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Oct 26 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 Krugman: When Libertarianism Goes Bad

Liberty doesn’t mean freedom to infect other people.

A long time ago, in an America far, far away — actually just last spring — many conservatives dismissed Covid-19 as a New York problem. It’s true that in the first few months of the pandemic, the New York area, the port of entry for many infected visitors from Europe, was hit very hard. But the focus on New York also played into right-wing “American carnage” narratives about the evils of densely populated, diverse cities. Rural white states imagined themselves immune. [..]

Even as New York contained its pandemic, however, the coronavirus surged out of control in other parts of the country. There was a deadly summer spike in much of the Sunbelt. And right now the virus is running wild in much of the Midwest; in particular, the most dangerous places in America may be the Dakotas.

Last weekend North Dakota, which is averaging more than 700 new coronavirus cases every day, was down to only 17 available I.C.U. beds. South Dakota now has a terrifying 35 percent positivity rate. Deaths tend to lag behind infections and hospitalizations, but more people are already dying daily in the Dakotas than in New York State, which has 10 times their combined population. And there’s every reason to fear that things will get worse as cold weather forces people indoors and Covid-19 interacts with the flu season.

But why does this keep happening? Why does America keep making the same mistakes?

Donald Trump’s disastrous leadership is, of course, an important factor. But I also blame Ayn Rand — or, more generally, libertarianism gone bad, a misunderstanding of what freedom is all about.

Heather Digby Parton: Will Trump supporters accept defeat? If he loses, it could get really ugly

Trump’s been telling his fans for weeks that there’s no way he can lose. So they’re primed for a vicious backlash

One of the more interesting (and somewhat confounding) polling results in this election cycle has been the belief among members of both parties that Donald Trump will win re-election, regardless of who they’re actually planning to vote for. His approval rating has been stuck in the low 40s throughout his term, which is unprecedented, and he’s been behind in the polls from the beginning of the campaign. Yet most Americans still remain convinced that he is going to win. [..]

How can this be? Well, of course it all depends on what the definition of “win” is.

The explanation for the Democrats and many Independents is obvious. With all of Trump’s talk about mail-in voter fraud and lawsuits and promises of intimidation at the polls, they believe it’s possible that he will pull out all the stops to create or fake a victory regardless of the legitimate electoral outcome. With his statements to the press that he wants the ninth Supreme Court seat filled in order to ensure a victory, it’s not being all that paranoid to assume it could happen.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are living in an alternate universe in which Trump holds a massive lead in all the polls and is heading for a landslide. They believe this because he tells them that every day.

It’s unlikely we will have full results on election night next week, since some states won’t even begin counting mail-in votes until that day, while others allow ballots to arrive some time after Election Day. There’s certainly the possibility of lawsuits if contests are close. Nonetheless, we will probably know the winner within a few days — Trump’s scenario that it could take “months” is hot air — and it’s worth pondering how the two sides will react.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Army of Angry White Men

This group will continue to fight for Trump and he knows that.

This election will test the country’s core.

Who are we? How did we come to this? How did this country elect Donald Trump and does it have the collective constitution to admit the error and reverse it? [..]

Trump is the president of the United States because a majority of white people in this country wanted him to be. Perhaps some supported him despite his obvious flaws, but others undoubtedly saw those flaws as laudable attributes. For the latter, Trump’s racism was welcome in the coven.

Still, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, more white people support Trump than Biden. This is primarily a function of white men who prefer Trump over Biden 57 percent to 36 percent. Most white women support Biden, which is a reversal from the last election, when a plurality voted for Trump.

The white racist, sexist, xenophobic patriarchy and all those who benefit from or aspire to it are in a battle with the rest of us, for not only the present in this country but also the future of it.

Jennifer Rubin: The media never held Trump responsible for a mass atrocity

This administration has shown reckless indifference to human life on a massive scale.

The mainstream media have fallen short in covering President Trump in many respects — from playing along as if he were sane and coherent, to perpetuating false moral equivalences between Trump and his opponents, to refusing to call his lies “lies.” That’s how we get coverage of the final presidential debate that praises Trump for not interrupting rather than making clear that Trump showed indifference to the deaths of more than 222,000 Americans because of covid-19. Somehow that accurate, verifiable statement is verboten in straight news coverage.

The most extraordinary failure in presidential history — the attempt to disguise and downplay the deaths of more Americans than all the U.S. military deaths from World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined — has not been laid at Trump’s feet. Put aside criminal law for now; this is a moral crime of unimaginable dimensions that should never be erased from the records of Trump and his enablers. What’s more, it is still going on. [..]

We talk about presidential blunders that lead to unnecessary wars, holding them politically and morally account for massive loss of life. Yet in peacetime, we do not apply that same exacting judgment to Trump. You would think the death of thousands upon thousands of Americans would top every story and be addressed in every interview with an administration figure and fellow Republicans. The failure to hold Trump accountable for one of the worst instances of civilian mass deaths in U.S. history stands among the greatest failures of American media.