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Mar 19 2020

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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Waldman: The nation’s governors are succeeding where Trump fails

Right now the country faces a public health crisis, which is producing an economic crisis. While in Washington they’re concentrating mostly on the latter, which they have the power to address with the enormous tools at their disposal (like throwing a trillion or two dollars at the coming recession), it’s at the state level where many of the most critical decisions about public health are being made.

Which has brought new attention to the nation’s governors, particularly those who seem to be rising to the occasion and offering the kind of leadership that isn’t coming from the White House.

You could see it in a spat that erupted when President Trump went after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She said something critical of the president’s response to the coronavirus, leading him (of course) to insult her as a “failed” governor. She responded by listing some of the many actions she has taken to address the crisis. [..]

So while Trump’s response to the crisis has been somewhere between incompetent and catastrophic, governors have for the most part been acting aggressively and winning praise for it. That’s an important political point: While for Trump every appalling press conference, idiotic statement, or self-congratulatory interview produces a flood of criticism from congressional Democrats and commentators like yours truly, at the state level there has been a good degree of bipartisan cooperation and comity.

Michelle Cottle: Well Played, Bernie Sanders

But for the sake of the Democratic Party and the nation, it’s time to step aside and join forces with Joe Biden.

It is time to bid a gentle and grateful farewell to Bernie Sanders’s quest for the presidency.

On Tuesday, even as the coronavirus pandemic roiled the primaries and kept some voters away from the polls, Joe Biden swept to victory in three states — Illinois, Arizona and Florida. The results were not close. In Florida, with 219 delegates on the line, Mr. Biden bested Mr. Sanders by some 40 points, winning every county in the state. In Illinois, with its 155 delegates, his margin of victory topped 20 points.

The harder you look at the math and at the voting coalition that Mr. Biden has put together, the harder it is to see a way for Mr. Sanders to make a comeback. [..]

America is in crisis, with little sense of where this pandemic is headed. Mr. Sanders has an opportunity to show leadership by acknowledging his grim electoral position, putting aside his presidential ambitions and working to help heal the rifts in the Democratic Party.

Mr. Biden, in turn, has a responsibility to respect the power of Mr. Sanders’s movement — its ideas, its energy, its people. Progressives, especially younger voters, have grave doubts about whether Mr. Biden understands, much less can be trusted to address, their concerns and everyday struggles. He must work overtime to win their confidence.

Michael Tomasky: Sanders Is Betting It All on New York. Big Mistake.

Despite its liberal reputation, the state is where insurgent candidacies have come to die.

After a second consecutive week of convincing defeats, Bernie Sanders is facing intense pressure to drop out of the Democratic presidential race. At noon Wednesday, his campaign suspended its Facebook advertising.

The candidate has made no announcement yet, but according to a Politico article Tuesday, his aides were girding for the campaign to continue at least through April 28 — the so-called Acela Primary, featuring multiple Eastern Seaboard states, most notably New York and its 274 delegates. “Sanders’ aides have long thought that he would have a good shot in the Empire State,” read one sentence in particular that caught my eye.

The idea that New York might back Mr. Sanders sounds plausible on its face. New York has a reputation for being liberal, even ultraliberal; Williamsburg and Bushwick, and the young left-leaning voters therein, get a lot more media attention than Utica and Jamestown.

Alas, history does not support the contention. In fact, history smothers it. I know. I covered it.

Adam Gafney: Trump sees the coronavirus as a threat to his self-interest – not to people

Trump has made it clear he sees this pandemic chiefly as a threat to the market and wealthy people’s interests (and relatedly, his political future)

A fictional film about a US president mismanaging the response to a dangerous pandemic would never depict its lead character anywhere near as selfish and bumbling as Donald Trump in the age of Covid-19. He’d be too cartoonish and inept to be believable.

And yet, here we are. At a press conference on Sunday – the same day that state governors declared closures of bars and restaurants and when the Covid-19 death count shot up in Italy – the American president spent more time gushing over the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut, heaping praise on big corporate retailers for keeping Americans well-supplied, and praising Friday’s rise in the stock market (“almost 2,000 points!”) than, say, addressing the health concerns of the public.

Trump’s response goes beyond incompetence – it’s a political abomination. However uncoordinated his administration’s moves have been, Trump has made it clear he sees this pandemic chiefly as a threat to the market and wealthy people’s personal interests (and relatedly, his own political future) – not to the people whose lives it will threaten or claim.

Amanda Marcotte: Bernie needs to step back and let other progressive leaders flourish — especially women

Sanders loses again, but a victory for pro-choice progressive Marie Newman in Illinois shows the path forward

Tuesday night was another round of major losses in the Democratic presidential primary for Sen. Bernie Sanders. Ohio may have delayed its primary, but in the states that still had voting — Florida, Illinois and Arizona — Sanders fell 8-12 percentage points below what he got in the 2016 primary race, despite having four years steadily building his national presence. Former Vice President Joe Biden is now so far ahead in the delegate count so far that for all intents and purposes, it’s impossible for Sanders to catch up.

The Sanders ceiling is real. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for the progressive movement going forward. On the contrary, on the same Tuesday night that likely ended the 2020 Sanders campaign there was a major progressive victory in the Chicago suburbs, as Marie Newman finally ousted Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat who inherited the seat from his father, Bill Lipinski, and has been in the family since 1982. [..]

In the face of his evident primary defeat, therefore, the best thing Sanders can do to prove that this is about “us” and not “me” is to step back as the leader and let others come forward, younger figures who may be better positioned than Sanders to expand the progressive base past that ceiling Sanders keeps hitting. Bernie can do one last, big thing for the progressive movement to which he’s dedicated his life in politics: Let others take over, especially younger women, as we move into the third decade of the 21st century.