Trump began his Wednesday not by extending sympathies to the 10,000 residents of Michigan who were forced from their homes amid two dam ruptures and record flooding, but instead by tweeting criticism at the Michigan secretary of state for “illegally” mailing absentee ballots to millions of citizens. The secretary of state later tweeted that Trump was wrong, the voters were mailed applications to order absentee ballots, like many other states mail to their voters, including Red States. Trump was humiliated enough to eventually delete the tweet and replace it with something more accurate, but he continued in a presser to threaten withholding federal funds to Michigan, Nevada and any other (blue or swing) state trying to implement any form of vote-from-home. BUT it turns out withholding federal funds from states for the purpose of interfering with people’s right to vote is a federal crime. Will Trump back off? Probably not, especially considering that Trump will have a hard time winning without suppressing the vote and forcing people to risk their lives to visit the ballot box. But any federal funding shenanigans will be met with strong legal challenges from Democrats. Be prepared for continued voter suppression from the GOP. They’re putting a lot of effort and resources into it for the November election.
It was also revealed yesterday that Mike “Pompous” Pompeo was under investigation not only for misusing his office staff and improperly selling arms to Saudi Arabia, but also because he was holding lavish dinner parties at the State Department for conservative media, conservative celebrities, and wealthy executives–all paid by the taxpayer. The dinners had no apparent diplomatic purpose, but rather were part of an effort to cultivate relationships and possible donors for a future Pompeo presidential run. In other words, the dinners were unethical and possibly unlawful.
Both of these stories have a common denominator: a corrupt presidency. Trump lies and breaks rules and tries to intimidate in order to improve his chances for re-election, and in turn his lackeys do whatever they want to further their political and/or financial ambitions, regardless of ethics or legal constraints. New poll numbers were released yesterday by Quinnipiac that showed voters supported Biden over Trump by 50% to 39%. These were disastrous numbers for Trump, and the details were equally bad. Voters who disliked both candidates favored Biden by a huge margin over Trump–a very different result than Hillary versus Trump, where voters who disliked both went for Trump over Clinton by a small margin. These horrible numbers must be driving Trump crazy, and he will surely lash out in the days ahead, especially when unfavorable stories break about new scandals or new items concerning old scandals. The good news is that when Trump is desperate his lack of discipline, penchant for vengeance, and impulse to attack almost always makes things worse for himself. The bad news is that he is very good at changing the subject even if he has to lie or cheat or endanger people’s lives. For example, “I’m taking hydroxychloroquine.”
As Trump watches cable TV and tweets and holds rambling, incoherent pressers, the coronavirus continues to rage across the nation. Experts fear new hot-spots will explode in the South as governors relax restrictions even though some of their states don’t meet the criteria for easing. Tracking cases will also be harder because some states appear to be cooking their books and manipulating case data. It seems increasingly likely that we are heading toward a prolonged period of oscillation where states relax, the cases shoot up, the states lock down, the cases diminish, and on and on. This would make economic revival slower and significantly more difficult, not to mention more painful. Yet with Trump all but abandoning a national effort to corral the outbreak, we’re left with an inefficient state-level patchwork.
Rep Antonio Delgado is holding his tenth telephone town hall today at 4:30pm to give NY 19 residents an update on coronavirus relief measures, so dial 855-905-3295 at 4:30pm to join in.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”