Pondering the Pundits

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: A Deadly Lack of Leadership

The president congratulates himself.

This is what it looks like when a crisis of leadership makes its way into our health and our homes, when lack of prudence induces panic, when the president himself cannot be trusted.

The coronavirus pandemic changes the view of Donald Trump’s incompetence, because this time it is intimate. This time what’s at stake isn’t abstract in the mind of the average American, like constitutional law or international relations. It is not far away, like families at the border or Nazis in Charlottesville. It is not about carnal and craven acts that take place between two people or are committed by one against another, like assaulting women or paying them off.

No, this is about all of us and all the things closest to us: our health and safety, our children and parents, our ability to move freely and sleep soundly, our ability to go to work and send our children to school. This is about our ability to participate in America’s two great religious non-religions: politics and sports.

This crisis is transcendent, which makes Trump’s disastrous approach to dealing with it all the more transparent.

Robert Reich: America has no real public health system – coronavirus has a clear run

Trump’s response has been inadequate but the system is rigged anyway. As always, the poor will be hit hardest

Dr Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and just about the only official in the Trump administration trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus, said last Thursday: “The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now … It is a failing, let’s admit it.”

While we’re at it, let’s admit something more basic. The system would be failing even under a halfway competent president. The dirty little secret, which will soon become apparent to all, is that there is no real public health system in the United States.

The ad hoc response fashioned late Friday by House Democrats and the White House may help a bit, although it’s skimpy, as I’ll explain.

As the coronavirus outbreak in the US follows the same grim exponential growth path first displayed in Wuhan, China, before herculean measures were put in place to slow its spread there, America is waking up to the fact that it has almost no public capacity to deal with it.

Richard Wolffe: Sanders and Biden were far apart on how to survive the disaster ahead

There is only one issue in front of American voters currently – how to survive the coronavirus crisis

This is no time for presidential debates and wild promises from the candidates. It’s also no time for presidential tweets and wild promises from the incumbent.

The split screen of Sunday’s debate was not between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders; it was between the cold hard reality of a global pandemic and the cold dead arguments about negative TV ads.

There is only one issue in front of American voters, and it is the reason they are emptying supermarket shelves and wondering how they will pay their bills this month and next.

That issue is not about past votes in the Senate, who supported the war in Iraq, or how to unite the Democratic party. It’s about how to survive the health and financial disaster that lies ahead.

On that issue, Biden and Sanders were even further apart than their socially-distanced podiums on CNN’s debate set.

Jamelle Bouie: Bernie Sanders and the Case of the Missing Youth Vote

Apathy is not the problem.

Young voters want Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee for president. But they don’t seem to want to turn out for him, or at least not in the numbers he needs to win. [..]

In state after state, the youngest voters have been staying home even as overall turnout skyrocketed. Youth voting was down 18 percent in New Hampshire, 9 percent in North Carolina and 20 percent in Texas. Obviously, this absence of young people has hindered Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, but it has also undermined his theory of electability and change, which depends on mobilizing huge numbers of people — young people in particular — to execute a “political revolution.”

So what happened here? If young voters like Sanders so much (and they do; 52 percent have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view), why haven’t they turned out for him?

Amanda Marcotte: Republicans are learning that “rugged individualism” won’t stop the coronavirus

Trump’s incompetence is a real problem — but decades of right-wing ideology have also made this crisis worse

So far, most of the panic over the coronavirus outbreak has been driven by the undeniable incompetence of Donald Trump. At every turn, Trump has made this situation worse — even going so far as to try to discourage testing to bamboozle the public and, I suspect, tanking the markets by screwing up an Oval Office address because he’s too vain to wear glasses so he can see well enough to read a teleprompter.

That’s all true. But it’s also important to understand that the larger Republican Party, even without Trump, is also to blame for what looks to be a serious public health crisis. Right-wing ideology, often marketed as “rugged individualism” but perhaps better understood as an aversion to the very concept of a common good, is one major reason why the U.S. government, hamstrung for decades by Republican power, isn’t better equipped to handle a crisis.

This isn’t just a Trump problem. This is a widespread Republican problem. For decades, GOP strategy has been consistent: Whenever they get power, they slash regulations and gut spending, with the goal of making government less effective. This is a deliberate strategy to make the public broadly distrustful of government, and therefore increasingly open to shifting more and more power to the wealthy individuals who control the private sector.