Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Trump Didn't CAUSE The Pandemic-- But The Catastrophic Results In The U.S. Are His Fault. He Wants To Blame Biden... And His Brain-Dead Base Is Fine With That


When will Trump turn on DeSantis & other failing GOP governors?

I keep reading about how governors get much better approval ratings for their handling of the pandemic than Trump does. Well, of course! But I always ask myself what about the governors who are actually doing an even worse job than Trump, like Kristi Noem (R-SD), Brian Kemp (R-GA), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Ron DeSantis (FL), Greg Abbott (R-TX), Kim Reynolds (R-IA)... do their constituents even know? I found a poll a couple weeks ago that showed Florida voters were rating DeSantis slightly worse than Trump. But the Washington Post released a new poll by Ipsos yesterday that actually gets into it more comprehensively. "The survey of more than 8,000 adults," reported Scott Clement and Dan Balz, reveals a wide range in the assessments of Republican governors, but not for their Democratic counterparts. The disparities appear to be linked not solely to partisanship, but also to the differing paths the governors have adopted as they seek to balance efforts to contain the spread of the virus while trying to limit the damage to their economies." Hard core Trumpists, Brian Kemp, Greg Abbott and DeSantis had the worst ratings of the governors polled-- which makes sense, since they're all in big states, they're all doing abysmal jobs and the rates of infection are rising dramatically in their states as they jump to reopen faster than it is safe to do. In other states where residents have yet realized governors are now doing bad jobs-- like in Colorado and Ohio-- the governor are still skating.

Balz and Clement noted that "The contrast is widest in two states won by Trump in 2016. In Ohio, 86 percent of adults say they approve of the way Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who moved aggressively to close down his state and has been cautious about lifting the restrictions, has dealt with the crisis. In Georgia, 39 percent of adults approve of the performance of Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who moved less swiftly than some other governors to mitigate the spread and has been in the forefront of reopening the economy there."
Overall, 71 percent of Americans approve of their governors’ performances, with majority approval from people in both major parties. A much smaller 43 percent approve of Trump’s efforts.

...In the two largest states with Democratic governors, Gov. Gavin Newsom (California) and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (New York) receive positive marks from about 8 in 10 adults. Those lofty positive ratings dip significantly in the two largest states with Republican governors. In Florida, 60 percent of adults give Gov. Ron DeSantis positive ratings, while in Texas, 57 percent say they approve of the way Gov. Greg Abbott has handled the pandemic.

Newsom and Cuomo earn positive marks from people in both parties, although their own party is more favorable. For Cuomo, 93 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans approve of the job he has done. For Newsom, the numbers are nearly identical, with 89 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans offering positive assessments.

The lower approval numbers for the governors of Texas and Florida reflect negative assessments from Democrats in their states, according to the Post-Ipsos poll, which was conducted from April 27 to May 4. While at least 8 in 10 Republicans in each of those states say they approve of the performance of their governor, fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats say the same.

Ohio’s DeWine has succeeded more than any large-state governor in attracting broad, bipartisan support. He wins 84 percent approval among his fellow Republicans, along with 90 percent approval among Democrats. That is a dramatic contrast with the president, whose handling of the crisis is approved by 89 percent of Ohio Republicans but only 12 percent of Ohio Democrats.

The range across these states is notable given that the survey simply asked people whether they approved of “your state’s governor.” The respondents were not prompted with either the name of the governor or the governor’s political party.

A 74 percent majority of Americans overall say the United States should keep trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus even if it means keeping many businesses closed, while 25 percent say the country should open up businesses and get the economy going again, even if the result would be more infections.

Across 12 states with sample sizes large enough to break down results, from Pennsylvania to Texas to California, at least 7 in 10 say they prefer focusing on slowing the virus’s spread rather than beginning to reopen businesses.

Yet there is a significant partisan divide on this question. More than 9 in 10 (92 percent) Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they favor closures to deal with the virus, while Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are split almost evenly, with 49 percent saying closures should be the top priority and 50 percent saying businesses should be opened up again.

Abbott, DeSantis and Kemp face blowback for reopening their states on a faster schedule. Nationally, 56 percent of Americans say their state government has handled restrictions on businesses “about right,” with 28 percent saying restrictions have been lifted “too quickly” and 16 percent saying they have not been lifted quickly enough. But nearly half of Floridians (48 percent) and majorities in both Texas (59 percent) and Georgia (65 percent) say their state government is “lifting restrictions too quickly.”

Ratings for Kemp suffer from a difficult combination: overwhelming disapproval among Georgia Democrats, and lukewarm approval among Republicans.

The poll highlights the degree to which Americans have placed trust in their governors, as well as the difficulties for state leaders in navigating the politics of reopening while Americans widely support continuing to restrict businesses.

As a group, governors appear to have steered through those divisions and won substantial approval among those from their rival party. In states led by Democratic governors, 75 percent approve of their handling of the outbreak, including 91 percent of Democratic-leaning residents, as well as 54 percent of those who lean Republican. In Republican-led states, 67 percent of people give positive ratings to governors, including 80 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats.

Two other Democratic governors have earned at least moderate support across parties. In Pennsylvania, 72 percent of adults approve of the performance of Gov. Tom Wolf in dealing with the virus, including about 9 in 10 Democrats, along with about half of Republicans. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper’s overall rating is 74 percent, including more than 9 in 10 of his fellow Democrats and more than half of Republicans.

Partisan divisions are sharper in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has extended stay-at-home orders despite armed protests in the state capital. The Post-Ipsos poll finds 72 percent of residents overall approve of her handling of the outbreak, but the survey sample is not large enough to estimate results by party. A stand-alone Fox News poll in April found 64 percent of registered voters approved of Whitmer’s handling of the situation, including 90 percent of Democrats compared with 35 percent of Republicans.
Politico reporter David Siders was looking at equally interesting polls, including ones by Monmouth and Marist, showing that among the sizable chunk of voters who dislike but the GOP and Democratic choices, Trump is flopping badly. In 2016 these folks who were trying to figure out which was the lesser evil, broke for Trump. This cycle-- at least so far-- they're breaking for Status Quo Joe-- and in a big way. "It's a significant and often underappreciated group of voters," wrote Siders. "Of the nearly 20 percent of voters who disliked both Clinton and Trump in 2016, Trump outperformed Clinton by about 17 percentage points, according to exit polls. Four years later, that same group-- including a mix of Bernie Sanders supporters, other Democrats, disaffected Republicans and independents-- strongly prefers Biden, the polling shows. The former vice president leads Trump by more than 40 percentage points among that group, which accounts for nearly a quarter of registered voters, according to a Monmouth University poll last week."
Trump’s weakness with the electorate’s malcontents is a worrisome sign for Republicans. They now must not only bloody Biden but render him less palatable than an already-unpopular president. Biden has been a fixture in public life for decades-- making it more difficult to alter public opinion of him-- and he is viewed more favorably by voters than Clinton was in 2016.

“It’s not 2016 anymore, OK?” said Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Republican consultant based in Pennsylvania. “There’s no way Joe Biden will be as bad a candidate as Hillary Clinton.”

In Pennsylvania-- which Trump flipped in 2016, but where he now trails Biden-- Nicholas recalled speaking to groups throughout the state in 2016 and invariably being asked, “How did we end up with two such terrible candidates for president?”

“People like that choose the devil they don’t know,” Nicholas said, rejecting Clinton as a de facto incumbent and instead taking their chances with Trump. “What’s different in 2020? He’s the incumbent. So, he’s the devil you know … That’s why those numbers have flipped so precipitously from ’16 to '20, and there’s nothing inherent you can do about that, because Trump is the incumbent.”

...Trump’s campaign is now preparing to unload a barrage of negative ads on Biden, expecting to spend more than $10 million in an effort to weaken the presumptive Democratic nominee. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale likened the campaign to a “death star.”
Writing for The Atlantic yesterday, Peter Nicholas took a look at how Trump plans to weaponize COVID-19 against Biden. Sounds absurd, right? One day historians will look back on the 2016-2020 period and say Ridiculous! What the hell were they thinking? Nicolas begins with a reminder: COVID has shattered the basic economic rationale Señor Trumpanzee "had put forward in running for reelection and forced him to come up with another: Joe Biden’s handling of the catastrophe would be worse. Trump and his allies are working to graft his own vulnerabilities onto Biden, painting him as a feeble alternative to a president tested by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic tailspin it’s caused. In TV ads and public statements, they’re arguing that Biden couldn’t revive the economy, defeat the virus, or stand up to Chinese leaders, whom Trump now blames for the outbreak. The message sets up a conspicuous irony: Trump is president during a pandemic that is raging without end, while Biden was vice president amid lesser public-health threats that were contained; Trump is presiding over historic job losses, while Biden oversaw an effective stimulus program that helped stanch job losses. Yet Trump is betting that he can stoke enough doubts about Biden’s leadership that his own record looks preferable by comparison. Trump wins if voters view the race as a clear choice between Biden and him, but if 'the election becomes a referendum on Trump, it’s a much closer call,' one senior Trump-administration official told me. 'This race has to be a contrast,' says John McLaughlin, a Trump pollster."

In other words, Trump feels he has a chance if this is a lesser-of-two-evils election, the kind of election both political parties always try to create. If this is a referendum on Trump, it won't matter what a pathetic and unsuitable candidate Biden is.
Deflecting attention to Biden mirrors a tactic that Trump has long deployed when he’s under pressure: He seizes accusations against him and flings them back. Democrats who led the impeachment fight against him committed “treason”; Russia actually wanted Hillary Clinton to be president.

A race that hinges on whether the COVID-19 outbreak was competently managed could find Trump exiled to Mar-a-Lago come January. Tens of thousands have died from the disease; tens of millions have been thrown out of work. A vaccine might not arrive until 2023, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told me. (“Vaccines fail as often-- or more often-- than they succeed,” he said.) If the economy remains dormant a month from now, there’s likely to be a high jobless rate “maybe through the end of 2020,” says Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to the White House and one of the most prominent voices calling for a return to work. Fresh disclosures are emerging about how the Trump administration bungled the response at crucial stages.

“As the response drags on, Trump is going to be graded on how quickly people are getting their [relief] checks, how the virus is being dealt with, and how voters who might be unemployed on Election Day are feeling,” Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who served as spokesperson for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, told me.

Unless Trump can pull Biden into the saga. The challenge is that he needs voters to be thinking about an opponent who has largely confined himself to his Delaware home. Although polling shows that voters overall are dissatisfied with how Trump has managed the pandemic, at least one recent survey showed Trump holding a small lead over his Democratic opponent.

He’s looking to widen the gap.

A devastating jobs report Friday showed that unemployment had jumped to nearly 15 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression. Trump’s campaign quickly sent out a statement saying that when Biden was in power, he “presided over the slowest economic recovery since World War II.” Fact checkers note that the Obama administration inherited an economy stricken by the 2008 financial collapse, while Trump took office eight years later amid an improving economy whose upward trend continued through his first three years in office. As vice president, Biden oversaw the $800 billion stimulus package passed in 2009 to help the economy rebound, encompassing more than 100,000 projects. In his book about the program, The New New Deal, Michael Grunwald praised the stimulus for helping avert a second depression.

In framing Biden as inadequate to manage the public-health response to the pandemic, Trump is similarly reaching back to the early days of Biden’s eight-year stint as vice president. In a televised interview at the Lincoln Memorial earlier this month, he faulted Biden’s response to the H1N1 swine flu during the first year of the Obama administration. “Look how badly they did on that,” Trump told his Fox News interviewers.

It’s doubtful that’s how most Americans remember the outbreak. A few historic moments from the past half century are seared into the nation’s collective consciousness: John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The Vietnam War. Watergate. September 11.

COVID-19 will be part of that dark roll call. The swine flu will not.

A total of 12,500 Americans died from the disease in 2009 and 2010, fewer people than the number who perished from the seasonal flu in the same period. After-action reports show that the Obama administration’s handling of the swine flu was largely effective. Testing devised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proved accurate-- unlike the early tests produced to detect the coronavirus. A vaccine was available just six months after the first infections were reported.

Biden didn’t play a lead role in the administration’s response, though he used his congressional ties to win $8 billion in funding from lawmakers for vaccines and medical supplies, a recent Politico review found. His main misstep was going off script at one point by saying he wouldn’t want his family flying on planes for fear of contagion. An Obama spokesman later apologized for any unnecessary alarm Biden’s remarks had caused.

Nonetheless, Trump is trying to convince voters that the swine flu was at least a dry run, and Biden stumbled. “The most notable thing he did was to erroneously tell the country not to fly on airplanes, and the Obama administration had to run around to clean up the mess,” Tim Murtaugh, a Trump-campaign spokesperson, told me.

Trump has had less to say about Biden’s response to the far more dangerous epidemic the Obama administration confronted, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Biden’s former chief of staff, Ron Klain, who advises his campaign, led the administration’s efforts to contain the outbreak as the White House’s Ebola czar. Here, too, Biden wasn’t a central player, though he helped arrange medical assistance to West Africa and gave advice on how best to contain the outbreak. Despite widespread public fears about Ebola, the response was successful: Only 11 people were treated for the disease in the U.S. from 2014 to 2016, according to the CDC.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic argument Trump’s political advisers have made lately about Biden is that he is too close to China, a relationship they argue could compromise America’s national security and public health. Tying Biden to China fits within a larger strategy of demonizing that country and reviving the economic-nationalist argument that Trump successfully invoked in the 2016 race.

Last week, Trump’s team released a new ad that portrays Biden as overly credulous when it comes to China, suggesting that he wouldn’t hold its leaders accountable for failing to extinguish the virus. “Biden has no demonstrated history of ever standing firm against China on anything,” Bryan Lanza, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and presidential transition team, told me.

The deflection is obvious: Facing criticism that he gave China cover while Americans fell ill, Trump wants to depict his opponent as enthralled with China’s leadership. Earlier this year, Trump made repeated statements praising China and its president, Xi Jinping, for working diligently to contain the disease, though more recently, his tone has darkened. Trump praised Xi “before he knew China’s role,” McLaughlin told me. “He was told one thing by China and it turned out not to be true. The president wanted to believe China and rely on them, but found out that he could not.” (One Biden aide said his campaign won’t let voters forget Trump’s encomiums to Xi. “As the coronavirus outbreak was spreading like wildfire, Trump downplayed the historic threat and failed to prepare our nation while promising us that China was handling the outbreak ‘really well’ and ‘transparently,’” Andrew Bates, a Biden-campaign spokesperson, told me. “We’re going to blast him for that unprecedented malfeasance.”)

It’s too early to say whether Trump will successfully redirect the blame he’s now absorbing. Despite the damage wrought by the pandemic, Trump allies believe the race remains competitive. Internal polling shows that if the election were held today, Trump would be on the cusp of picking up the 270 electoral votes needed to win, one person close to the campaign told me. Yet inside GOP circles, some are finding Trump’s routine exhausting. When I spoke with a Senate aide about Trump’s methods, he described the attacks on Biden as “revisionist history.”

“I don’t think anyone was really paying attention to Biden’s role in the H1N1 stuff,” said the aide, who, like others, spoke with me on the condition of anonymity to talk more candidly. “Nor did people really associate Biden with the economic recovery. He was VP. Most of the attention was on Obama and his economic team’s performance.”

I asked whether Republican lawmakers are worried that the pandemic made Trump’s campaign unwinnable. “I don’t think people are freaking out that it’s the end of Trump,” the Senate aide said. “They’re freaking out about [whether] it’s the end of their majority or their career. If Trump goes down and goes down big, that means you lose a lot of congressional seats and Senate races. But if you had Biden elected and a Republican Senate, I’m not sure you’d have a lot of complaints.” The aide laughed. “They’d be able to adapt to that world.”

Labels: , ,


At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A 74 percent majority of Americans overall say the United States should keep trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus...

People have no say in public policy. Money does. One Dollar, One Vote - and the people can like it.

Now go die for corporate profit.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ultimate sacrifice for the wealth of the wealthy is nothing new. Google Smedley Butler.

But americans... too stupid to understand anything.

the anti-china anti-biden ad that trump is running will win him the election.
It stresses biden/democrap coddling china (for corporate profits, natch) with MFN and so forth. The implication is that biden is at least not guiltless for the Chinese virus.

And it isn't totally wrong. It's racist and plays to his base's hatreds. But biden was very helpful in shipping 10s of millions of jobs to china over the decades.

so... keep barking. When biden beats the democraps latest 'worst candidate ever' AGAIN, I'll be curious to see how you all spin it.


Post a Comment

<< Home