Monday, July 27, 2020

Last Call For Trump Goes Viral, Con't

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Washington Post asks why Trump seems completely uninterested in getting rid of the virus.  The answer is he thinks it'll kill Black and Latino Americans and Democratic voters for him and make him president.

People close to Trump, many speaking anonymously to share candid discussions and impressions, say the president’s inability to wholly address the crisis is due to his almost pathological unwillingness to admit error; a positive feedback loop of overly rosy assessments and data from advisers and Fox News; and a penchant for magical thinking that prevented him from fully engaging with the pandemic.

In recent weeks, with more than 146,000 Americans now dead from the virus, the White House has attempted to overhaul — or at least rejigger — its approach. The administration has revived news briefings led by Trump himself and presented the president with projections showing how the virus is now decimating Republican states full of Trump voters. Officials have also set up a separate, smaller coronavirus working group led by Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, along with Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

For many, however, the question is why Trump did not adjust sooner, realizing that the path to nearly all of his goals — from an economic recovery to an electoral victory in November — runs directly through a healthy nation in control of the virus.

“The irony is that if he’d just performed with minimal competence and just mouthed words about national unity, he actually could be in a pretty strong position right now, where the economy is reopening, where jobs are coming back,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to former president Barack Obama. “And he just could not do it.”
Many public health experts agree.

“The best thing that we can do to set our economy up for success and rebounding from the last few months is making sure our outbreak is in a good place,” said Caitlin Rivers, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “People are not going to feel comfortable returning to activities in the community — even if it’s allowed from a policy perspective — if they don’t feel the outbreak is under control.”

Some aides and outside advisers have, in fact, tried to stress to Trump and others in his orbit that before he could move on to reopening the economy and getting the country back to work — and life — he needed to grapple with the reality of the virus.

But until recently, the president was largely unreceptive to that message, they said, not fully grasping the magnitude of the pandemic — and overly preoccupied with his own sense of grievance, beginning many conversations casting himself as the blameless victim of the crisis.

In the past couple of weeks, senior advisers began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among “our people” in Republican states, a senior administration official said. They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the official said.

This new approach seemed to resonate, as he hewed closely to pre-scripted remarks in a trio of coronavirus briefings last week.

“This could have been stopped. It could have been stopped quickly and easily. But for some reason, it wasn’t, and we’ll figure out what that reason was,” Trump said Thursday, seemingly to simultaneously acknowledge his predicament while also trying to assign blame elsewhere.

He can't do it. 

He's emotionally and intellectually incapable of doing it. He thought that 1) COVID-19 was an "urban" problem that would punish big cities and spare his voters, and 2) he thought blue state governors like Cuomo and Newsom would get all the blame.

On top of that, he news stories in April that COVID-19 was causing a higher mortality rate among Black and Latino communities was when the virus stopped being a national concern to Republicans in general.  They all thought Trump was right and that COVID-19 was going to become a "poor Ni-CLANG!" disease that was going to be the Democrats' problem in 2020.

They weren't going to lift a finger until it started killing Florida seniors in The Villages.

Now it's too late.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

Two Bible Belt Republicans laid out their plans for what a post-Trump GOP will look like this weekend, and it looks like current GOP plans only without Trump's personal baggage weighing things down, making things much easier for them. Alabama Sen. Tom Cotton is all in on the police fascism angle and the slavery was 100% necessary evil angle, and now Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is laying his marker down on ending abortion.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that he would not support any future nominee for the Supreme Court unless they had publicly stated before their nomination that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established federal protection for abortion, was “wrongly decided.”

“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided,” Hawley said in an interview with The Washington Post. “By explicitly acknowledged, I mean on the record and before they were nominated.”

Hawley added: “I don’t want private assurances from candidates. I don’t want to hear about their personal views, one way or another. I’m not looking for forecasts about how they may vote in the future or predications. I don’t want any of that. I want to see on the record, as part of their record, that they have acknowledged in some forum that Roe v. Wade, as a legal matter, is wrongly decided.”

Hawley’s new marker comes as Republicans are preparing for the possibility that President Trump could name a third member of the court later this year, should there be a vacancy.

And it comes as conservatives nationally are pushing to overhaul the court’s jurisprudence supporting the right of a woman to choose the procedure. But they have recently been disappointed by the court’s rulings on this front — and particularly by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law. It was a dramatic victory for abortion rights activists and a bitter disappointment to conservatives in the first showdown on the issue since Trump’s remake of the court.

This is a win-win for Hawley, if Trump does win he's made his play for why he should be the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary as opposed to Huckleberry Graham, and if Trump loses, he has an instant 2024 platform to run against Biden on.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio just got some bad news for 2022.

Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly may have some bigger moves in his future.

Jolly, the U.S. Rep. for Florida’s 13th Congressional District from 2014 to 2017, indicated on Twitter Sunday morning that he’s considering a run for Florida Governor or the U.S. Senate in 2022.

A tweet from TV personality Lea Black kicked off the idea. Black, a member of the cast of The Real Housewives of Miami, tweeted that she thought Jolly should run for Governor.

And Jolly, about five hours later, replied to her tweet.

“Thank you Lea. Very kind,” he tweeted at 7:05 a.m. “Haven’t ruled it out, but strongly considering the U.S. Senate seat in ’22. Will consider whether either is the right decision and decide about this time next year. For now, I’m loving the time at home with our little one! Many thanks.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will be on the ballot in 2022.

Jolly, a former Republican, switched to be an Independent in 2018, and he indicated elsewhere on Twitter Sunday that he is not likely to return to his old party.

He replied to a comment critical of the GOP by saying, “Fully agree. Not going back.”

Ron DeSantis probably isn't going to be too popular in 2022 the way things are going on the COVID-19 front in the state right now, so that means Jolly can be a real nuisance for the Florida GOP in two years with either a run at Rubio or a run at DeSantis.

We'll see which one the GOP wants more.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Investigators believe a fire that caused extensive damage to state Democratic Party headquarters early on Friday in downtown Phoenix was intentionally set.

Heavy smoke and fire were billowing from the building about 1 a.m. near Central Avenue and Thomas Road as Phoenix firefighters arrived at the scene. They quickly entered the building in search of people and began a fire attack to put out the flames, according to officials.

No one was inside the building at the time, and no injuries were reported.

Phoenix Fire Investigation Task Force and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators were investigating the fire. Phoenix police spokeswoman Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said the incident is being investigated as an arson based on evidence discovered at the scene.

Phoenix police also responded to the fire to assist with security and traffic control in the area, according to Fortune.

More information will be released as it becomes available, according to Fortune.

Felecia Rotellini, chair of the state Democratic Party, learned of the fire at 2 a.m. after the security system went off and staffers made her aware.

“At this point, it’s too soon to tell,” she said, referring to the extent of the damage. “The investigators are scheduled to be at the scene at 8 a.m. so we don’t know anything right now, but we’re very fortunate that everyone is safe and in this virtual environment. We can continue to run the party and do everything we need to do for November. 

The state's Democratic Party convention went on this weekend as planned because it was a mostly virtual event anyway.

Although members of the party were in "complete shock" at the news of the fire, they still managed to go on with the convention with some changes to the agenda, according to the party's communications director, Edder Diaz-Martinez.

The event was already planned to be virtual through Zoom because of COVID-19 with more than 700 people signed up.

Unlike previous meetings, Democratic Party members spent a few minutes speaking about the fire. Thousands of dollars in donations from legislative districts poured in to support the rebuilding of the party's headquarters later in the meeting with the state Democratic Party receiving more than $40,000 in donations.

Steven Slugocki, the county party chair, choked back tears while speaking about the fire that destroyed their office on Friday morning. Investigators say the fire was intentionally set based on the evidence discovered at the scene.

He described the event as a "heinous crime" that was deliberately set by someone who threw a "bomb" into the window.

Although most of the building was damaged, Slugocki pointed out that the Arizona and U.S. flags survived the flames.

"We won't let this deter us like the bird this city is named after — the Phoenix," Slugocki said. "We will rise from the ashes stronger than ever before."

"We have never backed down in the face of adversity. We will rebuild stronger than ever before," he added.

I hope so.  It won't be long now until one of these terrorists manages to cause a massive casualty event.

Then all bets are off as to what happens.

Donald Trump has many weapons at his disposal if he wants to try to cling to power after an election loss, but the general impression that he's a figure of stability is not one of them. He's trying to make that case right now by sending armed provocateurs into major cities. This is stirring the blood of Trump's base, but the rest of the country appears to be reacting with indifference -- Trump's job approval numbers continue to be awful, and his numbers in a matchup with Biden aren't getting better.

If Trump steals this election, it won't be because he wins respect as the strongman in a turbulent nation. It'll be because no one knows how to prevent him from doing legally indefensible things that the majority of Americans don't want done. It'll be because he has the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate, and Rpublican-controlled state legislatures on his side, and no one can force them to acknowledge or ratify Biden victories in key states. Under these circumstances, Trump will continue to be widely hated, and to be seen as having driven the nation into a state of chaos, but he might emerge from the chaos having manipulated his way to a second term, with the help of people much smarter than he is, and nearly as amoral -- William Barr, Mitch McConnell, John Roberts -- along with lockstep loyalists in state governments.

Besides, Trump doesn't really want to be a stabilizing influence. He may think he does, but what he really wants is what he enjoys so much on Fox: endless conflict, with people like him depicted as heroes fighting a never-ending battle against the forces of pure evil. A public that doesn't want that seems prepared to defeat him decisively. Let's hope we succeed.

Assume now that Trump gets all the electoral votes in Florida, Georgia, Texas, NC, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and  Pennsylvania because the state legislatures refuse to certify elections. In fact, if we went solely by state legislatures, the electoral map looks like this:

Click the map to create your own at

Definitely something to keep in mind.


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