The story of the election is right here. You can say or write anything else, but it’s this.
Biden’s Call for ‘National Mask Mandate’ Gains Traction in Public Health Circles
A presidential order would almost certainly face a legal challenge. But if elected, Joseph R. Biden Jr. would have other levers at his disposal to make mask wearing a cultural norm.
Over the past week, a string of prominent public health experts — notably Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump — have said it is time to seriously consider a national mandate to curb the spread of the virus.
Trump confronts his 50 percent problem
The president’s inability to capture a majority of support sheds light on his extraordinary efforts to suppress the vote.
Never before in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to depress the vote as Trump.
“What we have seen this year which is completely unprecedented … is a concerted national Republican effort across the country in every one of the states that has had a legal battle to make it harder for citizens to vote,” said Trevor Potter, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission who served as general counsel to Republican John McCain’s two presidential campaigns. “There just has been this unrelenting Republican attack on making it easier to vote.”
America Is About to Choose How Bad the Pandemic Will Get
If Donald Trump is reelected, he will continue to downplay the threat of the coronavirus, and more Americans will fall ill.
In the 2020 election, on top of every routine test of character and capability, the candidates must answer the challenge the coronavirus has brought to this country. Trump’s response has been so lax as to effectively cede the country to a virus whose spread is controllable. He has, by his own admission, repeatedly downplayed the threat after he became aware of how dangerous the new coronavirus could be. He caught the virus himself and seems to have learned nothing from the encounter.
Susan Faludi/NY Times:
Trump’s Thoroughly Modern Masculinity
The president isn’t a throwback to old-school masculinity. He’s a he-man specifically engineered for our image-based, sensation-saturated times.
The ’30s ideal of heroic civil servant carried into World War II, and was enshrined in Ernie Pyle’s battlefront dispatches valorizing unsung grunts — “the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys.” Pyle disparaged the silk-scarfed “flyboys,” whose camera-ready star turns Pyle instinctively distrusted.
Of the grunt ethic, Pyle wrote, “We are all men of new professions, out in some strange night caring for each other.” This service-oriented prototype of manhood — tending to the needs of others, providing protective support, spurning the spotlight — was essentially a maternal masculinity, all the purported qualities of motherhood, recoded for the Y chromosome.
If anyone in the race is channeling that precept, it’s Mr. Biden, who, a day after federal officers tear-gassed peaceful protesters to make way for Mr. Trump’s photo-op outside St. John’s Church, called the presidency “a duty of care — to all of us.” Ernie Pyle would have worn a mask, because it comported with the masculine ethos of his era: shielding others from harm, being enlisted in the country’s defense.
Mr. Trump could not be more at odds with that ethic. His is a Potemkin patriarchy, the he-man re-engineered for an image-based, sensation-saturated and very modern entertainment economy.
Don’t miss either one of these clips.
A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air
The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure
The coronavirus is spread through the air, especially in indoor spaces. While it is not as infectious as measles, scientists now openly acknowledge the role played by the transmission of aerosols – tiny contagious particles exhaled by an infected person that remain suspended in the air of an indoor environment. How does the transmission work? And, more importantly, how can we stop it?
A great dataviz piece, above. But the article is not without controversy:
To win, Trump needs to win states where he hasn’t led polling averages in months
As we’ve noted, Trump benefited in 2016 from undecided voters shifting in his direction. That was possible because there were a lot of undecided voters — both Trump and Hillary Clinton had the support of less than half of voters. This year, such undecided voters are less common, and candidates polling above 50 percent are more common. So in many states, it’s not just that Trump hasn’t accrued enough support, it’s that his ability to get a plurality of the vote depends not on people making up their minds (undecided voters) but on people changing their minds about supporting former vice president Joe Biden.
Why is Trump trailing? New polling shows it’s his slide among Whites.
After Donald Trump shattered the “blue wall” states in 2016, reporters spent years venturing into rural and small-town Rust Belt hinterlands to examine the Real American White Voter’s seemingly unshakable attachment to Trump. His divination of their true values and aspirations has long since been treated as a quasi-mystical phenomenon.
So it’s a remarkable turnabout that President Trump is now well behind in his race for reelection in large part because he’s losing ground among Whites of all kinds, a particularly pronounced trend in that very same region.