April 2, 2020

Election Update

“[Last] Friday, President Trump’s approval rating hit 45.8 percent — the highest since January 25, 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker. The timing suggests that the increase in his popularity is related to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which most Americans think he is managing well.” FiveThirtyEight

Last Wednesday, Tara Reade, a former aide to Biden, accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1993. SoundCloud

See past issues

From the Left

The left is critical of Trump’s handling of the crisis and urges Biden supporters to take Reade’s allegations seriously.

“Trump’s minimization of the crisis looks different to different areas of the country. It looks most appropriate in places that haven’t recorded many cases of coronavirus infection yet, which happen to be some of the same places that voted for him… In light of that, I’d expect a more impressive Trump bump, especially because there’s a long history of Americans’ rallying around the leader during a national crisis…

“George W. Bush’s approval rating soared above 80 percent after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But in polls released over recent days, Trump’s approval ratings ranged from 45 percent to 50 percent. Yes, those were high for him, but in a period when the country has a motive for giving him the benefit of the doubt, shouldn’t those highs be even higher?”
Frank Bruni, New York Times

“The president has been a one-man disinformation machine: At first, he played down the pandemic (‘We have it totally under control,’ he said on Jan. 22), then he played up dubious cures… President Trump’s biggest blunders were the shameful delays in testing and in mobilizing resources to fight the pandemic, due to his ignoring warnings in January and February from his own intelligence community. That negligence, which one expert has called the worst intelligence failure in U.S. history, cost us the opportunity to contain the pandemic…

“We don’t know exactly how Biden would handle such an unprecedented crisis if he were commander in chief, but his long experience in government and his admirable temperament give me confidence that he would do far better than Trump.”
Max Boot, Washington Post

“Biden [has spoken] repeatedly about the need for additional stimulus beyond what Congress and the White House have already delivered. He didn’t get into details on the show, but his campaign has called for responding to the coronavirus pandemic with student loan forgiveness, a boost to Social Security benefits, fiscal transfers to state and local governments, more comprehensive action on paid sick leave, and taking a look at delivering additional checks to households beyond the $1,200 per person Congress has already enacted...

“Rather than promising people that the country will swiftly get back to normal, in other words, Biden wants the government to roll up its sleeves and prepare to do more… For those who’ve been waiting for Biden to become a more forceful and visible public presence on the coronavirus crisis, he seems to have found his message — listen to experts, tell the truth about what they say, and put in the difficult, granular work to address the crisis.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Regarding the sexual assault allegation, “It is hugely frustrating to see conservatives, who couldn’t give a damn about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, weaponize the accusations against Biden. However, it’s also frustrating to see so many liberals turning a blind eye. The accusations against the former vice-president are serious; why aren’t they being taken seriously?...

“You know who has talked publicly about the importance of taking women seriously? Biden. During the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Biden stood up for Dr Christine Blasey Ford, noting: ‘For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.’ Does this presumption not apply when the guy being accused is a Democrat running for president? It would seem that way.”
Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

Some argue that “The timeline shows that Reade's involvement in the online world of Bernie fandom coincided with her escalation of accusations against Biden. To be clear, this does not mean she's lying. But taken along with the other discrepancies in Reade's accounts — which are also, on their own, not reasons to discredit her — it's enough to make publications take a slow and careful approach to amplifying this story

“Mainstream outlets who are being criticized for not writing about Reade's allegations probably aren't making that choice because they're covering up for Joe Biden. What's more likely driving the silence — so far — is a genuine reluctance to dive into a story that contains such a high number of complicating factors and proves difficult to pin down, especially with the coronavirus emergency dominating the news cycle.”
Amanda Marcotte, Salon

From the Right

The right is encouraged by Trump’s recent polling and accuses the mainstream media of hypocrisy for not covering Reade’s allegations.

The right is encouraged by Trump’s recent polling and accuses the mainstream media of hypocrisy for not covering Reade’s allegations.

“Trump's polling surge is at least in part a rally effect. In a crisis, voters instinctively want and need leaders to react well. However, actions taken by Trump shortly after his substantial pivot has contributed to that impulse and will matter to the endurance of his polling surge...

“His leadership on the historic $2.2 trillion relief bill helped bridge a partisan divide when negotiations broke down between Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi, perhaps mostly by signaling openness to their demands for transparency and accountability on corporate assistance. Trump also made an effort to work with Democratic governors in California and New York, with Democratic Govs. Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo offering praise for his efforts — at times, anyway… Americans seem to like what they're seeing from Trump.”
Edward Morrissey, The Week

“An eternity ago, Trump himself was the issue, a man whose persona repelled many millions, and against whom Everyman Biden, while never inspiring, appeared reassuringly sane. Then came the bug, and the crash, and then the great shutdown, and everything changed. Suddenly, for most people not working in major media, Trump wasn’t the problem anymore. He was one of the many people trying to solve it. His reports to the country weren’t at all like his rallies. There were no applause lines, and there was no applause. Trump appeared more and more sane (with minor digressions), but Biden, in his few public appearances from a TV studio set up in his cellar, seemed vaguer and weaker…

“To make matters worse, Biden was suddenly overmatched by Andrew Cuomo, someone as tough as Trump and more eloquent. The governor of the state with half of the national coronavirus cases emerged suddenly as the Democrats’ leader, pushing Biden even more to the side. Having just secured the nomination, he became a voice of no significance emanating out of his basement.”
Noemie Emery, Washington Examiner

“The point is, Joe Biden is irrelevant right now. He’s just another voice in a chorus of talking heads and pundits on the sidelines. He can criticize what he perceives as a slow response initially, though that isn’t as legitimate of criticism the further out we go in this crisis, as we are discovering. Trump has risen to the occasion and that is a bad thing for Biden’s hopes of winning in November. For example, you may remember that Biden was one of those who criticized Trump when he closed air traffic from China at the end of January. Biden joined the chorus of Trump’s opponents and described that action as racist and xenophobic. It proved to be the single biggest detriment to the spread of the virus to date.”
Karen Townsend, Hot Air

“Mr. Biden’s strategy so far has been to cozy up to Sen. Bernie Sanders and attack Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Both are probably misfires… Promising more policy concessions only ensures Mr. Sanders will keep running… As for Mr. Biden’s attacks on the president’s response to the coronavirus, the presumptive Democratic nominee sounds small and partisan when Americans desire less partisanship and more unity…

“The worst thing to be now is a nattering nabob of negativism. Better to herald from his rec-room studio the good work of Democratic governors and mayors. Americans would get a sense of what Mr. Biden would do by his praise of their actions. Mr. Biden should also focus on working with Democratic legislative leaders to craft the next emergency-relief and economic-recovery legislation… Mr. Biden is the party’s presumptive nominee and the crisis is now.”
Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal

Regarding the sexual assault allegation, “The same media that relayed every unsubstantiated and tawdry rumor during the Kavanaugh confirmation, and that happily transmitted the Michael Avenatti–produced gang-rape smear, is treating Reade’s story quite differently

“Back in 2018, you will remember hearing the [Democratic] party arguing incessantly that ‘due process’ was only a legal right, and that it was inoperative in Kavanaugh’s case because a Supreme Court hearing was nothing more than a ‘job interview.’ Well, so is the presidency. A presidential election is just a job interview with the American voter. There are plenty of other candidates, no doubt, willing to take Biden’s place in the race. In fact, one major candidate is still in the race.”
David Harsanyi, National Review

A libertarian's take

“While the coronavirus pandemic is obviously dominating news coverage, CNN has made plenty of time for Biden. Chris Cillizza is still ranking Biden's potential veep choices, and the network conducted a virtual townhall event with the candidate last Friday. Reade's name didn't come up, and it has never appeared at CNN.com. At NBC, it's the same story: Chuck Todd interviewed Biden but didn't ask about the allegation…

“Reade has already come forward. She has already identified herself and told her story. At this stage in the process of the Kavanaugh accusation's public reveal, the mainstream press was already actively covering it… If the media's rule is this—We're going to proceed extremely cautiously when revisiting unverified sexual misconduct allegations that are several decades [old]—then fine. But that's a new rule, isn't it?”
Robby Soave, Reason

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