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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Charles M. Blow: Democrats Dare to Believe
Donald Trump himself doesn’t seem to think he stands a chance.
Democrats across the country are beginning to believe.
They are daring to believe that the national nightmare could be coming to an end, that Donald Trump will not only not be re-elected, but that Democrats could also flip the Senate.
But, this is a hope, a possibility, that they are refusing to give voice to.
They are still stung by the shock of 2016. They believed the polls that said Hillary Clinton would win. Their faith in all polling remains shaken.
They tell themselves, “Take nothing for granted.” Allowing themselves to even entertain the notion that they are ahead is a threat to enthusiasm. Some may feel like they are behind, even though they aren’t.
But, the fact remains: If Election Day were today and access to the ballot was unencumbered and undisturbed, it is most likely that Joe Biden would become our next president. [..]
This is why Donald Trump is attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the election, doing everything he can to suppress the vote, and refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Because he doesn’t believe that he can win.
As the covid-19 pandemic continues in the United States and many parts of the world, millions of Americans are increasingly impatient for the economy and society to regain a more normal footing. Some “maverick scientists” with “an audience inside the White House,” as The Post reported last week, argue for “allowing the coronavirus to spread freely at ‘natural’ rates among healthy young people while keeping most aspects of the economy up and running.”
Their aim is to achieve “herd immunity,” the concept that if enough people are immune, those without immunity can be protected. Usually this refers to immunity gained from vaccination; the goal of herd immunity has typically not been applied to a disease for which there is no vaccine.
There is a saying that for every complicated problem, a solution exists that is quick, simple — and wrong. That applies here: Pursuing herd immunity is the wrong, dead wrong, solution for the pandemic. Discussing such a reckless approach shouldn’t be necessary, except that it echoes the misguided ideas of neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, who in recent months has become an influential medical adviser to President Trump.
Republicans won’t tell Americans to wear masks to beat Covid, but will say what women and gay people can and cannot do
Trump and many Republicans insist that whether to wear a mask or to go to work during a pandemic should be personal choices. Yet what a woman does with her own body, or whether same-sex couples can marry, should be decided by government.
It’s a tortured, upside-down view of freedom. Yet it’s remarkably prevalent even as the pandemic resurges – America is back up to more than 60,000 new cases a day, the highest rate since July, and numbers continue to rise – and as the Senate considers Trump’s pick for the supreme court.
By contrast, Joe Biden has wisely declared he would do “whatever it takes” to stop the pandemic, including mandating masks and locking down the entire economy if scientists recommend it.
“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” he said.
Biden also wants to protect both abortion and same-sex marriage from government intrusion – in 2012 he memorably declared his support of the latter before even Barack Obama did so.
With her confirmation all but inevitable, how bad will Barrett be? It’s hard to say for sure – but it doesn’t look good
So that’s that then. The confirmation hearings are over and it is almost inevitable that Amy Coney Barrett will be confirmed as a supreme court justice before the November election. Barrett will shift the supreme court from a 5-4 conservative majority to a 6-3 super-majority, a move that could fundamentally reshape America. Goodbye civil rights, hello Gilead.
You’ve got to hand it to the Republicans really; they get things done. They don’t care about being called hypocrites. They don’t care about ignoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish that she not be replaced until after the election. They don’t care about common decency. They don’t care about democracy. They just care about power – and they will do whatever it takes to get it.
So just how bad will Barrett be? Could her confirmation mean the end of Roe v Wade and the federal right to an abortion in America? Is marriage equality in danger? Is it possible she could criminalize birth control? Is America on its way to becoming a Divine Republic? Are we going to look at The Handmaid’s Tale and realize it was a documentary?
The Associated Press reported on Friday: “Nearly 21 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record-shattering avalanche of early votes driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes.” To give you a sense of the magnitude of the number, that is ″15% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even as eight states are not yet reporting their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots.” Needless to say, we may be heading for the largest turnout in decades.
There is legitimate worry about delays, ballot errors and “naked ballots” (ballots returned without the official envelope). However, the results so far suggest that state and local officials, despite Republican efforts to limit and make early voting inconvenient, are managing the deluge. [..]
This does not excuse horrendous lines for early in-person voting in Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina, but voters are remarkably willing to endure these waits (which officials hope to reduce in Georgia, for example, by streamlining the check-in process). The dogged determination to exercise this precious right is downright impressive.