Thursday, August 06, 2020
The charts above reflect the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 2nd and 4th of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3.3 point margin of error.
Donald Trump would like for Americans to believe that a vaccine for COVID-19 is nearly ready for the market -- and could even arrive before Election Day.
The public doesn't believe that anymore than they believe his other public health pronouncements. About 63% don't believe it will come before the end of this year, and 50% believe it will be at least the summer of 2021 before a vaccine is available.
The public is also worried about the safety of a vaccine that is "fast-tracked". About 73% say they are concerned -- 35% very concerned and 38% somewhat concerned. Only 6% say they are not concerned at all.
Trump is still wanting states to ignore the virus and reopen their economies. The public doesn't like that idea either, with 60% saying it's not safe to reopen without a vaccine. Only 22% say it is safe before a vaccine is available.
And only 40% right now say they will take the vaccine once it is available, while 33% say they are unsure and 27% say they would not get vaccinated.
The chart above reflects the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 2nd and 4th of a national sample of 1,229 registered voters, with a 3.3 point margin of error.
The following op-ed is by Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. She discusses Trump's ignorance/racism in his recent interview at Axios on HBO -- where he once again claimed to have done more for Blacks than any other president (and questioned the Civil Rights Act).
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is widely viewed as one of the most consequential laws in the history of the republic. After overcoming filibuster attempts by white supremacists (I highly recommend Clay Risen’s magnificent telling of the law’s passage in “Bill of the Century"), it transformed society, integrating everything from schools to amusement parks to labor unions; banishing the “whites only” signs that Blacks had to endure since Reconstruction; requiring any entity receiving government funds to adhere to nondiscrimination requirements; and setting up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the potential for civil suits. Even today, it continues to extend the blessings of equality in public accommodations, employment and education to all Americans — including the LGBTQ community, as Justice Neil M. Gorsuch recently wrote for the Supreme Court.
Yet when asked about the law in the disastrous interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan, President Trump responded: “How has it worked out? If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did? How has it worked out?” When Swan followed up by asking if he thought the Civil Rights Act was a mistake, Trump deflected.
The most charitable explanation for this exchange is that nearly four years into his presidency, Trump remains almost entirely ignorant about U.S. history and law. He quite possibly has no idea or only a vague idea of what the Civil Rights Act is (let alone the 1965 Voting Rights Act or the 1968 Fair Housing Act). His vast ego combined with laziness and lack of intellectual curiosity prevent him from learning even basic information any informed citizen, let alone the president, should have mastered by high school.
The other possibility — consistent with his history of alleged housing discrimination in the 1970s; his call for the execution of the Central Park Five (and refusal to recognize their innocence after DNA evidence exonerated them); his resorting to birtherism; his comment about “very fine people” at violent rallies in Charlottesville, Va.; his remark about “shithole” countries; his defense of Confederate statues and of military bases named for traitorous generals; and his recent appeal to white fear of “low income” neighbors — is that he is a racist seeking to appeal to a racist base. From start to finish (I hope we are nearly at the end), this has been a president driven and defined by white supremacy and convinced the way to bind himself to supporters is by appeal to white grievance.
We can debate whether Trump is sui generis or simply the inevitable result of the “Southern strategy” (and its progeny in the “war on drugs” and mass incarceration). What is certain, however, is that Trump at the very least exposed the ugly underbelly of a segment of his party and of the country.
Like all authoritarian-minded leaders, Trump relies on disputing facts and warping history to cover himself in glory and avoid accountability for his serial disasters. In his telling, maybe only Abraham Lincoln was better for Blacks; the struggle for civil rights is airbrushed out of history; and he stands as the White savior of Black America. That is the monster the Republican Party lifted into office. He is the president whom elected GOP officials and intellectually corrupt pundits still support. If we are to recover our country and even our history, he must be banished to the dustbin of history.
Wednesday, August 05, 2020
The chart above is from the NBC News / SurveyMonkey Poll -- done between July 27th and August 2nd of a national sample of 47,190 adults, with a 1 point margin of error.
It shows that 51% of the public trusts Dr. Fauci, and 55% trusts the Center for Disease Control to give them information about the Coronavirus pandemic. But far fewer trust Donald Trump -- only 31%.
About 69% of Republicans said they trusted Trump, and that skewed the survey. Only 13% of Independents and 2% of Democrats trust him.
Trump is not helping himself with his one-person press conferences on the virus, because most Americans simply don't believe anything he says about that.
The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. They questioned 2,576 likely voters in Texas between July 24th and August 2nd, and their survey had a 2 point margin of error.
The poll showed Joe Biden with a 1 point lead over Donald Trump (47% to 46%). That means the two are virtually tied in the state right now. This is why Biden recently beefed up his number of campaign workers in Texas.
This country is currently in a recession (with the second quarter GDP shrinking by 9.5%). And making matters worse, the enhanced unemployment benefits have run out. This will make the recession even worse as many fall into poverty and face eviction from their homes.
This was foreseeable. The House Democrats passed a stimulus months ago. Sadly, the Republican Senate has not debated or voted on the House bill -- and their intra-party squabbling has prevented them from coming up with a bill of their own (which could be a starting point for negotiations with the Democrats).
Why won't the Republicans act to help American workers and keep the economy from sinking into an even deeper recession. Because they don't care about workers. They are quick to funnel more money to the rich and corporations, but not to help workers (who need help much more than the rich and corporations).
Here is some of what Paul Krugman (winner of the Nobel Prize in economics) says about the GOP intransigence in his New York Times column:
Above all, Republicans seem obsessed with the idea that unemployment benefits are making workers lazy and unwilling to accept jobs.
This would be a bizarre claim even if unemployment benefits really were reducing the incentive to seek work. After all, there are more than 30 million workers receiving benefits, but only five million job openings. No matter how harshly you treat the unemployed, they can’t take jobs that don’t exist.
It’s almost a secondary concern to note that there’s almost no evidence that unemployment benefits are, in fact, discouraging workers from taking jobs. Multiple studies find no significant incentive effect.
And unemployment benefits didn’t prevent the U.S. from adding seven million jobs, most of them for low-wage workers — that is, precisely the workers often receiving more in unemployment than from their normal jobs — during the abortive spring recovery.
By the way, a great majority of economists believe that unemployment benefits have helped sustain the economy as a whole, by supporting consumer spending.
So the attack on unemployment aid is rooted in deep ignorance. But there’s also a strong element of malice.
Republicans have a long history of suggesting that the jobless are moral failures — that they’d rather sit home watching TV than work. And the Trump years have been marked by a relentless assault on programs that help the less fortunate, from Obamacare to food stamps.
One indicator of G.O.P. disingenuousness is the sudden re-emergence of “deficit hawks” claiming that helping the unemployed will add too much to the national debt. I use the scare quotes because as far as I can tell not one of the politicians claiming that we can’t afford to help the unemployed raised any objections to Donald Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
Nor was disdain for the unlucky the only reason the G.O.P. didn’t want to help Americans in need. The recent Vanity Fair report about why we don’t have a national testing strategy fits with a lot of evidence that Republicans spent months believing that Covid-19 was a blue-state problem, not relevant to people they cared about. By the time they realized that the pandemic was exploding in the Sun Belt, it was too late to avoid disaster.
At this point, then, it’s hard to see how we avoid another gratuitous catastrophe. The fecklessness of the Trump administration and its allies means that millions of Americans will soon be in dire financial straits.
Tuesday, August 04, 2020
The charts above are from the Gallup Poll -- done between July 13th and 27th of a national sample of 1,028 parents, with a 6 point margin of error.
As the school year gets nearer, more parents don't want their children exposed to the virus for in-person schooling.
The chart above reflects the results of the Your Voice Ohio / Bliss Institute Poll -- done between June 24th and July 15th of 1,037 registered voters in Ohio, with a 3 point margin of error.
In 2016, Donald Trump won Ohio by an 8 point margin. He was expecting to carry the state again. But it looks like he may actually lose there. This poll shows Joe Biden currently enjoys a 4 point lead in Ohio. Like Texas, Ohio is a red state that Trump is going to have to fight for.
NOTE -- No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.
There are many who believe he will spring an "October Surprise" on the public. What could it be? Many are now thinking it could be a vaccine for the Coronavirus -- rushed to market before it can be shown to be safe or effective.
He would then try to pose as the "savior" of the American people by taking credit for the vaccine. The problem is that scientist or health official thinks a vaccine can be put on the market that fast. It would take months longer just to prove, with testing, that the vaccine is both safe and effective. No health official thinks a vaccine is possible before early in 2021 -- and maybe longer.
And a vaccine that's rushed to market before it's been properly tested could be very dangerous. It could have side effects that would harm many people, or it could be ineffective -- causing people to think they are safe and putting themselves in danger of infection by discontinuing safety measures.
That won't stop Trump though. He's already shown that he does not care about the heal of American citizens. We know that by his atrocious mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic so far. He only cares about one thing -- his re-election. Because of this, it's entirely believable that Trump would rush an unproven vaccine to market.
Here's a part of how Greg Sargent reports this in The Washington Post:
We are now learning, via an extraordinary new report in the New York Times, that many scientists fear that Trump will attempt the ultimate “October surprise.” These scientists — which include some inside the government — worry that Trump will thoroughly corrupt the process designed to ensure the safety and efficacy of any new vaccine against the coronavirus.
It is the perfect Trumpian paradox that his long record of just this sort of corruption underscores why this scenario should be entertained with deadly seriousness — but also why it will likely fail.
As the Times reports, “experts inside and outside the government” fear that “the White House will push the Food and Drug Administration to overlook insufficient data and give at least limited emergency approval to a vaccine, perhaps for use by specific groups like front-line health care workers, before the vote on Nov. 3.”
Importantly, this is not just speculative. These insiders already see concrete grounds for fearing this is underway, and some are actively working to maintain the integrity of the process. Among the revelations:
- As part of the exhaustive process of approving vaccines, an independent advisory panel of outside experts is supposed to weigh in, and the FDA generally follows their advice. But under questioning from the Times, a senior administration official refused to confirm that any emergency approval will be vetted through that panel.
- One member of that FDA advisory committee says on the record that many people inside the process “are very nervous” about whether the administration will prematurely say a vaccine has been tested and is safe, and then “roll it out.” This expert says these people are right to be worried about this: “They should be.”
- Trump told supporters on Sunday night that he expects a vaccine to be available “far ahead of schedule” and “very, very early before the end of the year.” That’s at odds with his own health experts’ claim that the most realistic expectation is early 2021, and Trump also said the FDA has “been great, at my instruction.” His intentions are clear: At minimum, he will try to push up limited approval so it happens before the election, and then take credit for making that happen.
- Trump has explicitly tied the timing of the vaccine to his reelection needs. When he announced a campaign shake-up, he also said he’ll win in part because vaccines will “soon be on the way.”
- Jared Kushner is a “regular participant in meetings" overseeing the vaccine effort, the Times reports. Given the role of Trump’s son-in-law in steering reelection strategy and his lack of expertise, it’s hard to imagine Kushner is there to ensure quality control.
- People familiar with those conversations tell the Times that White House officials regularly ask about getting a vaccine by October. Trump’s campaign advisers privately refer to a vaccine before the election as “the holy grail.”
Monday, August 03, 2020
When President Obama protected DACA individuals with an executive order, Republicans (including Trump) lost their minds. They filed suit in federal court, saying the president could not change immigration law with an executive order. But now Trump wants to do that. He wants to substantially reform immigration by issuing an executive order, and the primary goal he has is to institute a merit-based immigration. In a roundtable discussion in Florida on July 31st, he said:
"We’re also doing a full immigration plan. We’re going to take care of a lot things that, for 25 years, they’ve been trying to get an immigration plan.
We’re going to be doing merit-based immigration. I’m sure you’d be happy to hear that. But it’s merit-based. It’s very powerfully merit-based."I doubt he can legally reform immigration by executive order, but who knows with the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Anyway, it would be a terrible idea if he could.
One of the arguments against immigration that Trump (and his Republican cohorts) use is that immigration takes jobs away from American citizens.
It's not true. Currently, many immigrants don't have the education or skills to take good and high-paying jobs away from citizens. Instead, they take the dirty, dangerous, and low-paying jobs that American citizens don't want. A merit-based immigration plan would change that. It would allow only immigrants to enter that had the education or skills to take the high-paying jobs now held by Americans.
The corporations would love it, because they could replace the highly-paid American workers with foreigners who would work for lower wages (just so they could get into the country). And any American worker that wanted to keep his job would have to agree to a lower wage, or be replaced by a foreign worker who'll take that lower wage.
The middle class in this country is already shrinking. Merit-based immigration will just shrink it further by putting Americans out-of-work and lowering wages.
Republicans only care about helping corporations squeeze a few more dollars out of abusing their workers. They care nothing about those workers. Merit-based immigration will help the corporations and hurt the workers. It is a terrible idea.
These surveys were conducted on behalf of CBS News by YouGov between July 28-31, 2020. They are based on representative samples of 1,131 registered voters in Georgia and 1,152 in North Carolina. Margins of error for registered voters are +/- 3.4 points in Georgia and +/- 3.8 points in North Carolina.
But in conjunction with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he has done something that is far worse than his other crimes. It is a crime against humanity, and demands his removal from office -- and his arrest and conviction after that.
Here's just a part of an op-ed in the Washington Monthly by David Atkins about the atrocious crime:
Last month, I wrote that president Trump had admitted to a crime against humanity. It was true. The president had openly bragged about deliberately slowing down COVID-19 testing for political gain, thereby causing the deaths of untold numbers of Americans to make himself look better. It is a monstrous crime for which he has not yet been held accountable.
But a new report from implicates both Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner of an unspeakable horror orders of magnitude greater. Instead of implementing a comprehensive and aggressive national testing plan as originally recommended by the White House coronavirus task force, Kushner scuttled it. The president and his son-in-law were instead content to allow tens of thousands of Americans die as long as they were mostly people of color, and hailing from Democratic states and counties. Not only that, they saw it as a political opportunity to both cull the numbers of opposing voters and lay blame on Democratic governors at the same time. . . .
If this is true–and there is very little reason to doubt its veracity, despite the White House press secretary’s denials–it would constitute perhaps the greatest crime against humanity of any president in American history. Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears was more deliberately vicious and murderous; George W. Bush’s immoral war of choice in Iraq killed more people overall.
But no American president has ever betrayed his oath of office more profoundly than in deliberately allowing the deaths of more than 150,000 of his own fellow citizens and counting for partisan political gain.
We even lack the vocabulary to describe it. “Gross negligence” doesn’t reach the level of the crime. “Murder” is lurid, but frankly not comprehensive enough in scope to describe the death of 150,000. “Treason” comes to mind when considering that the President of the United States knowingly allowed 150,000 Americans to die because they were mostly his political opponents–but despite his Russia entanglements, there is no direct evidence he did so on behalf of a foreign power.
But there’s another option: “genocide.” The known racial bias of the deaths overlaps with the political bias–black and brown Americans tend to be Democrats and live in Democratic areas, and are disproportionately falling victim to the virus–which in turn would make “genocide” the most compelling way to describe what Trump and Kushner have done.
. Yes, it sounds preposterous. It sounds like the hyperbole of the deeply unserious. But what else can you call it? No word is perfect, but the crime must have a name that fits the enormous scope of its evil. It must describe what actually happened. And what happened is that the president and his son-in-law deliberately allowed 150,000 (and counting) Americans to die of a pandemic, because it would mostly kill off their political opponents. Because it would kill off mostly poor people of color. Because they thought they could gain an upper hand by blaming opposing governors. But they thought it would advantage them politically. It’s like a plot out of a bad action movie with a comic book villain, except it’s real life and those villains are still governing and making decisions. . . .
The majority of Americans, the ones not enthralled by conservative infotainment and the Trump propaganda machine, are suffering from years of collective trauma and looking forward to the November election as a means of escape. One can hardly blame them. Nor would many be to blame for wanting to put this entire era behind us and never look back.
But assuming democracy remains intact and Trump is driven from office, this enormous crime cannot be forgotten. It cannot be ignored. There must be accountability for this genocide, the greatest crime in American history.