Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mail-In Voting

Public Disapproves Of Trump's Handling Of COVID-19

The charts above are from FiveThirtyEight.com. They are an average of respected polls.

The top chart shows that the American public disapproves of how Trump is handling the Coronavirus crisis by an 11 point margin (42.7% approve to 53.7% disapprove).

The bottom chart shows that only Republicans approve of Trump's handling of the virus. About 82.3% of Republicans approve, while only 39.1% of Independents and 12.3% of Democrats approve.


Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

The Staggering Cost Of Donald Trump's Incompetence

The United States and South Korea both discovered their first case of Coronavirus on the same day -- January 20th.

South Korea immediately sprang into action. They began testing, contact tracing, and social distancing. Those actions allowed them to get control of the pandemic in their country. To date, they have only had about 267 deaths (or about 5.21 deaths per million people).

The United States did none of that. In fact, the Trump administration delayed a full two months before it recognized the need for testing, and it still hasn't distributed enough tests to allow us to get a full picture of the viral spread in the country. To date, nearly 100,000 deaths have occurred from the virus (or about 295.22 deaths per million people).

It did not have to be that way. If the Trump administration had acted quickly (like South Korea did), they could have contained the virus and prevented many thousands of deaths. In other words, Donald Trump's has cost the lives of many thousands of Americans -- and his demand for the economy to reopen insures that many more thousands will die. This nation is paying a heavy price for Trump's incompetence!

Here is part of what Peter Baker (The New York Times) has to say about the number of Coronavirus deaths in this country:

This was a death toll that Mr. Trump once predicted would never be reached. In late February, he said there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States, understating even then the actual number, and declared that “the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” In the annals of the American presidency, it would be hard to recall a more catastrophically wrong prediction. Even after he later acknowledged that it would not be zero, he insisted the death toll would fall “substantially below the 100,000” mark.

As it stands now, the coronavirus has infected 1.6 million and taken so many lives it is as if an entire midsize American city — say Boca Raton, Fla., just to pick an example — simply disappeared. The toll is about to match the 100,000 killed in the United States by the pandemic of 1968 and is closing in on the outbreak of 1957-58, which killed 116,000. At this pace, it will stand as the country’s deadliest public health disaster since the great influenza of 1918-20 — all at the same time the nation confronts the most severe economic collapse since the Great Depression.

The historical comparisons are breathtaking. More Americans have died of the coronavirus in the last 12 weeks than died in the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined and nearly twice as many as died of battle wounds during World War I. The death toll has nearly matched the number of people killed by the initial blasts of the world’s first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of American deaths, it is the equivalent of 22 Iraq wars33 Sept. 11 attacks41 Afghanistan wars42 Pearl Harbors or 25,000 Benghazis.

Mouth Covers

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

Trump Is Unfit - The GOP Knows And Don't Care

Donald Trump is unfit for the presidency. He has shown that many times since being sworn into office.

He has distanced us from our friends and placated our enemies -- and in the process has abdicated this nation's leadership among nations. He has shown he will not respect treaties and agreements, even when they are advantageous to the United States.

But his total incompetence has been starkly revealed by the current global pandemic. While most other nations act to protect their own citizens, Trump cares only about his own re-election. He's demanding the reopening of the economy in spite of what public health officials say -- and in doing so, he will be killing many thousands more American citizens.

His incompetence and unfitness for the office he holds is no secret. It is even known by Republican officials. But they back him anyway. They care only about trying to hold on to power.

The following is part of an article in The Washington Post by Paul Waldman:

The truth is that Trump is not much more despicable of a human being than he has always been; it’s just that standard Trumpian behavior becomes more horrifying when it occurs during an ongoing national crisis. It is reality that changed around him, and he was incapable of responding to it.

We all know this. In public, Republicans may say that the real villain in the pandemic is China, or that all those deaths — and the tens of thousands yet to come — were inevitable, or that it is essential to get the economy moving. But they know as well as the rest of us do what a catastrophic failure Trump has been.

They must own the moral choice they now make. In 2016, they said Trump would grow serious and sober once he was faced with the awesome responsibilities of the office. There was little reason at the time to think it would happen, but it was at least possible.

No one can say that now. Not only do we know who Trump is, we know who he will always be. And we know that reelecting him will be disastrous in a hundred ways.

If you gave many Republicans in Washington truth serum, they’d say, “Of course he’s unfit to be president. Of course he’s corrupt, of course he’s incompetent, of course he’s the most dishonest person ever to step into the Oval Office. But I can live with that, because him being reelected means Republicans keep power, we get more conservative judges and we get all the policies we favor.”

That is the choice they’re making. We all know it, even if they’ll never say it out loud. . . .

And as we approach another election, they’ll tell themselves that Trump isn’t as bad as he looks, or that Joe Biden is a monster, or that all that matters is winning.

In the future, when we look back on this dark period, we should resist the temptation to focus solely on Trump himself. To do so would be to excuse those who know exactly what he is but pretend they can work to keep him in office and remain unsullied. They cannot, and their moral culpability becomes clearer every day.

Trying To Wipe Out The Truth

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

Tomorrow Is Not Soon Enough

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Debt Is Owed

We Keep Walking (A Poem)

As we honor our fallen soldiers today, I was reminded on this poem by my friend Brian McLaughlin at Beej's Poetry Corner. As we keep walking, I wish we could finally take a different path -- a path leading to peace.

The Cost

Political Cartoon is by Gary Varvel at garyvarvel.com.

Dod-Eat-Dog Capitalism For Workers - Socialism For Rich

The pandemic, and the Trump administration's failure to control it, has resulted in an economic crisis to accompany the health crisis. Over 36 million workers have lost their jobs, and it is very likely that number will continue to rise (just as the death count from the virus continues to rise).

Congress has passed some stimulus bills that were supposed to help average Americans. But those bills turned out to be largely failures. They made the rich much richer while failing to adequately help most Americans. There will be another stimulus bill, but will it be as big a failure as the others? Will Congress finally get around to helping those who need help instead of just feeding more money to those who don't need it?

Here is how Nicholas Kristof, in his New York Times column, describes the failure of Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress so far:

While President Trump and his allies in Congress seek to tighten access to food stamps, they are showing compassion for one group: zillionaires. Their economic rescue package quietly allocated $135 billion — yes, that’s “billion” with a “b” — for the likes of wealthy real estate developers.

My Times colleague Jesse Drucker notes that Trump himself, along with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may benefit financially from this provision. The fine print was mysteriously slipped into the March economic relief package, even though it has nothing to do with the coronavirus and offers retroactive tax breaks for periods long before Covid-19 arrived. . . .

Officially, the provision is called “Modification of Limitation on Losses for Taxpayers Other Than Corporations,” but that’s camouflage; I prefer to call it the “Zillionaire Giveaway.”

About 82 percent of the Zillionaire Giveaway goes to those earning more than $1 million a year, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. Of those beneficiaries earning more than $1 million annually, the average benefit is $1.6 million.

In other words, a single mom juggling two jobs gets a maximum $1,200 stimulus check — and then pays taxes so that a real estate mogul can receive $1.6 million. This is dog-eat-dog capitalism for struggling workers, and socialism for the rich.

Many Americans understand that Trump bungled the public health response to the coronavirus, but polls suggest that they don’t appreciate the degree to which Trump and Congress also bungled the economic response — or manipulated it to benefit those who least need help.

The United States simply accepted that the pandemic would cause vast numbers of workers to be laid off — and then it provided unemployment benefits. But Germany, France, Britain, Denmarkand other countries took the smarter path of paying companies to keep workers on their payrolls, thus preventing layoffs in the first place. The United States did a little bit of this, but far less than Europe — yet the United States in some cases spent a larger share of G.D.P. on the bailout than Europe did.

So the unemployment rate in Germany and Denmark is forecast to reach about 5 percent while in the United States it may already be about 20 percent, depending on how you count it. . . .

It has become increasingly clear that money intended to rescue small businesses has often gone not to those with the greatest need but rather to those with the most shameless lawyers. They are part of our national equation: Power creates money creates more power creates more money. . . .

Brookings Institution study found that young children in one in six American households are not getting enough to eat because of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we’re rushing to help … tycoons!

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that because of layoffs, 27 million Americans as of May 2 were at risk of losing employer-sponsored health insurance. You might think that this would lead to a push for universal health coverage. But, no, the opposite: Trump is continuing to support a lawsuit to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act — and allow millions more to lose coverage.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt responded boldly to economic desperation by creating jobs, passing Social Security and starting rural electrification. In this crisis, Trump is trying to restrict food stamps and health insurance while giving free money to real estate tycoons — probably including himself.

Of course, America does remain a land of opportunity, if you have the wealth. A new study determined that in the two months since March 18, roughly the start of the economic crisis, America’s billionaires saw their wealth collectively grow by 15 percent. And another 16 Americans became billionaires in that period. It’s great to see people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps!

The House of Representatives is trying to repeal the Zillionaire Giveaway, but Trump and his congressional allies are resisting. Trump meanwhile sees little need to help states and localities, which in April alone laid off more employees than in the entire Great Recession.

Trump was elected in part by voters angry at the way the system was rigged. But under Trump, the economy has become rigged ever more decisively, even as children go hungry and ordinary workers lose their jobs and their lives.

Loosing The Virus

Political Cartoon is by Marian Kamensky at marian@humor-kamensky.sk.

Trump Could Not Provide The Leadership Needed

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Fertile Breeding Grounds

Growth Of COVID-19 Cases In Each State In The Last Week

These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.

The first number for each state is the number of cases they had on 5/16/20. The second number is the number of cases on 5/23/20 (one week later).

Alabama..........11523 -- 13938
Alaska..........392 -- 408
Arizona..........13631 -- 16039
Arkansas..........4578 -- 5612
California.........76793 -- 90631
Colorado..........21232 -- 23487
Connecticut.........36703 -- 40022
Delaware..........7547 -- 8690
District of Columbia..........7042 -- 7966
Florida..........44811 -- 50127
Georgia..........37147 -- 42132
Hawaii..........638 -- 642
Idaho..........2389 -- 2595
Illinois..........92457 -- 107796
Indiana..........27280 -- 30901
Iowa..........14328 -- 16893
Kansas..........7886 -- 8958
Kentucky..........7444 -- 8426
Louisiana..........34117 -- 37040
Maine..........1648 -- 2013
Maryland..........37968 -- 45495
Massachusetts..........84933 -- 91662
Michigan..........50504 -- 54365
Minnesota..........14969 -- 19845
Mississippi..........11123 -- 13005
Missouri..........10675 -- 11752
Montana..........468 -- 479
Nebraska..........9772 -- 11662
Nevada..........6662 -- 7696
New Hampshire..........3464 -- 4089
New Jersey..........145089 -- 153104
New Mexico..........5662 -- 6625
New York..........348232 -- 359926
North Carolina..........17982 -- 22725
North Dakota..........1848 -- 2365
Ohio..........27474 -- 31408
Oklahoma..........5237 -- 5960
Oregon..........3612 -- 3888
Pennsylvania..........61611 -- 66983
Rhode Island..........12434 -- 13952
South Carolina..........8407 -- 9895
South Dakota..........3959 -- 4468
Tennessee..........17288 -- 19789
Texas..........46999 -- 53449
Utah..........7068 -- 8260
Vermont..........934 -- 954
Virginia..........29683 -- 35749
Washington..........17951 -- 19265
West Virginia..........1457 -- 1717
Wisconsin..........12187 -- 14877
Wyoming..........716 -- 813

Virgin Islands..........69 -- 69
Puerto Rico..........2589 -- 3100
Guam..........154 -- 165

Sacrificing Others

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Only 64% Say They Would Take A COVID-19 Vaccine

The chart above reflects the results of a Morning Consult Poll -- done between May 1st and 3rd of a national sample of 2,200 adults, with about a 2 point margin of error.

He Won't Be There

Political Cartoons is by Rex A. Jones at artistrexajones.wix.com/crazycartoons.

It Was Just More Pandering To The Religious Right By Trump

The chart above are from the Pew Research Center survey -- done between April 29th and May 5th of a national sample of 10,957 adults, with a 1.4 point margin of error. Those are the words

"Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It's not right."

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors."

Those are the words of Donald Trump on Friday. At first glance, it seems he hasn't learned from his threat a few weeks ago about going over the governors' heads about opening the economy. He suffered a quick backlash on that threat, and finally realized that he doesn't have the constitutional authority to force the governors to reopen.

Why then would he make that same threat about reopening the religious houses of worship? Surely he must know that same constitutional restriction would apply.

The answer can be found in the chart above. We know that his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been falling among the general population. This survey shows that it is also falling among religious groups. And worst of all, for Trump, the approval of his handling the pandemic crisis is also falling among white evangelicals -- the group that gave him the most support in the last election.

Note that those saying his handling was good/excellent dropped by 6 points in the last month, and those saying it was only fair/poor has climbed by 5 points.

Trump is already in deep trouble with women, young voters, and minorities -- and recent polls have shown he is losing the support of those 65 and older. He cannot afford any decline in support from white evangelicals if he hopes to squeak out another win in November.

That short speech by Trump was just political theater. He was trying to stop the bleeding. He knows he can't force religious institutions to reopen (and doesn't want the blame if they do reopen and the virus spreads among their congregations). He was just pandering to the religious right.

It's Suicide

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

And His Approval Just Keeps Dropping

Trump's Incompetent Delaying Cost Thousands Of Lives

Trump loves to tell Americans that his administration has done a great job of controlling the Coronavirus in this country. At the same time, he says he is not responsible for the spread of the virus and loss of American lives (approaching 100,000 deaths as I write this).

He is wrong on both counts.

The Trump administration has not done a good job of controlling the Coronavirus pandemic. Trump waited too long and has done too little. That is why the virus continues to rage throughout the country.

And Trump is responsible for the spread of the virus and the unnecessary loss of American lives.

Even after delaying action for the entire months of January and February, Trump still could have saved many thousands of lives by insisting on social distancing just a week or two earlier -- by March 1st or 8th instead of later.

Here's how The New York Times describes how lives could have been saved:

If the United States had begun imposing social distancing measures one week earlier than it did in March, about 36,000 fewer people would have died in the coronavirus outbreak, according to new estimates from Columbia University disease modelers.

And if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided, the researchers estimated.

Under that scenario, about 54,000 fewer people would have died by early May.

The enormous cost of waiting to take action reflects the unforgiving dynamics of the outbreak that swept through American cities in early March. Even small differences in timing would have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April had subsumed New York City, New Orleans and other major cities, the researchers found.

“It’s a big, big difference. That small moment in time, catching it in that growth phase, is incredibly critical in reducing the number of deaths,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia and the leader of the research team.

The findings are based on infectious disease modeling that gauges how reduced contact between people starting in mid-March slowed transmission of the virus. Dr. Shaman’s team modeled what would have happened if those same changes had taken place one or two weeks earlier and estimated the spread of infections and deaths until May 3.

The results show that as states reopen, outbreaks can easily get out of control unless officials closely monitor infections and immediately clamp down on new flare-ups. And they show that each day that officials waited to impose restrictions in early March came at a great cost.

A Threat?

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in The Seattle Times.

The Public Doesn't Agree With Stance Of Trump And GOP

The charts above reflect the results of the new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between May 14th and 18th of a national sample of 1,323 registered voters, with a 2.7 point margin of error.

The poll shows that Trump, and his GOP cohorts, are once again out-of-step with the desires of the American public. Trump thinks the economy should be reopened quickly (disregarding the continued spread of the Coronavirus), no further stimulus bill is needed now, a second wave of the virus would be small and easily extinguished, and wearing of face masks (and social distancing) should be optional.

The public overwhelmingly disagrees with all of those stances. By a 54 point margin, they want the economy opened slowly (even if it worsens the economy). By a 32 point margin, they want Congress to approve another stimulus bill. By a 75 point margin, they believe there will be a serious second wave of the Coronavirus. And by a 31 point margin, they believe everyone should be required to wear a face mask in public.

There's Always An Idiot

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Republicans Less Likely To Social Distance Or Wear Masks

The charts above are from the recent Kaiser Family Foundation Poll -- done between May 13th and 18th of a national sample of 1,189 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Just To Make Him Look Bad

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Trump Didn't Drain The Swamp - He Fed It

During his campaign for the presidency in 2016, Trump repeatedly promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington. That was obviously a lie. Instead of draining the swamp, he made it bigger by appointing lobbyists and CEO's to jobs throughout his administration.

Now we learn that he has used the pandemic to feed those new swamp monsters.

Here's how Kurt Bardella describes it in a column in USA Today:

Whatever happened to “drain the swamp” — one of the original promises from then-candidate Donald J. Trump? At the time, it was a powerful rhetorical refrain that harnessed a widespread sentiment that Washington had sold out the American people in favor of special interest influence. It was an effective rallying cry that created a tangible contrast between the outsider insurgency that was Donald Trump juxtaposed with the ultimate insider that was Hillary Clinton. And yet four years later, Trump has become the swampiest of swamp creatures, giving the Joe Biden campaign a very real opening to do to Trump what Trump did to Clinton.

If you’re among the 36.5 million Americans who have filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March, you might be asking yourself, “What happened to all of that money Congress passed to shore up the economy and keep small businesses afloat?” The answer: Too often, it went to donors, supporters, allies and former aides of President Donald J. Trump, aka The Swamp.

Clay Lacy Aviation, a private jet company founded by a Trump campaign and Republican National Committee donor, received $27 million in government funding through the $2 trillion coronavirus package known as the CARES Act.

Phunware, a data firm that is doing work for the Trump re-election campaign, received $2.85 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — the average loan distributed through this program is $206,000.

CloudCommerce, a company whose largest shareholder is Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, received nearly a million dollars through the PPP.

Ronald Gidwitz is the president’s ambassador to Belgium and was the Trump campaign finance chair for Illinois. Gidwitz’s family is the largest shareholder in a company called Continental Materials Corp. They were approved for a $5.5 millionPPP loan.

It is worth noting that Congress gave a much-needed "booster shot" to unemployment benefits by allowing some to receive an additional $600 a week, however, the influx of unemployment claims has created a massive backlog, delaying support from reaching millions of Americans. On top of that, emergency relief dollars intended to support small businesses are instead going to publicly traded companies with more than 500 workers. All the while, dozens of lobbyists with direct ties to the Trump administration and Trump campaign are cashing in, receiving tens of thousands of dollars from private companies to leverage their relationships and access to deliver a piece of those taxpayer dollars. . . .

Donald Trump’s bank-heist in broad daylight of coronavirus funding is the manifestation of everything working-class Americans believe is corrupt about Washington. The idea that the elite and privileged get a life boat, while the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves. That access to support and relief is bought and paid for with political contributions, while millions of Americans are being laid off and furloughed. That pay-for-play is the only currency that Donald Trump accepts, and the rest of us are dispensable and disposable.

It’s a campaign narrative that practically writes itself and can put Biden on the right side of the middle/working class voters that Trump and the Republicans are taking for granted with their flagrant corruption. Donald Trump may have won the presidency on the promise to “drain the swamp.” Joe Biden should end it by drowning him in it.

To Mask Or Not To Mask

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Even The Fox News Poll Has Biden With A Big Lead

Friday, May 22, 2020

Misplaced Priorities

Trump Is Losing Support Among Older Voters (65 +)

The two charts above reflect the problem Donald Trump is having among his most loyal 2016 voters -- those age 65 and over. When he squeaked out his win in 2016, he did so with double-digit support from older voters. But if the election was being held today, that would not happen.

The Quinnipiac University Poll (top chart), done between May 14th and 18th, has him trailing Joe Biden by 10 points.

The Economist / YouGov Poll (bottom chart), done between May 17th and 19th, Has him 1 point ahead of Biden.

If either of the polls is true, it would be disastrous for Trump's chances of re-election. Trump trails badly among women and younger voters, and he needs to repeat his large margin among those 65 and older if he's to have any chance of winning.

MAGA Logic

Political Cartoon is by Rex A. Jones at artistrexajones.wix.com/crazycartoons.

Another 2.4 Million Filed For Unemployment Last Week

The Labor Department released its figures for the number of workers filing for unemployment in the week ending on May 16th. It showed that another 2,438,000 workers filed, bringing the total for the last nine weeks to 38,615,000 -- about 24.68% of last months total civilian workforce (156,481,000).

Here is the official announcement from the Labor Department:

In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,438,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 294,000 from 2,981,000 to 2,687,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,042,000, a decrease of 501,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 73,500 from 3,616,500 to 3,543,000.

Trump's Ho

Political Cartoon is by Tom Curry in The Big Bend Gazette.

Clinging To Right-Wing Ideology Won't Help GOP This Year

The Democrats have passed another stimulus bill in the House of Representatives. It does many things -- including providing assistance to state governments and hospitals. But one of the most important things it does is continue the expanded unemployment insurance through the end of this year (it runs out in June without this new money). It also gives citizens another check.

In other words, it concentrates on helping average Americans. That's why the Republicans don't like it.

They still cling to their failed "trickle-down" economic theory. They think helping workers and the poor just makes them lazy. Their idea of helping is to give more to the rich and corporations. They tell us that the extra money for the rich and corporations will trickle down and help everyone. This has never worked. It just makes the rich even richer, and widens the income/wealth gap between the rich and everyone else.

Sadly, even in this pandemic recession, the Republicans still hold to their failed policy. They have cut taxes for the rich and created a $500 billion dollar slush fund for corporations. They think that's enough. They think a generous unemployment plan to help workers just makes them lazy, so they want to end it. They've helped the rich, and think that's all they need to do.

They are wrong. It wasn't the rich that needed help. It was ordinary Americans -- and that has become even more important in this pandemic recession. If we are to save the economy, we must help those citizens that are hurting. Refusing to realize this will not help Republicans hold on to power in the November election.

Here's how Paul Waldman puts it in his column in The Washington Post:

“The worst is behind us,” declared Herbert Hoover in 1930. Two years later, Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency by an 18-point margin, capturing 42 states.

Now, nearly 90 years later, at least some Republicans are starting to worry that President Trump could meet a fate similar to Hoover’s, and drag them down with him.

The latest weekly employment figures, released Thursday, show the magnitude of this economic catastrophe: Another 2.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to 38.6 million over nine weeks. Analysts are now predicting that the unemployment rate will soon top 30 percent. The highest it reached during the Great Depression was 25.6 percent.

And what’s on the minds of the Republican leadership? They’re worried that we’re coddling the unemployed . . . .

But the problem right now is that there aren’t any jobs. It’s not like millions of businesses can’t operate because no one’s answering their help wanted ads. That extra money is keeping people afloat, and is quickly recirculated into the economy, multiplying its beneficial impact.

So this is the position of the president and the Republican leadership in Congress: What we really have to worry about now is that Americans are being lazy, and what we need to get them out there reviving the economy is some good old-fashioned deprivation.

Yet at the same time, there are cracks showing in the GOP’s resistance to further economic rescue. With the election only 5½ months away, some in the party are questioning whether having Democrats demand that the government take action to help struggling Americans while Republicans say no is a brilliant strategy. . . .

There are a few other Republicans in the Senate expressing an interest in an infrastructure bill — which of course they had three years to do and never did, so much so that “Infrastructure Week” became a running joke— while others are looking at some more aid to states, and some want to shore up the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to businesses.

What all these ideas have in common, however, is that they don’t provide direct assistance to people, either in the form of extended unemployment benefits or another round of cash payments. And this shows how Republicans are struggling to reconcile their conservative ideology with the economic and political demands of this unprecedented crisis.

Unlike Democrats, who are comfortable with the kind of aggressive government action required to alleviate this depression, Republicans naturally recoil from the kinds of steps that may be required to prevent them from being wiped out in November.

So here’s the situation. In one corner you have Trump, who is opposing further rescue packages not because of firm ideological convictions but because he’s gripped by magical thinking. He’s possessed of the hope that just as there is a miracle cure for the coronavirus, with enough cheerleading (and a heavy dose of blame-shifting), the economy will come roaring back in a few months.

In another corner you have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who remains adamantly opposed to any further rescue bills. His opposition is a little hard to explain, though he may have concluded that Trump will lose, so Republicans might as well hold the economy down so President Biden can suffer the consequences.

Then you have these other Republicans, many of whom are up for reelection, beginning to come around to the idea that doing something — even if it’s not in line with their small-government principles — is far better than doing nothing, if the latter means defeat in November.

We don’t know yet whether they can persuade Trump and McConnell that inaction means disaster. But with each passing day, our economic hole grows deeper and the likelihood of us crawling our way out by the end of the year grows smaller.

At some point Republicans may all come to understand the position it has put them in. But by then it may be too late.