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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  COVID-19 Diaries, Sunday Edition
      •  Sunday Mailbag
      •  Today's Presidential Polls

COVID-19 Diaries, Sunday Edition

Programming Note: Based on suggestions from readers, we've decided to break out P.D.'s reports as their own items on Sundays, so that the formatting is consistent with his Wednesday submissions.

"VIRUS IS SPIKING IN XXX..." reads all sorts of headlines. Except it isn't. Well, maybe. I have read all the stories about local spikes, but I remain cautious. If you look at 1,000 local results, you will find 50 that have spikes just through random chance.

The most important thing in the world of data analytics is: "Look at the data." It is alternatively called "the tummy test" (What does your tummy tell you is going on?) or the "any fool test" (It is blatantly obvious that...?). So, get a nice chart and see what it tells you. Here is my assessment (tummy test) of each of the top 10 countries (by total cases reported) for the last month. Anyone should be able to replicate this analysis pretty easily:

Country Daily Cases Daily Deaths
USA Mostly flat (down a little), no recent spikes Down by 30%, no recent spikes
Russia Still going up until May 11, down 30% since, no recent spikes Still going up. Deaths reductions always lag daily cases.
Brazil Still going up. No where near in control. Still going up. Nowhere near in control.
Spain Down 80%, no recent spikes Down 60%, no recent spikes (except anomaly?)
UK Down 10-20% (flat for a few weeks), no recent spikes Down 30% no recent spikes
Italy Down 60%, no recent spikes Down 50%, no recent spikes
France Down 90%, looks contained Flat, lots of noise in the numbers
Germany Down 30%, no recent spikes (this is a 90% drop from March 27) Down 50%, noise in the numbers, no recent spikes
Turkey Down 50%, no recent spikes Down 60%, no recent spikes
Iran Up 100% in May losing all ground in April. Flat, but will probably start going up.

It is not hard to draw few broad conclusions from this:

  1. Social distancing has mostly worked...and it worked really well.
  2. We have a long way to go. COVID is not done with us yet.
  3. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will win.
  4. Since we will not keep doing what we are doing, the outcome is uncertain.
  5. Any reopening being done is not yet showing up in the data (except Brazil and Iran).
  6. Brazil and Iran are not doing well at all.

I had a long talk with my best buddy MD, who helps me make sure my posts are medically accurate. He pointed out that as we started taking social distancing measures in New Jersey, we were inches away from losing control of COVID management and piling up bodies in the street. In New York City, we actually crossed the line where COVID overcame the health care system for a time.

When we shut down the world in March, we did not yet know how to define the "at-risk" population. We did not know R0 or mortality with any degree of accuracy. With 20-20 hindsight:

  1. We were far too late when we shut everything down in New Jersey and New York City
  2. Doing a total shutdown of low population density areas like those in Alaska or Montana was probably overkill
  3. We should have started social distancing in January. If we had changed our behavior earlier (even without a complete shutdown), we might have had a better outcome

Breaking report: This is really important, so I wanted to put it in. Health care workers are not getting infected as often as I would expect. The moral of the story is: if you are careful (masks, gloves, social distancing) you can greatly reduce your risk of exposure.

I could do a better job with better data, and I suspect that every epidemiologist is either sharing my frustration or has access to data that I can't seem to find. I draw what conclusions I can but there are lots of things I would like to discuss but can't because of the lack of good data. For months, I was patient, as it is hard to ask a front-line nurse to test dead bodies when there are live ones that need care. But now I want to lay out my wish list for COVID data...if any of you have a friend at the CDC or WHO please forward this list to them:

  1. What is a COVID death? If a patient has flu symptoms that look very (or just a little) COVID-like and then dies without a test, was that a COVID death? I know there are "confirmed" and "presumed" categories, but there is no document that every doctor in the world is using that says: "This is how you define a 'confirmed' and 'presumed' COVID death." When we compare numbers in different countries or even different hospitals, we have no idea if they are using the same criteria to determine if COVID was the cause of death.

  2. Testing comes in two flavors, antibody (you were exposed sometime in the past) and active virus (if you sneeze, you can infect someone). This divides the world into 4 very different populations: (1) Negative/negative—never been exposed, still at risk; (2) Negative antibody, positive active virus—brand new infection, no time for antibodies to develop; (3) Positive antibody, negative active virus—asymptomatic or recovered, probably less susceptible or immune; (4) Positive/positive—active patient. If the patient has had only one test, I can't even figure out what group they are in. The number of positive or negative tests doesn't tell me much without knowing what kind of test it was.

  3. I want better data presentation. I just wasted another hour at the CDC and Johns Hopkins websites. I think the only way I can get reasonable data presentation would be to download the whole data set and write my own reports. Unfortunately, I have a day job. If I were conspiracy-minded, I would suspect that they are going out of their way to not tell me anything useful. has easy to read graphs, log transforms, and drill downs to lower levels. They don't have all the data I want, but they put the data they have in a way that allows analysis. In New Jersey, there is the state dashboard they have hospital data in graphs broken down by region. I LOVE IT!

  4. Hospital data is better than test results or deaths. The number of hospital cases is much less susceptible to error or manipulation. My first canary-in-the-coal-mine signal in New Jersey was by seeing the drop in hospitalizations as posted on the New Jersey dashboard. I have seen good hospital graphs in some state sites, but have not seen a nice place where they are all collected and graphed. If we want to see the effect of reopening, it will be in the hospital data first.

  5. Why don't we know how many people have been exposed, what percentage get sick, what percentage die...all with nice crosstabs? We don't know because we have not run the study. This kind of insight requires population-level analysis. You can't test everybody, but you can test sample areas. A few weeks ago in New York, they randomly tested 3,000 people. That gave us the best data yet for how far the disease has progressed. I haven't seen other studies since then that did similar testing. This is not inexpensive research. Maybe they could use the money that Shake Shack gave back to fund it.

Maybe all this data exists and I just haven't found it. If anyone can help with making my analysis better, don't be shy. (PD)

Sunday Mailbag

Never bring up religion or politics, they say. This mailbag tramples on both prongs of that bit of advice.

COVID-19, Life and Times

E.L. in Dallas, TX, writes: I am a pediatrician and I wanted to address the concerns voiced by readers and yourselves in Saturday's questions. I am often asked by family or friends for a medical opinion (even from my parents, who are much too old to be my patients). Whenever I am asked about a medical procedure that is elective, I say the same thing. "Would your doctor have the procedure done on themselves or their family?" Assuming you trust your physician (and if you do not, you should change doctors), ask him or her if they and their family have been vaccinated. This has been my advice to multiple family members asking about corrective eye surgery. I respond "Does your ophthalmologist wear glasses?" Invariably, the answer is "Yes." At that point, most of my friends and family understand my point, though it occasionally requires further explanation.

As physicians, we read through the research and safety studies to assess risk versus benefit of treatments on a daily basis. Of course, drug representatives and advertising have an effect on many physicians, but with COVID-19 the international response and literature is vetted to a degree that I have never witnessed. The best example of this is the claims concerning treatment with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin. In less than 2 months, large studies have been conducted that have completely debunked the initial claims and have demonstrated the treatment as being harmful. Drs. Fauci, Birx, and others have stressed the time needed to develop a vaccine. Even after being developed, the production will be a massive and novel undertaking that will involve months or years to produce enough vaccines for the United States and the world. The vaccine will initially be available to those who are healthy and at highest risk—in other words, frontline healthcare workers. That means the results of being vaccinated will be established prior to the vaccine being available to the general public.

We should all have a primary physician that we know and trust, and these circumstances are the perfect illustration of the importance of that relationship. Maybe not every healthcare provider will agree that the vaccine is necessary (there are multiple pediatricians in my community that use "alternative vaccine schedules"), but your decision should be based on the input of someone you trust with your health and not the advice of the government.

J.K. in North Hills, NJ, writes: Much of the media has done an abysmal job in its reporting of the impact of the coronavirus. Most reporters have apparently forgotten their algebra 1 and calculus lessons from their high school and college days, respectively. Despite the inflammatory tone and headline of the Washington Post article you cite, clues to the likelier path of the virus was buried in the text. First, far more social distancing is being adhered to currently than during the nascent days of the outbreak, which will limit the spread. Next, more testing means more cases. The country was stuck at about 140K tests per day until a few weeks ago. We are now approaching 500K, thereby increasing the number of people infected. The percentage of positive tests has declined significantly as indicated by the article, which is extremely encouraging. The story also noted that the number of deaths has fallen. Such a metric is the most reliable in determining whether the health crisis is again spinning out of control. Finally, many of the "hot spots" from across the nation have arisen in meat packing plants and prisons as opposed to being evenly distributed within the community. In the absence of an effective vaccine that can be mass produced, we may have a long way to go in winning this fight, but any second "wave," should be far more muted than the first. If anything, scientists, along with the population at large, have far more information than they did just a few months ago.

L.E. in Santa Barbara, CA, writes: After reading P.D.'s COVID Diaries and your COVID Train Wreck item this week, I also ran across this article in New York Magazine headlined "Why Our Economy May Be Headed for a Decade of Depression."

Professor Roubini's predictions are pretty stark (he is called "Dr. Doom" for a reason). However, the interview helped me think about realistic timeframes for what to expect in the coming months and years. It also lays bare the lies the current Republican Administration is putting forward about returning to "normal." Further, Dr. Roubini highlights what I consider to be one of the biggest elephants in the room—the role manmade disasters (climate change, destruction of ecosystems), and their ever-increasing economic costs, will have in the ability for the world to recover.

I feel compelled to share this with as many people as possible so that they, too, can have a better frame of reference, whenever the Republicans are shouting, "back to normal! back to normal!" I also hope that others will contemplate pressing our governments to address environmental issues, as we move forward.

J.L. in Chicago, IL, writes: In your item on Fareed Zakaria's column, you say in reference to people who work with their hands and are out of work due to the economic shutdown:

The explanation has to be something like: "If we just go about our ways and pretend there is no pandemic, the virus will spread like wildfire and millions of people will die and that probably includes some of your friends and family. We have no choice."

This helped crystallize a thought that had been going through my head recently. The explanation should start the way you said, but continue with something like:

However, you will not be alone in taking the financial hit. Those of us whose incomes have largely stayed intact, especially those of us who were already advantaged before this crisis started, will have your backs through our tax dollars.

More important, we (a group that includes me and also Z and V, I would guess) need to make that real. We need to press Congress to do even more to support people who are, in fact, out of work and financially devastated because of actions for which the country has, as you say, "no choice." And we need to tell Congress to send us the bill. Realizing that it may or may not make sense to raise taxes on the well-off literally this year, right in the midst of an economic crisis, that has to be the approach in the short-to-medium term. It both exacerbates the class warfare you were talking about and is hypocritical if people making, say, $150,000 a year—and still making it even now—balk at coughing up perhaps an extra $25,000 in taxes but tell people who were making $40,000 and now are making nothing that they need to suck it up and take it for the good of the country.

Would it be an absolute gut punch with potentially huge and long-lasting effects on upper-middle-class and above families? Absolutely but, as someone said, "we have no choice." Or, in this case, no choice that allows us to look our follow citizens in the eyes and tell them to sacrifice for the common good.

On a specific and actionable point for my fellow Illinois voters, we already needed to pass the ballot measure in November to allow for a progressive state income tax, but now we need it more than ever. If the fundamental unfairness of taxing everyone at the same rate was not already clear, the much-increased divide between those being financially ruined and those riding it out largely intact financially should make it clear. I am sure similar issues also apply in other states.

J.S. in York, PA, writes: I just wanted to write to respond to D.E. in Lititz, PA. I also work in a grocery in South Central PA, and I agree so much with everything s/he said. It really bothers me that the generation that seems to complain the loudest about younger people lacking manners often lacks manners themselves. I've long said that "Hell hath no fury like an older customer mildly inconvenienced!" I do not mean that to all, as I have met so, so, so many cool, kind, nice people in my career, and even over the last few months. It is really the minority of customers that has made the majority look bad.

It just seems that people have lost focus on what's really important. I hear more in the store lately about politics from those loudly proclaiming that "this is bullshit" or "this is a hoax, and stupid." This has been the longest two months of my 20 year career (I am a borderline Gen X/Millennial, sometimes referred to as an Xenniel). I don't love every change in our store, but there is no—I repeat, no—excuse to tell the 19-year-old girl manning the door station "I'm not wearing a fucking mask!" They are so many layers removed from responsibility on this, that it angers me. I'm in management, if you want to yell at someone, yell at me, but come on, grow up.

Maybe I'm overgeneralizing, and I completely apologize to the older folks I know that are very nice, kind, personable people, but I rarely see this kind of childish behavior from younger folks. I get you're angry about things, I empathize. But, as Peter Rabbit said, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

A.F. in Richmond, VA, writes: The conduct of these angry white males is what we see when a group of individuals have been very entitled based on their gender and ethnicity. They have never experienced truly lean times, or when you have to go without, the way all the marginalized communities in America have had to since the founding of this nation.

What's bad is we are accommodating their selfish, spoiled and, frankly, dangerous conduct.

COVID-19 Politics

C.N. in St. Louis, MO, writes: Just thinking out loud here, but having watched the process for being tested for COVID-19 includes having a cotton swab being inserted way up a person's nasal cavity (so far that I have a friend who works for the Veterans' Administration who's told me she's gotten nose bleeds), what are the chances that Donald Trump is actually letting a nurse or doctor do that to him every day, as the White House claims? I just think that would be counter to his macho persona, don't you think? How do we really know he's actually being tested every day?

Like I said, just thinking out loud here.

R.H. in Santa Ana, CA, writes: We have only Donald Trump's word that he is taking HCQ, which means there is no reason to believe that he really is.

Similarly, we have only Trump's word that he is a germaphobe, and there is considerable evidence that he is not. Would a germaphobe shake hundreds of hands at his Nuremberg Rallies? Would a germaphobe have unprotected sex with a porn star?

It has been suggested that he says stupid/crazy things to distract us from the stupid/evil things he does. And yes, every time news of something stupid/evil comes out, he says something stupid/crazy. And yes, the national attention span follows the stupid/crazy instead of the stupid/evil. However, he's been saying stupid/crazy things for the entirety of his very public last three decades.

G.S. in Oakland, CA, writes: The obvious October surprise will be that a vaccine against COVID-19 has been found. That'll be followed by a November or December surprise that a version that actually works is going to take another year.

T.S. in Stone Mountain, GA, writes:

I was wondering what has happened to the First Lady. If the nation's children were sent home from school under the Obama or Bush administrations, you can bet that Laura Bush and Michelle Obama would have been reading stories, doing projects, or giving words of encouragement on Zoom, or something.

The nation's children are practically in the first lady's job description.

The 2020 Election

J.K. in Freehold, NJ writes: If there is "standard" presidential debating this year, two things will occur:

  1. Donald Trump will constantly interrupt and will be uncontrollable.
  2. He will constantly lie.

To address these inevitablities, three things need to be done:

  1. The debates must be virtual.
  2. The only candidate being shown must be the one that currently has the floor, with the other out of sight and his microphone muted.
  3. To counter Trump's "I never said that" class of lies and to illustrate his constant flip-flops, the moderators must have the ability to show video clips of a candidate's saying what he just denied having said.

The bottom line is that Trump must be prevented from creating chaos out of any possible presidential debate, which won't be possible under a standard debate format. The nation should have learned Trump's game by now.

W.M.T. in Vienna, Austria, writes: The Lincoln Project is doing a great job hitting Trump at the right spot. As he has a history of not correctly paying people who worked for him, Trump will be really annoyed by learning how much wealth his campaign manager has accrued.

A.H. in Linwood, NJ, writes: It is interesting that Donald Trump threatened to withhold funding to Michigan on the same day that tens of thousands of people in that state saw their homes flooded when a dam broke and another dam failed. Much like the response to Covid, and like other infrastructure disasters (New Orleans levees in August 2005, Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007) it was preventable, and likely to happen again if we do nothing.

Our infrastructure is old, much like our two septuagenarian presidential candidates. Here, Biden and Trump show an age-old difference. One is an institutionalist who wants to slowly improve things from the inside, and the other is the billionaire-reality-TV-outsider-turned-President who promotes unproven drugs and unsafe treatment. I wonder if the Democrats will be rewarded this November for their longtime devotion to building up good government, and not being the party pledging to shrink it in the name of low taxes, liberty, and "Second Amendment rights."

F.S. in Idaho Falls, ID, writes: Idaho normally isn't viewed as being on the leading edge of progressive thought, but to my surprise, the state has moved to entirely absentee voting by mail, with advertising campaigns to bring attention to the process and encourage participation. I made a request online to receive not only a primary ballot to mail in (there is a second primary for state and local office holders) but also ballots in the two other elections this year, which will all be mailed to me at the appropriate time. In my county, and I believe across the state, there will be no in-person voting at any time. While other states are having difficulty implementing an alternative to in-person voting, it hasn't been problematic here. Early indications are for a high turnout.

P.S. in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, writes: This might sound far-fetched, but maybe Donald Trump's firing of inspector-general Steve Linick was designed to propagate a scandal that would force Mike Pompeo out of State. This would leave Pompeo with no option but to run for Senate in Kansas, which is what Trump and the RNC have long desired him to do. As an added benefit, Pompeo could run on a neo-Trumpian "victim of Washington" platform, pointing out that he was forced out of State by the deep state/Obama/Clinton cabal that still runs the place (with support, of course, from their lame-stream media fake-news allies), but that he is now looking forward to the opportunity to reclaim America for the good people of Kansas. This strategy might work, because Kansans are reputed to have a soft spot for wide-eyed innocents who return from distant, gilded cities with their dogs in tow. Anyway, that's my theory, in toto.

V & Z respond: We hope you're not lyin', tiger, because that's more than we could bear. Oh, my!

R.D. in Austin, TX, writes: I went to college in my hometown, and about the time I turned 20 there was a local school board election. I saw in the paper that there were two spots open and the only candidates were the two incumbents. This was 1988, I was as anti-Soviet as the next person, and my reaction was, "Ugh! Unopposed elections are un-American, and I'm as qualified for this position as anyone else!" I didn't have any kids but all four of my siblings were at various points in the school system, so I could even counter the "no kids in the system" argument.

I got a petition and gathered the requisite signatures to get myself on the ballot. Not only was I up against two incumbents, but one of them was a professor at the college I was attending (and lived down the road from my parents). No one really expected me to win. On election night, I got the call from the business manager of the school district, and sure enough I was the odd man out, finishing third for the two positions. By two votes. The college professor, in the department of education with I-don't-know-how-many years of experience on the board, only beat me by two votes. (Well, ultimately it was three votes but that didn't come out until after the recount.)

The next day on campus, as I went about my daily routine, people asked me how the election turned out and I told them. At least 11 of them replied with some variation of, "Wow, if I'd known it would be so close, I would have voted!" I generally refrained from responding "Well, a lot of good that does me!" but that was how I felt. The next year I ran again and won.

Many years later, someone online told me that they never vote because voting for the lesser of two evils was still voting for evil and he wasn't comfortable associating with evil in that way. I didn't opine on taking "evil" too literally in that context, but I did point out that when he did that, he left the decision about who was going to be running things to people who are okay voting for evil and that those people are unlikely to vote for the lesser.

More recently, I've realized that if voting for a party with no chance to win is "wasting" your vote, then by that logic, here in Texas it's just as much of a waste to vote Democrat as it is to vote Green or Libertarian. But, when the Democrats actually get out and vote, even with the whole Republican-dominated state government doing everything they can to suppress them, they can get within spitting distance of a win, as demonstrated by the O'Rourke/Cruz race.

Here are the lessons I've taken from all of this:

  1. If you don't vote because you think your vote doesn't count, you are right but you've confused cause and effect. Your vote can't possibly count if you don't cast it.

  2. Just because you think you know the outcome, it's still important to cast your vote anyway, because you never know. Candidates should also learn not to take anything for granted. I wonder how many people went up to Beto O'Rourke or Hilary Clinton afterward and said "Wow, if I had known it would be so close, I would have voted!"

  3. While it is true that the Democrats and the Republicans have spent the last 150 years stacking the deck against third parties, if enough of us decide we've had enough and get together, any party can win. Even the Texas Democrats.

  4. I will never give anyone a hard time for voting for someone they truly think is the best candidate. Or for voting against people they think are truly vile. But voting "to send a message" or worse, staying home, is dumb. Similarly, voting for Donald Trump because Joe Biden isn't liberal enough? That's moronic.

  5. Leaving the choice up to people who are fine voting for evil is how you get office-holders like Donald Trump. The Republicans didn't become the party they are today overnight; they evolved in that direction because people like me didn't push hard enough in the other direction.

B.B. in Lee's Summit, MO, writes: I have watched our country drift further and further the last three decades into a dangerous tribalism. This is mostly concentrated in right-leaning people where I live. I have watched operatives from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove push the idea that liberalism and feminism and progressive ideals in general were awful and ruining our country. There was little pushback from the left, as we were either too "smart" or too "nice" to fight in the gutter with them. The end result of this has been a rise of nationalism and the eventual election of a totally incompetent and, I believe, dangerous President.

You published a letter last week from B.T. in Cove, UT. He stated that the "readers of Jacobin and other publications on the left" would never back Joe Biden because he is "to the right of Republicans, including Ronald Reagan." This is for me an incredible statement. Biden has fought for union rights, is married to an educator and supports teachers, and worked for a mildly progressive President for 8 years. Reagan was a well known union buster, testified at the House Un-American Activities hearings about suspected Communists, etc., and was by all accounts a right wing zealot. He just knew how to do it with a smile. The reader from Utah also decided to make a completely unfounded claim about Biden saying he is "probably a rapey scumbag". There has been one claim by a completely unreliable source of Biden sexually assaulting her. This claim is recent and has changed substantially. Biden is universally backed by his female staffers and people who have worked with him in the past. As you stated about "Obamagate," the rumors are byzantine and fall apart on close examination.

My disappointment in this piece is not on B.T.'s end. I suspect that this person is not who they pretend to be, and this is merely a hit piece on someone who is not of their liking. To me, Joe Biden is not the perfect candidate, but he is a person with some common sense, a distinguished senatorial record, a fine record as Vice President, and someone who will nominate a strong woman as VP. He has a tragic personal story that he has persevered through and overcome. Is this really as bad as or worse than we have now?

My disappointment here is in you, (V) and (Z), or whoever vetted and published this piece. When obviously biased letters are published you almost always editorially comment and take apart the "argument." You almost never do that with Joe Biden. Why? Please, please don't be part of the problem. Remember, if we don't pull together now, we may very well not have a country recognizable to our children or grandchildren to pull together for. I can't imagine why this piece was published, unless it was done as satire. If not, it should have been pilloried by one of the editors.

V & Z respond: Actually, we try to leave Sunday to the readers as much as is possible, and we generally only push back against objective factual errors, and not opinions or interpretations we disagree with.

A.B. in Wendell, NC, writes: Maybe P.M. in Currituck, NC, would care more about transgender rights if they were deprived of the ability to earn a living, just for being who they are!! Maybe if they could be fired—or not hired—simply because of an immutable characteristic they have, they'd feel differently.

I am offended and outraged that an issue impacting my life and my ability to earn a living could be so cavalierly treated. It must be nice to deprive other people of rights upon which their lives do not depend!

I did not ASK to be transgender, yet I am a proud trans woman. It is amazing that you can't be discriminated against based on religion, which is definitely a choice (people change religions all the time), but I can be discriminated against for something which was not my choice. My lifetime earning potential has been more than cut in half, just because some people feel a need to dictate to me what my gender expression should be, and because they can't stop worrying about what is or is not in my knickers! I just ask for the same rights everyone else takes for granted.

3-D Chess?

D.C. in Portland, OR, writes: Your items on the apparent lack of 3-D chess moves from Trump led me to consider alternative motivations for his behavior. At some point, the inevitability of a resounding Trump defeat in November may become impossible for the Donald to ignore, and a face-saving exit strategy may become higher priority than a lost-cause Presidency. Most crucially, Trump will need excuses for his defeat that he can weave into his distorted reality, and it seems he may be laying the foundations for these excuses now.

He can never allow reality to catch up with his out-of-control narcissism and however he ends his days, and whatever platform he lands on, he will endlessly bluster how COVID-19, voter fraud and a hodge podge of deep-state conspiracies led to a stolen Presidency. I expect this "I was/will be cheated" narrative to steadily grow through the remainder of this election season, until it becomes the predominant theme from him.

We may even see chaos in the Trump campaign as its political motivations to win clash head-on with Trump's deepest and most base instincts: to escape and avoid humiliation.

J.R. in Lytham, UK, writes: In his comments about Donald Trump's opposition to mail-in voting, (Z) argued that this stance showed no great tactical nous, but rather an obdurate attachment to preconceived ideas, since there is no good reason to suppose that mail-in voting will favor the Democrats in 2020. I certainly would not wish to argue for Trump's status as a stable genius, but in this case I would propose that there is method in his apparent folly. As with the 2016 election, in 2020 Trump is going in with a likely expectation of losing. In 2016, Trump preemptively declared there would be fraud to provide an alibi for his loss and a platform from which to rabble rouse in the aftermath. Trump has no intention of going away quietly to plan his Mar-a-Lago presidential library if he loses. Mail-in voting decisions, over which he has no authority, give him a perfect rationale for explaining a loss and for getting his enraged, and heavily armed, army of malcontents aroused and ready to create all kinds of mischief, especially if his multiple legal exposures begin to catch up to him.

V.H. in Lexington, MA, writes: You have written lately about how stupid it is for Donald Trump to come out against absentee balloting. This is always posed as who comes out ahead if more absentee balloting is allowed or not. Having watched Trump for the last few years, I would say, he knows he's losing, and is setting himself up to challenge the legitimacy of the results. He will be able to say "I told you in advance that absentee balloting would set the stage for MASSIVE fraud, and that's just what happened." He will demand something or other, and then the Republicans who will just have been massively defeated at the polls will jump in to support him in challenging the results on a grand scale. Will it work? Anybody's guess right now. Trump would not have been able to get this far if he wasn't supported unreservedly by the Republicans in Congress. They recognized early on that growing his power would grow their own and they went with it. Why wouldn't they join him, in the biggest power grab of all time? It's not like they care about the democratic system.

The Cult of Trump

E.W. in Skaneateles, NY, writes: Great treatment of cognitive dissonance and Donald Trump's base, but I think there's another notion that his supporters use: rage towards others. In their minds, "Trump is a great president" fits with "things are going very badly" when you add "it's all the Democrats'/the deep state's/Hillary Clinton's/James Comey's/Comet Ping Pong's/the crab people's fault, and things would be so much worse without our savior Trump." It's an even worse version of denying reality because you literally cannot prove the counterfactual that things would be better without Trump in charge. Liberal wonks can talk until they're blue in the face about how President Hillary Clinton wouldn't have petulantly disbanded the NSC's pandemic response team, but no one can prove that she'd have done a better job with COVID-19, even though that's patently obvious to...well...almost everyone!

The left has its own cognitive dissonance (Alaska will save us on Election Night 2016!), but reality tends to break them of most of it — anti-vaxxers and those "WiFi-gives-you-cancer" conspiricists notwithstanding.

W.P. in Atlanta, GA, writes: You wrote that Donald Trump's supporters are engaging in cognitive dissonance in order to hold the belief that "Trump is a great president" despite his incompetence and scandal.

Personally, I question the assumption that Trump's supporters believe he is a "great president" at all. Instead, I see his base of support stemming entirely from his willingness to hurt the right people. Incompetence and scandal don't hurt him among his base because he never promised to do good things for them in the first place. He only really promised to hurt their enemies (which he is certainly doing). Being a "great president" is beside the point for them, and thus no cognitive dissonance is necessary.

Andrés Miguel Rondón, writing way back in 2017, has more on this theory.

R.V. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: It's so bizarre it's hard to grasp...It would have been like if President Nixon had said it was a badge of honor when solders come back from Vietnam in boxes, or if President Bush had said it was a badge of honor when the Twin Towers fell.

W.B. in Houston, TX, writes: In terms of the question you got from S.E. from Cairo, Egypt, about politicians who had a cult following and suddenly had a collapse of support, Trump's political grandfather Joe McCarthy seems like an example of this.

He was a demagogue who, with help from future Trump family fixture Roy Cohn, managed to get large numbers of Americans to believe in a phantom American communist fifth column which supposedly saturated the government and other American institutions even though he offered little evidence of it.

Many people in the government feared him too much to take action against him, until he and Cohn went after the army, and the army fought back, McCarthy was exposed for the malicious knave that he was, and his support quickly cratered.

S.S. in West Hollywood, CA, writes: S.E.'s question about a leader quickly losing support reminded me how, at the end of World War II, every German citizen was suddenly a member of the resistance who never supported Adolf Hitler. I suspect in a few years we'll have far fewer Americans remembering their own support of Trump.

R.W. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, writes: Your comments that Trump rallies really don't help him politically miss an important point: He uses them to find and test new lines of attack. He tends to "speak" by blurting things out, or hearing something that someone else says and repeating it. When a line gets a rise from the crowd, he uses it again and again. And the more often the line gets a strong reaction, the more he uses it.

I believe that is how he came up with lines like "lock her up" and "drain the swamp". I doubt very much that he thought of them first. That means that depriving him of the rallies deprives him of one of his best ways of finding the zeitgeist to tap into.

B.B. in Bangor, ME, writes: The risk to Trump from holding rallies is even greater than you're suggesting, since it would undoubtedly occur to someone on the left who happens to have COVID-19 to go to the rally for the purpose of infecting as many Trump supporters as possible. Of course, most people, including most far-left Trump opponents, would consider this abhorrent, but the guy who shot up the Republican baseball practice reminds us that there are some who would try it.

B.W. in Easton, PA, writes: One reason that Trump is hell-bent on restarting his rallies is that his campaign has a robust voter identification/registration system for people who attend his events. A massive info-gathering system is in place to get attendees to register to vote, identify family members who might vote, and to create information dissemination (brainwashing?) contacts via Twitter, Facebook and other digital media outlets. Since Trump is obviously not into "expanding his base," he needs to "exploit his base" to maximize turnout. On a similar note, I would be very curious to know if there are campaign workers gathering data at Trump's visits to factories and other facilities. For example, when Trump flew into Allentown, PA, were there campaign people at the airport gathering data on the hundreds (dozens?) of local "greeters".

The Coup of Trump

C.S. in Albuquerque, NM, writes: In yesterday's Q&A, you discussed the odds of the U.S. Military winning against an insurrection of armed citizens. Your response has some misconceptions I would like to correct, as it implies that winning is as simple as destroying the enemy in conventional battle. I think history has taught us that it's not that simple.

In today's military, such an operation would include an objective of 'Securing' the population, which is a long, difficult and manpower-intensive process. That mission would fall to the U.S. Army, with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps in support. Our army is not large enough to be everywhere. They would patrol areas, perhaps establishing outposts for long-term monitoring. Insurgents would hide among the population to prevent the Army from bringing all its firepower against them. An insurgent population need simply hide their guns until an Army patrol passes and then attack government targets. The Taliban have raised this to a science.

The main difference between a domestic insurgency and our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan is that in a domestic situation, the Army would be trying to protect its own resource base. How long can the Army operate if an insurgency impedes tax collection, attacks ammo factories, conducts internal sabotage, etc?

Finally, our military is far too small to effectively secure a population of 300 million. U.S. Army doctrine recommends 1 Soldier per 50 residents. We currently have about 1 million soldiers that can be called upon. That's 1/6 of what would be needed. Keep in mind, the same force took almost 10 years to stabilize Iraq, a country 1/10 the size. While the Army could grow, all that hi-tech weaponry takes years to produce, while both the recruiting system and the logistics system would be under constant attack.

A.G. in Santa Clarita, CA, writes: For all the weapons the military has, they are useless without a target. If your enemy simply shoots a cop or a soldier and goes home, how do you find them? Imagine 1000 attacks on military or police daily across the country. Does the military bomb whole cities or states? How useful is a stealth fighter when your enemy is half the population in a state?

L.B. in Savannah, GA, writes: These kinds of questions tend to assume a conventional conflict like the Civil War, with two armies facing each other on the field of battle. Of course the U.S. Military would easily win such a conflict against armed citizens. However, it's unlikely that such a conflict will take place. What we're more likely to see are local uprisings, and with enough of them, a sufficiently weakened federal government could decide to withdraw and leave various places to their own devices, under the control of armed criminal gangs or warlords. This is explored in detail in Robert Evans' podcast "It Could Happen Here." I highly recommend this to anyone who has an even passing interest in the topic.

R.G.N. in Seattle, WA, writes: You had the disclaimer, "We will start with the caveat that most of the gun owners are also Trump supporters, and so would presumably be on the same side as the military in this scenario." I assume your disclaimer was to head off complaints by readers who believe all gun owners are super-conservative card-carrying-NRA-member gun-rights activists who strongly support Trump. However, I doubt that the majority of gun owners fall into the same extreme category as the Trump supporters who openly carry assault weapons at "liberate [pick a state]" rallies. It pains me to be stereotyped by the actions of people who present themselves as self-caricatures of gun owners.

Legal Matters

A.R. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: Reading (Z)'s observation that the nuances of each state's constitution complicate things, I was curious about the vagaries of the states' legislative delegation of authority to their governors or election officials.

In Oregon, as noted, a state court judge invalidated Gov. Kate Brown's (D) stay-at-home order. As it turns out, there are two ways in which the Oregon governor can use executive authority to declare an emergency. One gives her the authority, with no expiration date, to respond to a natural disaster, but that statute does not give the governor power to restrict people's movement or prohibit gathering in certain numbers. That authority derives from a different statute, and this is the one invoked by Brown to issue her stay-at-home order. This statute has a clock and requires the governor to get legislative approval for an extension beyond 28 days. There's no question she has not done that, so the court simply applied the plain language of the law. (Whether it was appropriate to issue a preliminary injunction is a different analysis and one that the Oregon Supreme Court will undoubtedly examine.) The Supreme Court will also likely weigh whether the legislature's inability to convene during a pandemic affects the governor's authority under this statute, but that's for the high court, and not a lower-level court, to decide.

Similarly, in Texas, the State Supreme Court in oral argument was very skeptical of AG Ken Paxton's (R) argument that the fear of the pandemic can't be considered a disability for the purpose of qualifying for an absentee ballot. This is because all a voter has to do to qualify is check a box stating that they have a disability. Once that box is checked, the voter is entitled to an absentee ballot under both state and federal law. Both Texas and the U.S. prohibit election officials from requiring information as to the nature of someone's disability—that's both a violation of privacy and practically unworkable as clerks have neither the time nor expertise to police disability claims.

In New Mexico, the Supreme Court was asked to grant officials the right to send every voter a ballot. The Court looked at the law, which very plainly only allows applications to be sent to every voter. So, they ruled that while an application for an absentee ballot can be sent to every voter, an actual ballot cannot.

And so, in answer to the implied question, the courts can't be seen as the saviors when legislatures refuse to act to stem the spread of the virus, either by extending or expanding a governor's authority, or by expanding absentee voting access to limit in-person voting. At the end of the day, it's on us. We are responsible for who we put in office and we can vote them out. Sadly, it will be too late for many of our fellow citizens but it demonstrates how imperative it is to realize that democracy is not a spectator sport.

J.T. in Greensboro, NC, writes: Your response to P.S. in Memphis, TN, reminds me of how my father, a lawyer who argued one case before the Supreme Court in 1994, likes to talk about the court and his own experience. He is always quick to point out that the vast majority of SCOTUS cases are not hot-button cases decided by close, party-line margins and that he lost his case (an esoteric affair concerning mileage rate tariffs) 7-2 with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Clarence Thomas (!) joining together in dissent. He also likes to throw in that his legal idol, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, "tore him a new one."

H.F. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: On several occasions, you've referred to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) as a moderate or an institutionalist. Four years ago, when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley aided and abetted Leader Mitch McConnell's blocking any hearing or vote on President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland as Supreme Court Justice. That's hardly the hallmark of a moderate institutionalist.

V & Z respond: We would suggest that our assessment of Grassley isn't so much about how moderate he is, as much as it is about how far right the Republican Party has veered. Barry Goldwater was "Mr. Conservative" (and was too conservative for 60% of the country in 1964), and now he'd be a GOP centrist.

It's Science, for Christ's Sake

K.J. in Roanoke, VA, writes: I appreciate you posting such a variety of viewpoints last Sunday. But science and faith do not have to be at odds. The 40% that view earth as young are not necessarily anti-science. It's all about interpretation. For example, do you assume that natural processes have always taken place as they do now, or do you allow for the possibility that a catastrophic flood could cause rapid burial and rock formation that make the earth appear far older than it actually is? For anyone whose mind is open to other possibilities beyond Darwinian evolution, I recommend these two books: The Genesis Flood and The Case for a Creator.

Climate change, mentioned in one letter, provides a good example. What does the science actually say? Unfortunately, since so much money and power are at stake, unbiased research is not being done as it should. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is filled with biased activists and the 97% consensus lie has deceived many. Historical data shows that CO2 (which makes up just 0.04% of the atmosphere) has little impact on temperature, while deep ocean circulations and sunspot cycles have a much greater impact on our climate. As a degreed meteorologist, I have been encouraging people for 15+ years to do their own research and not just believe everything they hear.

But getting people to sincerely question things such as evolution and climate change is exceptionally difficult, because it really comes down to one's worldview (at the core, faith in God vs. faith in humanity). Some believe we need big-government solutions to save the world from climate change and to keep people locked down due to COVID-19. Others value individual responsibility and personal freedom while questioning scientific claims. (Aren't questions and debate essential to true scientific advancement?) I just wish that people on both sides better understood and respected the worldviews of one another.

A.H. in Columbus, OH, writes: Religion is certainly a can of worms to open up. Claims like "Is believing in a creator crazier than believing that the universe created itself out of nothing?" is the type of philosophical nonsense that gets promoted as if it sounds wise. Of course, the retort is: "Who or what created your god, a complex intelligent and emotional creature, from nothing?" and the retort to that is something about self-creation or eternal time. Then we are just going in circles since the same applies to many possible ideas about the universe.

Science depends on alternate, falsifiable hypotheses and the possibility that new discoveries could favor one over the other. There is no such thing as a supernatural scientific hypothesis because supernatural explanations can never be disproven. You can't compartmentalize one field of science and say you prefer myth Z to just that part, but then ignore the implication of that decision: That the rest of science is just not a valid system to live by.

It is also debatable whether Creationism—which was racist in both its literalist and "day age" iterations before evolution was ever discovered—is harmless.

S.S. in Athens, OH, writes: Of course "belief" in the Big Bang does not remotely resemble "belief" in God, as science involves critical thought, not leaps of faith. I like to use superconductivity as a useful analogy (largely because it is mercifully free of any religious entanglements). Prior to 1911, no one "believed" in superconductivity. And the reason they didn't believe in it is that there was no reason to; no one had ever observed it. If you had asked physicists in 1910 whether they thought that something like superconductivity was possible, they would almost certainly have said no (indeed, to respond otherwise would have required a leap of faith!).

Once superconductivity was first observed in April 1911, people began to "believe" in it. There was widespread skepticism at first, of course; surely those crazy Dutch physicists had made a simple mistake somewhere! But as other groups repeated Kamerlingh Onnes's results with mercury, and subsequently observed superconductivity in other materials, more and more physicists accepted superconductivity as a real phenomenon (some had to be dragged kicking and screaming, of course, but that's another story). Here, moving from disbelief to belief required only the examination of experimental observations, not leaps of faith.

Even after superconductivity had been established as real, it took several decades for a physical theory to develop to explain how it worked. Today, if you ask physicists whether they "believe" in the BCS theory as an explanation for low-temperature superconductivity, most would say they do. This kind of "belief" can be interpreted as, "it makes sense, it fits the observations well, and it looks like the best model that we have for now, so I accept it, at least until a better explanation comes along." Once again, conclusions derived from evidence, not leaps of faith.

And so it is with the Big Bang. Physicists "believe" in the Big Bang because it provides the best fit to the evidence we have of how the universe began. If a better (in the sense of being more complete) model is put forth tomorrow, then physicists will gradually move to "believe" in that new one (and yes, there will be dragging, kicking, and screaming involved). However, as is always the case, that newer, better model still has to account for all of the accumulated data that we've acquired so far, so there's a good chance that it won't be any more comforting than what we already have.

J.P. in Pontiac, MI, writes: PBS Space Time made a great series of videos about the Big Bang if anyone is interested in more of the science on the topic.

D.W. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: (Z) knows the drill re: history, so I offer my corollary: Those who are ignorant of science, and deny their evolutionary origin, may be doomed to repeat that whole process.

The 51st State

M.G.M.W. in Kensington, MD, writes: In your response to K.F.W. from El Dorado Hills, CA, you commented, "Congress and/or the district could redraw the lines [of Washington, DC] to keep a small number of acres and people inside the district (along with the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Supreme Court)." In fact, the District of Columbia Office of Planning has already done just that in connection with a 2016 referendum, creating proposed boundaries to separate a smaller federal District of Columbia from the State of New Columbia. New Columbia has a draft constitution ready to go and, in case you were wondering, they would retain the postal abbreviation of DC since NC is already in use. You can view the proposed boundaries, the state constitution, and more here.

P.M. in Currituck, NC, writes: The idea of changing the District of Columbia's boundaries so as to provide representation for the people of the city has been a dream of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) for a number of years. In 2007, he first introduced the idea and he brought it up again in 2013. I once created a gmap-pedometer map that shows what the new D.C. would look like.

Gohmert's plan is to cede all of DC back to Maryland, aside from the small area on the map. This would allow all residents of the District to have their voice heard in the national assembly (through Maryland), aside from the president and his/her family, who would vote in their home state.

Lettermen (and Women)

C.J. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: While I understand why E.W. in Skaneateles, NY, feels that we take sports and entertainment too seriously, I also have to disagree. I love history and politics and science, and often try to get friends/family to appreciate them too. Especially history, which even when I was a kid in grade school I loved (and often thought I knew more than my teachers, with the ego that a child can have).

But you know what else I love? Movies, sports, music, and many other "unimportant" things. I can't remember his exact wording, but Roger Ebert once argued that those interests in those trivial things are what is really important at the end of the day. In his case, interest in film was something that was obviously important between his wife Chaz and himself.

Sports or theater, or movies, or concerts are trivial—but they also are not. They're literally what makes life more than just the mundane tasks of going to work or not. These things give us something to live for. When I was a kid, obviously school was important (and I was an honor student), but you know what I really cared about? My non-scholastic interests. Do I have fond memories of studying 5th grade math, or do I have ones of attending a game at the same age? I think you know which I look back on.

J.M. in Portland, OR, writes: In response to E.W., two things drive the world today: money and sex. In technology, what content was first available on VHS or CDs? Porn. For sports, what drives our interest? Betting. If Americans were allowed to bet on elections, we might well achieve the level of interest E.W. desires.

K.F. in Framingham, MA, writes: Like E.W., I long for the day when the media and our society pay attention to what's truly important. Instead of trying to beat the other or get more than others have, what if we all helped each other succeed and made sure everyone had the important information and resources they needed? Maybe one day we can actually be a United States of America. We can dream.

J.L. in Cincinnati, OH, writes: I agree wholeheartedly with E.W., and in particular have long believed that athletics are detrimental to schools.

Whomever Could Care Less Shouldn't Read This

A.J. in San Francisco, CA, writes: Now you've done it. I have long loved your site but gritted my teeth at the spelling or grammar errors, usually three a week, or at the ear-gratingly number of times you begin a sentence with "That said."

That said, you have crossed a red line and committed the unforgivable sin. You wrote: "There would be endless lawsuits, but Trump could care less about them."

Really? You, too? "Could care less"? That's for third graders who are flunking English. He could not care less.

V & Z respond: We got so many e-mails about that, we went back and changed it. However, we actually take the position that it is grammatically correct. We're aware of the logic of the classic construction, but "could care less" has achieved wide usage, consistent with the well-established use of linguistic inversion for purpose of emphasis/sarcasm. See, for example, "Tell me about it!" (which usually means "Don't tell me about it") or "I should be so lucky!" (which usually means "I would prefer not to have that happen to me.").

S.R. in Wyomissing, PA, writes: This is completely off-topic, but when you ran my letter last week, you edited my grammar from "they make" to "s/he makes." As someone currently working on a Ph.D. in English, I just want to say that using "they" as a gender-neutral singular is now acceptable. But I don't like it either. What we really need is a new gender-neutral English pronoun for people. It's a brave new world and it's time our language catches up.

V & Z respond: This is one of many grammatical gray areas where, no matter what standard we choose, people write in and correct us. It was our judgment that S/he worked best for the flow, and the semi-anonymity, of the mailbag.

A.B. in Tucson, AZ, writes: I love your site, but I'm frustrated by the persistent lapses in basic language skills. "Whomever" can't be the subject of a verb—period—any more than "me" or "them" can, and yet that construction is all over your Senate section. Saying "whomever wins the election" is as bad as saying "him wins the election." Try "whoever." You two are college graduates, but you need to get an elementary school teacher to copy-edit your grammar. It's embarrassing.

V & Z respond: There is no point of grammar that produces more e-mails than this one. And they tend to be more patronizing than most of the other grammar e-mails, too. It surprises us that people feel so strongly about it, since it's a fairly tricky aspect of English grammar, and since whom/whomever are on their way to extinction, not unlike "thou." That said, the issue that generated more letters to Ann Landers than any other was the proper way to hang toilet paper, so you never know. In any event, we went and checked, and just this year we've used the different formulations of the word "who" 6,722 times. That means that even if we were 98% accurate (unlikely), we were wrong 134 times, or about once a day. Such is the price of producing a lot of copy in a short time.


D.R. in Anaktuvuk Pass, AK, writes: I was pleasantly surprised when you highlighted my village, Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. I thought you might appreciate a little etymology about the name. The village was founded rather recently, in the 1940s, by the Nunamiut people, the last North American nomads. They describe themselves as the inland Eskimos, who speak a distinctive dialect of Iñupiaq, who are (aside from the Nunamiut) mostly a coastal people. In the Nunamiut dialect, "Anaktuvuk Pass" means "place of caribou (tutu) feces (anak)."

V & Z respond: Hm. Our Pittsburgh readers tell us that it's actually "Cleveland" that means "place of feces." Perhaps we misunderstood?

R.G. in Portland, OR, writes: Just thought I'd offer some insight into Al Gore's loss in Tennessee. My wife is a Tennessean and we've discussed this before. She says that two things ruined Gore that year; one was that Tennesseans felt that he had basically eschewed his roots in Tennessee, and the other was his arrogance that he felt he had his home state locked down and didn't campaign there. According to her, both these things really stuck in the craw of most Tennesseeans. And they showed their displeasure at the ballot box.

J.G. in Chicago, IL, writes: As a native Minnesotan, I wanted to share this article from The Minneapolis Star-Tribune paper a few weeks back, headlined "Why is Minnesota more liberal than its neighboring states?" It hits nicely on the questions raised in the Q&A and mailbag last week.

J.W. in Indianapolis, IN, writes: B.B. of Panama City Beach, FL, wrote in about the historic treatment of Polish immigrants. It reminded me of this 1893 political cartoon by Joseph Keppler, which is one of the most powerful political cartoons that I have ever seen despite the fact that it is nearly 130 years old. Virtually every new group of arrivals in American history has been treated poorly, to say the very least. This cartoon does an incredible job of displaying the absurdity and hypocrisy of nativism. The fact that a cartoonist could so thoroughly eviscerate the nativist philosophy in the 1890s illustrates the extent to which we as a society (and as a species) should be ashamed of the continued existence of racism and xenophobia in the 21st Century.

Today's Presidential Polls

Two rock-solid certainties on Nov. 3: (1) The sun will set in the west, and (2) it will do so over states that, excepting Alaska, Donald Trump has zero chance of winning. Joe Biden could shoot someone in the middle of Pike Street, and he'd still win Washington. (Z)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Washington 59% 37% May 19 May 20 PPP

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May23 Saturday Q&A
May22 Ratcliffe Confirmed as DNI
May22 U.S. To Pull Out of Another Treaty
May22 A COVID-19 Train Wreck Is Looming
May22 There's No 3-D Chess Going on Here, Part I: Trump vs. Obama
May22 There's No 3-D Chess Going on Here, Part II: Voting by Mail
May22 Warren Likes Obamacare Again
May22 Republican Party Abandons Its Candidate in CA-10
May22 Loeffler Doesn't Know She is Toast
May22 Today's Presidential Polls
May21 Quinnipiac Poll: Biden Has 11-Point Lead Nationally
May21 Michigan Sent Absentee Ballot Applications to All Voters
May21 Senate Will Subpoena Company that Did Work for Burisma
May21 Local Officials Are Now Battling Governors about Reopening the Economy
May21 House Will Allow Proxy Voting
May21 Supreme Court Blocks House from Accessing Mueller Documents
May21 Florida Health Data Specialist Fired for Refusing to Alter Data Website
May21 Arpaio Is Back
May21 Firm That Lobbied Trump Got a $1.3 Billion Contract to Build Some Fencing
May21 Today's Presidential Polls
May20 Trump Continues to Earn Low Marks for Handling of COVID-19 Pandemic
May20 Will Trump Really Try to Hold Rallies This Year?
May20 Donald Trump, Military President
May20 The Legal Blotter, Part I: Voting Wars Continue in Texas
May20 The Legal Blotter, Part II: Oregon Stay-at-Home Orders Are Back on, for Now
May20 The Legal Blotter, Part III: Another Trump Family Lawsuit
May20 Loeffler is Toast
May20 The COVID Diaries
May20 Today's Presidential Polls
May20 Today's Senate Polls
May19 Pompeo Plot Thickens
May19 Burr Plot Thickens, Too
May19 Trump Is Taking Hydroxychloroquine
May19 The One-Two Punch: Eric Trump...
May19 ...and Donald Trump Jr.
May19 Trump Is Doing Well in Swing States...or Not
May19 Oregon Stay-at-Home Order Is Struck Down
May19 Biden Will Cancel Keystone Pipeline
May19 Val Demings' Star Is Rising
May19 Today's Presidential Polls
May18 Bloomberg Is Planning to Support Democrats
May18 COVID-19 Deaths Will Pass 100,000 by June 1
May18 Democratic Governors Hit with Lawsuits
May18 Behind the Scenes It Is Birx, not Fauci, Who Is the Real Power
May18 We Need to Move on to Stage Five
May18 The Response to COVID-19 Is Just Class Warfare in a New Form
May18 Texas Supreme Court Halts Expansion of Mail-in Voting
May18 Trump's Opposition to Absentee Ballots May Backfire
May18 Trump Supporter Chosen as Postmaster General
May17 Amash Bows Out