EDITORS' BLOG
Let’s Get Mikey!

Mike Pence victimized by Trump yet again:

The decision to put Mr. Pence in charge was made on Wednesday after the president told some people that the vice president didn’t “have anything else to do,” according to people familiar with the president’s comments.

Silencing Fauci?

I’ve been watching the mix of very worrisome mishandling of the Coronavirus by the White House along with more positive developments from within the federal infectious disease bureaucracy. To be clear, in this case I’m talking mainly about things the President and his White House advisors have said – misinformation, happy talk, etc. I’m not talking about ways they may have concretely messed things up in the field. That is much less clear. On the CDC front, I’m not talking about “good news” in terms of the outbreak but rather signs that actual experts seem to be doing or saying the right things regardless of President Trump’s nonsense.

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Smoking, Gender and Disease

As epidemiologists struggle to understand the biology of the novel Coronavirus, one question has been the role of smoking. There is evidence that the virus hits habitual smokers particularly hard and may play a role in the relative lethality of infection. It sort of stands to reason that this could be the case and there are few studies examining the question and attempting to quantify the potential impact. That is all tentative and I’m certainly not an expert. So I don’t want to dwell on that question. But reading up on this did allow me to learn some statistics about smoking in China that I found genuinely stunning.

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Debates, Old School
Prime Membership Required

From TPM Reader CH

I missed the last two presidential debates because I was part of the League of Women Voters team holding candidate forum in a nearby municipality. At the end of each, audience members came up to observe that these forums were much better than the mudfights that the network opining heads presided over. They preferred the League format and the League rules to the clickbait, max controversy approach of the network stars.

So, what does the League of Women Voters do that’s so popular? Here are a few of the guidelines:

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Where Things Stand: Giuliani’s Suffering A Social Drought
Prime Membership Required

There are always repercussions when you weld yourself to President Trump’s wagon.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani may not regret becoming the President’s unhinged cable news cheerleader or embarking on a shadow campaign to pressure a foreign government to pursue Trump’s political agenda, which ultimately got his boss impeached. But there’s one consequence of Trump fealty that may have the former New York City mayor down in the dumps: the demise of his social life.

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South Carolina in Sight

Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Joe Biden is a big deal for South Carolina. Clyburn is the third ranking member of the House leadership and an institution in the state. Endorsements generally don’t make a huge difference. And I doubt this one will make a huge one. But we’re now all down to margins. So it’s important.

Polls generally show Biden on the upswing in the state after trending down for weeks. Biden winning seems likely. But what is the margin?

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Where Things Stand: Republicans Are Sweating Over Swelling Bern
Prime Membership Required

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is not one to speak candidly. But while addressing reporters last night, he was uncharacteristically frank: His party would be “foolish” to not take Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) popularity seriously.

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A Few Thoughts on the Debate

That was a pretty messy debate. The moderators managed to tsk-tsk the candidates without actually controlling the time or keeping people on point. Many of the questions were trivial, meant to trip up rather than illuminate or simply gross. Asking the two Jewish candidates about whether to move the US Embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv was a good example of that of gross. Asking Amy Klobuchar whether she’d bar US citizens from returning to the US to prevent the spread of Coronavirus was both dumb and trivial: a question meant to put a candidate on the spot for purely theatrical reasons.

But if it was a messy debate it was still a pivotal one.

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Bloggin’ This Thing

8:48 p.m.: This was a moment …

8:34 p.m.: This is pretty wild. That’s all I’ve got.

8:20 p.m.: Jeez, that one fusillade from Warren on Bloomberg. I’m not sure, in the current dynamics of this race, that any of this will redound to Warren’s benefit. But these attacks on Bloomberg on merciless.

8:07 p.m.: Warren’s line here about why she’d be a better President than Sanders, let me say something about that. I tend to see all of this through the prism of who can beat Trump and who can build the largest political coalition. But when I think about who would likely be the best President in terms of actually using the levers of the presidency, I think Warren would be the best. It’s the mix of her deep grasp of policy and — something that is talked about much less — a deep understanding of the intricacies of how the federal bureaucracy works. Over her dozen years at the highest level of American politics she’s demonstrated that again and again.

8:06 p.m.: Yikes, that Putin line from Bloomberg.

A Reader Exchange
Prime Membership Required

A few days ago I got into a rather intense spat with a longtime reader who became incensed with me after reading this tweet exchange.

Here’s the tweet, which is a reply to a tweet by Bernie Sanders.

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FROM the archive
| Cafe

On June 30, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

| Miscellany

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