Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Fallout from the Woodward tapes is feeding the firestorm

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

There’s a big hole in Trump’s frantic spin about the Woodward revelations

“We don’t want to instill panic,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, in defending himself. “We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem,” Trump continued, because this would “scare everybody.”

Similarly, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked about the new revelations and Trump’s own repeated refrain that the coronavirus will “go away,” responded by claiming that Trump had merely “expressed calmness” and sought to avoid “inciting fear.” Other defenders have pushed versions of the same nonsense.

But a look at the timeline before and after that admission to Woodward shows that even if Trump did want to avoid provoking “panic,” it was largely for self-absorbed reasons, not out of any discernible conception of what was good for the country.


I have a honest-to-god question for any Republicans and conservatives who want to explain this to me: Wtf are you guys doing? What is the *play* here?

— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) September 10, 2020

Rebecca Morin/USA Today:

A majority of young Latinos support Biden over Trump, according to new survey

A majority of young Latino voters support Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the 2020 November election, according to a new survey.

If the election was held tomorrow, 60% of Latinos ages 18 to 34 say they would cast their ballot for Biden while only 19% say they would vote for Trump, according to a Telemundo/BuzzFeed News survey released Thursday.

Mónica Gil, executive vice president and chief administrative and marketing officer at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, noted that if any candidate wants to win in the election, they must focus on young Latinos.

“Any person who wants to get into an office cannot win without young Latinos supporting them,” Gil told USA TODAY, adding that “1 million young Latino voters will become eligible to vote, every year for the next 10 years.”

USA Today:

Senior FDA career executives: We’re following the science to protect public health in pandemic

We are committed to making decisions guided by the best evidence. Our approach has been and must remain the gold standard that all can rely upon.

The co-authors of this column are the senior career executives at FDA who oversee all the work of the agency’s centers and field operations. The views expressed here are exclusively their own and do not represent the position of the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. government.

This is remarkable because of that statement. These folks hate being in the public spotlight, but one of the authors also published this in New England Journal of Medicine yesterday:

Covid-19 Molecular Diagnostic Testing — Lessons Learned

As we have adapted our policies to changing circumstances, we have learned lessons that should inform our response to future outbreaks. First, we believe that the U.S. government should work with international partners to establish a plan for sharing clinical specimens as soon as a public health threat emerges. This effort could be aided by having appropriate international agreements in place in advance.

Second, when a public health threat warrants large-scale testing, it would be more effective to authorize a small number of well-designed, well-developed, and validated tests run on common high-throughput platforms, followed by a few point-of-care tests, all of which are manufactured in large quantities, than to simultaneously develop and authorize scores of diagnostics. Such diffuse efforts are an inefficient use of resources.


“Denying Americans crucial information at the start of a pandemic — when the eventual extent of that pandemic could be dramatically curtailed by concerted action — is outrageous, heartless, reckless negligence.”

— Michael Gerson (@MJGerson) September 10, 2020


Voter Doubt of 2020 Outcome Possible

Trump statements about the military show little impact on the race

Biden is currently supported by 51% of registered voters and Trump by 42%. The remaining vote is scattered across third-party candidates, including Libertarian Jo Jorgensen (2%), the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins (2%), and other candidates (1%), while 3% of voters are undecided.  This is similar to the Democrat’s pre-convention lead of 51% to 41% last month. The poll also includes Monmouth’s first national likely voter model of the cycle, which has Biden ahead by 7 points at 51% to 44%. Jorgensen and Hawkins each earn 1% support from likely voters and another 2% are undecided.

Biden continues to have more firm support – 43% of all registered voters and 45% of likely voters say they are certain to vote for him – than Trump does. Certain support for the incumbent comes from 37% of registered voters and 41% of likely voters. About half of the electorate (50% registered and 49% likely) continues to say they are not at all likely to support the incumbent, while about 4 in 10 (40% registered and 42% likely) say the same for the challenger…

Currently, 16% of registered voters do not have a favorable opinion of either candidate, which is down slightly from 22% in August. Biden remains the preferred presidential choice among this group by 42% to 22%. This is somewhat narrower than the Democrat’s 55% to 17% edge among this group last month. Among likely voters, just 11% do not have a favorable opinion of either candidate, with Biden maintaining a 50% to 26% lead with this group. Even though Biden’s advantage has narrowed among voters who don’t like either candidate, it appears to be a product of some voters developing a favorable opinion of the candidate they were already supporting.

In other words, the conventions helped Biden.

Here is a graph from USC Dornsife tracking the conventions and the Atlantic military disrespect article. I’ll add the Woodward book next week. 

Look for a change 4 days after an event. This is a 7 day tracker, so a full week after an event shows a full effect. Overall, pretty steady race., Watch for recent events to see what changes you can pick up.

Ed Yong/Atlantic:

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral

As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring.

Army ants will sometimes walk in circles until they die. The workers navigate by smelling the pheromone trails of workers in front of them, while laying down pheromones for others to follow. If these trails accidentally loop back on themselves, the ants are trapped. They become a thick, swirling vortex of bodies that resembles a hurricane as viewed from space. They march endlessly until they’re felled by exhaustion or dehydration. The ants can sense no picture bigger than what’s immediately ahead. They have no coordinating force to guide them to safety. They are imprisoned by a wall of their own instincts. This phenomenon is called the death spiral. I can think of no better metaphor for the United States of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. enters the ninth month of the pandemic with more than 6.3 million confirmed cases and more than 189,000 confirmed deaths. The toll has been enormous because the country presented the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus with a smorgasbord of vulnerabilities to exploit. But the toll continues to be enormous—every day, the case count rises by around 40,000 and the death toll by around 800—because the country has consistently thought about the pandemic in the same unproductive ways.

And your moment of zen:


Checking in on today’s Liberal Panic instructions. Please remove the “Kenosha unrest could sink Biden” software and install the “Pennsylvania GOP registration surge could sink Biden” patch. Remember to connect to wifi to avoid data charges.

— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 10, 2020


Republicans are celebrating that fewer of their deceased and inactive voters have been removed from the file in PA since ’16. Meanwhile Dems registered more voters, turned out half a million more voters in the primary, and have a 3 to 1 lead in mail ballot requests.

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) September 10, 2020

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