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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Robert Reich: Trump can’t shift public attention from coronavirus to the streets of America

The president shows no leadership on public health but wants to be a strongman on law and order. Voters won’t buy it

Donald Trump has said he has “no responsibility” for the coronavirus pandemic, fobbing it off on governors and mayors whose repeated requests for federal help he’s denied. Yet he’s now sending federal troops into cities he says are controlled by the “radical left”, whose mayors and governors don’t want them there

The president wants to shift public attention from the virus, which he can’t “dominate”, to the streets of America, which he and his secret police can.

It’s an especially cynical re-election strategy because coronavirus deaths are rising again. More Americans are on track to be hospitalized with the virus than at any other point. Rates of new infections repeatedly shatter single-day records. As a result, the US economy is backsliding.

Trump has never offered a national strategy for testing, contact tracing and isolating those who have the disease. He has provided no standards for reopening the economy, no plan for national purchasing of critical materials, no definitive policy for helping the unemployed, no clear message about what people and businesses should do. He rushed to reopen without adequate safeguards. [..]4

It’s been an abominable, chaotic mess – which is why the virus is back.

Yet when it comes to assaulting Americans, Trump has been asserting strong leadership. He’s deploying unidentified federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon: attacking them, pulling them into unmarked vans, detaining them without charges.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Nakedly Political Pandemic Pivot

This is how the president operates when he is desperate and in trouble.

After mocking people for wearing masks, refusing to publicly wear one himself and holding rallies and gatherings where social distancing was not required, President Trump has shifted his tone.

He has canceled his convention activities in Jacksonville, Fla., after moving the events from North Carolina when that state’s governor raised public health concerns about such a large indoor gathering.

He has resumed briefings, ostensibly about the coronavirus, after canceling them and trying to move on to other matters, as if the virus would simply vanish if he sufficiently ignored it.

Trump is in real trouble. With the election passing the 100-day-away milestone, he is down in the polls, people don’t trust or approve of his handling of the pandemic and he faces a real uphill battle to re-election.

Apparently, the reality of his dire straits has begun to pierce his inner circle of perpetual affirmation. There is a reality lurking that can’t be lied away. If the election were held today, he wouldn’t win.

Karen Tumulty: What century does Trump think American women are living in?

In what century is President Trump living? Or perhaps the better question: In what century does he believe American women are?

“Housewives” is a word you don’t hear all that often these days. When women are described that way in popular culture — in TV show titles, for instance — it is generally done with a wink to how different their outlandish escapist plotlines are from real life.

This was not the first time that Trump has revealed that his view of daily existence for most women and their families is stuck in the 1950s. In a May interview with the New York Post, he singled out two female journalists who had annoyed him — Weijia Jiang and Paula Reid, both of CBS — and added: “It wasn’t Donna Reed, I can tell you that.”

The president was likely referring to the saintly Mary Bailey character that actress Donna Reed portrayed in the 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Or the wife and mother she played on her sitcom, “The Donna Reed Show,” which ran from 1958 to 1966. Her character, Donna Stone, had a pediatrician for a husband and was always perfectly coifed, wearing an impeccably styled dress as she went about her housework and put dinner on the table. [..]

The opinion column that Trump believed would scare the bejeezus out of “The Suburban Housewives of America” criticized Biden’s housing plan — which is neither a new one (he released it in February) nor all that radical. It builds upon a desegregation rule that was put in place under President Barack Obama and that Trump is moving to repeal.

But then, Trump’s tweet wasn’t really about zoning policy at all. It was about stirring racial fears. His increasingly frequent claims Biden would “destroy the beautiful suburbs” is not a dog whistle. It is an air-raid siren.

Mara Gay: Rich New Yorkers, How’s That Census Coming?

Some neighborhoods where wealthy residents skipped town during the pandemic have among the lowest response rates in the city.

You’re a wealthy New Yorker who fled the city during the coronavirus pandemic, and you haven’t yet filled out the census.

Listen, I understand why you left. We were all scared. Maybe you’re older, or you have a compromised immune system. Maybe you have kids and needed access to schools, reliable child care and a backyard where they can run and play. Maybe you’d just rather be at your house in the Hamptons.

I’m not judging. I’m just asking you to do your civic duty and fill out the census. [..]

The census, which takes place every 10 years, secures vital federal dollars for the city’s public schools and free lunch programs, public housing and senior centers, and transit infrastructure. The poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers already are suffering right now. They will suffer more unless all of us do our part and fill out the census — correctly.

Completing the census generally takes less than 10 minutes. Go to my2020census.gov and follow the steps from there.

It’s the least you can do.

Lawrence Douglas: What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office? Here’s the worst case scenario

The risk of an electoral meltdown is ordinarily rather small, but this November promises a combination of stressors that could lead to epic failure and chaos

What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office? Here’s the worst case scenario
Lawrence Douglas

The risk of an electoral meltdown is ordinarily rather small, but this November promises a combination of stressors that could lead to epic failure and chaos

While working on a book about the peaceful succession of power, I came to realize that built into our system of presidential elections is a Chernobyl-like defect: placed under the right conditions of stress, the system is vulnerable to catastrophic breakdown. The risk of such an electoral meltdown ordinarily is rather small, but this November promises – in a manner last seen in 1876 –to present a combination of stresses that could lead to epic failure.

The problem begins – but does not end – with President Trump, who, in his recent interview with Chris Wallace, once again reminded the nation that losing is not an option. He will reject any election that results in his loss, claiming it to be rigged. Alarming as this may be, Trump alone cannot crash the system. Instead, an unusual constellation of forces – the need to rely heavily on mail-in ballots because of the Covid-19 pandemic; the political divisions in the key swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania; and a hyper-polarized Congress – all work together to turn Trump’s defiance into a crisis of historic proportions.