Senator Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential campaign yesterday though she put off making a decision on who, if anyone, she would endorse. Warren’s exit was a blow to many who saw her as the most qualified and capable of the contenders, and the most promising to become the first female president of the United States. That a woman as impressive as Warren couldn’t get traction alongside two septuagenarian white men was evidence to many men and women that misogyny and double standards are still ingrained in our culture.
Also yesterday, a federal judge wrote a devastating rebuke of Attorney General William Barr in a dispute about releasing the unredacted Mueller report. The judge basically said that Barr’s dishonest characterization of the report prior to its release damaged his credibility: “These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.” In normal times, Barr’s behavior would be a scandal and prompt a congressional investigation. But under the disastrous Trump regime, it’s just a passing disgrace.
The spread of the coronavirus continued to dominate the news, with the number of infected rising yesterday, as well as the number of fatalities. The stock market sold off by another 1,000 points on fears of global slowdown, with news outlets showing pictures of empty airports and cancelled flights. And while Trump is a dangerous fool who ignores experts and spouts lie after lie on just about every subject, including telling people to go to work while they are sick, he might be right about one thing. The mortality rate of the coronavirus will almost certainly go down. Here’s an article in Slate by a renowned Harvard Medical School instructor Doctor Jeremy Samuel Faust that goes into detail on pandemic mortality rates:
The short version of Doctor Faust’s paper is this:
We have a good sense of all the people who die from a virus. We don’t have a good sense of all the people infected by that virus. Over time, we find more and more people who were mildly infected and didn’t report, so over time the total number of infected climbs up while the known deaths remain constant. For example, we know 30 people died of virus X and we know at least 1000 people who were infected. Months later, after a lot of detective work, we discover that 6000 people were actually infected–but still only 30 people died. So the initial projection was a 3% mortality rate. But over time we discover that the actual mortality rate was 0.5%.
It’s quite likely that many more people are or have been infected by coronavirus than we know of, so over time the mortality rate should go down. Just how far it goes down, we don’t know. But if you’re not in a high risk group, there’s no need to panic.
Another article worth reading is an excellent piece in The New Republic by forecasting star Rachel “The Doc” Bitecofer on the forces shaping the 2020 election. Bitecofer was the only election forecaster to almost perfectly call the 2018 landslide. She goes into detail about “negative partisanship,” in which voters turn out more because they are afraid of or angry at the other party than because they love their own candidate. And she also has some keen insights into the 2018 victory that remain relevant in 2020:
To hear many Democratic leaders tell it, ignoring Trump was the secret to their success in 2018, but the voter file data suggests otherwise. Democratic gains, strong though they were, may actually have been handicapped by a strategy that failed to exploit the party’s best asset: the electorate’s angst about Trump. What’s more, the turnout of the Republican base was just as strong in these districts as in districts where candidates were more liberal and did talk about Trump. So the strategy of not rousing any partisan blowback in the general election doesn’t appear to have yielded the advantage of a suppressed opposition vote.
Here’s a link to the full article.
It’s a fascinating read by a woman whose research and insights continue to impress and inform political observers.
Have a great weekend.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”