Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Fair and free elections, Trump style, are not an acceptable alternative

Trump's version of democracy is no joke.

The Hill:

Senate passes resolution reaffirming commitment to peaceful transition of power

The resolution, offered by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), passed by unanimous consent, meaning no senator objected to it.

"It's a shame that we have to come and reaffirm our commitment to our country, our Constitution and who we are as a people. ...Sometimes we hear things that challenge that and we heard that yesterday and we were very concerned about that," Manchin said from the Senate floor.

Donald Trump is working very hard to radicalize Joe Manchin.  That’s some messaging success.


These are very good polls for Biden. His national lead remains greater than 7, so a steady race.

Brian Karem/Playboy:

An Empty Seat and an Unhealthy Republic

Intent on wiping out the social progress forged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the shortsighted GOP falls in line with a willfully divisive president as the press fumbles in exhaustion

The United States is now a country dominated by the tyranny of the minority.

We are not a democracy. We are not a republic. Our government is run by aging, rich, white overseers who have a stranglehold on the needs of the many to please the wealthy few. To hell with the rest of us. For the GOP, might makes right.

It is shortsighted. It is ignorant. It is arrogant.

And Trump? He’s the leader of the patrician ruling class. But he’s so overwhelmed by recent events, including more than 200,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, that he recently vowed at a campaign rally to never be heard or seen from again if he loses the election. “Duck and cover” isn’t just a disaster drill, it’s the way Donald Trump conducts business at the White House. This is the guy picking our next Supreme Court justice.


Ezra Klein/Vox:

How Mitch McConnell is changing the Democratic Party

What Senate Democrats are learning from Mitch McConnell.

Under McConnell, the Senate has been run according to a simple principle: Parties should use as much power as they have to achieve the outcomes they desire. This would have been impossible in past eras, when parties were weaker and individual senators stronger, when political interests were more rooted in geography and media wasn’t yet nationalized. But it is possible now, and it is a dramatic transformation of the Senate as an institution, with reverberations McConnell cannot control and that his party may come to regret. Indeed, McConnell’s single most profound effect on the Senate may be what he convinces Democrats to do in response to his machinations.

“What makes McConnell successful is he gets his party colleagues and the Democrats to buy into his vision of the Senate rather than trying to change it,” says James Wallner, a fellow at the R Street Institute and a former executive director of the Senate Steering Committee under Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

I will confess to a deep pessimism about American politics right now. We stand on the precipice of a legitimacy crisis — minoritarian rule has become the norm, an unpopular president has all but promised to refuse to accept a loss at the polls, and a political system that has only ever worked with weak parties is proving unable to govern amid the collisions of strong ones. But there is a glimmer of an optimistic tale that can be told, too. And, to my surprise, it revolves around McConnell, and the vision of the Senate that he is convincing Democrats to embrace, the reforms he might, at last, convince them to make.


Nearly 500 National Security Experts Endorse Biden For President

Nearly 500 national security experts – both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — have endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying the "current president" is not up to "the enormous responsibilities of his office."

Addressed to "Our Fellow Citizens," the 489 national security experts include 22 four-star officers. The letter never mentions President Trump by name.

Among those signing the letter is retired Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who stepped down last year as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon's No. 2 officer. Selva could not be immediately reached for comment.

Another is former Vice Adm. Michael Franken, who retired in 2017 and ran unsuccessfully this year for the Democratic Senate nomination in Iowa.

There's also Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who served as the Army's No. 2 officer before retiring in 2012.

Chiarelli, in an interview with NPR, said he was never involved in politics until now.

"I believe the current administration is a real threat to the republic," he said, citing the president's "attacks on institutions" and his "failure to lead," especially on a coronavirus response. Chiarelli said it "makes me ill" that the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of the virus has been politicized by the president.


Greg Sargent/WaPo:

We may get 2008 level turnout among young voters. That’s bad for Trump.

Ever since the beginning of the Democratic presidential primaries, one big worry about Joe Biden was that he would fail to inspire passion and energy in young voters. But since then, we’ve seen both the coronavirus crisis and protests against police brutality explode across the country — both of which might prove, for young people, to be defining political events.

Could that help produce the sort of youth turnout in this election that we last saw in 2008, when Barack Obama’s first presidential run inspired young people to pour out to the polls in unprecedented numbers?

The poll finds that among likely voters in that 18-to-29 demographic, Biden is leading President Trump by 60 percent to 27 percent among likely voters. That’s significantly better than the 49 percent that Hillary Clinton got in this poll in 2016.


Ron Brownstein/Atlantic:

Democrats’ SCOTUS Message Could Really Work in Swing States

The party may have an easier time taking back the Senate if it focuses voters’ attention on the Court’s impact on health care.

The struggle over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court could help propel Democrats to the brink of a Senate majority in November’s election. But whether it lifts them over that threshold could turn on the terms of the confirmation fight. Given the nature of the states that will decide Senate control, the Democrats’ path to a majority may be much easier if they can keep the debate centered on economic issues—particularly the survival of the Affordable Care Act—rather than social issues, especially abortion.


USA Today:

Harvard Medical deans: Push for COVID-19 vaccine must put health above politics

We are profoundly concerned that avoidable missteps could undermine the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Moreover, the public reaction to COVID-19 in America has been highly influenced by political affiliation. Those who identify as Republicans tend to be far less likely to view COVID-19 as a major threat to public health and frequently invoke civil liberties to justify ignoring face coverings. A small but vocal minority even see the pandemic as a “hoax.”

These misperceptions are encouraged by a president whose messaging has often been at odds with experts at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whether related to the extent of the pandemic, the utility of ineffective treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, or the likely timing of a vaccine.


Lisa Rosenbaum, MD/NEJM:

Tribal Truce — How Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide and Conquer Covid?

Beyond the near complete failure of U.S. federal leadership in combating the pandemic, one significant problem, according to Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, has been the absence of consistent communication from nonpartisan experts. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic, he recalled, scientists and public health officials communicated daily with the public, offering nonpartisan advice. “The sidelining of all nonpartisan technical experts…has made it very hard for anyone to know what they should do,” Lipsitch said. That the administration has not just marginalized experts but has actively attempted to undermine their credibility has sown further confusion and distrust, a problem magnified by the many uncertainties surrounding SARS-CoV-2. But though President Donald Trump weaponizes scientific uncertainty and dismisses evidence of the virus’s widespread destruction, he is also exploiting a distrust in scientists that long predated his presidency.

Though such distrust is now more common on the political right, for decades conservatives viewed science favorably, seeing it as a means of production and an economic stimulant. But when scientists began studying how some of the technologies that had led to economic success, such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, could have detrimental effects, particularly on the environment, the resultant regulations alienated people committed to free-market principles. Trust in science concomitantly declined. Examining survey data from 1974 through 2010, University of Wisconsin sociologist Gordon Gauchat found that conservatives expressed greater trust in science than liberals or moderates at the beginning of that period but the least trust by the end.2 Moreover, rather counterintuitively, Gauchat found that trust in science decreased the most among the most educated conservatives: greater scientific literacy enabled people to find the limitations in the data or to exploit inevitable uncertainties.


Business Insider:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner received $24,000 in PAC donations from a meatpacking corporation. He's largely remained quiet about the company's record-setting coronavirus outbreak.

Meatpacking plants have been among the most devastated workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic, with the cramped working conditions and lack of consequential federal oversight leading to scores of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

But some Republican officials have remained surprisingly tight-lipped about the industry's poor COVID record — including Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has been one of the top recipients in Congress of PAC money from JBS meatpacking —  over the past decade.

This cycle, his reelection campaign received more funds from JBS than any other member of Congress, with the exception of Rep. Josh Winegarner of Texas. Winegarner received a $10,000 donation from the company's political action committee, JBS USA LLC PAC, while Gardner has amassed $7,000 in donations so far.


Football news:

Hans-Dieter flick: I Hope Alaba will sign a contract with Bayern. Our club is one of the best in the world
Diego Maradona: Messi gave Barca everything, brought them to the top. He was not treated the way he deserved
Federico Chiesa: I hope to leave my mark in Juve. We will achieve great results
The Coach Of Benfica: I don't want us to look like the current Barcelona, it has nothing
Guardiola on returning to Barca: I'm happy at Manchester City. I hope to stay here
Fabinho will not play with West ham due to injury
Ronald Koeman: Maradona was the best in his time. Now the best Messi