Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Paul Krugman: Trump Tells Coronavirus, ‘I Surrender’
The president plays the climate-denial playbook on a pandemic.
As we head into the final stretch of the election, Covid-19 is on a roll.
Coronavirus cases keep hitting records — among other things, five aides to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive. Hospitalizations, which lag behind cases, are soaring. And deaths, which lag even further behind, are starting to rise, too. Put it this way: Just between now and Election Day, we’re likely to lose almost twice as many Americans to Covid-19 as died on 9/11.
So how is the Trump administration responding? Actually doing anything about the pandemic is apparently off the table. What we’re getting instead is a multilevel public relations strategy: We’re doing a great job. Anyway, there’s nothing anyone can do. And besides, doctors are faking the numbers so they can make more money.
These are, of course, inconsistent stories, and the smearing of health care workers who put their lives on the line to save others is just vile. But none of this should surprise us.
This is, after all, Donald Trump. Also, we’ve seen this combination of denial, declared helplessness and conspiracy theorizing before: Trump and company are following the same strategy on Covid-19 that the right has long followed on climate change.
Ruth Marcus: Amy Coney Barrett joins a Supreme Court that’s largely out of step with the national consensus
In adding a sixth decidedly conservative justice, the court is slipping further out of sync with the national consensus.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett joins a court dangerously out of sync with the country. The nation is roughly evenly divided politically and has been for decades. Yet the court — now even more so with Barrett’s arrival — is dominated not only by Republican-appointed justices but also by muscularly conservative ones. [,,]
The court serves an important counter-majoritarian role in preserving constitutional protections; we don’t want it to slavishly follow the election returns. But neither is it good for the court to be sharply out of step with the national consensus. That’s bad for the institution and bad for the country.
The court’s makeup is determined by the electoral landscape (control of the presidency and the Senate). But its rulings — on gerrymandering, on campaign finance, on voting rights — help define the contours of that landscape.
As Lederman put it, “there’s a strong — and not coincidental — symbiosis between the Republicans’ long-term, successful efforts to shape the Court and the ability of the GOP to secure success in the political arena beyond what its popular support would naturally produce: the entrenchments are mutually reinforcing.”
Mutually reinforcing, and distinctly unhealthy.
Eugene Robinson: The Trump administration’s covid-19 message: You’re on your own. Try not to die.
The White House’s surrender to the pandemic is the most urgent reason to vote Trump out.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic.”
There you have it from President Trump’s chief of staff, announcement of failure, incompetence and cold indifference. You’re on your own, America. Try not to die.
When Mark Meadows said those words on Sunday morning to CNN’s Jake Tapper, he was stating the obvious: The Trump administration never mounted more than a halfhearted attempt to limit the spread of covid-19, and now has simply given up. Daily reporting of new cases has reached an all-time high, yet Trump flies around the country holding superspreader campaign rallies and claiming that we are somehow “rounding the turn” on the virus. What is that even supposed to mean? What could he possibly be talking about, except a turn for the worse?
There are many, many reasons Americans should vote Trump out of the White House, but perhaps the most urgent is his refusal — or perhaps his inability — to face the reality of covid-19. This election is literally a choice between life and death.
Amanda Marcotte: With one week left, Trump team rolls out new campaign message: Let the coronavirus win
Over 225,000 are dead, but Trump is still committed to his March theory that it’s all a hoax aimed at hurting him
In the last week before Election Day, Donald Trump and his team have decided the best possible message on the coronavirus pandemic is the same one Trump wanted back in the spring.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Bob Woodward in a taped conversation on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” [..]
Now, with more than 225,000 people dead and 8.6 million infected, all trends make clear that the situation is getting worse, as the U.S. sets new records in transmission rates, dwarfing earlier peaks in the spring and summer. The virus has torn through the White House, infecting Trump and his wife and his son and dozens of others close to the president, including five aides to Vice President Pence whose diagnoses were announced over the weekend.
Despite this, Trump is still committed to the same lie he rolled out in February: The panic is a hoax perpetuated by Democrats and the media to hurt him.
Dean Obeidallah: Obama gives us one of the best reasons to dump Trump
There are just so many reasons why millions want to defeat Donald Trump this election. And now former President Barack Obama, who was back on the campaign trail last week in support of his former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, has served up one more.
In his speeches, Obama highlighted an array of issues that merit dumping Trump, including Trump’s incompetent response to the deadly pandemic and the questions about his business empire. Obama used humor to drive the point home: “Listen, can you imagine, if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection? You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that?” Obama quipped, “They would have called me ‘Beijing Barry,'” eliciting a wave of car horns beeping in approval at his drive-in rally.
But the moment that deeply resonated with me — and I’m betting with so many others — was when the former President told the crowd that with Biden in the White House, “It won’t be so exhausting.” With Biden and Harris at the helm, said Obama, “you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day.”