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Police Officer Shoots and Kills Unarmed Black Man Trying to Flee

The protests over a white police officer killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd, haven't even stopped and now we have another incident in which another white police officer has killed another black man.

The incident occurred Friday, but the details emerged only yesterday. A black man, Rayshard Brooks (27), fell asleep behind the wheel of his car while in the drive-through line of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta. A Wendy's employee called the police. Officer Devin Bronsan arrived, woke up Brooks, and had him move his car to a corner of the parking lot. A second officer, Garrett Rolfe, then arrived and gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he failed. Rolfe then tried to arrest Brooks but Brooks resisted, struggled with Rolfe, grabbed Rolfe's taser, and ran off. After a few seconds, Brooks turned around and may have pointed the taser at the officers. Rolfe drew his gun and shot and killed Brooks, hitting him with at least two shots.

This case is not as clear cut as the Floyd case. Floyd did nothing to deserve being choked for 9 minutes, leading to his death. Brooks, in contrast, pointed a recently stolen taser at the officers, one of whom then fired at him. If Rolfe is indicted, he will surely make the case at his trial that he fired in self defense to protect himself and his fellow officer. However, a prosecutor will point out that a taser is not a deadly weapon and killing a suspect to prevent them from escaping is not legal in Georgia. Key issues in a trial will be why Rolfe tried to arrest Brooks and whether Rolfe really felt his life was in danger when he knew what tasers can and cannot do.

Many people have already pointed out that the manner in which the two officers handled this was wrong. According to reporting from The New York Times, the officers appeared to be going along with Brooks' request that he be allowed to park his car and walk to his sister's house nearby. But when they moved to arrest him, they escalated a simple situation (a drunk guy sleeping in his car) into a capital case. Driving while drunk is an offense, but the officers never actually saw him driving, just sleeping while drunk. Whether that was enough to break the law is up for discussion, and would be a question for a judge or a jury. Georgia law is a bit imprecise on circumstances like these. It does not allow a drunk person to be "in control" of a vehicle, but the fact that Brooks was sleeping and that he was on private property might have left him in the clear.

Needless to say, this has already become politicized. The Atlanta chief of police, Erika Shields, a white woman, resigned Saturday, even though she wasn't really involved. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for Rolfe to be fired immediately, which he was. Bronsan was put on administrative duty. But that wasn't enough for some, as rioters set the Wendy's on fire.

A complicating factor here is that Bottoms is high on the list of potential Democratic running mates. She obviously can't be blamed for having a trigger-happy cop in her city, but her response in the coming week and how it plays out could very well move her up or down the list. It will test her crisis management skills, which is not one of the strengths of the current occupant of the White House. (V)

Will the Battle of Lafayette Square Come to Define Trump's Presidency?

Sometimes a single image comes to define a candidate or a campaign. Richard Nixon's five o'clock shadow and receding hairline in his first televised debate with John F. Kennedy may have cost him the election because it made him look old and sinister compared to the youthful Kennedy. People who watched on television thought Kennedy won the debate but people who listened on radio thought Nixon won. Bull Connor's use of vicious dogs against teenagers in Birmingham in 1963, may have turned public opinion in favor of the civil rights demonstrators and helped Lyndon Johnson in 1964:

Left: Richard Nixon debating, Right: Dog attacking civil rights demonstrator

In 1988, Michael Dukakis thought it would be a good idea to be photographed in an army tank. It looked so phony that George H.W. Bush used it in his campaign ads. Here's the photo:

Michael Dukakis in a tank

Sometimes even one word can define a candidate. Former Virginia senator George Allen called an Indian-American oppo tracker (someone who follows a rival campaign and reports back to his or her boss) a "macaca " (a kind of monkey) and that single word defined and doomed his 2006 reelection campaign, as it is a racial slur in parts of the South.

There is a real possibility that by the fall, people will have forgotten a lot of the details of what happened during this turbulent spring. But the one event that may stick in everyone's mind is the National Guard's use of tear gas, pepper balls, and flash-bang grenades to clear Lafayette Square of peaceful protesters so Donald Trump could have a photo op in front of a nearby church with which he has no connection. While there is no iconic photo of the demonstrators being driven out, ironically, the one photo that may haunt Trump in the fall is this one, which is the one he wanted: A manufactured scene with an angry Trump holding up a Bible for no purpose whatsoever.

Donald Trump holding a Bible at St. John's church

Making it worse for Trump is that he didn't deliver any remarks, didn't read anything from the Bible Ivanka handed him, didn't recite a prayer, and didn't visit the church. It was just: gas the protesters, hold up a Bible for 1/125th of a second for a photo, and then go back to the White House to hide some more.

What the photo may remind people of is the gulf the whole event created between the commander-in-chief and the military. Both Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley distanced themselves from the event almost immediately afterwards and many other former military officers lit into Trump for staging the whole thing as well. It's hard to predict which photo, if any, will come to dominate the campaign and how future historians look at it, but this one has a pretty good shot.

Runners-up for the photo that best captures the period might be an aerial photo of the giant yellow "BLACK LIVES MATTER" text on 16th St. or the black fencing around the White House and surrounding streets that make it look like a prison compound. Whichever it is, there is a good chance that the killing of George Floyd, the resulting protests, and the Battle of Lafayette Square will come to define the campaign and Trump's presidency, especially if it is a one-term presidency. (V)

Tulsa Health Director Would Like to Postpone Trump's Rally

Donald Trump wants to hold a big indoor rally in Tulsa, the site of the Tulsa race massacre in 1921. Worse yet, he originally wanted to hold it on Juneteenth (June 19th), a date many black people in the South celebrate in honor of the date in 1865 when a Union general told a group of Texas slaves that they were henceforth free. There was a lot of blowback, so Trump grudgingly moved the date of the rally back a day. Now the city's health director, Dr. Bruce Dart, wants it moved again, ideally to next year. Dart was cagey in his statement, saying: "I think it's an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic." Then he noted that his concern was the President's health.

Dart knows very well that COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing at the moment in Tulsa County. The rolling average was 25 cases on June 7 and 51 cases as of June 12. He also knows that a large indoor gathering this week with tens of thousands of Tulsans cheering the President could cause the disease to get out of control and he doesn't want that on his watch.

The big question now is what Trump does. Will he forge ahead anyway? He rarely takes expert opinion into account when making decisions. What matters to him is what his gut says. If his gut says "go for it" and that decision results in hundreds of new cases in Oklahoma and many deaths, he is going to take some flak for that. It probably won't cause him to lose many votes in Oklahoma, but interviews later with Oklahomans who lost a loved one on account of the rally will become yet another news story he has to deal with, on top of all the others. (V)

Democrats Are Worried about Voter Suppression

Democrats say that voter suppression is among their biggest worries in 2020. The Republican vote in rural areas is already maxed out, so all Republicans can do is try to minimize the Democratic vote in urban areas, especially those with large minority populations. The Georgia election last week might have been a dry run to see what happens when voters are forced to stand in line for many hours to vote.

Democratic strategist Eddie Vale said: "The [Republican National Committee] spent decades under a consent decree for their work suppressing minority voters and now that it has been lifted, Trump and Republicans are openly bragging about being able to go back to work keeping people from voting." Another Democratic strategist, Joel Payne, said: "Less people vote, more Republicans win. That's their strategy." Stacey Abrams, a possible veep contender, said: "We should absolutely be concerned about voter suppression and its impact on November's election." Even Joe Biden commented on voter suppression last week, saying: "It's my greatest concern, my single greatest concern." He also said that the DNC has lawyers who will intervene to protect people's right to vote.

The Georgia primary should be a wakeup call for Democrats. Donald Trump not only received more votes than Biden plus Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) combined, but also more votes than Barack Obama did in 2012—even though the Republican primary wasn't competitive at all and the Democrats had a hard-fought Senate primary.

Nevertheless, while Republicans may want to suppress urban votes everywhere, they are not always in a great position to do that. Some of the key swing states—in particular, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina—have a Democratic governor and a Democratic secretary of state, which makes overt voter suppression much more difficult. That said, Republicans control the state legislatures in those states, and their plan of action may take a cue from the protesters. But instead of "Defund the police," it is "Defund the election." If there isn't enough money to hire poll workers, then polling places will have to be closed and there will be huge lines at the ones that remain open. If there isn't enough money to print a sufficient number of absentee ballots, then some people who requested one won't get one.

In states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, where Republicans control the show, efforts to suppress voting can be more overt, like shortening or eliminating voting hours and days, ordering a vigorous enforcement of photo ID laws (which could slow down the voting process), and simply locking the doors at the official poll-closing time, even if hundreds of people have been lined up to vote for hours. (V)

The Gender Gap Is Larger than Ever

A study of live-interviewer national polls taken in May and June shows Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump by 25 points among women. This is up from 19 points earlier this year and is far more than the 14-point lead Hillary Clinton had in the final pre-election polls in 2016. Much of Biden's national lead can be attributed to women.

Going back further, in 1972, Richard Nixon won women by 24 points but all voters by 23 points, so there wasn't much of a gender gap. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson had exactly the same numbers. In contrast to Nixon and Johnson, who did very well with women (but equally well with men), Biden is much weaker with men. He is behind Trump by 6 points with men. That is about how well Clinton did in the final 2016 polls. The only candidate since 1952 to win the presidency while doing as poorly as Biden with men is Barack Obama, who lost them by 6 points in 2012.

The combination of Biden being +25 with women and -6 with men means there is an enormous 31-point gender gap. The average between 1996 and 2016 was about 16 points, half of what we are seeing now.

Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, undoubtedly can quote these numbers from memory. His problem is figuring out how to fix the problem with a candidate who is openly hostile to women. Also, the candidate feels that he has to dominate every situation, likes to use (military) force to solve problems, and has no empathy for anyone, ever. None of the characteristics are likely to change in the next 5 months (or 5 years) and none of them endear Trump to most women. Trump's biggest hope may be to concede that he will be slaughtered among female voters and try to run up his margin more with male voters. Expect more attempts to show strength going forward. (V)

Will Trumpism Survive Trump?

Political observer Ronald Brownstein, who usually writes insightful pieces, has now written one arguing that the 2024 Republican presidential nominee will be a Trumpist. He starts by pointing out that the 2024 nominee will largely be shaped by what happens this November. If Trump wins, the takeover of the once Grand Old Party will be complete, and someone like him in terms of ideology (but not necessarily in terms of personality) will inherit his mantle.

If Trump narrowly loses, his supporters will feel cheated, especially if he tells them they were cheated, and will demand a rematch, if not by Trump himself, then by someone else who runs on a small-tent strategy of appealing to male working-class white Christian voters who want to turn the clock back to 1955. If Trump is slaughtered in November, and especially if Republicans simultaneously lose 5-10 seats in the Senate, non-Trumpist elements of the Party may try to take over, but it won't be easy.

Even Republicans who strongly oppose Trump now don't think Trumpism is going away any time soon. Mike Madrid, a former political director of the California Republican party, and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, which is running brutal ads against Trump now, agrees. He said: "I don't believe Trumpism is going away. There will be a much more sizable voice for a different direction. The problem is, it's not likely to be big enough, because the base is still his base—it's still 75 percent of folks." In other words, Trump has driven most of the suburban and college-educated voters out of the Party, so most of those who are left want a new Trumpist.

It is noteworthy that none of the people now thought to be running for the 2024 nomination have broken with Trump. Vice President Mike Pence certainly hasn't, but he may not be Trumpy enough, no matter what he does. He won't even have dinner with a woman not his wife, let alone sleep with a woman not his wife. The leading people already jockeying for position as the next Trump are Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley (R-MO). Cotton even wrote an op-ed in the New York Times urging Trump to deploy the Army against American citizens engaged in lawful protests. That should be interpreted as: "Yup, I'm running." Hawley hasn't been quite as in-your-face as Cotton, but he did sponsor a bill that would cut legal immigration in half. With degrees from Harvard and Harvard Law, Cotton is not exactly everyman. Hawley didn't go to Harvard, so Stanford and Yale Law will have to do, but a man of the people he is not, either. Both may try to ride the Trump train, but without the pu**sy grabbing.

Even former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley has refused to criticize Trump. In fact, she praised his law-and-order speech last week. She might be trying to position herself as a "kinder, gentler Trump," reminiscent of George H.W. Bush trying to be a "kinder, gentler Reagan." But George Conway she is not.

The problem the Republican Party is facing is what Madrid alluded to. Once all the non-Trumpist voters have been driven out of the Party, what's left is the Trump rump, which is too small to win a fair election even this year and certainly won't be able to do so in 2024. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg has noted that tea partiers, evangelicals, and conservative Catholics were 60% of the Republican base in 2016 and now comprise 67%. As others leave the Party, their influence—and desire for a Trumpist candidate in 2024—will only increase. But white Christians are now only 44% of registered voters and that is dropping every year.

Congress is potentially also a problem for the Republicans going forward—even without considering the possibility of a blue wave this year that sweeps the Democrats into power in the state legislatures and lets them gerrymander many states to their hearts' content. Consider these observations about the House:

  • In districts with more than the national average of college graduates, Republicans hold 1/4 of the seats
  • In districts with more than the national average of minorities, Republicans hold 1/5 of the seats
  • In districts with more than the national average of immigrants, Republicans hold 1/9 of the seats

The Senate isn't much better. In the 20 states that voted for Obama in 2012 and Clinton in 2016, only two of the 40 senators are Republicans, and both are likely to be former senators in January (Cory Gardner, CO, and Susan Collins, ME). The national polarization is wide and deep, but although the Republican base is shrinking, the Trumpiest elements dominate the Party. In a poll last year, the Public Religion Research Institute found that huge majorities in the Republican base want to build Trump's wall, keep out Muslims, and limit legal immigration. In another poll, nearly 80% of Republicans see people falsely claiming racial discrimination as a big problem. Almost as many see immigration as a national security threat. These people are not going to vote for the ghost of Nelson Rockefeller.

If Madrid and others like him are right, then the GOP has a problem with the base demanding a candidate who is too far right to win a national election. It is the mirror image of the Democrats in the 1970s and 1980s demanding a candidate too far to the left to win (e.g., George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis).

The Republicans' best hope may be a Joe Biden victory followed by a Joe Biden overreach. If Biden tries to carry out Bernie Sanders' program, he could alienate enough suburban professionals to give a cleaned-up Trumpist like Cotton or Hawley a shot in 2024. In particular, if Biden tries to deal with inequality by taxing those suburban voters to pay for his programs, their new-found love of the Democrats could quickly vanish into smoke. But if instead, he focuses on items that minorities want but suburbanites are OK with, like racial justice, health, safety, and environmental regulations, and a big infrastructure program to create (green) jobs paid for by repealing the 2017 tax cut, their flight from the GOP may seal the ongoing realignment in which both parties have internal contradictions. The Democrats would be the party of women, affluent professionals and poor minorities. The Republicans would be the party of angry blue-collar men, evangelicals, and billionaires. Logical, no, but that is probably where we are headed. (V)

CNN Has Published Its First Electoral College Map

CNN has now produced its first electoral college map of this cycle along with the disclaimer: "This map is not meant to be predictive of what it will look like in November." It's not clear to us what the purpose of publishing such a map is if it is not meant to be predictive of November. Maybe it is, but their lawyers didn't let them say that. Anyway, here it is along with ours:

CNN's first electoral college map, much more conservative than ours

It is also important to note that this map was produced based on conversations with politicians and their aides. Our map, on the right, is based only on polling. The most recent nonpartisan poll in each state is used and if there are other polls there within a week of the most recent one, they are all averaged, equally weighted.

For the most part, the maps agree. Our map shows Texas as a tie, but we don't really believe that, at least not yet. The Trump campaign wasn't planning to advertise in Texas, but if it has to, it can make an ad saying that Joe Biden will confiscate everyone's guns, make abortion mandatory for pregnant unmarried women, and close all the churches "for health reasons" (all of which are vicious lies, of course), and the state will turn pink (but probably not dark red).

Other than that, CNN is trying hard to avoid taking sides here. After all, Republicans watch TV also, and some of them even watch CNN. Consider Arizona. Since March 1, there have been 10 public nonpartisan polls of Arizona. Biden has led in every one of them, yet CNN has the Grand Canyon State as a tossup. No doubt the Republican politicians CNN talked to told them that, despite clear evidence it is leaning Democratic.

Another case in point is Michigan. There have been 14 nonpartisan public polls of the Wolverine State since March 1. Biden has led in all but a March 7-9 poll by a new pollster (AtlasIntel), in which Trump led by 2 points. Biden's lead in the May and June polls has ranged from 6 points to 15 points. To us, "toss-up" doesn't quite capture this, but Republican politicians no doubt told CNN that it is firmly in play.

Two other states where we disagree with CNN are Iowa and Ohio. Polling strongly suggests they are really toss-ups and not leaning Republican. Although our map has Florida and North Carolina blue by a hair, they are clearly toss-ups. On this we agree with CNN, although we concede that calling Florida a tossup doesn't win you any "Profiles in Courage" awards. Please keep in mind that any state with a white center is really a statistical tie, no matter what the color of the border is. Georgia is a state to watch. It is probably somewhere between toss-up and leans Republican at this point.

And finally, remember that November is 5 months away. A lot can happen, and probably will happen, before the election. The known unknowns include COVID-19, the economy, the demands for racial justice, foreign interference, and potential election snafus. The unknown unknowns include everything else. (V)

Cooper Signs Bill to Make Voting Easier

While some Republican governors are trying to make voting more difficult, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) signed a bill on Friday making it easier for North Carolina voters to cast their ballots. The bill also provided millions of dollars to address health concerns for people who choose to vote in person in November. Every Republican in the General Assembly voted for the bill, HB 1169, as did almost all Democrats. The changes the bill makes expire on Dec. 31, 2020, so they are not permanent. Supporters of the bill cited the Georgia fiasco last week and didn't want to make North Carolina another poster child for a botched election.

Among other provisions, it allows absentee ballot requests to be made in person, by USPS mail, email, or fax. It also makes the ballot-request forms available online. Further, it appropriates $2.3 million for new vote-counting equipment, better election security, an updated election helpdesk, new procedures to help overseas voters, and advertising to tell voters about the changes. In addition, it provides for appointing and training bipartisan teams to help registered voters in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and assisted living facilites cast their absentee ballots. For in-person voting, it expands the categories of voter-ID that can be used. State officials think that as many as half the votes could be from absentee ballots this year. (V)

Kentucky Democratic Primary May Be Heating Up

Amy McGrath is the DSCC's choice to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in November. She was the first woman to fly in combat for the Marine Corps, where she served for 20 years, reaching the rank of Lt. Colonel. In 2018 she ran for the House in KY-06, an R+9 district surrounding and east of Frankfort. She lost by only 3 points to incumbent Rep. Andy Barr (R). Given her biography and her 2018 performance, almost the entire Democratic establishment thinks she is the best person to take on McConnell. There has been only one nonpartisan public poll of the battle of the Mc's, and McGrath is ahead by 1 point.

However, McGrath isn't the Democratic nominee yet. She first has to defeat state senator Charles Booker, a progressive who is backed by Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), in next week's primary. McGrath has outraised and outspent Booker 30-1 and is much better known on account of her 2018 race. She even raised more money in April and May ($11 million) than McConnell ($7 million). Maybe her nomination is a done deal but maybe it is not. Politico has a story about how Booker, who is black, has been gaining momentum in light of the national protests demanding racial justice. Two major Kentucky newspapers have endorsed Booker.

McGrath is positioning herself as a moderate Democrat, somewhat like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who won an upset victory in then-red Arizona in 2018. At first McGrath said she would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but when she came under fire for that, she walked it back. She knows that Kentucky is a deep red state that Donald Trump won by 30 points in 2016 and that while Democrats can and do win state office—like Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) who followed in the footsteps of his father, former governor Steve Beshear (D)—they have to be fairly moderate to do so. It is also true that no black person has ever been elected governor or senator in Kentucky, whereas Kentuckians did once elect a woman as governor (Martha Layne Collins in 1982).

While Democrats would love to knock off McConnell, their chief nemesis in Congress, flipping the Kentucky seat isn't central to their plans. In fact, one Democratic senator was more bullish on South Carolina, Texas, and just about every other state.

Two factors could play a role in the primary. First, mail-in voting has been going on for weeks, starting before George Floyd was killed and the protests began. Most of these votes are probably for McGrath, who is widely seen as having a better chance to dethrone McConnell. Second, there will be only one in-person voting location per county, which will probably lead to massive crowds and confusion, just like last week's Georgia primary. The long lines could also discourage many voters, which would have the effect of making the absentee ballots already cast a larger share of the final vote.

We'll know in a week (or maybe in 2 weeks, depending on how long it takes to count the ballots). Given her overwhelming financial advantage and television ad blitz, McGrath is probably still the favorite, but it might be closer than previously expected. (V)

GOP Congressman Dumped in a Parking Lot

No, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) wasn't murdered and his corpse deposited in a parking lot. It's slightly different. The Virginia Republican Party allows district party committees to determine their nominees by either (1) holding a primary election or (2) holding a convention. In VA-05, a sprawling and seriously gerrymandered R+6 district that runs from Manassas to the North Carolina border (and is bigger than New Jersey), the district committee decided to hold a convention. Due to social distancing issues, it was held in the parking lot of the Tree of Life church outside Lynchburg, not far from Liberty University.

Normally, incumbent representatives are routinely renominated, but the incumbent first-term congressman, Denver Riggleman (R), did something that did not sit well with some of his constituents: He officiated at a same-sex wedding last year. This act drew an opponent on Riggleman's right, Bob Good, who is a former fundraiser for Liberty University and who describes himself as a biblical conservative and is no fan of same-sex marriages. Riggleman is no pinko, though. He has the support of Donald Trump.

America is the land of the car, with drive-in movies, drive-in restaurants, and now, drive-in voting. The 3,500 convention delegates voted from their cars in the parking lot. Good won with 58% of the vote. Riggleman called it a corrupt process because it disenfranchised the voters of the district. He also claimed there was ballot stuffing and voting irregularities. Assuming the parking lot dump is not overturned in the courts, Riggleman is only the third incumbent to be denied renomination this year. The others were Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Steve King (R-IA).

Good's apparent victory is good news for Democrats. He is a staunch conservative with a catchy slogan: "Good for Congress, better for us." He supports traditional marriage, bathroom usage based on birth gender, making English the official language of the United States, and the Second Amendment. He opposes birthright citizenship, abortion, and taxes. While the district has a conservative lean (Trump carried it by 11 points in 2016), Good is sufficiently far to the right that, with a moderate candidate, the Democrats have a shot at it. They will choose their candidate in a primary election a week from tomorrow. No parking lots will be involved. (V)

Fired Florida Data Scientist Builds Her Own Dashboard

Florida had one of the best COVID-19 dashboards of any state, with lots of detail about active cases, deaths, and much more down to the county level. It was all built by one data scientist working for the state of Florida, Rebekah Jones, who did a lot of the work on her own time. Coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx praised her work. All was fine until state officials told Jones to fake some of the numbers to make Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) look better. In particular, they didn't want her website to report that the first Florida COVID-19 death was in January, back when DeSantis was pooh-poohing the whole virus thingy. Having it up there made it clear that he should have been taking action in January, and not denying that there was a problem. She refused to fudge the numbers, so she was fired.

Now Jones is back in the news because she has taken publicly available data and built her own dashboard, crowdfunded by a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised over $150,000. Now Florida has two competing COVID-19 dashboards.

The two dashboards differ in important ways. For example, the official one says 1.3 million people have been tested. Jones' site says it is only 896,000. She explained this by noting that samples have been taken from 1.3 million people but not all have been tested. But substituting samples for actual tests makes the state look like it's doing better than it really is. Also, Jones' site counts nonresidents of Florida who died of COVID-19 while in the state, whereas to make it into the official COVID-19 death toll, you have to be a Florida resident.

This whole incident raises a troubling issue: What if government officials intentionally hide or doctor data to make themselves look better? What if they then use their semi-imaginary data to justify policies (like opening the economy) that the real data don't support? In this case, most of the underlying data is public, so Jones was able to build a competing dashboard. But what if government officials figure out that publishing the actual data allows others to publish competing (and honest) representations of it? The obvious next step for governments is to stop publishing the underlying data to avoid any competition. If this results in foolish behavior on the part of citizens and dangerous decisions on the part of politicians, well, that's the way things are. Get used to it.

Another issue with falsified data is that they could give people the feeling that the virus has been licked and everything can go back to normal. Yesterday, Anthony Fauci told a British newspaper that life would not return to normal for at least a year. He said that as a consequence, masks, social distancing, and other mitigation efforts would be required throughout the summer, fall, and winter. He also said the travel bans between the U.S., Europe, China, Brazil, and other places will be needed for months. Fauci wasn't entirely pessimistic, though. He said that four or five vaccines currently in development look promising and there was a chance that one would work out and become available by the end of this year.

Finally, as long as we are on the subject of COVID-19, the number of deaths from the disease in the U.S. so far will today pass the total number of American deaths from World War I (116,516). So, in four months, COVID-19 is now officially more deadly than nearly two years of WW I, including both deaths of soldiers killed by enemy fire and deaths of soldiers in Europe who died of influenza in the 1918 pandemic. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Arkansas' Hendrix College is not an experienced pollster. Still, a poll showing Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden by 2 points in a state Trump won by 27 points in 2016 must be keeping Brad Parscale awake at night. If Texas, Arkansas, and Georgia are the new swing states, what must be going on in the old swing states, like Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, and the Rust Belt states? (V)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Arkansas 45% 47% Jun 09 Jun 10 Hendrix Coll.

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun14 COVID-19 Diaries, Sunday Edition
Jun14 Sunday Mailbag
Jun14 Today's Senate Polls
Jun13 Surprise, Surprise!
Jun13 Saturday Q&A
Jun12 A Split Decision
Jun12 This Just Can't End Well
Jun12 While You Weren't Looking
Jun12 Paging Big Brother
Jun12 Military Pushes Back Against Trump...
Jun12 ...and So Does the Judiciary
Jun12 West Virginia in Transition
Jun12 Today's Presidential Polls
Jun11 Polls: There Is Overwhelming Support for the Protests
Jun11 Some White Men Held Counterprotest to Floyd's Killing
Jun11 Why Is There a Military Response to the Protests?
Jun11 Coronavirus Spikes, White House Goes Radio Silent
Jun11 Republican Convention May Move to Jacksonville
Jun11 Trump Won't Rename Army Bases
Jun11 Study Says Democrats Should Stop Running Ads Attacking Trump
Jun11 Iowa Really May Be in Play...
Jun11 ...But Not Texas
Jun11 Jerome Powell: Unemployment Will Be 9% at End of the Year
Jun11 Ossoff Advances
Jun11 Today's Senate Polls
Jun10 Tuesday's Results Are (Partly) In
Jun10 Floyd Laid to Rest; Biden Speaks
Jun10 Trump Gotta Trump, Redux
Jun10 A Really Bad Poll for Trump...
Jun10 ...and the Generic Congressional Ballot Isn't Looking Much Better for the GOP
Jun10 The World of Sports Is Going to Give Trump What He Wants (but Not Really)
Jun10 COVID-19 Diaries, Wednesday Edition
Jun10 Today's Presidential Polls
Jun10 Today's Senate Polls
Jun09 Is Somethin' Happenin' Here?
Jun09 Trump Gotta Trump
Jun09 Democrats Stake Out Position on Police Reform
Jun09 The Veepstakes Continues
Jun09 Ossoff Will Try to Advance Today
Jun09 Today's Presidential Polls
Jun09 Today's Senate Polls
Jun08 Huge Protests All over the U.S.
Jun08 Trump Got a Wall and a Crowd
Jun08 Voters: Things Are Out of Control
Jun08 Republican Leaders Are Beginning to Part Ways with Trump
Jun08 Republican Leaders Are Worried that Trump Will Cost Them the Senate
Jun08 House Democrats Are Working on a Police Reform Bill
Jun08 Young Black Voters Might Stay Home on Election Day, or Maybe Not
Jun08 Sanders Is a Team Player This Time
Jun08 Sanders Has No Coattails