 42.4% Other: 4% Seats: Democrats: 54 (+9) Republicans: 46 (-7) Chance of Majority: Democrats: 88.5% Republicans: 11.5% Model: (Seat changes with 2018 Election)

— Polling USA (@USA_Polling) April 27, 2020

If today's NY Times piece on the Senate being in play is news to you, maybe you should have been reading @InsideElections, @CharlieCookDC and others. Here is my most recent take. And no, I didn't talk to Charlie Black.

— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) April 25, 2020

Q: You would feel comfortable voting for a Dem? JEFF FLAKE: Yeah. This won't be the first time I've voted for a Democrat � though not for president [before]. Last time I voted for a third-party candidate. [Laughs.] But I will not vote for Donald Trump.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 28, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump in political hot water over his botched coronavirus performance

Testing, case contact, isolation/quarantine and social distancing. That’s what we need to open up again. Without it. we can’t open.

David Frum/Atlantic:

Trump’s Two Horrifying Plans for Dealing With the Coronavirus

If he can’t confine the suffering to his opponents, he is prepared to incite a culture war to distract his supporters.

It did not have to be this way. If the Trump administration had not bungled testing, if it were not to this day jerking and lurching in obedience to the president’s latest ego demand, we could by now begin to see the way to a safer reopening in the next few weeks.

"The tools entrusted to the administration to protect the country are being used by the administration to protect the president." -- @davidfrum:

— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) April 19, 2020

Let’s be clear where the fault lies. 


Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration

More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials.

A number of CDC staffers are regularly detailed to work at WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said.

The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s charge that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States.

If we were facing an existential military threat, would anyone say "$25 billion sounds like a lot of money. Lets take our chances with being conquered"?

— Jonathan Ladd (@jonmladd) April 19, 2020

Ashley Parker/WaPo:

‘How do we overcome fear?’: Americans need confidence before life can return to normal.

In a poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, three-quarters of U.S. adults said the worst is yet to come with the coronavirus and two-thirds were worried that restrictions would be lifted too soon. And findings released Friday by the University of Michigan’s influential monthly consumer survey found that 61 percent were most concerned by the threat to their health from the virus, over isolation and financial impact.

The dilemma is exacerbated by a president with credibility problems, as well as a nationwide testing shortage and the improbability of a vaccine anytime soon.

Your reminder that lots of people protested against quarantines, stay-at-home edicts and mandatory mask-wearing orders in the 1918 Pandemic too. And every time localities relaxed restrictions in response to protests and not the disease, the pandemic spread again.

— Aaron Astor (@AstorAaron) April 19, 2020


Elections in a Pandemic: The Crisis Response Should Be Permanent Policy

The best way to keep people safe during this election season is also the best way to maximize participation: give people the widest possible range of opportunities to register and to vote.

The most-discussed reform is allowing people to vote by a mail ballot. Seven states—Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, North Dakota, and California—send ballots to all, or most, voters already. Other states are moving in this direction. However, sixteen states still require voters to have an excuse for not voting in person. A pandemic is a pretty good excuse, but this crisis should move every state toward having a full set of mail voting options for every voter, for every election. There will be challenges in dramatically expanding voting by mail, but new technologies and the experience of states who are already doing it provide the path forward.

But expanded mail voting is not enough. Early voting should be made part of every election, permanently. Early voting allows voters to manage their participation and significantly reduces crowds and lines on Election Day. Forty states and Washington, D.C., now offer the option of early voting. But there are widely diverging practices, both in the length of the early voting period (from five to forty-five days) and in options for returning the ballot. In Virginia, Governor Northam just signed a bill creating a forty-five-day early voting period. Every state should move to at least twenty days of early voting for all elections, with multiple convenient locations where people can cast their ballots in person.

from @brianstelter

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) April 18, 2020

David Lilienfeld:

As an epidemiologist, I'm amazed that the only thing that's discussed about Covid-19 and the lockdown is mortality. It's not just mortality, though. 
A 25% pulmonary function deficit that takes 15-20 years to heal, some sort of coagulopathy present in ⅓ of patients (long term implications not clear), neurological deficits (do you really think that only smell and taste are affected?). 
Joint inflammations (now being investigated), and liver damage--all of these aren't exactly appealing. Everyone talks about death--I think we physicians blew that one. 
We know that kids are infected. It seems relatively benign. Do they have any alterations in their neurobehavioral development? Growth? 
The comparison is oft made to the flu. The flu is not neurotoxic, and it isn't hepatoxic either. And while there are some pulmonary consequences, they're pretty rare. 
Talking about mortality with Covid-19 is like talking about the failure of Fannie Mae or AIG in 2008. Significant, but hardly the whole story. 

I've compiled a side-by-side comparison of the reaction to coronavirus by Trump and the World Health Organization. The timeline is utterly, comprehensively damning to Trump. What it shows about him is far worse than what it shows about WHO. New piece:

— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 15, 2020

As for the lead pic, read this:

A short thread on what it feels like to be in NY right now: Yesterday is when I understood what our friends in Italy were trying to tell us a few ago, about the intensity of so much loss in such a short time. (1/n)

— Micah Sifry (@Mlsif) April 18, 2020

NY Times:

A Key G.O.P. Strategy: Blame China. But Trump Goes Off Message.

Republicans increasingly believe that elevating China’s culpability for spreading the coronavirus may be the best way to improve their difficult election chances. The president is muddying the message.

Yet those polling numbers also come as 65 percent of Americans say they believe that Mr. Trump was too late responding to the outbreak, according to a Pew Research Center survey this past week.

More ominous for the president are some private Republican surveys that show him losing ground in key states like Michigan, where one recent poll has him losing by double digits, according to a Republican strategist who has seen it.

So as Mr. Biden unites the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers are flagging and G.O.P. senators up for re-election find themselves significantly outraised by their Democratic rivals. That has led to a growing urgency in Republican ranks that the president should shelve his hopes for a lucrative rapprochement with China.

By the way, the subheader is acknowledgment trump is in political trouble.

�Trump�s performance in battleground states isn�t any better. In traditionally Republican AZ, he trails Biden 52% to 43% in a new OH/Predictive Insights poll. He�s down by 6 to Biden in FL, in an April UNF survey. According to the RCP averages, Biden leads in every swing state.�

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) April 19, 2020

Colin McEnroe/Stamford Advocate:

Hang tight, we’re a long way from the finish line

All of this research and lots more, I might add, was available last weekend when Republican legislative leaders staged a mild uprising against Gov. Ned Lamont after Lamont extended his shutdown orders until May 20. The Republican response to Lamont was breathtakingly devoid of information, data, benchmarks or insights. It was, in several senses of the word, a spitball.

May 20 is an incredibly optimistic date for reopening anything. Note to Connecticut Republicans: Who do you think Lamont talks to? Who do you think dominates his network of friends and acquaintances? Business people. Do you think that, if there were a business-driven argument for an earlier reopening, Lamont would be deaf to it because he spends so much time with pot-smoking beatnik public health experts?

The problem with a free society with an open flow of information is that stupid people have the same rights as everybody else, and it takes way longer to beat down their ideas than Oliver Wendell Holmes, may he rest in peace, ever imagined.

Here is a piece I wrote for @NYTopinion explaining how President Trump learned all the wrong lessons from his impeachment acquittal leading him to once again put his personal and political interests over the safety of the American people.

— Barry Berke (@BarryBerke) April 19, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The WH incompetence is staggering even when you expect it

We know Trump was golfing while the country smouldered, and now it’s on fire. What’s really staggering is thinking that 200K deaths or less is a win. And don’t miss this summary from Jake Sherman:

FIRST THEY TOLD US they had the coronavirus under control; now they tell us hundreds of thousands of people could die.

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 31, 2020

Don’t believe the nonsense from the enablers about Trump being hamstrung by impeachment. The timeline does not match up. Trump was golfing instead of governing.

In any case, yesterday was not the day Trump pivoted and became president. But it was the day Drs. Fauci and Birx got Trump to focus for an hour (before he veered back to festivus). 

An interesting thing to watch for: Political reporters are leading the pandemic coverage. So they will cover it in the (bad) political framing: the horserace, who won the day, how they appeared, did they �seems� strong. Not: this is true/this is false, but how it came across.

— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) April 1, 2020

Anyone who says he now soberly accepts the realiity of the pandemic. No. He switched claims. From we're doing a fantastic job, the virus is like 15 people to we're doing a fantastic job, if we did nothing it would be millions dead. Those calling him sober are the marks.

— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) March 31, 2020

Political reporters (not the opinion journalists) cannot bring themselves to say lying/not lying, true/not true. They are not built for covering Trump and have not adjusted in 3 years.

Rather than the usual barrage of specific false claims, this briefing has featured a dishonest overall narrative -- a Trump effort to cast himself as the leader who stood strong against the faction that downplayed the severity of the virus.

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 31, 2020

Yes, Trump's tone is different today. But are we all forgetting that he had a two day stretch where he was super somber before declaring that he wanted the country to reopen by Easter?

— Sam Stein (@samstein) March 31, 2020

Here’s the briefing headline, courtesy of WaPo:

Trump projects up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in U.S., even with mitigation efforts

Of course, it’s not Trump’s projection. It’s modeling from WA state (website here, where you can look at your own state and see where the modeled peak is):

For folks who want the link to the IHME data and website:

— Michael Bitzer, Ph.D. (@BowTiePolitics) March 31, 2020

Here’s a review  of the model from NBC:

What we know about the coronavirus model the White House unveiled

In a task force briefing, the White House offered the first look at the statistical models being used to anticipate how the virus could spread across the U.S.

What I find valuable is looking at your own state and seeing when projected peak is for hospital beds and deaths. Connecticut, eg, is in 14 days per the model, similar to WA. New York is 8 days to peak (MI, NJ and LA are similar), FL is 31.

If you have time, act. That is why states like MS and FL governors are so shameful.

Of course, the numbers are staggering.

Birx says current US government consensus is 100,000 - 240,000 deaths.

— Justin Hendrix | wash your hands & stay at home (@justinhendrix) March 31, 2020

Jill Lawrence/USA Today:

Trump's chaotic coronavirus presidency: Historically divisive and, for some, fatal Trump is stoking division even amid the coronavirus pandemic. Has he misjudged his country? We'll know for sure in November, but history suggests yes.

Experts are ignored, long gone or forced to kowtow to Trump. Science is on the back burner. The message from the top is consistently mixed and confused. Trump says the coronavirus will disappear like a miracle, then two weeks later declares it a national emergency. He downplays the need for more ventilators Thursday night and rudely demands them Friday morning. He says he may quarantine New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, then says hours later it won't be necessary. He says he wants America open and churches packed by Easter, then says never mind, that was just an aspiration.

Trump supporters voted for a chaos presidency. That’s what we have. And it's going to kill some of us. It already has.

The incompetence can’t be hidden.

DoD said it was making 2,000 ventilators available for #CoronaVirus.Today we learn not one has shipped because Pentagon hasn�t been told where to send them. And only 2 mill of 5 mill masks shipped. DOD needs to know where to ship we are told

— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) March 31, 2020


Poll: Trump's coronavirus bounce fizzles

Fewer voters are pleased with the way the Trump administration has handled the Covid-19 outbreak.

More voters say the Trump administration isn’t doing enough to combat the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

The survey, conducted immediately before President Donald Trump announced a 30-day extension of his physical and social distancing guidelines “to slow the spread” of Covid-19, shows 47 percent of voters feel the administration isn’t doing enough in response to the outbreak, greater than the 40 percent who feel the administration is doing the right amount.

Two weeks ago, 43 percent said the administration wasn’t doing enough in the days following the initial measures deployed to reduce the impacts of the virus, while 39 percent said it was doing the right amount.

While the new poll was conducted before the extension of the household isolation recommendations, it comes as other polls suggest the positive marks Trump earned for his early response to the crisis are turning more negative…

Trump’s ratings pale in comparison to those for the governors of the various states. A combined 62 percent say their state’s governor has done an “excellent” or “good” job handling the crisis.

No surprise there. if you read me regularly, or the political scientists, you knew that was coming.

To whom it may concern: If you would like to see an actual polling bump for handling a crisis well, see this morning�s @SienaResearch poll of NY voters:

— Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) March 30, 2020

“Now that’s a bump” ~ Crocodile Dundee.

�there are signs he doesn�t fully understand....�. There are not �signs�. There is clear overt evidence, on display daily. In press briefings, that are bizarre and riddled with lies and inaccuracies. *sigh* It is interesting to me to normalize what is not normal.

— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 31, 2020

Tom Nichols/USA Today:

Why I watch Trump's daily coronavirus briefings (and no, it's not because I'm a masochist)

When the coronavirus crisis is over, many people will claim they didn't know what Trump was saying or doing. I will remember, and I will speak up.

There are two answers, and neither of them involve being a masochist. First, as a professional matter, I’m a political scientist, and Trump is the president. When the president speaks, I tune in and listen, as I have with every chief executive. Even if I don’t learn much about policy — because Trump really doesn’t have “policies” so much as he has random thoughts and reactions — I still need to know what my fellow citizens are watching and what they’re being told.

The other is that Trump’s rambling press conferences, South Lawn fandangos and bellowing rallies are now a real-time laboratory in democratic decline, and I think it’s important to be a consistent witness to it all. Although I often live-tweet his public events as a kind of venting (it’s better than yelling at the television, really, and my wife has gotten to the point where she can’t watch Trump, so I’m usually on my own anyway), I actually am trying to figure out the impact on my own society.

Interestingly, the public isn’t buying it. At this point, I wonder if even the usual culprits in the press do.

New @dailykos poll finds a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump�s coronavirus response, and 57% think the government acted too slowly to respond.

— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) March 31, 2020

NY Times:

Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, New Data Suggest

A database of daily fever readings shows that the numbers declined as people disappeared indoors.

But the new data offer evidence, in real time, that tight social-distancing restrictions may be working, potentially reducing hospital overcrowding and lowering death rates, experts said.

The company, Kinsa Health, which produces internet-connected thermometers, first created a national map of fever levels on March 22 and was able to spot the trend within a day. Since then, data from the health departments of New York State and Washington State have buttressed the finding, making it clear that social distancing is saving lives.

You can find that Kinsa database right here.

NEW: Memos from CDC to White House lay out rationale for possible widespread use of face coverings, NONMEDICAL cloth masks. Why now: more evidence of asymptomatic spread. My latest with @lauriemcginley2

— LenaSun (@bylenasun) March 31, 2020

Watch this, it’s from a NYC sports radio personality and Trump supporter:

March 30, 2020 - The day that Mike Francesa's unwavering loyalty to his old friend @realDonaldTrump finally came to an end.

— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) March 31, 2020

Mother Jones:

Trump’s Coronavirus Denials Sound like the First Act of Every Disaster Movie

I’m not looking forward to Act Two.

And of course, the president. Trump’s performance here has been a real tour de force. He seems to have modeled himself on those villainous politicians in every disaster movie. He’s ignored expertsshifted the blame, repeatedly downplayed the threatstoked racism, and spread misinformation.

Watch our video above to see how eerily similar Trump’s approach has been to climate-denying officials in The Day After Tomorrow, the captain of the Titanic, and the spineless apparatchiks in charge of the response to Chernobyl.

Thankfully we’ve begun to see a shift in some of the most visible skeptics. But remember: That’s only the start of Act Two. We still have a long way to go.

The strangest thing about this crisis is what you might call the not-yet/but-already experience - where things that haven't yet happened (symptoms, hospitalizations) are nonetheless settled facts, and we measure the way telescopes catch light from the past, from a dead star.

— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) March 30, 2020

The political analysts treating this as just another disaster story, let’s get back to what happens in November, are the least likely to understand what is actually happening:

BREAKING: More than 500 healthcare workers in Massachusetts have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tally I've been keeping. The 5 hospitals with the most cases are listed below. #Boston25

— Mike Saccone (@mikesacconetv) March 30, 2020

Trump’s press conference yesterday was his most somber yet. 100-200K deaths expected. It was at least 2-4 weeks late. We didn’t discover these numbers yesterday. We do need to have a national stay at home policy. National. MI TX FL OK all have to stop fighting the needed plan. And/but while he can’t make equipment appear out of nowhere, he can (but didn’t ) address this:


The Social-Distancing Culture War Has Begun

Across the country, social distancing is morphing from a public-health to political act. The consequences could be disastrous.

For a brief moment earlier this month, it seemed as if social distancing might be the one new part of American life that wasn’t polarized along party lines. Schools were closed in red states and blue; people across the political spectrum retreated into their home. Though President Donald Trump had played down the pandemic at first, he was starting to take the threat more seriously—and his media allies followed suit. Reminders to wash your hands and avoid crowds became commonplace on both Fox News and MSNBC. Those who chose to ignore this guidance—the spring-breakers clogging beaches, the revelers on Bourbon Street—appeared to do so for apolitical reasons. For the most part, it seemed, everyone was on the same page.

The consensus didn’t last long. Trump, having apparently grown impatient with all the quarantines and lockdowns, began last week to call for a quick return to business as usual. “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” he tweeted, in characteristic caps lock. Speaking to Fox News, he added that he would “love” to see businesses and churches reopened by Easter. Though Trump would later walk them back, the comments set off a familiar sequence—a Democratic backlash, a pile-on in the press, and a rush in MAGA-world to defend the president. As the coronavirus now emerges as another front in the culture war, social distancing has come to be viewed in some quarters as a political act—a way to signal which side you’re on.

Great reporting from @RonBrownstein digging into how divergent responses to coronavirus are exacerbating the metro/suburban vs. rural/exurban divides in our politics:

— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 31, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The new normal; America shuts down and Trump pretends to lead

It’s enormously consequential that even now, Donald Trump can’t stop lying about the pandemic. Between Mike Pence’s daily sucking up to Trump and the flat out fabrications, it’s hard to trust anything that comes out of the White House. That’s why we’re listening to Tony Fauci and the governors, instead.

Trump: �I called this a pandemic long before others did. I�ve always viewed it as very serious.� This is a flat-out lie and needs to be described as exactly that.

— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) March 17, 2020

As for last night’s election, Joe Biden won and Bernie Sanders has no path to victory. Like so many others before him, it’s time for him to get out of the race. That will allow the states to fix their primaries without the pressure of a presidential run. It will allow Biden to focus on Trump.

Bernie’s supporters won’t be ready to agree until the candidate gives the word. Bernie and his delegates will have their say at the convention. But it’s over; the tank is empty. Land the plane before it crashes. We need to focus on coronavirus and on November, when Bernie voters need to join us. Be kind in the interim. This PSA was brought to you by me.

Senior Sanders Adviser: "The time has come for some true reflection for this campaign.".

— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) March 18, 2020

And before we finish with politics, be aware that Trump has decided to play this as “Trump is the war president, rally around me!” That, along with the xenophobia, is why he keeps calling it the ”Chinese virus”.

This is some next level racist bs coming from the WH.

— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) March 17, 2020

It’s a deliberate tactic to rally his base.

President Trump's current 44% approval rating back to pre-impeachment levels; approval among independents down seven points since late February (Megan Brenan, Gallup) Details:

— (@OpinionToday) March 17, 2020

Back to the pandemic: this thread is sobering and scary, but keep in mind suppression is where we are moving. School will be closed for the rest of the year, count on it. This is not a drill:

We can now read the Imperial College report on COVID-19 that led to the extreme measures we've seen in the US this week. Read it; it's terrifying. I'll offer a summary in this thread; please correct me if I've gotten it wrong.

— Jeremy C. Young (@jeremycyoung) March 17, 2020

Suppression works! The death rate in the US peaks 3 weeks from now at a few thousand deaths, then goes down. We hit but don't exceed the number of available ventilators. The nightmarish death tolls from the rest of the study disappear.

— Jeremy C. Young (@jeremycyoung) March 17, 2020

“The nightmarish death tolls from the rest of the study disappear.” Go back and read the thread, the whole thread. And ask yourselves if the WH messaging has prepared us for this.

This MIT Press piece also has a sobering estimate:

Flattening the Coronavirus Curve Is Not Enough

Addressing the growing pandemic requires a new mindset and it requires it quickly.
This is a post about the hard part of the economics of Covid-19. You may think that everything up to now hasn’t been exactly a picnic, but from a hard-nosed perspective, big challenges await. There are two: (1) we need to minimize the short-term (this year’s) cost of the pandemic and (2) we need to minimize the medium-term (after this year’s) cost of the pandemic. Not surprisingly, the two are in conflict with one another. In this post, I will explain that the mentality of everyone is to move to a war footing — especially from governments. We have seen a glimpse of this from China in dealing with (1). But we need to worry about (2) as well.

It’s an important read.

In any case, the above thread is good coverage of the UK report that sobered Trump up for a few hours (he doesn’t drink, but he does go off on fabulist flights of fancy that he needs to periodically abandon).

Amy Fried/Bangor Daily News:

Get coronavirus under control first, but don’t forget about accountability

The 9/11 Commission Report found that anti-terrorism experts who bridged the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations had been very worried about “spectacular” attacks. In late May, 2001 Richard Clarke wrote to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, “When these attacks occur, as they likely will, we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them.” That report also included recommendations to further America’s security.

Now we are dealing with a global pandemic with a bungled response.

President Donald Trump has spent a good deal of time downplaying the threat. The disease was first detected in the U.S. in January, but less than a month ago, Trump said “the 15 [cases], within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.” He called complaints about how the crisis was being handled “a new hoax,” and accused Democrats of politicizing the situation.  

NEW: In an era of nationalized, and often celebrity-driven, politics, the gritty GOVS finally get their moment which raises the question: can a crisis of this scale drain some of the polarization - or are least make competence sexy ? w @alexburnsNYT >

— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) March 17, 2020

Joe Biden/USA Today (Jan 2020):

Trump is worst possible leader to deal with coronavirus outbreak

President has blithely tweeted that 'it will all work out well.' Yet the steps he has taken have only weakened our capacity to respond.

Trump’s demonstrated failures of judgment and his repeated rejection of science make him the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health challenge.

THREAD/ For weeks, Pres Trump has downplayed the risks Coronavirus posed to Americans. He either deflected or said it was under control. If journalists are to hold elected officials accountable for their words and actions, we will need to have a memory span longer then a flash

— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) March 17, 2020


Exclusive poll: Public trusts health agencies more than Trump

I’m citing the above pieces to emphasize the need to listen to the governors of NY, NJ, CT, WA, CA. Adjust to local realities, but do it before it’s too late.

President Trump and @AmbJohnBolton are trying to rewrite history on the monumental error to dissolve the NSC's Biodefense unit.@JeremyKonyndyk won't let them.#COVID19 and how officials must acknowledge and learn from their errors, now more than ever.

— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) March 16, 2020

From the Appeal, a look at local actions:

This interactive tool tracks developments of the coronavirus response in local and state governments, with a focus on what is being done — and not done — to protect vulnerable populations. The Appeal: Political Report is devoted to shedding a spotlight on state and local politics.

Explore these developments geographically with this interactive map, or else chronologically below the map.

This is already the highest weekly new-claims number for the state since 2008. After one day.

— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) March 18, 2020

Unemployment claims filed in Ohio: Last Sunday: 536 This Sunday: 11,995 Monday: 36,645 For tens of thousands of Ohioans the economic crisis is already here. We should have already voted on the House-passed bill.

— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) March 18, 2020

This flu pandemic guide (A Citizen’s Guide, .pdf) put together in 2007-9 by non-government expert sources is still relevant. Download it and thumb through it for ideas. It’s very complete and might help you hunker down and get a feel for what we are in for.

It�s difficult to imagine a more perfect combination of incompetence, infighting and cowardice among a group of people who are mostly second raters hired because of personal connections and subservience. The Trump culture is literally deadly.

— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) March 17, 2020


The new coronavirus can likely remain airborne for some time. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed

The weight of the evidence suggests that the new coronavirus can exist as an aerosol — a physics term meaning a liquid or solid (the virus) suspended in a gas (like air) — only under very limited conditions, and that this transmission route is not driving the pandemic. But “limited” conditions does not mean “no” conditions, underlining the need for health care workers to have high levels of personal protection, especially when doing procedures such as intubation that have the greatest chance of creating coronavirus aerosols. “I think the answer will be, aerosolization occurs rarely but not never,” said microbiologist and physician Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa. “You have to distinguish between what’s possible and what’s actually happening.”

Best guesstimates are that unless you are doing a procedure on a patient, the airborne part takes a back seat to fomite spread (i.e. touching surfaces). 

Many health experts told the public simultaneously that masks weren�t necessary for protecting the general public and that health care workers needed the dwindling supply. This contradiction confuses an ordinary listener. How do these masks magically protect the wearers only?

— Jay Van Bavel (@jayvanbavel) March 18, 2020

Good piece, good concept, but public health experts still agree masks are only for those who are ill, particularly during shortages.

By the way, folks, whatever you’re hearing locally, be prepared for schools being closed for the rest of the academic year. Kansas took that step last night.

But if you think •we• screwed up, look at the U.K.

I wrote about the UK's coronavirus fiasco. First, "herd immunity" is *not* the goal, although it's totally understandable that everyone thinks it is given how catastrophically the govt and its advisors have mangled their communications. 1/

— Ed Yong (@edyong209) March 16, 2020


The UK Only Realised "In The Last Few Days" That Its Coronavirus Strategy Would "Likely Result In Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths"

Scientists advising the government say an aggressive new approach adopted to attempt to "suppress" the virus may have to be in place for 18 months.

The UK only realised "in the last few days" that attempts to "mitigate" the impact of the coronavirus pandemic would not work, and that it needed to shift to a strategy to "suppress" the outbreak, according to a report by a team of experts who have been advising the government.

The report, published by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team on Monday night, found that the strategy previously being pursued by the government — dubbed "mitigation" and involving home isolation of suspect cases and their family members but not including restrictions on wider society — would "likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over".

Well, let’s end of a happy note.

I've seen enough: progressive Marie Newman (D) defeats pro-life, eight-term Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) in #IL03.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 18, 2020

A Voxsoplainer covers why it is good news.

Illinois update: with 97% of precincts counted, raw votes cast are running about 75% of 2016 levels. Honestly, that�s a lot better than I thought it would be earlier in the night.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 18, 2020

Finally, don’t miss this.

What a damning indictment of Fox News from the Post video team here.

— andrew kaczynskiðÂ�¤Â� (@KFILE) March 18, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: WH messaging on coronavirus needs a reboot of the reboot

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a regular feature at Daily Kos.

It is vital that the networks send science/health reporters and not just political reporters to WH briefings. Don't have enough of them? Hire them. Fire the political shills you have on retainer if you need the money. It's a win-win for America.

Alex Ward/Vox:

The biggest challenge to America’s coronavirus response? Trump.

President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has so far been a disaster….

Yet Trump insists the problem is under control and that he’s doing a fantastic job.

Ask yourself this simple question: Is the WH preparing you for this? My contention is that it is not. In fact, it’s clear from these stories that Trump has totally screwed this up.

BREAKING: By a 20-point margin, Americans say Trump�s handling of the Coronavirus makes them less likely to vote for him.

— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 5, 2020


‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work

“We have contained this. I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview on Feb. 25, echoing Trump’s tweeted declaration that the virus was “very much under control” in the United States.

But it wasn’t, and the administration’s rosy messaging was fundamentally at odds with a growing cacophony of alarm bells inside and outside the U.S. government. Since January, epidemiologists, former U.S. public health officials and experts have been warning, publicly and privately, that the administration’s insistence that containment was—and should remain—the primary way to confront an emerging infectious disease was a grave mistake.

In congressional testimony, in medical webcasts and in private discussions with health officials, they warned that the unique features of this flu-like virus made it impossible to control, and that the administration must use any time that containment measures might buy to prepare the country for an inevitable outbreak. The administration was using all its resources to blockade the doors, they warned, but the enemy was likely already in the house.

US grocery chain, Trader Joes is the first company to temporarily change its sick leave policy in light of the Coronavirus. To encourage workers to stay home when ill, all employees regardless of tenure & full-time or part-time status will be paid for their time off. #Health #HR

— Mark C. Crowley (@MarkCCrowley) March 6, 2020


The Trump administration’s greatest obstacle to sending a clear message on coronavirus may be Trump himself

As leading public health experts from across the government have tried to provide clear and consistent information about the deadly coronavirus, they have found their messages undercut, drowned out and muddled by President Trump’s push to downplay the outbreak with a mix of optimism, bombast and pseudoscience.

Speaking almost daily to the public about an outbreak that has spread across states and rocked the markets, Trump has promoted his opinions and at times contradicted the public health experts tasked with keeping Americans safe.

The president has repeatedly misstated the number of Americans who have tested positive for the virus and claimed it would “miraculously” disappear in the spring. He has given a false timeline for the development of a vaccine, publicly questioned whether vaccinations for the flu could be used to treat the novel coronavirus and dismissed the World Health Organization’s coronavirus death rate estimate, substituting a much lower figure and citing a “hunch.”

it might be a good idea to have Pence back off and let Birx, Fauci and CDC do the talking it might be life saving

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) March 6, 2020

Maggie Koerth/FiveThirtyEight:

Politicians Are The Last People Americans Want Fighting Coronavirus

It all starts with trust — something politicians just don’t have. On the list of people and groups Americans trust, politicians are right down at the bottom, lower even than journalists. Even among the most trusting Americans, only 46 percent have any confidence our elected officials will make decisions in our best interest. Americans’ trust in government itself is at its lowest point since we started systematically measuring it. Only one-fifth of us trust the federal government to do the right thing.

And trust — in politicians and the government they represent — turns out to be a pretty important part of effectively responding to an epidemic. For example, in a 2006 survey that came out after the SARS epidemic, Blendon and his colleagues found that Americans were less likely to trust their government to tell them accurate information about an outbreak than citizens of Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan — and that those lower trust scores were correlated with less support for wearing face masks, getting a vaccine or agreeing to have their temperature taken before they enter a public building.

Nurses Said They Can't Protect Themselves And Hospitals Are Unprepared For Coronavirus, Survey Reports via @skbaer

— Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes) March 5, 2020

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Trump’s latest coronavirus lies have a galling subtext

Why is it falling to House Democrats to do this?

As experts tell CNN’s John Harwood, Trump is shirking on a basic presidential responsibility to inform the American people. And this could have serious consequences.

Now, none of this necessarily casts doubt on the hard work that administration professionals are doing to manage the crisis. Indeed, if anything, by misleading the public, Trump is surely making this task harder for his own health officials. He’s putting out misinformation that requires correction by them.

Democrats are trying to pick up the slack. But on top of all this, by telling his supporters — millions of Americans — that everything Democrats say is about damaging him, Trump is also telling them not to believe any such correctives.

This was completely and totally predictable. In fact, I predicted it. Bloomberg:

U.S. to Miss Rollout Goal This Week on Virus Tests, Senators Say

The Trump administration won’t be able to meet its promised timeline of having a million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, senators said after a briefing Thursday from health officials.

“There won’t be a million people to get a test by the end of the week,” Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida said. “It’s way smaller than that. And still, at this point, it’s still through public health departments.”…

The Trump administration has come under criticism for the test-kit shortage, which local public health officials have said hampers their ability to survey the U.S. population for the virus.

“Our single greatest challenge is the lack of fast federal action to increase testing capacity -- without that, we cannot beat this epidemic back,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Thursday as he announced two additional cases diagnosed in the city.

�The truth is a better antidote to fear.�

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 5, 2020

Joanne Kenan/Politico:

Trump’s coronavirus musings put scientists on edge

The president’s habit of favoring his own judgments over those of the experts is vastly complicating efforts to fight the outbreak.

“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this,” Trump said, going on to peg the real figure as “way under 1 percent.”

Public health experts have noted the WHO’s estimate may change as more is learned about the spread of the virus; thousands of non-fatal cases likely have gone undetected. But while the death rate may dip below 3.4 percent, everything that’s known so far suggests it won’t plummet to a level that’s not alarming. And it’s already hitting some populations, like the elderly, disproportionately hard.

I sense a theme here.

A  good q, answered:

.@DrMikeRyan adds that it�s clear animals don�t play big role in spreading #covid19, but that there often areisolated cases of animals being infected with new pathogens. "This is not an unusual or unprecedented finding. It happens regularly with emerging diseases"

— Kai Kupferschmidt (@kakape) March 5, 2020

Speaking of pets:

Bailey only did what every reporter at these events thinks about doing. WE ARE ALL BAILEY. #solidarity �

— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) March 5, 2020

From AP, horrible job on an important topic:

A disconnect between Trump and health officials on virus

Whom to believe on the coronavirus threat — the president saying one thing or the public health officials standing beside him and saying something a little different?

President Donald Trump’s breezy talk Tuesday of a virus that’s “got the world aflutter” contrasts with the gravity and caution conveyed by federal scientists as Americans look to the government not just for reassurance, but for realism.

Public-health leaders are walking a fine line in laying out the facts without angering a president who speaks in rosier tones than they do about a contagion that’s infected more than 100 people from coast to coast.

This is not a ‘both sides’ topic.  Whom to believe??????

A shift like this in such a short period of time makes sense when the electorate wants to move on from the primary and focus on beating Trump. Nonetheless, truly unprecedented in our politics.

— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) March 5, 2020

Jeremy Faust/Slate:

COVID-19 Isn’t As Deadly As We Think

Don’t hoard masks and food. Figure out how to help seniors and the immunosuppressed stay healthy.

Allow me to be the bearer of good news. These frightening numbers are unlikely to hold. The true case fatality rate, known as CFR, of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest. Even some lower estimates, such as the 1 percent death rate recently mentioned by the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likely substantially overstate the case….

But the most straightforward and compelling evidence that the true case fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 is well under 1 percent comes not from statistical trends and methodological massage, but from data from the Diamond Princess cruise outbreak and subsequent quarantine off the coast of Japan.

A quarantined boat is an ideal—if unfortunate—natural laboratory to study a virus. Many variables normally impossible to control are controlled. We know that all but one patient boarded the boat without the virus. We know that the other passengers were healthy enough to travel. We know their whereabouts and exposures. While the numbers coming out of China are scary, we don’t know how many of those patients were already ill for other reasons. How many were already hospitalized for another life-threatening illness and then caught the virus? How many were completely healthy, caught the virus, and developed a critical illness? In the real world, we just don’t know.

Again, all these numbers and stats are the early exit polls of coronavirus. They’re interesting, important and probably wrong.

Completely understand how hard it must be to pull the plug on something like this. But this seems really ill-advised.

— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 5, 2020

Tough decisions ahead.

On politics:

Warren in call with her campaign staff: Campaigns "are a reflection of the people who work on them. ... I am so proud of how you all fought this fight alongside me: you fought it with empathy and kindness and generosity � and of course, with enormous passion and grit."

— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) March 5, 2020

Molly Jong-Fast/Daily Beast:

With Warren, The Dream of a Female President Dies Again

Hopes were high last year, with so many well-qualified female candidates. Now we’re down to one, and she’s on her way out. What happened?

There were so many astonishingly brilliant female candidates. There were four accomplished senators, or three in Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The fourth, Kamala Harris, was new to the Senate but had been a prosecutor and had already shown great promise. Surely one of them, or all of them, had what it took.

By last July, I was pretty sure that Elizabeth Warren and her “plan for that” would snag the nomination. But as the fall dragged on, Warren started to lose momentum. By November, she was down by 6 points, instead of up by 6 as she had been in September. The selfie lines were no longer cutting it. It seemed as if the Democratic base no longer wanted “systemic change in this country” or if they wanted it, they wanted it from Bernie Sanders and not from Warren.

And then they started dropping out. First was Gillibrand in August and even though I didn’t think I liked her, I realized after the following Gillibrand-less debate that she actually added a lot to the conversation, especially about childcare. In December, Harris dropped out, and I was kind of heartbroken, but we still had two women in the race.

By January, the “woman can’t win” story dropped. It wasn’t entirely clear who leaked the story of Sanders telling Warren that a woman couldn’t win the presidency, but many of Sanders’ supporters blamed Warren. Then came the snake emojis, which some Sanders supporters used to express their displeasure at what they considered to be a double cross from Bernie’s closest progressive allies. Things got real heated real fast between the two.

Warren's support was even more ideologically concentrated at the very liberal end than Bernie's, but it is demographically closer to those groups that have recently moved toward Biden: more suburban, white, & educated & more women. Both have some opening to draw her supporters.

— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) March 5, 2020

Respect to every Elizabeth Warren voter and advocate. She didn’t just represent women, she hired them. The best person doesn’t always win.

The most progressive thing a committed progressive can do is win. Ideology without power, plans without the ability to implement is just wishful thinking. To produce change we must win.

— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) March 5, 2020

In Israel:

unlock achievement: 3rd and final form of boss defeated

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) March 5, 2020

YouTube Video

Of course, with Bibi there is a 4th form.

The impeachment of Andrew Johnson in February 1868 failed to remove him from office; the Senate acquitted him in May. But his unfitness for office was so clearly exposed that he failed to win re-election. In fact, he couldn�t even get the Democratic Party to nominate him.

— David Priess (@DavidPriess) March 5, 2020

Tim Miller/Bulwark:

Truth, Lies, and the Nonsense Trump-Biden-Ukraine False Equivalency

One of these guys was pressuring Ukraine to help him out in an election. The other was pressuring Ukraine to end corruption. They are not the same.

But despite the frustrating reality, the only way to combat or change this cycle is to disrupt it. So consider this is a humble attempt to do just that and provide some clarity to those of you who are too busy to bathe in the minutiae of the Ukranian prosecutor’s office and might be susceptible to throwing up your hands and placing a pox on both their houses.

(1) Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, did take consulting work for a Ukrainian oil company, Burisma, that was under investigation by a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, for the work under the prior Russian-allied regime. This is where the true part of the Trump disinformation comes to an end.

(2) The problem was that Shokin actively stood in the way of international investigations that the U.S. and other democratic reformers were pursuing.

(3) Vice President Biden, U.S. diplomats, and our E.U. allies all called on the prosecutor to be fired so the corrupt oligarchs could be investigated MORE AGGRESSIVELY. This includes the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine calling out by name Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch who ran the company Hunter Biden worked for, as someone this prosecutor was letting off the hook.

(4) Donald Trump was allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate a domestic political foe on a bogus conspiracy for personal gain. Joe Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to root out corruption in their own country and bring about democratic reforms.

(5) For the kids in the back:



Money? Feh.

Two things that explain why '20's Dem electorate became more pragmatic & less "revolutionary:" 1) In rural WWC areas, '16 Sanders voters who defected to Trump are...still w/ Trump, not Sanders 2) In upscale burbs, many '16 Kasich/Rubio voters are now...Dem/Biden primary voters

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 5, 2020

Isn’t there an “eats your face on live TV” party? Oh yeah… it’s leopards.

.@maggiekb1: "There�s probably not enough money in the world to make people vote for you if one of your competitors eats your face on live TV."

— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 5, 2020

Read all of this:

Growing up, my family only talked revolutionary politics. I didn't go to school until age 12 so I didn't know about political parties. (I swear this is true) I thought "Democrats" was a religion. My grandma would pop u in the mouth if you said anything bad about a Dem. Here's why

— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) March 6, 2020

A lot of them don't even care about Biden's relationship with Obama, as some people claim. He has another 40-year relationship that is more important: That D" beside his name. To them, that's the "establishment" they trust. They all they got

— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) March 6, 2020

And a final unity message:

Trump does not have enough support to get reelected. His only path is disunity among the voters who oppose him. The election is a toss up even if they don't get on the same page. But if they do get on the same page, it may not even be close:

— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) March 5, 2020

Much more on Elizabeth Warren tomorrow (Saturday), featuring mostly women’s voices.