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On the roster: Sorry, Millennials - More states look to Friday for partial re-opening - Trump nixes Corona briefing amid backlash - Trump, McConnell on spending collision course - Well, if it’s for the cause…
We owe Millennials an apology.
It’s not just this note. The “we” here covers all of us who have ever dumped on those Americans now aged between their mid-20s and 40 for their stereotypical traits of fragility, entitlement and inertia.
So common was the trope about snowflake Millennials melting in their mothers’ basements that even the “OK Boomer” backlash has itself become a trite cultural tchotchke.
The well-worn towpath here follows this route: Millennials are said to have been so coddled that they are unable to confront the realities of life and making a living. This wateriness, it is said, is to blame for the new vogue of democratic socialism.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are said to be stuck living in an imagined past where American economic dominance, cultural homogeneity and lack of technological advancement made life a less complicated matter. Their false nostalgia, it is said, is to blame for the new rise of nationalism.
Like all such tropes, they’re not entirely wrong. But many of the things that they’re right about are hardly unique to these two age cohorts. It shouldn’t be so hard for Boomers to remember what their parents’ and grandparents’ generations thought about them 50 years ago.
We’re sure there’s more than one person born between V-J Day and the Kennedy assassination who thought Richard Nixon was a reactionary goon back in 1968 who now proudly sport MAGA hats. We’re just as sure that there will be plenty in the under 40 set who are today #resist that will be backing whomever the culturally conservative, nostalgic candidate is in 2054.
People change, issues change and conservatism and progressivism are relative concepts in practice. We all have a tendency to become more averse to change when we are more deeply invested in the status quo.
Plus, complaining about generations is basic grist for our cultural identity since the dawn of time. “In our day, we walked to Stonehenge for the winter solstice uphill in the snow both ways!”
But that’s not to say there isn’t something to the specific complaints of the current generational clash. Generational cohorts are defined by their experiences, not their dates of birth. The “Greatest Generation” wouldn’t have been so great if it didn’t have to whip Hitler and Tojo, nor would the “Silent Generation” have been so silent if it had been born into the kind of abundance and peace its members’ children were.
Millennials got their name from the fact that they were entering college and coming of age around the turn of the millennium, 20 years ago. As the first generation to have grown up with widespread personal computer use and mobile phones, much of our first conception of the cohort was about the ways technology marked a generational rift.
And that has certainly been the case, especially with the rise of smartphones and social media. But, from very early on, another trend started to emerge: These young adults arrived just in time for some serious heavy weather.
The defining events for the generation have been: The dotcom bubble bursting, the worst attack on U.S. soil since the Civil War, the first American military failure since Vietnam, the most intense financial panic since the Great Depression, the corrosion of the last bolts holding the political system together and now… they’re stuck in their homes waiting for a virus to pass and watching unemployment climb toward a quarter of the workforce.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been great advancements. And we just concluded the longest period of economic expansion in our history. But taken as a whole, the past 20 years have not been much in the way of sunny uplands for America. And by any historical standard, what these Americans of prime parenting and career advancement years are living through with coronavirus is unprecedented.
Nor is it to say that Boomers didn’t know hard times and turmoil. The stretch between 1963 and 1975 – political assassinations, riots in more than 100 cities, pernicious dishonesty about the war in Vietnam, the resignation of the vice president and president in separate scandals, etc. – certainly ranks as among the most tumultuous stretches in U.S. history.
But what Millennials missed out on was what came next. Starting with the Bicentennial and a big boost in national pride, America embarked on an amazing run of success. Think of the achievements of the next 20 years. We won the Cold War peacefully, dominated the post-war world, won the first major military operation since Vietnam with our victory in Kuwait, gave birth to the Internet and saw spurts of economic growth that put recent numbers to shame.
Whenever you want to say that stretch ended – the Clinton impeachment, the bubble burst or 9/11 – it clearly did end roughly along with the 1990s.
We are optimistic sorts and believe that as history turns, Millennials will get their time in the sun. There are no guarantees, since the history of our species quickly reveals the foolishness over ever believing bad situations can’t get worse. But it’s also easy to see these cycles of coming together and falling apart, and we’re certainly overdue for some coming together.
Whatever may come, though, the pandemic of 2020 should be enough to convince even the crustiest Boomer or the most cynical Gen Xer that Millennials have a point.
THE RULEBOOK: GROUNDBREAKING
“The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people, by persons of each class, is altogether visionary.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 35
TIME OUT: A FLAMBOYANCE OF FLAMINGOS
NatGeo: “Flamingos are known for their long legs, long necks, and party-pink feathers. Now scientists have discovered, for the first time, that the birds form long-lasting and loyal friendships—and that physical traits may play a role in those bonds. … Study leader Paul Rose, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, wanted to find out if flamingos form complex bonds within their large groups. … By collecting these data over a five-year period, Rose observed that flamingos maintain selectively stable friendships, mainly characterized by standing close together. … Like humans, another highly social species, these wading birds carefully avoid certain individuals, Rose reported. He says avoidance may serve to prevent squabbles… Understanding the birds’ social bonds may help conservationists better manage both captive and wild flamingos—four species of which are dwindling in number, Rose says.”
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TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 46 percent
Average disapproval: 49.2 percent
Net Score: -3.2 points
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: NBC News/WSJ: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 49% approve - 49% disapprove; Monmouth University: 46% approve - 49% disapprove; CNBC: 46% approve - 43% disapprove.]
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MORE STATES LOOK TO FRIDAY FOR PARTIAL RE-OPENING
Fox News: “Tennessee, Mississippi, and Montana allowed some businesses to reopen Monday under new health guidelines as several states begin to relax coronavirus lockdown restrictions in a bid to get America’s workers safely back to work. The moves to reopen follow in the steps of Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska, which on Friday began loosening lockdown restrictions on businesses despite health officials warning the gradual return to daily life might be happening too soon. Tennessee has seen the average daily infection rate remain stable for two weeks following a ramp-up in testing, and let restaurants reopen Monday at 50 percent capacity in 89 of the state’s 95 counties, Gov. Bill Lee’s office said in a news release. … Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a ‘Safer at Home’ executive order Friday that lets most retailers reopen Monday with a 50 percent reduced capacity. … Montana’s Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock also gave retailers the green light to reopen Monday, with bars, restaurants, and casinos would be eligible to open May 4, as part of the state’s plan to gradually reopen.”
CDC draft outlines phased reopening - Fox News: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has drafted proposed guidelines for a phased reopening of the economy as some states begin to lift stay-at-home orders and resume operations amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News has learned. Fox News obtained a copy of the 17-page draft proposal on Monday, which contains guidelines for childcare centers, schools, day camps, faith-based institutions, bars and restaurants and public transportation, and an outline of specific directions for each sector. According to the Washington Post, which first obtained the draft guidelines, coronavirus task force members Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council Joe Grogan have reviewed the proposed guidelines. The CDC draft proposal begins with child care programs, stating that ‘the reopening’ of those programs ‘is crucial to helping parents and guardians return to work.’”
White House is reviewing reopening guidance - WaPo: “The White House is finalizing expanded guidelines to allow the phased reopening of schools and camps, child-care programs, certain workplaces, houses of worship, restaurants and mass transit, according to documents under review by administration officials. Members of the White House coronavirus task force and other officials received the guidelines late last week, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the guidelines have not been officially released. It represents the most detailed guidance to date on the administration’s plan to gradually reopen key sectors of society and comes as business groups lobby to lift stay-at-home orders and protesters flock to state capitols to demand their end.”
Testing still remains scarce in states - NYT: “As governors decide about opening their economies, they continue to be hampered by a shortage of testing capacity, leaving them without the information that public health experts say is needed to track outbreaks and contain them. And while the United States has made strides over the past month in expanding testing, its capacity is nowhere near the level Mr. Trump suggests it is. There are numerous reasons. It has proved hard to increase production of reagents — sensitive chemical ingredients that detect whether the coronavirus is present — partly because of federal regulations intended to ensure safety and partly because manufacturers, who usually produce them in small batches, have been reluctant to invest in new capacity without assurance that the surge in demand will be sustained. Some physical components of test kits, like nasal swabs, are largely imported and hard to come by amid global shortages.”
New York cancels presidential primary - Fox News: “New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic -- just one day after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign asked that his name be allowed to stay on the ballot. The move by Democrats on the New York State Board of Elections -- nixing the election scheduled for June 23 -- followed Sanders’ announcement earlier this month that he would suspend his presidential campaign, rendering former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee. With this decision, New York became the first state to cancel its primary altogether, though 16 states have postponed their primaries amid the pandemic and many have taken steps to encourage voting by mail.”
TRUMP NIXES CORONA BRIEFING AMID BACKLASH
ABC News: “Despite it appearing on the president's official schedule, the White House has now cancelled Monday's coronavirus task force briefing after President Donald Trump faced backlash for floating the idea of injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19 -- which he later called ‘sarcasm.’ The White House instead said Trump would appear before cameras at a 4 p.m. event with retail CEOs, and that there would be a ‘new look’ to the daily White House briefings, shifting focus to the economy. Trump laid the groundwork for pulling back over the weekend, when he did not hold any briefings, tweeting they were ‘not worth the time and effort’ because of ‘hostile’ media questions.”
China increasingly isolated - Fox News: “A European Union report accusing China and Russia of running a ‘global disinformation campaign’ was significantly scaled back after pressure from Beijing and fears that, if China was blamed, it would withhold much-needed medical supplies around the world as retaliation. The first version of the report, seen by the South China Morning Post, described the world's most populous country as running a large-scale public relations campaign to deflect from the missteps it made during the early days of the novel coronavirus, which included silencing doctors, shifting its timeline and reporting significantly lower rates of infection which made it almost impossible for other countries to prepare for the pandemic. So far COVID-19, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has infected 3 million people worldwide and killed 207,431.”
Trump says Azar is ‘doing an excellent job’ - Politico: “President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed news reports that White House officials are weighing a plan to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, insisting that his health secretary is ‘doing an excellent job.’ ‘Reports that H.H.S. Secretary @AlexAzar is going to be ‘fired’ by me are Fake News,’ Trump tweeted. ‘The Lamestream Media knows this, but they are desperate to create the perception of chaos & havoc in the minds of the public. They never even called to ask.’ The tweet — which was swiftly retweeted by Azar himself — came less than a day after POLITICO and the Wall Street Journal first reported on Saturday night that White House officials were weighing a plan to replace Azar. Other news outlets, including CNN and the Washington Post, confirmed the story.”
TRUMP, MCCONNELL ON SPENDING COLLISION COURSE
WashEx: “President Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell are on a collision course after the Senate majority leader declared that the next round of coronavirus relief sought by the White House must address the exploding federal debt. Trump supports another massive rescue package as the pandemic takes a sledgehammer to the economy six months before Election Day. But McConnell is slamming on the brakes, responding to rising opposition from his conference after nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus spending approved since March spiked the debt to $24.6 trillion. ...GOP senators have been voicing hostility to more expensive rescue packages during private, members-only conference calls held over the past several days. But to the extent Trump wants to move forward, Thune said House Democrats should take a backseat in the negotiations.”
Mnuchin touts booming economy by fall - Fox News: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin predicted that the trillions of dollars Congress has poured into the economy in coronavirus relief packages will pay off as states slowly begin to allow businesses to reopen. Mnuchin told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he believes the steps being taken now will yield results in the summer months. ‘I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June, you’re going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September,’ Mnuchin said. ‘And we are putting in an unprecedented amount of fiscal relief into the economy. You’re seeing trillions of dollars that’s making its way into the economy and I think this is going to have a significant impact.’ The secretary downplayed projections from the Congressional Budget Office about a low GDP and high unemployment…”
Schumer wants to keep Trump’s name off next checks - Fox News: “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly will propose a measure that would block President Trump from having his name appear on any future coronavirus relief checks, as part of a potential ‘Phase 4’ stimulus package. Politico reported the provision will be titled the ‘No PR Act,’ and would ban the use of federal funds to promote Trump or Vice President Pence’s names or signatures. ‘President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,’ Schumer, D-N.Y., told Politico. ‘The No PR Act puts an end to the president’s exploitation of taxpayer money for promotional material that only benefits his re-election campaign.’ He added: ‘Delaying the release of stimulus checks so his signature could be added is a waste of time and money.’”
BIDEN TEAMS WITH DNC FOR MAJOR FUNDRAISING PUSH
NYT: “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee have agreed to a joint fund-raising accord and installed the Biden campaign’s choice as the D.N.C.’s chief executive, the latest signs that the party’s presumptive presidential nominee has consolidated control over its broader functions. The new agreement, which party officials said would be made formal on Friday, will allow the former vice president to raise $360,600 from individual donors, with $5,600 going to the Biden campaign and the rest earmarked for the party committee. At the request of the Biden campaign, Mary Beth Cahill, a D.N.C. senior adviser who briefly served as its interim chief executive in 2018, will take over from Seema Nanda. Ms. Cahill, a longtime operative for the party, served as campaign manager for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Mr. Kerry is a longtime friend of and 2020 campaign surrogate for Mr. Biden. Ms. Nanda will leave the D.N.C.”
States prep for expected surge in mail voting - Politico: “A huge surge in voting by mail is coming whether states prepare for it or not — and without clear direction from the federal government, states are preparing to muscle through their own changes to get ready for the glut of mail ballots coming their way in November. … In the aftermath [of Wisconsin’s primary], election administrators in other states are moving quickly to avoid getting overwhelmed themselves. States that have already mastered massive vote-by-mail systems are serving as informal information clearinghouses for others, dispensing advice on everything from how to line up the best vendors for printing and distributing paper ballots to setting up drive-by or other drop-off points for voters who don’t want to rely on the U.S. Postal Service. And states’ decisions about absentee voting in November could come with major public health consequences.”
Biden gains two more endorsements, including key Bernie backer - AP: “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden renewed his party unification efforts Monday with bookend endorsements from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the leader of the House progressive caucus that sometimes battles the speaker from the left. The twin announcements from Pelosi and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal highlight Biden’s effort to avoid a repeat of the 2016 presidential election, when tensions between establishment Democrats and the party’s progressive flank hobbled Hillary Clinton in her loss to President Donald Trump. … The two women reflected those varied approaches Monday as they explained their common conclusion that a Biden administration is the best chance for Democrats to advance a liberal agenda, even if in degrees.”
Ladies of the Senate prepare for veepstakes - Politico: “The Senate didn’t deliver a president in 2020. But it's a good bet a senator will still make it onto the national ticket. … Biden is a creature of the Senate who served there for 36 years and at times still acts like he’s a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus. History is also on their side: It’s been 36 years since the Democratic Party didn’t run a senator as a vice presidential candidate. Biden has said he'll choose a woman. … Meanwhile, the jockeying to be the former vice president’s vice president is just beginning. [Amy] Klobuchar has appeared on Biden’s podcast, [Kamala] Harris appeared with Biden at a fundraiser and [Elizabeth] Warren has publicly said she’d take the job. The two Midwestern Tammys [Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois] and Cortez Masto have been less visible, but are no less viable contenders for the role.”
Trump’s base drumming sounds different now - AP: “During times of war and strife, national leaders often aim to unite a broken country and, in the process, broaden their appeal beyond their most loyal supporters. Not President Donald Trump. Confronting a pandemic that has upended his presidency and threatened his reelection prospects, Trump has focused almost exclusively on tending to his base. … Four years after Trump captured the White House by perfectly threading narrow victories in critical battleground states, he is betting that a relentless focus on his base will yield a repeat performance. It’s a risky strategy because Trump’s standing in some of those states shows signs of weakening. And there’s little evidence to suggest he has significantly broadened his appeal in other places to offset those vulnerabilities. The pandemic hasn’t changed that.”
Survey finds political divide among essential workers - NYT: “Democrats and Republicans differ on attitudes toward coronavirus risks and in workplace behaviors meant to reduce them, according to a new survey. This partisanship has the potential to hurt efforts to stop the spread of the virus. The data from Gallup’s Covid-19 tracking panel shows that people deemed essential workers are generating large numbers of close contacts with other people, putting themselves and those they live with at risk. Recognizing this, most workers have changed how they do their jobs to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Yet workers living in counties won by President Trump in the 2016 election are slightly less likely to have adopted these changes, with Republicans living in those counties even less likely to have done so.”
Supreme Court rules taxpayers owe insurers billions under ObamaCare provision - Fox News
Pergram: Coronavirus and the era of big government - Fox News
AUDIBLE: BUT, LIKE, IN A GOOD WAY
“Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room.” – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during his press briefing on coronavirus Sunday.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“You are absolutely right that state pensions were a ticking time bomb even before COVID-19 started decimating state budgets. And I also agree that state worker unions will torpedo any serious structural reforms. I know I am being a bit pollyannish, but I’d sure like to see some minimal strings attached to the state bailouts, which we know will be coming. Something as simple, and yet as controversial as states being required to fully fund their pensions before they can provide any pay raises beyond 2/3 of the rate of inflation or provide any increase in any other benefits. There are certainly other strings I would love to attach, but pensions are clearly where the focus needs to be. There would certainly be serious pushback to this and it probably couldn’t get past the US House, but if ever there was a time to put some brakes on the increases in state salaries and pension benefits, it would be when we might see the unemployment rate among taxpayers approach or maybe top 20%. Unfortunately there is no hook that we can use to require the same thing at the federal level.” – Steve Arthur, Colorado Springs, Colo.
[Ed. note: The coming debate will surely be intense and marked by accusations of risking the economic recovery by fighting over partisan points. The predictable pattern for these disputes is for both sides to ramp up pressure for urgent action, deploring the other side for dragging its feet. That gets amplified by the press and, voila, you have a perfect permission structure for passing dodgy, ill-conceived, poorly constructed legislation. Woe betide the man or woman in Congress who’d like deliberation, good order and genuine negotiation.]
“‘Trump already occupies enough headspace among Democrats, no need to send him a Zillow listing.’ Made me laugh out loud. I needed that. You have a way with words.’ – Richard Grebenc, Weston, Fla.
[Ed. note: Thank you, Mr. Grebenc. As I like to say, politics is too important to be taken so damned seriously.]
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WELL, IF IT’S FOR THE CAUSE…
NY Daily News: “In one of the easiest coronavirus-era requests to date, Belgians are being asked to double their fry intake. More than 750,000 tons of potatoes risk being wasted as restaurants, festivals and other major buyers have stopped stocking up during the global pandemic, according to Belgium’s Department of Agriculture. So officials have come up with a solution: eat more fries. Belgapom, the country’s association of potato producers, has started a campaign to encourage Belgians to eat frites at home twice a week, which would drastically increase the consumption of potatoes around the country. At least 25 tons of potatoes will also be donated weekly to food banks through the end of May, Belgapom announced.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“To be sure, [the Republican party] did not have many [ideas] to begin with. Two to be exact. (Though that was two more than the Democrats had in the 1980s.) One was peace through strength. The other was growth through low taxes. Reagan and Bush rode these simple and appealing maxims to three smashing electoral victories.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Nov. 2, 1990.
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.