Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trump Bet Against Science, Voters Are Now Casting Judgment

Thankfully, Virginia's current level of Covid-19 cases has been remaining fairly stable - perhaps because we have a governor who is a doctor and believes in science - but such is not the case in large swaths of America were the number of cases is soaring, especially in states with science denying GOP governors such as North and South Dakota.  Donald Trump and his sycophants made a deliberate decision back in the spring to put political maneuvering ahead of science and never came up with a coordinated federal plan to control the virus.  Now, despite Trump's claims he  did a great job and would not change much, sane voters are seeing daily evidence that - like almost everything that comes out of Trump's mouth - its all a lie and appear to be seeking revenge against Trump's incompetence and utter lack of concern about American lives.  Even the Wall Street is casting judgment as the stock market drops and the prospect of a Biden presidency is welcomed.  A piece at CNN looks at the situation.  Here are highlights:

The failed bet laid by President Donald Trump to ignore science and prioritize his political goals early in the pandemic, revealed Wednesday in fresh detail by new Jared Kushner tapes, is backfiring in devastating fashion at the critical moment of his reelection bid.

Dark warnings by scientists and new data showing a nationwide explosion in a virus Trump says is going away, crashing stock markets and real-time examples of the White House's delusions about its failed response are consuming [Trump] the President as tens of millions of early voters cast judgment. 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden, leading in the polls with five days of campaigning to go, is accusing the administration of surrendering to the virus and offering to shoulder the nation's grief in the grim months to come. 

The extent to which the country's worsening trajectory has overtaken the final days of the campaign emphasizes how the election has become a personal referendum on Trump and how he mishandled the worst domestic crisis in decades.

"Trump's now back in charge. It's not the doctors," the first son-in-law and White House adviser, Kushner, said back in April in tapes of interviews with Bob Woodward, obtained by CNN.

To win next Tuesday, [Trump] the President will have to convince sufficient Americans to build an Electoral College majority that his populist anti-Washington message, cultural themes, hardline "law and order" rhetoric and claimed expertise in rebuilding the ravaged economy are more important than his botched choices on a pandemic that is getting worse every day. 

While the coronavirus tightened its grip, [Trump] the President tried to change the subject, seizing on violence in Philadelphia after another police shooting to blame Democrats for looting.

But another huge slump on Wall Street showed how the election endgame narrative was slipping out of his control. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of [Trump’s] the President's favorite metrics for his own performance, was off more than 900 points Wednesday. 

[Trump] The President insisted he was doing "fantastically" in polls and was in better shape than four years ago. Trump appears, however, to face a complicated scenario on the electoral map that would require him to run the table on a string of Southern and Western battlegrounds before a final showdown with Biden in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

With more than 75 million votes already cast -- one-third of registered voters -- the chance for a late change to the race is limited, even as [Trump] the President tried to shore up his far Western power base with rallies in Arizona, a state that could help Biden block his route to 270 electoral votes. 

The new recordings of Kushner's interviews with Woodward for his book "Rage" show in the most intimate detail yet how [Trump] the President and close aides marginalized government scientists earlier this year in a bid to push economic openings at all cost to help his reelection effort.

In a conversation on April 18, [Trump’s] the President's son-in-law told The Washington Post veteran that Trump was "getting the country back from the doctors" and referred to public health officials as if they were adversaries when he talked of a "negotiated settlement" with them. 

At the point of the recordings, more than 40,000 Americans had died from the virus. More than 227,000 have now perished, the death toll is rising and hospitals in many states risk becoming overwhelmed. 

But Trump told his crowd in Bullhead, Arizona -- as usual packed together with little mask wearing -- that "people are getting better." 

Unlike [Trump] the President, who is in charge of stemming the latest spike in infections, Biden had a briefing from public health experts Wednesday. He emerged to tell Americans that mask wearing was patriotic, not political, but warned that if he is elected president he won't be able to end the pandemic by "flipping a switch." And he drew on his own experience of personal tragedies to console bereaved relatives of Covid-19 victims. 

Health experts inside and outside the government made clear that the state of the pandemic was closer to the status report laid out by Biden than [Trump’s] the President's continuing false appraisals.

 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "We are not in a good place," and predicted that even with a vaccine, it would be "easily" late 2021 or into the following year before Americans experience any degree of normalcy. 

Trump's push for state openings unleashed a viral surge across the Sun Belt in the summer and the US never returned to the lower levels of infections experienced across the Atlantic. 

Several Trump aides on Wednesday tried to defend Trump's handling of the virus but only served to expose his negligence. Campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN's "New Day" that "we are moving in the right direction" after a White House document boasted Trump had ended the pandemic. 

The White House went on the offensive Wednesday after Taylor -- who had been chief of staff to then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, revealed he had written the 2018 New York Times op-ed and a book critical of Trump. (He was Nielsen's deputy chief of staff when the op-ed was published.)

But in many ways, [Trump’s] the President's decision to ignore the ramifications of sidelining scientists in favor of minimizing the pandemic and concentrating on his own electoral prospects validates Taylor's critique.

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