From TPM Reader EA …
I wanted to inject more of a sense of hope into our reflections on the Post-Trump era. I am a professor at a large public midwestern university. I am inspired by college students today. When I started teaching, in the 1980s, my students’ major ambition was to make a lot of money. My students today are concerned about careers of course, but they aspire to more than that. I see a rising political consciousness in widespread concern about climate change, global justice, racism, misogyny, LGBTQ rights, and much more, which has been building for about 10 years. They are incredibly talented, energetic, thoughtful, and ready to pour themselves into projects to make the world better.
We start with the fact that the right to individual gun ownership, enshrined by the Supreme Court since 2008, is a novel manufacture, not something any court or reasonable person thought existed prior to NRA activism of recent decades. Now the Supreme Court has chosen to hear a case which could manufacture an individual right to carry weapons outside the home in every state in the country. In other words, national and automatic ‘concealed carry’.
Remember Cleta Mitchell?
If you’ve been following our voting rights, voter suppression, ‘vote fraud’ bamboozlement coverage over the last couple decades you likely do. But even if not, you don’t have to back that far. She was the President’s legal advisor on that notorious January 2nd call with Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which the soon-to-be ex-President demanded Raffensperger “find” the votes he needed to change the result in Georgia. Mitchell’s participation in that call and the subsequent insurrection, which constituted the last gasp of the President’s efforts, led to what was presumably Mitchell’s forced resignation from the law firm Foley & Lardner. She also appears to be under scrutiny in the Fulton County DA’s investigation into the aforementioned call and potential solicitation of election fraud.
But things are looking up for Mitchell!
As usual, you really came through, sending me to a host of links, studies and datasets which look at the interaction between rates of vaccination and impact on COVID spread. For now I’m going to mainly pass on to you what’s been shared with me. That makes more sense than waiting on me to digest and make sense of it all.
On the core question, Israel seems to have reached a tipping point when just under 60% of the total population had received at least one shot of the Pfizer vaccine. Case counts have continued to plummet since then, even in the face of aggressive reopening. If we combine vaccination-immunity with a substantial portion of the population having infection-acquired immunity, that could push the level of population immunity up toward or over 70%. That gets into the range epidemiologists consider necessary for herd immunity. Since that phrase has become so contested, perhaps it’s better to say simply that at that level Israel continues to see rapid declines in case loads even in the face of widespread reopening of normal social life/activity. Thursday was the first day in the country with zero COVID fatalities since June.
One thing I am curious to see but have not yet found are good models or studies which draw connections between declining COVID case counts and the progress of vaccination. For what I assume are obvious reasons I follow the data in New York State most closely. New York’s numbers were coming down quickly early in 2021 but then plateaued and even ticked up somewhat. This was seemingly an interaction between rising vaccination rates, aggressive reopening and the spread of more contagious variants. Over recent weeks those numbers have resumed their rapid decline.
From TPM Reader HL …
I feel I’ve weathered the transition fairly well. After many years of watching evening MSNBC, I essentially stopped watching the night after Ruth Bader Ginzburg died, and shifted all my newsgathering to the written form from Twitter to actual newspapers. I felt less harried and no less informed, and paved the way for a presidency I don’t have to worry about.
From TPM Reader IG …
This moment has me thinking about the feeling that we’ve been robbed of time. People like to talk about the odd way in which 2020 feels as if it was both endless and just didn’t happen at all. I’ve only recently stopped saying “last summer” when I really mean the summer of 2019. But, the truth is, the whole of the last five years of Trumpism feel this way. If this really is the end of the Trump era then it is still like we just gave away half a decade of our lives to this all-consuming negativity.
From TPM Reader PJ …
I’m with a lot of your readers. While I think the day to day is less punctuated by evental feelings of panic and worry, things are bad and not sure to get worse. We have a very undemocratic political system. The more democratic elements of our system carry most of their potential in how a judiciary might find them to be very expansive, but that judiciary is owned by the right. I think in 2009 the GOP triggered the Doomsday Machine. The rabid anti-Obama partisanship, the debt ceiling debacles in the years that followed, right-wing enthusiasm for racist police killings, GamerGate, Trump’s rise, the final removal of the mask of respectability of the Republican Party…the white masculine death machine is on the march. Just consider the judiciary….even if we got the Fantasyland Biden of our dreams, how much of what he does will hold up to right-wing judicial review? We’re talking about a court system that might take us back to a pre-Lochner territory, eliminate the governmental ability to delegate regulatory authority to executive agencies…this is return to Medieval stuff.
In this on-going series of posts on ‘Making Sense of the Post-Trump Era’ I should be clear that I don’t mean this to prejudge the question. I mean ‘post-Trump’ only in the very narrow sense of the period after Trump left the White House. I think it’s very much an open question – one implicit or explicit in almost all your emails – whether we’re really “post” at all.
For my part, I increasingly think that we are ‘post-Trump’ in terms of the man himself. I think defeat just gutted him. The GOP remains in his thrall but much more as a placeholder or symbol than as someone actively engaged in national politics. But it’s not really about the man himself, at least not mainly. It’s about the civic degeneracy that created him and which galvanized, brought into light of day and made aware of itself.