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On the roster: Even as pain deepens, huge resistance to reopening - Dem insurgents flop in bid to oust CBC stalwart - Democrats in a quandary over Biden allegations - Amash eyes Libertarian nomination - Go get ‘em, Angelina
EVEN AS PAIN DEEPENS, HUGE RESISTANCE TO REOPENING
NPR: “Half the country has been personally economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and overwhelming numbers of Americans do not think schools, restaurants or sporting events with large crowds should reopen until there is further testing, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. President Trump does not fare very well as far as his handling of the pandemic goes. Most Americans, except Republicans, disapprove of the job he's doing, and there are massive divides by gender and educational level. What's more, with the presidential election less than seven months away, more than half the country prefers that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden handle the pandemic — and even the economy. The latter being what Trump has been hanging his hat on for reelection. Fifty percent of Americans said they or someone in their household has either lost hours or a job because of the coronavirus, up from 18% a month ago.”
Economy collapsed in first quarter - Fox News: “[The] economy shrank by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic – a decline that is the worst since the same time period of 2009 and marks the first time the size of the economy has decreased since 2014. … The decline, which was precipitated by widespread shutdowns of portions of the economy through stay-at-home orders issued by governors, in accordance with social distancing guidelines issued by the White House, was largely driven by a decrease in consumer spending. Such spending fell at a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.6 percent, which is the largest such decline since the second quarter of 1980.”
Trump forces meat packers back to work amid outbreaks - USA Today: “Faced with worries of a meat shortage caused by the coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered beef, pork and poultry processing plants to remain open despite safety concerns. Citing his authority under the Defense Production Act, Trump declared in an executive order that ‘it is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry (‘meat and poultry’) in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans.’ Critics said the forced openings – some plants have closed because so many employees contracted the coronavirus – threaten the safety of workers who remain vulnerable to the disease. Trump also told reporters he would seek to shield meat plants from legal liability if they are sued by employees who contract coronavirus while on the job. While Trump only mentioned Tyson Foods specifically, he suggested his plan would protect other businesses from liability as well.”
Cities threaten mass layoffs as bailout stalls - WaPo: “Among municipalities, the new budget cuts could be profound: Between 300,000 and 1 million public-sector workers could soon be out of a job or sent home without pay, according to a new estimate from the National League of Cities. The steep reductions in staffing levels could affect education, sanitation, safety and health, local leaders warn, potentially leaving critical public services in utter disarray. For governors, mayors and other top local officials, their economic troubles stem from the precipitous drops in revenue that have come as a result of shuttered businesses and sharp decreases in shopping and travel. The extent of the disruptions are poised to reach a level not seen since the Great Recession more than a decade ago, a reality that has prompted many city and state leaders to plead with Washington for help.”
Baseball looks to late June for first pitch in empty ballparks - USA Today: “Major League Baseball officials have become cautiously optimistic this week that the season will start in late June, and no later than July 2, playing at least 100 regular-season games, according to three executives with knowledge of the talks. They requested anonymity because the plan is still under consideration. And not only would baseball be played, but it would be played in their own major-league ballparks, albeit with no fans. MLB is considering a three-division, 10-team plan in which teams play only within their division – a concept gaining support among owners and executives. It would abolish the traditional American and National Leagues, and realign the divisions based on geography.”
THE RULEBOOK: TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
“There is a wide difference, also, between military establishments in a country seldom exposed by its situation to internal invasions, and in one which is often subject to them, and always apprehensive of them.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 8
TIME OUT: SPACE CADETS
Smithsonian: “One of the greatest debates in typographical history is arguably an empty one. It centers on the idea of nothingness — specifically, the number of spaces found between the end of one sentence and the beginning of another. And what a difference a single keystroke can make. Virtual wars have been waged over that humble second space. Some maintain that two spaces between sentences make paragraphs easier to read; others, like Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, who wrote in 2011 that ‘typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong,’ vehemently disagree. Now, a veritable powerhouse has entered the fray—and definitively taken a side. …Microsoft Word has started marking double spaces between sentences as errors. … Before panic ensues among ‘two-spacers,’ take comfort in the fact that the program’s suggestion is just that — a suggestion. … Users will be able to accept the change, ignore it once or disable the program’s ability to highlight two-space gaps entirely.”
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TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 45.4 percent
Average disapproval: 51.2 percent
Net Score: -5.8 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.6 points
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk University: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 49% approve - 49% disapprove; Monmouth University: 46% approve - 49% disapprove.]
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DEM INSURGENTS FLOP IN BID TO OUST CBC STALWART
Columbus Dispatch: “[Rep. Joyce Beatty] had won four consecutive terms in the House, but she hadn’t had a primary challenge since she was first elected in 2012 until [Morgan Harper] launched her campaign. … Harper, an attorney who spent more than three years working at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, pushed Beatty from the left, aligning herself with progressive platforms and organizations that have tried to unseat longtime Democratic incumbents in other parts of the country. The most famous of those was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won her seat in 2018. Much of the outbreak-elongated campaign was about Harper’s attacks on Beatty for taking campaign contributions from corporate political action committees. Beatty outspent Harper by a three-to-one margin, deploying nearly $2.2 million in campaign cash compared with about $700,000 from her opponent, according to the Federal Elections Commission. But Beatty maintained throughout the campaign that it was her experience, not political contributions, that would send her back to Congress.”
DEMOCRATS IN A QUANDARY OVER BIDEN ALLEGATIONS
Politico: “After Business Insider published two on-the-record sources Monday saying Reade told them about the accusations years ago — resulting in a rush of follow-up media reports — Republicans quickly amplified [Tara] Reade’s claims, and Democrats began reassessing the potential damage. … But the drip of news is forcing high-profile senators, including potential vice presidential candidates, to defend [Joe] Biden. At a minimum, it is altering Democrats’ messaging around the presidential campaign at a critical time. Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar — both potential vice presidential selections — have praised Biden when asked about Reade’s allegations in recent interviews. So has Stacey Abrams, another vice presidential contender. … On Tuesday, the day Clinton endorsed Biden, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement, was asked whether Democrats were contradicting themselves with their handling of Reade’s accusations and those against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
Bernie’s money men move on to Biden - NYT: “Former top advisers to Senator Bernie Sanders are teaming up on a surprising new venture to try to rally progressive support for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s 2020 campaign: a super PAC. Jeff Weaver, who served as Mr. Sanders’s campaign manager in 2016 and as a top adviser in 2020, is leading the effort, which will focus on mobilizing the base of Sanders supporters — young people, liberals Latinos and ‘blue-collar progressives’ — for Mr. Biden. Other top Sanders officials from the 2020 race who will be involved include Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser who focused on Latino outreach, Tim Tagaris, who oversaw digital strategy and fund-raising, and Shelli Jackson, a California strategist for the campaign. Mark Longabaugh, who worked for Mr. Sanders in 2016 but left the 2020 campaign early on, is also part of the new group.”
AMASH EYES LIBERTARIAN NOMINATION
The Dispatch: “Justin Amash is (probably) running for president. He’s toyed with the idea for over a year: Describing himself as an ideal third-party candidate at libertarian conferences, posting cryptic tweets about Americans ‘deserving another option,’ repeatedly refusing to rule out a campaign whenever reporters asked. But the months dragged on—the Libertarian party held primary after primary, debate after debate—and Amash remained an onlooker. … But at precisely 8 p.m. on Tuesday, a new Twitter account—@amashforamerica—was born, breaking the news via Nintendo Super Smash Bros. meme that a new candidate had arrived on the scene. Technically, Amash launched an exploratory committee—a vehicle through which candidates can test the waters before officially taking the presidential plunge—but he’s already done plenty of exploring.”
Team trump touts virtual campaign - Fox News: “Party officials told Fox News that since transitioning to virtual and digital efforts on March 13, Trump Victory – the name of the combined field efforts of the national party and the president’s reelection campaign – has made over 20 million voter contacts and added more than 300,000 new volunteers. The national party committee also highlighted that Trump Victory’s strategic initiative teams, which are leading the charge, have held 100 virtual events since mid-March, with over 4,000 attendees from across the country. … The RNC spotlighted that they made the switch to virtual campaigning in the span of 24 hours. And they tout that ‘Trump Talk’ – a voter contact tool that allows volunteers to make calls from their own homes – was instrumental in making the transition.”
Mfume returning to Congress - Roll Call
Tyler Cowen: What might post-corona travel and tourism look like? Think short and small - Bloomberg
Pergram: In the age of coronavirus, how soon is too soon for Congress to return? - Fox News
Senate Republicans push to return to judicial confirmations next week - Politico
AUDIBLE: BIG DATA
“Somebody has to sneeze down at me, and that’s pretty hard to do when you’re 6-foot-8.” – Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale, explaining to the NYT he’s not concerned about his personal health during the pandemic.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Love the insight into the way Dems sacrificed Al Franken on the #MeToo altar to take out Roy Moore. However, Mr. Moore (or, former Judge Moore) was running for Senate in Alabama not Mississippi. Being from the similarly small and neighboring state of Louisiana, I understand that to some "big state and/or city slickers" we are all the same. But, I believe you hail from West Virginia, another small state that like Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are often derided as being all the same. And, I know you know that is not the case in the least. Roy Moore is Alabama's and they may keep him. Just want to set the record straight for my Mississippi friends.” – Melinda Brown, Gretna, La.
[Ed. note: Quite so, Ms. Brown! Just a slip in a hurried dictation, I promise. Thanks for pointing out.]
“What drives me bug nuts is when folks criticize others on what they said prior without having the sense to look at what was said at what time, with the information that was available at that time and not try to take todays information (which will become outdated) and juxtapose it on the prior knowledge. I realize it is a technique to prove another is/has been wrong but it is so incorrect to do. I would love it if folks were correct in the beginning with limited knowledge but that is not reality. It is another thing to prove that the information that was available at the time was used incorrectly AT THAT TIME. That I could accept. Ah, the news cycle and the need for polarization for no productive reason. 20/20 hindsight is always so accurate and is meaningless. The ability to make the right decision with the information available at that time and to be smart enough to adjust when more information presents itself is what this country needs and deserves. Just my opinion.” – Alan Edelkind, Dublin, N.H.
[Ed. note: An opinion I heartily endorse, Mr. Edelkind. It is widely understood that politics is a lagging indicator not a leading one. There are many reasons for this, but one is about purpose. The objective in politics is obtaining and preserving power, not obtaining results. In the best cases, politicians obtain and preserve power based on their capacity for accomplishment and leadership. But that is usually not the case. Very often these days, politicians almost entirely neglect positive arguments and focus on rendering their opponent as totally unacceptable. Who cares whether Candidate A is good at the job or not? Candidate B is a traitor, cheat and all around rat. Imagine if normal life functioned this way. If your company, family or organization was facing a problem, the absolute worst thing you could do would be to engage in blame casting. It erodes trust, discourages cooperation and encourages inaction. American politics has gotten to be extremely efficient at the assumption and protection of power. Too bad that means our politicians have mostly lost the capacity for its wise and useful exercise. Also, 10/10 for use of the phrase “bug nuts.”]
“Just like I think polls should now move from national to state level, I think we should look at COVID-19 numbers differently. Comparing the number of infected and dead we have to, say, Italy Is comparing watermelons to apples. We should be looking at numbers ‘per thousand’ or ‘per million.’ We have a lot more people living here than Italy. Somewhere I saw a picture of the US with Italy plopped down in the Midwest with plenty of room for, say, France on the left coast And Germany on the right coast. When I was in Europe locals would ask me how long a flight from GA to CA was. When I said ‘3 hours.’ they were stunned. Then some would ask how long it took to cross GA and I would say “3 hours” they were, again, surprised. Ultimately they would decide many of our states were as large or even larger than the countries in the EU. Given that, should we be comparing our entire country to one of theirs? Of course the US’s numbers are higher than Italy’s.” – Mary Blanton, Alpharetta, Ga.
[Ed. note: You’re quite right, Ms. Blanton, that there’s no point on comparing totals. When the president talks about having done more tests than South Korea it sounds impressive until you remember that the United States has a population almost seven times larger. To see how nations are faring, just as in most international comparisons, the key is to measure on the basis of instances per million or thousand people. By those measures, the U.S. is currently running at about the middle of the pack when it comes to developed nations dealing with significant outbreaks. Our death rate is almost half that of Britain's and nearly a third of Spain’s. But we more than double Germany. South Korea and Japan have tiny fractions of the U.S. death rate. As for total cases per million residents -- though these numbers tend to be very squidgy -- we still trail Italy and Spain but are ahead of France, Britain and Germany. Now, this is not a competition. It only matters that we are doing the best we can under the circumstances we are given. But it is helpful to see how we’re faring compared to worst- and best-case scenarios. These international standards mean even less when you consider that in authoritarian countries like Russia and China we have no idea what’s really going on. The same goes for developing nations that simply don’t have the infrastructure to track incidence and mortality.]
“You indicated Ohio was going to ‘hold an election like no other in the state’s 217 year history, …an all-mail primary.’ This is a small rabbit hole, but Ohio didn’t have a 217 year history as a state until an act of Congress in 1953 retroactively conferred statehood back to 1803. Congress in 1803 forgot to ratify the proposed Ohio constitution, and without such ratification Ohio’s republican form of government was ‘without form and void.’ Probably what the 1803 Congress figured out early was how pompous those Ohio State football fans would become and left the Buckeye State off the roster of more civilized states, officially, until 1953. That year when Ohio lawmakers demanded the pomposity be retroactively allowed, Congress dutifully caved.” – Ronald Smith, Larned, Kan.
[Ed. note: You wouldn’t happen to have attended a certain land-grant university in Ann Arbor, Mich., would you Mr. Smith?]
“This Idea courtesy of my friend Howard (who seems to have become a work at home cave dweller). With so much emphasis being placed on the idea of testing as many people as possible, Howard has an idea to get it done quickly and to reach as many people as possible. I admit I do not know what type of testing people are clamoring for, ie. a positive/negative test or an antibody test. Anyway, his idea is to utilize the post office' ability to reach just about everyone. Suspend regular mail delivery for two days. Use the first day to drop off home test kits to each house on their routes (the tests having been delivered to the local offices by the feds). Use a second no-mail delivery day to pick up the completed tests which are then collected by the feds for analysis. ...” – Anthony LoRe, Whitestone, N.Y.
[Ed. note: Please tell Howard that the Postal Service delivers to about 160 million addresses. If there were 160 million tests available in the United States, we wouldn’t be having anything like the discussion we are now. It is a lack of tests, not a lack of testing, that plagues us. In part because of a double-barreled screw up at the Department of Health and Human Services, we have been playing a desperate game of catch up on getting tests produced. Once we have enough, which will be less than 10 percent of what Howard’s plan would require, businesses, schools and public health officials will use the tests to protect healthy populations and quarantine the sick. As long as Howard is happy at home then he’ll never need to be tested.]
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GO GET ‘EM, ANGELINA
AP: “A New York woman who was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic has survived COVID-19. Angelina Friedman, who lives in a nursing home in Lake Mohegan, was taken to a hospital for a minor medical procedure on March 21. But her procedure was postponed after she tested positive for COVID-19. After intermittently running a fever for several weeks, the 101-year-old cancer survivor tested negative for the virus on April 20, WPIX-TV reported Monday. ‘My mother is a survivor,’ said Joanne Merola, Friedman's daughter. ‘She has super-human DNA.’ Friedman was born on a passenger ship taking immigrants from Italy to New York City in 1918. Her mother died giving birth on the ship. Friedman has outlived her husband, Harold, and her 10 siblings.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The larger lesson is this: In the end, national interest prevails. Populist isolationism sounds great, rouses crowds and may even win elections. But … it’s not a governing foreign policy for the United States.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 13, 2017.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.