Thursday, September 24, 2020
Donald Trump has said he will appoint a new Supreme Court justice by this weekend, and Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on Trump nomination. This means Trump will have chosen 3 of the 9 court justices, and it would give the court a 6 to 3 majority for conservatives.
This puts Roe vs. Wade in danger -- the Supreme Court decision that allows a woman to choose whether to have an abortion or not. Trump promised his base that he would only choose justices that would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He has already chosen two that feel that way, and a third would probably be enough to change the law (overturn Roe vs. Wade).
That may make the right-wing fundamentalists in his base happy, but it is not what the American people want. About 53% of the public (and 55% of registered voters) -- clear majorities -- are opposed to the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade. And that is true of both genders, all age groups, all race and ethnicities, and all regions of the country.
Once again, Trump and Republicans find themselves at odds with what the public and voters want. This is not going to help them in the coming election.
The chart above reflects the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between September 20th and 22nd of 1,500 adults nationally (including 1,282 registered voters), with a 3.6 point margin of error.
The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. Each point on the chart reflects a three day average of about 12,000 voters.
Notice how constant the results of the poll has been. Since early June, Biden lead over Trump has been virtually the same.
Is this election over? Have voters already made up their minds about how they will vote? I think that is probably true. Most people don't want Trump in the White House another four years, and they have decided that Biden is an acceptable replacement for Trump.
WARNING! -- This doesn't mean you don't have to vote!
A majority opposed Trump is 2016, but too many people stayed home instead of voting -- believing their vote was not needed. We cannot let that happen again. Whether you live in a red or blue state, your vote is needed -- every vote is needed. A large voter turnout will kick Trump out of the White House, while a small turnout could help him squeak out another win.
I doubt that would happen. Once the electoral college votes, it's all over. If Trump refuses to leave the White House, then the Marine Guards will remove him, because the winner of the electoral college is the real president -- no matter how much crying and whining Trump does.
But there is a way Trump could lose the election and still remain in office. State legislatures determine how electoral college voters are picked, and some GOP state legislatures could ignore the voters and pick Trump electors.
I'd like to think that couldn't happen, but Republicans have shown us lately that they don't care about anything but trying to hang on to power. Morality, ethics, honesty, and rule of law mean nothing to them. If they see both houses of the U.S. Congress lost to Democrats, it's within the realm of possibility that they could override state voting results and move to pick electors that would keep a Republican in the White House.
Here's how Barton Gellman puts it in The Atlantic:
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
The chart above is from a recent Axios / Ipsos Poll (of 1,008 adults between September 18th and 21st). It shows that only 39% of the population (including 33% of Republicans and 43% of Democrats) say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
It seems that Trump's continual lying about the virus, and his efforts to rush a vaccine to market, has most Americans leery of the vaccine. Most would want to wait to see if the vaccine is both safe and effective, and they aren't sure that one rushed to market would be either.
This is a public letter from 13 economists -- all of them winners of the Nobel Prize for economics. They agree that Joe Biden's policies would be better for the economy than Donald Trump's.
This is a serious problem. No other developed country has citizens that are not covered with insurance for medical care. All those nations provide decent health care for all their citizens -- either through a national health system (like Great Britain) or guaranteed health insurance (like France or Canada).
Those nations recognize health care as a right for all of their citizens. The United States does not. The Republicans in our government see health care as a product that should only be sold to those who can pay for it. And they have had enough power in our federal government to prevent the government from assuring all citizens have insurance that will provide them with decent and affordable medical care.
The Republicans say they want medicare insurance for all citizens. And in his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump said he would make sure all Americans were covered by health insurance. They were all lying!
Trump has been in office for over three years, and he has not come up with any plan to cover all Americans with health insurance. Around the first of August, Trump said he would release his idea for a great health insurance plan in two weeks. It is now two months later, and there is no plan. And the congressional Republicans are even worse. They have been promising a plan since Obamacare was passed, and still have no plan. They even tried to outlaw Obamacare with no replacement plan.
And they are still trying to outlaw Obamacare. Currently, they have a case that will soon be heard by the Supreme Court. If they win that case, Obamacare will be outlawed, causing many millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, and many millions more to lose the coverage for pre-existing conditions (will will make their insurance much more expensive -- perhaps unaffordable). With the new justice appointed by Trump (and sure to be approved by the Senate), the odds are much greater that they will win that case.
That means there is only one way to assure that all Americans, regardless of income or ability to pay, will have health insurance (and are able to access life-saving preventative care). We must flip the Senate over to Democratic control and put a Democrat (Biden) in the White House. Democrats have promised to pass a public option for health insurance -- one that will cover those who can't afford private insurance, and will stop private companies for charging more for pre-existing conditions.
The Republicans have no plan. And if they retain enough power after the next election, they will block the Democratic plan. They will leave tens of millions of Americans without health insurance -- causing many thousands to die each year because they could not afford the preventative care that would have saved their lives.
If you vote for the Republicans, you are voting against health care. That is just a fact.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
The chart above reflects the results of the Reuters / Ipsos Poll -- done after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They questioned 1,006 adults, and the survey has a 4 point margin of error.
After denying President Obama the ability to appoint a Supreme Court Justice in 2016, the Republicans are now trying to rush through another Trump appointment -- even though there is far less time until the election than was true in 2016.
It political hypocrisy, and the American people know it. About 62% say the winner of the November 3rd election for president should be the person to nominate a replacement for Justice Ginsburg. Only 23% say Trump should go ahead and make that nomination.
The chart above is from the Gallup Poll. It show the party viewed as best to handle the nation's problems in presidential election years from 1948 to this year. Note that this year the Democrats are considered the party that can best handle U.S. problems -- by an 8 point margin.
Also not that in every presidential election the candidate of the party considered best has won the presidential election. The only exception was the re-election of President Truman in 1948.
This year's poll by Gallup was done between August 31st and September 30th of a national sample of 1,019 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.
The chart above is from the NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Telemundo Poll -- done between September 13th and 16th of an oversample of 300 registered Hispanic voters, with a 5.66 point margin of error.
Some people are claiming that Biden is losing support among Hispanic voters. This poll certainly doesn't show that. While they are not as solidly backing the Democratic candidate as Black voters, they are supporting Biden by a huge margin (about 36 points).
If Biden can just come within a few points of Trump among White voters (and it's looking like he will), than Hispanics and Blacks will carry him across the finish line.
Here is how The New York Times is reporting this:
Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign said on Sunday that it entered September with $466 million in the bank together with the Democratic Party, providing Mr. Biden a vast financial advantage of about $141 million over President Trump heading into the intense final stretch of the campaign.
The money edge is a complete reversal from this spring, when Mr. Biden emerged as the Democratic nominee and was $187 million behind Mr. Trump, who began raising money for his re-election shortly after he was inaugurated in 2017. But the combination of slower spending by Mr. Biden’s campaign in the spring, his record-setting fund-raising over the summer — especially after he named Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate — and heavy early spending by Mr. Trump has erased the president’s once-formidable financial lead.
Mr. Trump and his joint operations with the Republican National Committee entered September with $325 million, according to Mr. Trump’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh. . . .
Democratic donations surged further over the weekend. Following the death of former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which opened a vacancy that could tilt the ideological bearing of the Supreme Court further to the right, contributors shattered records on ActBlue, the biggest online processing platform for the left.
Donors gave more than $100 million over the weekend after her passing.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Donald Trump has a 2 point lead according to the poll, but that is well within the 3.5 point margin of error. Texas will go to the candidate that does the best job of getting his voters to the voting booth.
These charts are from the new NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- done between September 13th and 16th of a national sample of 1,000 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error.
The poll shows Biden with an 8 point lead over Trump.
The survey also asked respondents when and how they were going to vote. Republicans had a lead among those saying they would vote in person on Election Day. Democrats had the lead among those saying they would vote early in person, and those saying they would vote by mail.
There is only one person he cares about -- himself, and he will happily throw anyone under the bus if he thinks it will benefit him.
Here's part of how Jonathan Chait puts it in New York Magazine:
A procession of former Trump administration officials, speaking both on and off the record, have depicted the president as fundamentally unfit for office. Yesterday, the latest addition to their ranks, former Mike Pence aide Olivia Troye, put an especially fine point on the indictment. President Trump displayed “flat-out disregard for human life.”
Even by the hyperinflated standards of the Trump era, disregard for human life is an extraordinarily serious charge. The most basic trait any president must have, below even simple competence and honesty, is a desire to safeguard the well-being of the public. Almost anybody would agree that a president who simply does not care if Americans die is morally disqualified from office. Nut there is plenty of available evidence to support it.
We should be precise about what exactly it means to say Trump has disregard for human life. Every president takes actions that put lives at risk (most obviously by using military force.) Many policies unavoidably involve trade-offs with that risk. Management of a pandemic is also going to involve decisions that, in one form or another, will entail some kind of trade-off.
To say Trump has disregard for human life is not to say he is willing to make cold decisions for the sake of a greater good, though. Troye is saying the president literally does not care about American deaths except insofar as it affects his own political standing. "The truth is he doesn't actually care about anyone else other than himself," she says. . . .
There’s a term for a person who views other humans purely as instruments for his own advancement, and is unable to conceive of the idea of caring about them independent of his own self-interest: “sociopath.” The United States has had some terrible presidents before, but probably never a sociopathic one. When his own aides warn the public that he does not care if the people he is tasked with helping live or die, we should take their warnings with the utmost seriousness.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.
The first number for each state is the number of cases they had on 9/12/20. The second number is the number of cases on 9/19/20 (one week later).
Alabama..........137646 -- 144164
Alaska..........7131 -- 7674
Arizona..........208128 -- 213551
Arkansas..........69710 -- 74082
California.........750298 -- 774135
Colorado..........60492 -- 63750
Connecticut.........54326 -- 55527
Delaware..........18726 -- 19449
District of Columbia..........14552 -- 14902
Florida..........661571 -- 681233
Georgia..........292905 -- 305021
Hawaii..........10459 -- 11217
Idaho..........34950 -- 36959
Illinois..........262004 -- 275054
Indiana..........104561 -- 110759
Iowa..........71706 -- 77058
Kansas..........48386 -- 52285
Kentucky..........56415 -- 61106
Louisiana..........157109 -- 161322
Maine..........4834 -- 5035
Maryland..........115533 -- 119744
Massachusetts..........124540 -- 127181
Michigan..........123058 -- 128087
Minnesota..........83588 -- 88721
Mississippi..........89620 -- 93087
Missouri..........101134 -- 111516
Montana..........8925 -- 10163
Nebraska..........37841 -- 40387
Nevada..........73220 -- 75419
New Hampshire..........7652 -- 7920
New Jersey..........196337 -- 199309
New Mexico..........26563 -- 27350
New York..........443640 -- 449038
North Carolina..........183740 -- 192248
North Dakota..........15151 -- 17607
Ohio..........136568 -- 143547
Oklahoma..........68659 -- 76804
Oregon..........29156 -- 30599
Pennsylvania..........143805 -- 149845
Rhode Island..........22905 -- 23620
South Carolina..........129978 -- 137240
South Dakota..........16437 -- 18444
Tennessee..........170891 -- 181439
Texas..........653356 -- 686068
Utah..........57247 -- 62852
Vermont..........1677 -- 1710
Virginia..........132940 -- 139655
Washington..........79011 -- 81602
West Virginia..........12521 -- 13874
Wisconsin..........93055 -- 105557
Wyoming..........4297 -- 4780
Virgin Islands..........1211 -- 1242
Puerto Rico..........37092 -- 40993
Guam..........1891 -- 2117
The chart above reflects the results of the newest NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist Poll -- done between September 11th and 16th of a national sample of 964 registered voters, with a 3.8 point margin of error.
Well now, with less than two months before a presidential election, Donald Trump has said he will nominate a justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who died last Friday). Will the Republicans keep their promise?
Not a chance! Ginsburg had been dead only a few hours when McConnell said a Trump pick would get a vote in the Senate -- and other Republicans are following McConnell's lead and breaking their promise. They will try to put another right-winger on the Court before January (when it is likely a new president will be inaugurated).
Honesty, morality, and ethnics mean nothing to these Senate Republicans. They only care about trying to hold on to power, and assuring a court to make sure rich white men and corporations are protected.
I doubt they'll do it before the election, since some GOP senators would be hard pressed to explain that to the voters. But in the two months after the election (and before the new Congress is seated), they will have their chance -- and they will seat a new Trump justice (giving right-wingers a 6 to 3 advantage on the court).
Republicans don't care about women's rights (including Roe vs. Wade), minority rights, voting rights, or the environment. A 6 to 3 majority of right-wingers on the court would endanger all of those. It could set this country back 50 years -- and insure the changes last for a generation.
What are Democrats to do? They may be left with only one option. Here's part of how Jill Filipovic explains that Democratic option in The Washington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked President Obama from filling a Supreme Court seat vacated 11 months before inauguration, says he will permit President Trump to fill one vacated just four months before inauguration, and less than two months before the election. McConnell announced hours after news of Ginsburg’s death became public that he would attempt to push a nominee through to the bench. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said.
Democrats have only one play here: If Trump and McConnell jam an appointee through, it is not enough for Democrats to raise hell about the hypocrisy, the duplicity and the Republican refusal to play by McConnell’s own rules. It is not enough to target every Republican senator who goes along. It is not enough to have voters bombard their Republican senator’s office with phone calls and protests. Because those things have been happening for four years, and none of them have persuaded the GOP to put the stability of the country or the obligations of office ahead of that party’s thirst for power.
So Democrats should threaten to pack the court. And, if McConnell pushes through a new justice and then Joe Biden wins, they should follow through. . . .
The stakes are high. Trump’s Supreme Court appointees have already reshaped the American legal landscape. A conservative taking Ginsburg’s place could walk back women’s rights, LGBT rights, voting rights, union power and civil rights not just for a generation, but potentially irreparably.
But this is also a question of fundamental fairness and democratic norms. In order for a democracy to function, people have to play by the same rules. McConnell has made up the rules as he goes along, constraining Democrats and empowering his own party. He has shown, time and again, that preserving American democracy is not the goal; power is. We saw this when he thwarted Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. We saw it when he blocked any real impeachment trial and refused to call witnesses who might incriminate Trump.
Democrats need to realize that they’re up against a mendacious bully who is never going to follow even the rules he sets out. “Court-packing” is a loaded term, and if they’re smart, Democrats will find a more palatable one. But it’s a defensible and evenhanded move to assert that, if McConnell steals another Supreme Court seat (just weeks before a national election), then Democrats will consider a presidential victory a mandate from voters to expand the number of seats on the Supreme Court.
This is not unprecedented. The number of justices has not been static at nine; it’s changed six times, from as few as six to as many as ten. All it takes is for Congress to pass an act, and for the president to sign it. If a Biden victory comes with a Democratic congressional majority, expanding the number of Supreme Court justices isn’t all that hard to do. . . .
With an election looming, Democrats can give voters a say. If they vow to expand the court, then Americans can cast their ballots with that in mind. Key to the message should be that McConnell and Senate Republicans have so repeatedly broken the rules, rigged the game and stolen victories that it’s become impossible to play on neutral turf. As Murkowski put it, fair is fair.
It’s a shame we’re here. But to restore a democracy that has been battered, bruised and robbed blind by the president and his party, Democrats will need to fight harder. If Republicans steal this seat, the only reasonable response is to change the number of judges on the bench.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
She will always be remembered for her fight for equal rights for all Americans and her strong belief in justice for all.
She had been ill for a while now, but had held on to her position on the court to prevent Donald Trump from appointing her replacement. Sadly her failing health would not let her complete that mission.
She will be sorely missed, and will go down in history as one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices.
There is no doubt that Trump will try to appoint a replacement, and Mitch McConnell has said he would try to push any Trump nomination through the Senate -- in spite of the fact that he refused to even consider an Obama nomination four years ago with only months left in his term.
The Republicans have enough senators in this Congress to approve a Trump nominee if they want. Our only hope is that a few senators, struggling to get re-elected, will vote to stop the nomination (of a Kavanaugh-like candidate). Any nomination is going to be controversial, and the Senate might not want to take action close to the election. But there will be two months after the election in which to act -- and they probably will.
This will likely insure a right-wing and corporate-friendly court for many years to come.
The chart above is from the AP / NORC Poll -- done between September 11th and 14th of a national sample of 1,108 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.
It seems the public is not happy with how Donald Trump is handling the major issues facing this country. Only two issues don't have a majority opposing Trump's handling of them -- the economy, where approval is by only 1 point (50% to 49%), which is within the margin of error -- and the military, where approval is tied with disapproval (50% to 50%).
He is underwater on all the other issues -- policing (by 9 points), foreign policy (by 9 points), health care (by 16 points), coronavirus outbreak (by 21 points), and race relations (by 22 points).
He has a 13 point deficit in his overall job performance (43% to 56%).
These are not the kind of numbers that get a president re-elected.
Some say refusing to wear a mask is a cultural thing. That makes no sense. Wearing or not wearing a mask has nothing to do with our culture.
Others say it is their right to refuse to wear a mask. That's also ridiculous. No one has a right to endanger others -- and that is exactly what refusing to wear a mask does.
The truth is that refusing to wear a mask is nothing more than a political statement (and a dangerous one at that) -- it's to show the world your loyalty to Trump.
Here's how Paul Krugman describes the mask refusal in his New York Times column:
So how can anti-masker agitation still be a major factor impeding America’s ability to cope with this pandemic?
You sometimes see people suggesting that wearing face masks is somehow inconsistent with America’s individualistic culture. And if that were true it would be a condemnation of that culture. After all, there’s something very wrong with any definition of freedom that includes the right to gratuitously expose other people to the risk of disease and death — which is what refusing to wear a mask in a pandemic amounts to.
But I don’t believe that this is a deep-seated cultural phenomenon. Some might dismiss the widespread compliance I see all around me by saying that New York doesn’t represent Real America™. But even leaving aside the fact that 21st-century America is mainly urban — almost half of Americans live in metropolitan areas with more than one million people — would they say the same about Arizona?
And bear in mind that as long as I can remember, many shops and restaurants have had signs on their doors proclaiming “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” How many of these establishments have been stormed by mobs of bare-chested protesters?
In short, anti-mask agitation isn’t really about freedom, or individualism, or culture. It’s a declaration of political allegiance, driven by Trump and his allies.
But why make a partisan issue out of what should be straightforward public health policy? The fairly obvious answer is that we’re looking at the efforts of an amoral politician to rescue his flailing campaign.
The economy’s partial snapback from its plunge early this year hasn’t given Trump the political dividends he hoped for. His attempts to stir up panic with claims that radical activists are going to destroy the suburbs haven’t gained traction, with voters generally seeing Joe Biden as the better candidate to maintain law and order.
And it’s probably too late to change the views of the majority of voters believing that he has given up on fighting the coronavirus.
So his latest ploy is an attempt to convince people that the Covid-19 threat is over. But widespread mask-wearing is a constant reminder that the virus is still out there. Hence Trump’s renewed push against the simplest, most sensible of public health precautions.
As a political strategy, this ploy probably won’t work. But it will lead to a lot of unnecessary deaths.