Here is an example of where visualizing data can be very illuminating even if you’ve been steeped in the data in numerical terms. As I mentioned earlier, here is a graph of per capita COVID fatalities to date in the US and the other peer nation states around the globe.
We now have a new projection of 300,000 US COVID fatalities by December. I’ve wanted over recent days to put together a chart showing just how much worse the death toll already is in the US compared to almost any other peer country – ‘peers’ here meaning countries with comparable affluence, state capacity, etc.
The US is now well over 150,000 fatalities. Japan has had just over one thousand. Germany is approaching 10,000 fatalities. These countries have small populations of course. If Germany had the same population as the US that number would be about 40,000. Japan would be about 3,000. But the magnitude of the difference speaks for itself. How many of these 150,000 and counting US fatalities are the product of negligence and policy abdication? 100,000? 75,000? The number is staggering.
As I’ve tried to make clear repeatedly, I think an audit of the executive branch after Trump leaves office (whenever that is), is absolutely essential. Equally so, disclosure – a full airing of everything that happened during this corrupt, transgressive era – is a higher priority than punishment or criminal investigations.
1403 COVID deaths were reported in the United States yesterday. That’s roughly 10 times the number of fatalities reported so far in that cataclysmic blast in Beirut and almost four hundred more COVID fatalities than Japan has recorded since January 2020.
Let’s be honest: good news on the COVID front is very hard to come by. So let’s note some very limited but still real good news. The post-“reopening” outbreak in the United States – almost entirely a self-inflicted harm – appears to have peaked and is possibly beginning to subside.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, we are so locked in the house with Trump, so surrounded by his predation, that the nature and scope of much of his abuse and wrongdoing are only partly visible to us. We all see the constant attacks on vote by mail, the incessant claims that the election will be rigged, that he’ll have to decide at the time whether he’ll accept the verdict of the election. But taken together he is actually depriving the whole nation of the ability to conduct a free and fair election. He is hanging over us as we do the normal work of campaigning and election-ing the possibility he’ll disrupt the process, won’t accept the result or most directly that the whole process won’t end up mattering at all. This in itself is a grave crime against the constitution and the republic.
This week I (virtually) sat down for a fascinating conversation with Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the US Navy War College but likely more known to many of you as a leading anti-Trump conservative voice on Twitter and the cable networks. He’s also an advisor to The Lincoln Project, that outfit of defrocked and lapsed Republican activists and consultants producing slashing ads against not only President Trump but almost every Republican Senator up for reelection in 2020. We talked about everything from US nuclear policy to President Trump to why he believes the current institutional Republican party needs to be burned to the ground before a responsible center-right party of government can possible emerge in its place. You can watch our conversation after the jump if you’re a member.
After a lockdown hiatus we have restarted our TPM Inside Briefings and we’re going to be experimenting with ways to bring the best of them to all our members. In this case we are making available the entire interview.
There’s a strong temptation, maybe a reflex, to be frightened and outraged by the President’s floating the idea of delaying the November election. But the only appropriate response is mockery and ridicule of the President’s weakness and corruption. As a factual and procedural matter, none of this is in the President’s control. In practice, no one can change the date of the election. In theory, Congress could do it. But good luck getting Nancy Pelosi to sign on to that. Even beyond this, it is a case where the ramshackle and decentralized process of American elections works in the favor of democracy. There is no national election. States hold elections. Nothing and no one can stop California, New York, Illinois and Virginia from holding their elections and rendering electors to the electoral college meeting in December.
But the bigger issue, the deeper issue here isn’t factual. It’s characterological.
This is a kind of post I seldom do. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever done one. I have a special 20% discount offer for TPM Readers to subscribe to a new niche publication on hate groups and extremism called The Informant, created and edited by TPM Alum Nick Martin. To start with, the publication has no financial relationship to TPM. I’m not being paid to write this. Neither is TPM. I’m sharing this with you because a) I think The Informant is an important project which I really want to see succeed and b) I think many of you will be interested in becoming readers and subscribers.