Trump is getting crushed. That’s not the debate. He is being rejected. The only question is whether it is sustained, and who he brings down with him (looks over at Senate ).
A Devastating New Stage of the Pandemic
The U.S. has seen more cases in the past week than in any week since the pandemic began
That holiday has now ended. Yesterday, the U.S. reported 38,672 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily total so far. Ignore any attempt to explain away what is happening: The American coronavirus pandemic is once again at risk of spinning out of control. A new and brutal stage now menaces the Sun Belt states, whose residents face a nearly unbroken chain of outbreaks stretching from South Carolina to California. Across the South and large parts of the West, cases are soaring, hospitalizations are spiking, and a greater portion of tests are coming back positive.
The Sun Belt Spikes Could Be a Disaster for Trump
Democrats were already gaining ground in the region before the pandemic hit.
The new twist in this ongoing reconfiguration is the coronavirus. After weeks in which the outbreak did not hit the southern metropolitan areas nearly as hard as major northern cities, the number of new cases in and around Sun Belt cities is exploding. “If we stay on this current trajectory, then we will overwhelm our hospitals” in July, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, told me yesterday, echoing the public alarms of many mayors across the region.
The trend lines are daunting. From May 23 through Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases more than doubled in the counties centered on Austin (Travis), Houston (Harris), and Dallas; nearly doubled in Fort Worth (Tarrant); and roughly tripled in San Antonio (Bexar). In Maricopa County, Arizona, which comprises Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs, the total number of cases more than quadrupled from 8,151 on May 23 to 34,992 yesterday. In Florida, daily new cases in Miami-Dade County rose from 113 on May 24 to 947 on June 22. The map of cumulative cases maintained by the Georgia Department of Public Health is a soothing shade of blue across most of the state—except for the bright red marking Atlanta and its sizable surrounding suburbs of DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties. Statewide, both Florida and Texas announced more than 5,500 new cases yesterday, a record for each. (California, the largest Sun Belt state, is also suffering a surge, but it is not politically competitive, with Biden enjoying a huge lead there.)
Public-health experts expect the numbers to continue rising for weeks. In Arizona, “we are experiencing a second surge after an early-May plateau,” Joe Gerald, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health, told me. “This surge is much larger than the first one and basically our foot is still on the accelerator. It is going to get worse before it gets better.”
The bad news:
Pence tries to assure GOP senators as coronavirus cases spike
The vice president’s appearance on Capitol Hill comes as many states scramble to contain a surge in infections, while Washington sits back.
Vice President Pence urged GOP senators on Wednesday to focus on “encouraging signs” despite a recent spike in coronavirus cases in numerous states as various localities move swiftly to reopen their economies, according to several people present.
Pence made the remarks in a closed-door lunch with Republican senators on Capitol Hill as lawmakers have begun to express alarm because of rising infection rates in Florida, Arizona, Texas and several other states, some of which are likely to be critical to the outcome of the presidential race in the fall and control of the Senate. On Wednesday, five states hit new highs in coronavirus hospitalizations.
Multiple senators said Pence pointed to positive indicators, including the fact that while infections are rising, the mortality rate is not. That is partly because there is more testing, and younger and healthier people now account for larger shares of those getting tested, Pence said.
This wrongheaded approach is temporary. The exploding virus numbers in TX and AZ, let alone the other troubled states, are going to dominate the news.
How the Virus Won
Invisible outbreaks sprang up everywhere. The United States ignored the warning signs. We analyzed travel patterns, hidden infections and genetic data to show how the epidemic spun out of control.
We traced the hidden spread of the epidemic to explain why the United States failed to stop it.
At every crucial moment, American officials were weeks or months behind the reality of the outbreak. Those delays likely cost tens of thousands of lives.
Two new studies find racial anxiety is the biggest driver of support for Trump
More recent data is bringing the drivers of Trumpism into sharper focus, and what we're seeing is striking: Racial attitudes may play a larger role in opinions toward Trump than once thought. Economic concerns, on the other hand, don't seem to have as much of an impact on support for Trump.
Two recent studies bear this out. In the first, Hamilton College political scientist Philip Klinkner analyzed data from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) survey (a representative sample of 1,200 Americans) to compare feelings and attitudes toward Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He explored how economic opinions, racial attitudes and demographic variables predicted an individual's feelings toward Trump and Clinton. He found that one factor was much stronger than the other:
"My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Donald Trump," he wrote for Vox last week. More to the point, "those who express more resentment toward African Americans, those who think the word 'violent' describes Muslims well, and those who believe President Obama is a Muslim have much more positive views of Trump compared with Clinton," Klinkner found.
Ryan Burge/Religion News service:
Surveys suggest protests, not pandemic, have lost Trump white evangelical support
But the president is likely particularly eyeing two religious groups that have been key to success at the ballot: white evangelicals and white Catholics.
Trump’s support among white Catholics has been eroding for some time. Trump bested Clinton 60%-40% with white Catholics in the 2016 election. By November 2018, 59.7% still intended to vote for him in 2020. But the Data for Progress survey shows that by May 2020, about half the sample of white Catholics — 49.9% — said that they would vote for Trump, while 4 in 10 would pull the lever for Biden.
But the Data for Progress survey shows almost no change from May to June. The widespread protests about race and policing in the United States have not budged Trump’s support among white Catholics.
It’s his standing among white evangelicals that should cause Trump the most concern. In April and May, Trump had a nearly 50 point lead on Biden (69.8% versus 20% in May). That lead has narrowed significantly, and now just 59.1% of white evangelicals said that they intended to vote for Trump while 29.1% would cast a ballot for Biden. That’s a 10 point shift in just one month.
By the way, the public gets this:
Trump Is Struggling to Run Against a White Guy
The president is having a difficult time deploying his traditional culture-war playbook against Biden.
Trump, first by embracing the “birther” movement, and later as the candidate who promised to return the United States to an idealized past, successfully rode these backlashes to the White House. Four years later, Trump is hoping to ride the same wave of anger, fear, and resentment to a second term.
There’s only one problem: His opponent is Joe Biden.
For the past few months, Trump and the conservative propaganda apparatus have struggled to make the old race-and-gender-baiting rhetoric stick to Biden. But voters don’t appear to believe that Biden is an avatar of the “radical left.” They don’t think Biden is going to lock up your manhood in a “testicle lockbox.” They don’t buy that Biden’s platform, which is well to the left of the ticket he joined in 2008, represents a quiet adherence to “Kenyan anti-colonialism.” Part of this is that Biden has embraced popular liberal positions while avoiding the incentive to adopt more controversial or unpopular positions during the primary. But it’s also becoming clear that after 12 years of feasting on white identity politics with a black man and a woman as its preeminent villains, the Republican Party is struggling to run its Obama-era culture-war playbook against an old, moderate white guy.
The president’s sparsely attended rally in Oklahoma on Saturday was a showcase for Trump’s blunted arsenal. He warned that “the unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our beautiful monuments,” to “tear down our statues and punish, cancel, and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control.” He warned that the left wants to “defund and dissolve our police departments.” He fantasized about a “tough hombre” breaking into your home at night, warned that Biden was a “puppet of China,” called the coronavirus the “kung flu,” and complained that Democrats had objected to his characterization of some undocumented immigrants as animals (Trump later claimed he was exclusively referring to MS-13 gang members).
But even Trump didn’t really buy it.
And ICYMI, a great ad running in OH WI PA MI, best of cycle so far:
This one is good too, and illustrates the WSJ editorial below:
The Trump Referendum
He still has no second term message beyond his own grievances.
President Trump may soon need a new nickname for “Sleepy Joe” Biden. How does President-elect sound? On present trend that’s exactly what Mr. Biden will be on Nov. 4, as Mr. Trump heads for what could be an historic repudiation that would take the Republican Senate down with him...
But he wasted his chance to show leadership by turning his daily pandemic pressers into brawls with the bear-baiting press and any politician who didn’t praise him to the skies. Lately he has all but given up even talking about the pandemic when he might offer realism and hope about the road ahead even as the country reopens. His default now is defensive self-congratulation.
Today’s musical interlude, from real America:
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