Friday, May 22, 2020

Last Call For Tales From The Trump Depression, Con't

The Trump cult will never accept a Joe Biden win, and when they say they will settle 2020 with the bullet box if the ballot box doesn't work, it's time to believe them, especially in states like Michigan that will decide the election. Politico's Tim Alberta caught up with the cultists yesterday as the Trump Show resumed at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti.

In conversation after conversation with voters here Thursday, Trump supporters repeatedly—and completely unsolicited—say Democrats are attempting to steal the election from the president. 
“I lived in Chicago for six years. We know how Mayor Daley stuffed the ballot box for JFK against Nixon.” says Keith Brudder, a 72-year-old landscape contractor from the nearby town of Willis. “That’s what the Democrats in charge here want to do, with this mail-in voting. There’s just no way to have accountability for those ballots like you do when people come to the voting booth.” 
“In Wayne County alone, more than a million people who weren’t registered to vote in 2018 got to vote anyway, and that’s how Whitmer and these Democrats got elected,” says Matthew Shepard, a retired career military man who drove his hulking, orange paramilitary-style truck 90 minutes south from Shiawassee County to cheer on the president. (He offered no documentation for those statistics.) “That’s the only way Trump loses this election—this mail voting scam.”
Deborah Fuqua-Frey, who sits on the board of the Washtenaw County GOP and helped organize the pro-Trump rally here, says the United Auto Workers union “controls the outcome of the 2020 election.” And that terrifies her. “Because nobody knows how to stuff the ballot box like the UAW,” she says. “Trust me, I was a third-generation UAW member, and I know they’re always looking for new ways to cheat. That’s what they’re going to do with the mail system.” 
According to Fuqua-Frey, this would represent a sinister final attempt to remove Trump from office, after the failure of the Mueller Report, the Ukraine-inspired impeachment process, and, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. 
“Isn’t it kind of convenient that as soon as impeachment failed, we’ve suddenly got this virus?” she asks, alternating between puffs on a Winston and her inhaler. “This was domestic political terrorism from the Democratic Party. They’ve got all these numbers inflated, especially the deaths. Nobody can explain why nobody’s dying from other causes anymore. Most of these people who are ‘dying from coronavirus’ aren’t actually dying from coronavirus. It’s domestic political terrorism. But Trump will be fine. His voters know better. We aren’t falling for it.”
And so it went Thursday in Ypsilanti. With the president paying special attention to Michigan at a time of unprecedented turmoil in the state, touring a region rich in symbolic value for his reelection campaign, nearly every conversation with his die-hard supporters detoured into the dark and conspiratorial. Sure, there was talk outside the Ford plant of jobs created and regulations slashed and veterans taken care of. But much of that talk was perfunctory, a sort of rhetorical appetizer before digging into the red-blood entrees the president has chosen to serve up for his base. 
Having obsessively covered the Republican Party from the ground-up over the past decade, from the twilight of George W. Bush through the first term of Donald Trump, I thought I’d seen it all, heard it all. But this was new. The warp speed at which alarms about voter fraud—and specifically, voting by mail—were synchronized from the president’s Twitter feed to the lips of his voters guarantees a volatile five months ahead, and a potentially volcanic period thereafter. 
“This was the most exciting day of my life. Okay, the second-most exciting day, after the birth of my grandkids,” says Paula Stone, an Ypsilanti resident, after the president’s motorcade passes. Tonight, Stone says, like every other night, she’ll watch Fox News and click around the internet and social media for information about the president. But she’s not particularly interested in the highlights of his speech inside the Ford plant. 
“I want to know more about this vote-by-mail fraud,” she says. “I’ve heard some shady shit is going down.”

There is no way these frothing lunatics will accept a Biden win or a Trump loss. These people are scared, angry, and facing an economic depression unlike anything before it, we all are.

But there's a very good chance that when these cultists realize their God-emperor is going to lose, they will lash out in unprecedented violence.  It's only going to take one spark, one wrong call by law enforcement or by a mob worked up to bloody rage and a lot of people will get hurt.

And like COVID-19, that bloodshed will spread like wildfire around the nation.

Trump will relish it, of course.

That's the real problem.

Alabama Goes Viral

Don't look now, but new COVID-19 cases in Montgomery, Alabama this month are starting to overwhelm available ICU beds.

Montgomery hospitals are starting to run low on intensive care beds, said Dr. David Thrasher, a critical care doctor at Montgomery Pulmonary Consultants. The four counties making up the Montgomery metro area have seen a combined 721 new confirmed coronavirus cases since May 4 – an increase of 110 percent.

Mayor Steven Reed said the virus is straining the city’s hospitals.

“I’m concerned about the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reed said. “We are seeing an increase in the number of people who test positive. Occupancy in our Intensive Care Units has reached a critical point and Montgomery hospital officials are now referring some cases to Birmingham.”

Beyond the numbers, Thrasher also has concerns about the faces he’s seeing. About 40 percent of his patients have been between the ages of 25 and 40. And although older people are more likely to die from the virus, he said he has treated many younger patients, including a couple hairstylists. Some of his younger patients haven’t survived.

Since May 1, 27 people have died of the virus across the Montgomery metro.

Last week, a couple pastors reached out to Thrasher for advice on whether to hold church services. He advised against it, since religious services have proved to be hot spots for coronavirus transmission. The ensuing exchange wound up on Facebook, where it has been shared many times.

“There is no way for me not to cry when I see and treat folks that I work with and are giving their all to help others,” Thrasher wrote. “Many are on vents. Just intubated a 26-year-old male who will probably die. It is hitting Blacks worse but nobody is safe. We have to have an economic engine, but we have to insist for people to use good sense.”
The economy must reopen, he said, but that doesn’t mean going all the way back to normal.

“I’m not for shutting down the city,” Thrasher told on Tuesday afternoon. “But I want people to be careful. Wear a mask in public. Wash your hands. Don’t go into groups unless you have to.

Expect this to be replayed throughout hundreds of smaller US cities in the weeks ahead. Everyone who thought the pandemic was "over" is about to get a nasty dose of reality...and maybe a nasty dose of a potentially lethal virus.

US cases are rising still, and we're "reopening" the states anyway.

Dallas, Houston, Southeast Florida’s Gold Coast, the entire state of Alabama and several other places in the South that have been rapidly reopening their economies are in danger of a second wave of coronavirus infections over the next four weeks, according to a research team that uses cellphone data to track social mobility and forecast the trajectory of the pandemic.

The model, developed by ­PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and updated Wednesday with new data, suggests that most communities in the United States should be able to avoid a second spike in the near term if residents are careful to maintain social distancing even as businesses open up and restrictions are eased.

But the risk for resurgence is high in some parts of the country, especially in places where cases are already rising fast, including the counties of Crawford, Iowa; Colfax, Neb.; and Texas, Okla. and the city of Richmond. Since May 3, Crawford County’s caseload has risen by 750 percent, and Colfax County’s has increased 1,390 percent, according to state data compiled by The Washington Post.

This is an anxious moment for the nation as people emerge from shutdowns and communities try to reinvigorate economic activity. Scientists and public health experts are monitoring rates of infections and hospitalizations, but it is difficult to forecast during this transitional period because models struggle to capture how people actually behave, including adherence to social distancing and hand-washing practices.

There are preliminary signs, however, that hot spots — new clusters of coronavirus spread — could soon flare across parts of the South and Midwest.

“As communities reopen, we’re starting to detect evidence of resurgence in cases in places that have overreached a bit,” said David Rubin, director of PolicyLab.

It's going to be a disaster within weeks at this point, and given the number of states where lawsuits are being actively pursued to prevent shelter-at-home orders, the virus is going to be impossible to contain.

When governors try to roll back openings, it's going to be a nightmare.

There absolutely will be armed protests in some of those states, lawsuits in others, and the simple act of wearing a mask, which would have helped contain the virus months ago, is such a political act now that enough of the country will refuse to do it that it makes trying to contain it pointless.

We're getting close to a major breaking point in the next six weeks or so.  It's going to be worst-case scenario at this juncture.

Don't expect Trump to lift a finger when that happens, either.

Biden, His Time, Con't

CNN's Harry Enten reminds us that despite Biden's good polling in May, Donald Trump is still the incumbent, and leading in May is a big difference from winning in November, as 2016 stands out as the big flashing neon sign that Democrats always have to fight as if they are losing.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is ahead of President Donald Trump in the presidential race. He leads in the swing states and is up somewhere between 5 and 8 points nationally, depending on what methodology you use. 
Yet it's important to point out that even if the polls are an accurate representation of the current state of the race, presidential races can shift a lot during the final six months of the campaign. 
Biden may be favored, but this race is far from over.  
Take a look at every presidential election involving an incumbent since 1940. It's 13 races in total and gives us a good baseline from which to work. 
There's been a 11-point difference between an average of May polls and the result in the average election. That would be more than enough to change the course of the 2020 race, if the shift occurred in Trump's direction. 
Now some of these races (most notably 1964) had polling leaders with large margins that have never occurred in any modern presidential election and were bound to shrink during the course of the campaign. If we look at the only races where the polling leader had a 25-point advantage or less, the average difference between the polls at this point and the result has still been a fairly high 8 points. 
If the 2020 race moved 8 points in Trump's direction, he'd win. 
You could even concentrate on just the most recent incumbent elections of 2004 and 2012. Like 2020, opinions of the incumbents (George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2012) were hardened early. The final national results in those races differed from the May polls by 3 and 4 points. 
If the 2020 race moved 3 to 4 points in Trump's direction, he might not win the popular vote, but he would have a pretty good shot of winning the electoral college. 
Interestingly, there have been three presidents who have lost since 1940 (Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992). Two of them (Carter and Bush) were actually ahead in the polls at this point. Carter was up by 6 points and lost by 10 points nationally. Bush was up by 8 points over Bill Clinton and 6 points over Ross Perot, and Clinton would defeat Bush by 6 points and Perot by 24 points. Meanwhile, Harry Truman and George W. Bush were trailing by small margins in the May 1948 and 2004 polls respectively, and both would go on to win by small margins. 
Of course, just because something is possible doesn't mean it's likely. 
Even if we saw a swing in the 2020 race, there's no guarantee it would go in Trump's favor. In the 13 races since 1940, seven times the incumbent did better than he was polling now. The other six times, the challenger did better. Just based on that data alone, it's really no better than a 50/50 proposition that Trump will do better in the results than he is polling currently.

Trump needs a three point shift to win the electoral college.

That's all he needs.

He can do that through GOP voter suppression alone.

Don't ever let yourself think Biden is winning easily. Don't ever relax. Remember 2016.  Clinton lost that election in the last ten days of the campaign thanks to James Comey.

Don't let up. The second we do, we lose everything.


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