Dancing In A Constant Feedback Loop: The Big Sort and COVID

Matthew Stokes

Matthew Stokes

Matthew Stokes is a writer and college instructor from Birmingham, Alabama. He has been published in The Bulwark, Alabama Daily News, the University Bookman, and the Gospel Coalition. Follow him on Twitter: @yellingstopal.

Related Post Roulette

126 Responses

  1. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Sorting America into two classes this way dances delicately around the most striking demographic difference between the two classes thereby avoiding the elephant in the room of what obstructs the civic renewal called for.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the polling generally shows that most Americans take the pandemic seriously. Sometimes they do try and strike the a middle ground for policy choice on how to respond though.

    I just picked up Rick Perlstein’s Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980. My general view is that I think we might be at the start or somewhere along the journey of an ideological realignment in the United States. The Great Depression created an ideological realignment that allowed the Democratic Party to be the dominant party from approximately 1932-1995. Even when out of the White House, the Democrats often controlled Congress in majorities that required the Republican Presidents to moderate and/or compromise. The shift to the right began earlier than 1995 and lots of middle-aged to older Americans came of political age during the Reagan Presidency and absorbed a general right-leaning, government is the problem, libertarian view of government.

    The shift is changing though because the last part of Gen X and later generations/cohorts grew up with a less rosy view of GOP and a different set of socio-political problems/issues that confronted their generations. The old view that the worst phrase is “I am from the government and I am here to help” does not apply to the problems faced by Americans under the age of 45, most of whom have no memories of the issues that gave rise to Reagan.

    Real world events do not care about ideological correctness and bounds. The problem is that human psychology appears to care very much about ideological correctness and if someone is politically ideological, their brain seems to go into hyperdrive to deflect or downplay any problem that might not fit the ideology. A global pandemic is not the kind of problem that fits into a worldview that believes in limited government and/or questions expertise and/or makes a mania out of voluntary compliance.

    When Harold Wilson did his second stint as Prime Minister in the 1970s, it was with a sense of dejection and not the optimism of his first government in the 1960s. He apparently remarked that he only “had the same old solutions to the same old problems.” This eventually led to Thatcher’s election in 1979 and Labour’s long exile until 1997 as they fought internally over rigid adherence to old Clause IV socialism vs. moderating the old stance. I think the GOP is in the same place now. They are adhering to limited government when it does not work for current problems, social conservatism when it appeals to smaller and smaller numbers of Americans, and tax cuts for plutocrats when it only appeals to tax cuts. The big Democratic gains in 2018 did not happen with AOC and the squad who were elected in super-safe districts but with inner-ring suburbanites (especially women) who are freaked out by the GOP’s increasing rigidness on social issues and the lack of expertise. Romney received around 40 percent of all donations from lawyers in Big Law in 2012. Trump received practically none. There is no evidence that this trend is going to reverse. The suburbs of 2020 are not the suburbs of 1970 or 1980 but Trump and the GOP insist that they are despite the fact that Newt’s former seat is now occupied by a progressive Democratic woman.Report

  3. Avatar Road Scholar
    Ignored
    says:

    Fun fact: My mother was born in 1918, the year of the great flu pandemic. She is now 102, still alive, but living in a nursing home and tragically, doesn’t really remember who I am when I go to visit.

    While there were other disease outbreaks in the early to mid twentieth century that entailed a public health response, there was nothing quite like the the Great Pandemic. Until now. I’m 60 — not old-old but not young either — and I have no experience of this sort of thing. Folks 20-30 years my senior MIGHT have some recollection of measles quarantines or something, but for the vast majority of us this is effectively a brand new thing that seemed to just come out of nowhere.

    This is novel. And some folks — let’s face it, those with a conservative predisposition — just have a problem with novelty. I see it all the time in my profession. The Venn diagram of drivers who hew conservative politically with those that distrust/dislike innovations like automatic transmissions, pollution controls, electronically optimized drivetrains, and electronic logging is very nearly a perfect circle. And those same drivers will then bitch about the “they” trying to control them, with the “they” being some variety of “damn liberals” when in reality it’s just the likely-conservative owners of the company wanting to minimize costs to maximize profits.

    It’s all a conspiracy of some sort, and it was bad enough with the Q insanity in the reign of Trump, but now this too? A perfect fucking storm.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      When I was a little kid back in the 70’s… like, 6 or 7, my parents were friends with a lovely older couple. We called them “Papa and Nana” but we weren’t related to them but, seriously, they were awesome. They lived in Beulah, Michigan and we lived outside of Detroit.

      We had this thing going on where we’d trade houses with them for two weeks in the summertime. We’d move to Buelah, they’d move to Canton, and they’d get all of the joys of access to the change of scenery that our part of the state provided and we’d get to live *THIS* close to the lake for a couple of weeks.

      Nana’s mother died in the Spanish Flu. I grew up hearing stories about Nana’s mother dying and then, after the funeral, going home and Nana’s dad making everyone eat a huge slice of onion with their meal. Every dinner, from that point on, had a huge slice of raw onion.

      That is the one piece of word of mouth that I still have from the Spanish Flu.

      Thanks, Nana. Wish I had paid more attention.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      I think the historic record show that the population never really dealt with mass quarantine situations well either. There were resisters and anti-maskers during the 1918 pandemic and this was in a world more used to infectious diseases as a fact of life.Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    The first round of our Franklin Templeton–Gallup Economics of Recovery Study has already yielded three powerful and surprising insights:

    Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent;

    The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information; partisanship and misinformation, to misquote Thomas Dolby, are blinding us from science; and

    We find a sizable “safety premium” that could become a significant driver of inflation as the recovery gets underway.

    MISPERCEPTIONS OF RISK

    Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:

    On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.

    Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.

    Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger
    by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).
    These results are nothing short of stunning. Mortality data have shown from the very beginning that the COVID-19 virus age-discriminates, with deaths overwhelmingly concentrated in people who are older and suffer comorbidities. This is perhaps the only uncontroversial piece of evidence we have about this virus. Nearly all US fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older.

    emphasis added
    https://www.franklintempletonnordic.com/investor/article?contentPath=html/ftthinks/common/cio-views/on-my-mind-they-blinded-us-from-science.html

    I am the son of a professor (Ph.D. Genetics). My uncle was a professor (Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics). Many of my great uncles were professors (Astronomy, Soil Science, Organic Chem), and so on. I grew up with the scientific method as a daily instruction on how to live. Never in my life have I seen such complete mass hysteria, combined with raw innumeracy. And this is mostly among the people who should know better, that constantly tell every person in this country that they should be running things because they are so smart, and so educated. Well, the numbers of that group who are epidemiologists are quite small, so every one of them is relying on the same articles and NPR stories as everyone else in that group. And as we have seen in the last two decades, the people who are disseminating our news are mostly full of it (piss hookers, WMDs). When the local university was closing over this, I asked my wife (senior admin at said institution) how many students have died? How many have gotten the disease? How many students normally die in that period? And so on. No answers, as no one was tracking this. And I have asked this of many people in this arena, with the same result. We hear that UNC closed down due to an outbreak, but we don’t know if the students were asymptomatic, only had minor symptoms, or if they were rushed to the hospital. But, as it was never reported that anyone involved died, we can be assured they didn’t as that would be all over the news if only to make the case for staying closed.

    Are there people playing political games with this? Of course, that is the nature of politics – play it as it lies. But I do think there are a lot of people who look at who is in the White House right now and transpose their feeling about him onto the virus. And this affects the response they have to it. The response they push on others.Report

    • Avatar Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      He has access to all those people who could tell folks better, and offer reassuring guidance – why do you think he hasn’t deployed them to do that?

      He could direct the CD and NIH to track and report the numbers the way you think they should be reported to quell what you see as hysteria. Why do you think he hasn’t done that?

      He could have told governors that he’d get them all togther and come up with a national plan that could vary state by state to account for what they are seeing on the ground and that he’d adjust national resource deployments – why do you think he hasn’t done that?

      His national leadership failures stand well enough on their own.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David
        Ignored
        says:

        Who, my dad?Report

        • Avatar Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          No Trump. Yeash. Or was you final paragraph NOT all about him?Report

          • Avatar Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            I think that people on the left are transposing their feelings about the president onto the virus, and people on the right are transposing their feelings about the president’s critics onto recommended safety measures.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Trump has been at turns a Covid Denier, a covid testing and PPE obstructor, a covid response blame shifter, a purveyor of covid disinformation … All that is true regardless of what people think about him as a person.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                How does that pertain to the topic, though? Doesn’t it just reinforce Matthew’s and Aaron’s point that one’s view of coronavirus is affected by one’s view of the president?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I guess you (Pinky) could agree with me that Trump’s been at turns a Covid Denier, a covid testing and PPE obstructor, a covid response blame shifter, a purveyor of covid disinformation, yet *still* conclude he’s done a great job. Which would, seems to me, support your point that people are projecting … something … onto Trump.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether he’s done a great job has nothing to do with this topic. That you think it does have something to do with this topic is the topic.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Pinky, here’s what you wrote.

                I think that people on the left are transposing their feelings about the president onto the virus

                I responded by saying people in the left *observed* Trump doing all the things listed, so they’re not transposing their feelings about the virus onto him, they’re *observing* his incompetence in real time. Which, given worries about the virus, causes them to have feelings. About his incompetence.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                You had feelings about his incompetence before. Nothing was going to change that. This article is about how the Great Sort is affecting the response to the virus, and the fact that you can’t even imagine the article isn’t about Trump’s relative competence is a demonstration of the article’s point.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                You had feelings about his incompetence before.

                Which have been shown to be correct and well justified.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Chicken soup is very salty. (We’re exchanging statements that have nothing to do with the article, right?)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Increased partisanship, and thus differential support for Trump is a prime example of the Great Sort.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Remember when Trump tried to stop travel from China to prevent the spread, but Dems pitched a fit over racism?

                Remember when Fauci told everyone not to wear a mask? But was caught in a lie? And when he was photoed in the stands of a baseball game sans mask?

                Remember De Blasio saying that people needed to keep celebrating Chinese New Year and that the virus was nothing to worry about?

                Pepperidge Farms remembers.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Just to be clear, are you willing to concede that Trump has FUBARed the Covid response, *even by your own measure of a successful Covid rollout*?

                Or is he merely the victim of forces beyong his control?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No, no FUBAR at all. The only complaint I have of his response is to not have an economist talk right after Fauci every day, letting us know the damage that is being done to our economy. Also, a good sociologist to help explain the social damages done.

                No, he has been a model of federalism and not gone full dictator like the left wanted. (and would have complained about.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahh, but it’s the left which is projecting onto Trump. OK.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                You asked for my complaint, and I gave it to you.

                But, to repeat the findings I post below: Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent;

                The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information; partisanship and misinformation, to misquote Thomas Dolby, are blinding us from science (emphasis added, again)

                It isn’t just me seeing this, it is Franklin Templeton and Gallup.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Pepperidge Farms is remembering wrong. Fauci never told everyone not to wear a mask; he didn’t tell everyone to wear a mask, which is very different. Time goes by, we know the coronavirus is usually spread through the air, and we don’t have a shortage of masks anymore. As for the baseball game, it wasn’t like he was in a crowd.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Fauci said he didn’t recommend wearing masks because he was worried about PPE shortages and not because he/we learned more subsequently.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, there was talk that masks could increase the infection rate because of people touching their faces, and I think we’ve learned that the risk of airborne infection more than offsets that.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, both are true. The original recommendations were for those experiencing symptoms or suspecting they had the virus to wear a mask, but not for everyone to do so. This was before both a) scientists learned that there was pre-symptomatic and possibly a-symptomatic transmission, and b) the supply of at least inexpensive masks increased dramatically. (Seriously, you can buy them anywhere now, no shortage.)Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Nope. The original recommendations that were being delivered through the news was not “not for everyone to do so”. It was specifically for people to “not wear masks.”

                There is a world of difference between not recommending masks and recommending we don’t wear masks. In one, it would be sufficient if there was an absence of evidence in theory or studies on their effectiveness. For the latter it would require a much higher burden of proof.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar
                Ignored
                says:

                Would it have been better for them to have said, “Everybody wear a mask”? When some multiple of 350M masks simply didn’t exist and healthcare workers who really, really needed them to do their jobs were wearing garbage bags and scarves for PPE? When the working assumption was that COVID patients, like for basically every other respiratory disease known, were infectious when they showed symptoms?

                It may well have been the wrong advice given perfect knowledge that simply didn’t exist then and a supply of PPE that also didn’t exist, but I think it’s perfectly defensible given those constraints.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                This is where someone mentions that US Intelligence briefed Trump about a coming pandemic in early January.

                Not me, of course. I wouldn’t do something like that.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                How about answering with the truth as known at that time?

                The best evidence available when I researched the topic in March was that most studies show that masks are very likely to be effective at reducing transmission and possibly Effective at reducing reception. The better the masks the better the likely effectiveness. My wife started making masks immediately, and has made dozens for all our family and friends. She found all kinds of resources on how to improve the quality over time, primarily through the use of better filter materials.

                Slatestarcodex did a blogpost on it a few weeks later and came up with a similar conclusion.

                If the experts were worried about mask availability then the truth would have been that they explain the uncertainty of lower quality masks and that they ask people to do their civic duty and leave the limited supply of masks to the medical professionals until more masks can be made.

                What they should not under any circumstances do is tell people NOT to wear masks. And that is exactly what I heard every single day from all the medical professionals on the various media.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                You are right, it was the Surgeon General:
                “”You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” Adams said. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” he added.”

                No, we don’t have a shortage, now. But then we did then: “”I don’t regret anything I said then because in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct. We were told in our task force meetings that we have a serious problem with the lack of PPEs and masks for the health providers who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to take care of sick people,” Fauci told O’Donnell.

                “When it became clear that we could get the infection could be spread by asymptomatic carriers who don’t know they’re infected, that made it very clear that we had to strongly recommend masks,” he said.

                My point was that it wasn’t Trump who did this, it was the Surgeon General and Fauci, who we presume are advising the president. Thus Stills comments that trump is a PPE obstructor is fairly ludicrous.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                My point was that it wasn’t Trump who did this, it was the Surgeon General and Fauci, who we presume are advising the president. Thus Stills comments that trump is a PPE obstructor is fairly ludicrous.

                I suppose this is a true statement, in as much as the President said he doesn’t take any responsibility for the response to COVID.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                His obstruction on the issue came not from his comments but from his example. He set an example of someone who wasn’t a fan of masks and his tribe did what tribes do and followed the lead husky’s example. Of course, the other tribe then did the opposite and began wearing masks as a tribal display out of TDS.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course, the other tribe then did the opposite and began wearing masks as a tribal display out of TDS.

                So you do not accept that those choosing to wear masks might be following the advice of Dr. Fauci, and the Surgeon General (who is now in radio and TV spots saying to wear masks) but ONLY doing so to F Trump? Fascinating . . . .Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course not, quit reading things into what I write. I wore a mask within the first week or two, because I did research when I heard the BS on recommendations NOT to.

                I think most reasonable, intelligent people Started wearing masks based upon the evidence or recommendations available. But some people on one team didn’t because their leader didn’t think it was cool. On the other side, some others did in part because of tribal signaling.

                Giving one answer to something hundreds of millions of people are doing for all kinds of complex reasons would be really silly. Don’t you think?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I was gonna bust ya for the same thing Philip did. You implied that masks wearers only adopted the practice due to Trump Derangement Syndrome. Now you’re conceding that only a few people did so out of TDS.

                It just seems like a silly shot across the bow to maintain a conveninient BSDI narrative.Report

              • Avatar Swami
                Ignored
                says:

                In no way meant to imply “only.” Just reinforcing that many people are polarizing both ways around tribal narratives. When I wrote it I was actually trying to imply that the bad habits inspired by Trump’s actions were partially offset by better habits on the other side.

                Honestly, I can almost be considered in the TDS crowd. My natural inclination is to react against everything he says and does. The man just repulses me.

                Remind me what BSDI stands for?Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, Trump has been providing the data, that was the point of all the press conferences that had been driving the left insane. At least I have been getting the data from them. YMMV. But, the CDC and NIH have provided that data, where did you think much of what is in that report comes from? As far as coming up with some idiotic “national plan” how would he know better than the actual governor of the area in question, who is on the scene, what to do? He offered and provided help with hospital ships and field hospitals, is pushing for a vaccine, working to provide the ventilators that some were hyperventilating over (and it turns out the requests were foolish), and so on. A single, national plan would have been foolish, as it would have slowed actions down at the start and prevented the governors from making the decisions that they knew (or felt) were best. And it most likely would have been illegal, and we all know the Dems would sue (or try another idiotic impeachment). No, he made the right play, no matter how much you hate it.

            And no, my final paragraph wasn’t about him, it was about some people and how they are responding to the virus, and the demands they make. But thanks for proving my point.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      But I do think there are a lot of people who look at who is in the White House right now and transpose their feeling about him onto the virus.

      Trump has been at turns a Covid Denier, a covid testing and PPE obstructor, a covid response blame shifter, a purveyor of covid disinformation … All that is true regardless of what people think about him as a person.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David
        Ignored
        says:

        Remember when Trump tried to stop travel from China to prevent the spread, but Dems pitched a fit over racism?

        Remember when Fauci told everyone not to wear a mask? But was caught in a lie? And when he was photoed in the stands of a baseball game sans mask?

        Remember De Blasio saying that people needed to keep celebrating Chinese New Year and that the virus was nothing to worry about?

        Pepperidge Farms remembers.

        But I do remember when I said that when it comes to Trump, you have zero credibility.Report

        • Avatar Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          Remember when Trump tried to stop travel from China to prevent the spread, but Dems pitched a fit over racism?

          Why yes I do – over a month after the first reported cases in China, two weeks after the first reported case in the US and with a bunch of loopholes for family citizens and citizens families. He also exempted travelers from Hong Kong and Macao. 26,000 people also returned to the US, were readmitted, and then, according to the LA times, essentially lost because Homeland Security couldn’t provide actionable date to the states, and because the plan to funnel them all through 11 airports didn’t work. That’s on DHS – who last time I checked were the President’s responsibility.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
            Ignored
            says:

            So, you readily disprove Still, but show that Trump isn’t racist enough for you…

            Interesting.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              How does that disprove anything I said? If anything it confirms it. Trump’s China ban, as I’ve said, wasn’t enforced with any stringency. People flying back from China waltzed through airports without even having their itineraries checked. It was politiical theater.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      My friend in Tampa got all upset last night. All last week his local news station’s “science reporter” had been telling people that if they’ve just recovered from Covid-19 they should donate plasma because their antibodies can really helps the recovery of elderly patients. Then yesterday Trump announced that he’s authorizing the use of plasma as a treatment, so last night the same science report at the same TV station started telling the audience that Trump is crazy and anti-body treatments are dangerous and unproven.

      TDS is truly a very tragic mental disorder.Report

      • Avatar Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Except the convalescent plasma treatment has not been tested widely – and by not widely I mean a couple of dozen reported patients treated so far with mixed results. So yes, the FDA – which reports to the President – has authorized convalescent plasma as a treatment, it is ALSO true that its an unproven treatment in this case.Report

        • Avatar George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          And this is what Aaron was talking about when it comes to the left and “science”. The FDA approved individual use of convalescent plasma for Covid back in March. By early June the US had already treated over 5,000 patients with it. The Chinese had been doing it almost since the start of the outbreak in Wuhan, and only stopped because they ran out of infected patients.

          Such anti-body treatments are quite normal, and were even used with Ebola patients. You don’t need to do a decade’s long clinical study for each new virus before you okay the antibody treatment, anymore than surgeons had to approve blood transfusions and anesthesia for each particular type of surgery. “We’ve used anesthesia during appendectomies, but nobody has ever tried using it during a knee replacement! We’ll have to stick to a shot of whiskey for this one.”Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            So if the FDA approved this approahc in MArch then yesterday’s much crowed about approval was what, exactly? Theatre? Distraction?

            And we have way more people involved in vaccine trials and yet we keep hearing over and over that no one should take an untested vaccine . . .

            Its not the left that has problems with science . . .Report

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              Yes you do. A paragraph ago you were saying that the antibody treatment wasn’t sufficiently tested. But as soon as you see a different way to attack Trump, it’s suddenly a snooze-fest and no big deal. Almost the entire left pivots on a dime based on the best way to react to the last Trump Tweet. That’s not science. That’s not even in the same universe as science.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                let me make it as clear as I can:

                1. if this was approved by the FDA in March, then yesterday’s “approval” doesn’t seem to gain us anything treatment-wise though I suppose its great political theatre.

                2. Outside OT I keep being told by conservatives that they will not get the vaccine when its released because it can’t possibly be tested enough in the year to 18 months it will take.

                3. Inside OT I am told by conservatives that the 5000 or so American treated this way is more then enough testing to determine the treatment is effective.

                4. As a scientist I see those two statements as incompatible because if the 5000 Americans are statistically sufficient to allow this treatment then the 10’s of thousands of Americans who are participating in the vaccine trials make them equally as sufficient.

                5. I conclude that this issue is not science for the right – its inconvenient science.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                3. Inside OT I am told by conservatives that the 5000 or so American treated this way is more then enough testing to determine the treatment is effective.

                4. As a scientist I see those two statements as incompatible because if the 5000 Americans are statistically sufficient to allow this treatment then the 10’s of thousands of Americans who are participating in the vaccine trials make them equally as sufficient.

                And just like that, Trump has the left convinced that human antibodies are a dangerous substance that humans shouldn’t be allowed to produce.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                No, just like that the Left is appalled that far fewer humans will be able to give certainty to convalescent plasma as a treatment then will be tested for vaccine efficacy, and yet many on the right are already refusing to accept any vaccine trial outcomes by using any vaccine thats created.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                The point is that a vaccine is manufactured, in some cases from a weakened virus, in an attempt to spur the body into producing antibodies. Sometimes that does not go at all well, which is why vaccines have such rigorous trials to look for side effects.

                In contrast, convalescent antibodies themselves are what the vaccine is trying to entice the body to produce (along with T-cell responses). It’s like giving the body a vaccine without the hazards of the vaccine.

                With a novel disease, a blood transfusion from a recovered patient is often one of the first things doctors try, since the risk is considered minimal and with a new diseases, they have no idea what else will work.

                Another difference is that the anti-body, plasma treatments are given to patients that already have severe cases of the disease. It’s an attempt at a life-saving measure. A vaccine is given to people who may never even come in contact with the disease, so the risk/reward math isn’t the same.

                Thus the federal government maintains a large fund and a special court system just to handle suits by people who were badly harmed by a vaccine, since statistically that does happen at a low rate. The medical view is that the small number of bad outcomes is outweighed by not having a disease running rampant through the population, but the unlucky few with bad reactions should be well compensated.

                The math for treatments versus vaccines are not at all the same, because people don’t get treated for diseases they don’t have.

                But don’t worry. As soon as Trump announces a vaccine, the left will suddenly be against vaccines, too – just because Trump was for it.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I stopped believing the “liberals love science” meme the first time someone explained to me that the fetus has gills, then it turns into a lizard, and then it grows a tail like a monkey. These days you’re more likely to hear that science is a white man’s construct than that science is a trick of the devil. Of course, now that the left has said that men and women have nothing to do with p’s and v’s, the pretense is over. But then, they have seemed willing to ignore history, economics, psychology, et cetera, at their political convenience, so it wasn’t like the hard sciences were ever going to be off-limits if they got in the way.Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            Funny, but those words didn’t say what you thought they said:

            Essentially, the Trump administration figures had compared one group of patients who got a certain kind of plasma with a group who got a different concentration at a different point in the disease, thus showing the relative difference between those groups. It was not a measure of what happens when some patients get plasma and some don’t — the kind of research necessary to send a signal of whether a treatment is truly helping. The FDA also considered data from other studies.

            In an FDA memo justifying the use of plasma, one bullet point concludes, “There was no difference in 7-day survival in the overall population between subjects transfused with high versus low titer” convalescent plasma.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/24/some-administration-claims-effectiveness-convalescent-plasma-are-wrong-or-dubious-scientists-say/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_mostReport

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              I’ll bet it’s a useless as hydroxychloroquine!

              Science Direct paper

              Methods
              We conducted a retrospective analysis of in-hospital mortality in the Belgian national COVID-19 hospital surveillance data. Patients treated either with HCQ alone and supportive care (HCQ group) were compared to patients treated with supportive care only (no-HCQ group) using a competing risks proportional hazards regression with discharge alive as competing risk, adjusted for demographic and clinical features with robust standard errors.

              Results
              Of 8075 patients with complete discharge data on 24th of May and diagnosed before the 1st of May, 4542 received HCQ in monotherapy and 3533 were in the no-HCQ group. Death was reported in 804/4542 (17.7%) and 957/3533 (27.1%), respectively. In the multivariable analysis, the mortality was lower in the HCQ group compared to the no-HCQ group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.684, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.617–0.758). Compared to the no-HCQ group, mortality in the HCQ group was reduced both in patients diagnosed ≤ 5 days (n=3975) and > 5 days (n=3487) after symptom onset (adjusted HR 0.701, 95% CI 0.617–0.796 and adjusted HR 0.647, 95% CI 0.525–0.797, respectively).

              According to the results of that study, the Democrats’ derangement over Trump promoting hydroxychloroquine has resulted in the deaths of 65,353 Americans who would not have died with low-dose HCQ therapy. That’s more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam War.

              Now the Democrats are determined to kill more Americans by making sure none get convalescent antibodies, either.Report

    • Avatar Swami
      Ignored
      says:

      First of all, thanks for this excellent comment, Aaron. I agree completely.

      Minor critique of the article you are quoting from though. Their stats on risk of death by age cohorts is highly, indeed outrageously, twisted in its framing. As you and I know, they are in no way suggesting that there is an 80% risk of death for the elderly, they are simply showing that comparing a seat-of-the-pants estimate of the distribution of deaths compared to actual deaths is way off. With data as skewed as this, this would be expected. People are terrible at guessing distributions. Stressing it is off by a factor of 40 and so on is somewhat hyperbolic.

      That said, I agree with you, especially about the tribalistic black and white thinking around the topic (which can be both an important health issue AND blown way out of proportion.)Report

      • Avatar Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        So you are in the camp that sees 175,000+ deaths as acceptable according to recent polling? Since its blown way out of proportion, but was mostly preventable and definitely more fatal then the flu.Report

        • Avatar Swami
          Ignored
          says:

          I have no idea what you are talking about. I think 175k deaths is tragic. Doesn’t everyone?

          It HAS been blown way out of proportion though, with hysteria, tribal allegiance and virtue signaling replacing prudence, good judgment and practical solutions.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            It HAS been blown way out of proportion though, with hysteria, tribal allegiance and virtue signaling replacing prudence, good judgment and practical solutions

            If that’s true, then the entire world engaged in hysteria. The countries which have had better outcomes than the US – economically, in terms of death tolls, whatever – took the hysteria *seriously* early and often and engaged in concerted mitigation efforts which required pert-near 100% buy-in from the public. Gaining that buy-in is the job of our political leaders, starting with the leader who sits in the Oval Office. But, as we know from direct observation, Trump screwed the covid-response pooch from the first positive test in early February all the way through until now.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Add: for example, your preferred response – to prioritize preventing the highest risk people from being exposed to wearing masks to keeping businesses open and functioning – required leadership to execute. Blaming the failure to execute that policy on tribalism ignores the fact that no one in political leadership advocated your desired policy. Yet you continue to blame partisanship for failing to embrace a policy proposal they were never offered.Report

            • Avatar Swami
              Ignored
              says:

              I am using hysteria as the best word I could come up with on irrational, unrestrained actions driven by emotion and panic rather than calculated reason and objectivity. And yes, I think the hysteria was spread around the globe.

              You seem to be using the word for treating the virus seriously and being genuinely afraid of what it can do both in terms of illness and death and in terms of economic destruction. In which case, we wouldn’t be disagreeing, just talking past each other.

              I certainly am disappointed in how the US and Trump and many of the governors handled it here, both in how they did stupid actions which made no effects on the virus, and how they didn’t do reasonable actions fast enough. We should have been a leader in fighting back the virus, at creating safety protocols and procedures allowing us to minimize the economic damage while also minimizing death rates. We should have done a lot more to protect the elderly and the sick. We should have done a lot more faster, smarter on testing (we still should)

              I am not sure why you are suggesting that I am blaming our failure just or primarily on tribalism. I certainly think it contributes to our failures. And I think it interferes with leadership execution and has clouded our media.

              But I agree with you that Trump was and is a terrible leader. He is the most repulsive, self aggrandizing jerk I have ever seen in any position of authority ever.

              But, yeah, partisanship makes things even worse.Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m talking about this poll:

            https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2020/08/23/poll-57-of-republicans-find-coronavirus-death-toll-now-over-176000-acceptable/#9065a9f46c60

            Apparently there are plenty of Americans who may thinks its tragic, but also acceptable.

            Its also notable that the CDC ESTIMATES there were as many as 62,000 deaths last flu season. And for MONTHS we heard that COVID death counts – which are not estimates – were not as bad as the flu. And yet as deaths mount they seem unmoved to apologize for that framing.Report

            • Avatar Swami
              Ignored
              says:

              Thanks for sharing that poll. What does it mean if someone considers it “tragic but acceptable?”

              Does this mean we did as well as could be expected? if so, I would say our performance was clearly unacceptable. But I have no idea if this is how other people are reading the question or not. I suspect they are interpreting it all kinds of ways and giving partisan answers.

              I have not heard serious voices claim that CV isn’t as bad as the flu. Seems like a pretty fringe view.

              I suspect CV cases are over counted (another question), though I am not real confident of that answer. If I was in charge, I would demand an audit of the numbers by an independent firm. I am certainly worried about my parents and daughter (Worse case of asthma ever) getting the disease.

              I think the country is doing much worse now than four years ago. Primarily as a result of the CV and the riots and the increased partisanship and the takeover of our major institutions by the woke army. I think Trump is doing very poorly overall, especially considering the trying times.

              As for the question about “attention to discrimination” , my answer is WAY too much. The major problems with the police are centered in accountability and abuse of power, rather than racial profiling or murder of black males by cops. The problems with black lives is centered in a dysfunctional culture and order of magnitude higher levels of crime and violence, rather than with systemic racism or discrimination. Indeed I believe most institutions are strongly biased in favor of minorities, especially blacks. I am aware that this position is unpopular.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              A few months ago I decided Covid was roughly 10x as bad as the flu (largely by being convinced by links displayed on this forum btw).

              So Covid has killed 3x as many people as the last flu? I’m sorry, but that’s good news. “Tragic but acceptable” is a good way to put it.

              What would you like, less than what the flu kills? We actually tried a total restructuring of society to fight this. That was a mixed success, it helped but it certainly wasn’t total.

              We’re a very large, very multi-cultural country. That means any plan which needs “everyone” to do something in lockstep like the high trust mono-cultural countries do is probably not going to work well. Ergo we weren’t able to stamp out the virus everywhere, there are pockets where it’s still around.

              How much of that is Trump’s fault? Probably roughly the same amount as Obama’s website crashing when it was first turned on when he thought it turn-key ready.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                In terms of deaths per capita, America ranks among the worst outcomes in the developed world (535/ capita)

                Not even not-the-best.
                Among the very worst.
                Like, where parents of children in Sudan (18) and India (42) admonish them with “Be grateful you’re not in America!”

                Only the UK (610), Spain (617) Italy (586) and Sweden (575) are worse off.

                We can make ourselves feel better with excuses, but they are just excuses, lame attempts to conceal a massive failure.

                Our nation was given a test, an external threat like a hurricane or invading army, and our political institutions and culture and citizenry failed.
                And the failure continues to this day, and will continue for maybe a year more.

                Today the University of Alabama had more positive covid tests today than the country of Canada. One university, more than an entire nation.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Sudan (18) and India (42)…

                We should have zero trust in numbers coming from 3rd world nations that lack HC systems. There’s a few other countries we should have zero trust in but whatever.

                Our nation was given a test, an external threat like a hurricane or invading army, and our political institutions and culture and citizenry failed.

                Yes.

                There are limits to the gov’s power and competence. There are limits to society’s power and competence. This type of test hits below the belt at our weaknesses. If you were expecting different results then you haven’t been paying attention during the last 50 years.

                This sort of result happening on a regular basis is why I’m darkly cynical about “solutions” to society’s problems which envision us as a high trust body.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                There are limits to the [American] government’s power and competence.

                Why among all the developed nations, is America so uniquely incompetent?

                Why did the nation that was once the envy of the world for its “can do” spirit somehow become such a basket case and what can we do to reverse it?

                Because all I am seeing right now is denial and learned helplessness.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                You forgot Belgium (874). And all of those countries (except Sweden) had lockdowns and mandatory mask laws going back into April and March.

                What do you think we should have done, Chip?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Is this the part where I list all the things that other countries did, and you explain why somehow these things can’t possibly work in America because reasons?

                Even now, today, with all we know about how the virus is transmitted, we have people defiantly refusing to wear masks and assaulting anyone who asks them to.

                We have a growing movement devoted to a bizarre conspiracy which is now embraced by our major political party

                And we have colleges opening up without a coherent plan for how to safely do so, then pretending to be surprised when the inevitable happens.

                Is this a sign of a healthy modern society?

                We might as well be some remote village where they try to combat cholera with witch doctors who rave about demon sperm.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                What other things? As I said, those countries that YOU list as having a higher death ratio all had massive lockdowns and mandatory mask laws.

                So, since you seem to have missed the question, I will ask it again; What do you think we should have done?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Lets talk about what we should do now.

                Like, American citizens should take the virus seriously enough to wear a mask.
                That alone would be a massive step forward to curbing its spread.

                Second, practice isolation to the degree possible. It doesn’t matter if there is a lockdown order or not if people don’t practice it.

                Why is this so difficult for Americans?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                And I will say again, all of the countries you mentioned, with the exception of Sweden, had mandatory mask laws and much more sever lockdowns than the US.

                Why would doing this more severely be better when empirically it was worse in countries that did this?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Because the virus isn’t contained by government orders, it is contained by people conscientiously wearing masks and conscientiously practicing isolation, along with testing and tracing.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                So, maybe, and I am just spitballing here, we should have NOT had those intensifying protests in June and July? I mean, that seems to be what you are saying…

                Did you support the protests?Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                And may be, just maybe, you need to look at all the science regarding those protests, which shows little to no effect driving case counts or mortality or anything else, and get off that high horse.

                Maybe, just maybe you should look at how nearly all the people at those protests STILL wear masks.

                Maybe, and I’m just spitballing here, you should acknowledge that those protests were at least as important as the armed white guys in Michigan yelling in the faces of state troopers, or the armed white folks in Idaho earlier this week who broke doors in the statehouse because their desire to intimidate their legislators was apparently more important then following either social distancing guidelines or the law.Report

              • Avatar InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m perfectly willing to condemn the anti-mask protestors but you have to realize how ridiculous this comes off. Especially when leading up to the protests/riots people were going berserk over any and all activity. I say that as someone who supported police reform before it was cool and unlike Aaron I’m voting for Biden.

                People grok the intellectual dishonesty going on with this ‘my crowds can’t possibly be spreading the virus but every other one is.’Report

              • Avatar Aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I do think they were every bit as important, but I am not the one who is on a high horse saying we could do better while attending mass protests.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I do think they were every bit as important, but I am not the one who is on a high horse saying we could do better while attending mass protests.

                That’s because we have yet to see ANYTHING in the complied statistics that say the social justice protests contributed to increases in rates of infection, rates of hospitalization or rates of death. We have seen lots of information in the form of statistics saying that lack of mask wearing is and was a major driver of those statistics. The Protesters mostly did better.Report

              • Avatar Aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                So, then Chip is wrong about distancing and that it won’t help?

                That isn’t what he said…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The protests themselves are a symptom of the failure.

                In the middle of a pandemic, the police still can’t bring themselves to behave responsibly and still insist on abusing the people they ostensibly protect.

                The government views its own citizenry as an alien threat which needs to be suppressed by any means necessary.

                This is what you see in these countries the President calls “sh!thole countries”.

                Where the failure of the electrical grid is connected to the corruption of the government which is connected to the learned helplessness and tribal superstition of the people which is connected to the inability to build industry which is connected to the failure of the electrical grid.

                Yes, if people had simply passively accepted being shot and beaten by corrupt police, there would have been fewer outbreaks.

                Does this sound to anyone, like an America we should hope for?Report

              • Avatar Aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                That is a lot of word salad to say you don’t really care about social distancing. Which pretty much makes your complaint and ideas for stopping covid BSReport

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                You don’t deal well in nuance do you?Report

              • Avatar Aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                Hypocrisy l= nuanceReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Judges would also have accepted “Yet you participate in protests. Curious!”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Why among all the developed nations, is America so uniquely incompetent? Why did the nation that was once the envy of the world for its “can do” spirit somehow become such a basket case and what can we do to reverse it?

                It’s a little ironic you’re claiming we’re “uniquely incompetent” while listing other 1st world countries which have done worse. It’s especially ironic when you’re also willing to admit that fighting the virus isn’t, and shouldn’t be, our first priority.

                In the middle of a pandemic, the police still can’t bring themselves to behave responsibly and still insist on abusing the people they ostensibly protect.

                Police abuse is hardly a new thing, and there are strong arguments that the situation has gotten better, not worse, in recent decades.

                What you’re really trying to say is, “Why can’t everyone else let my culture dominate and do what I want them to”?

                They would ask the same question back at you. This lack of trust is fall-out from the (multi)culture war. It’s not going away.

                Everyone else is just like you. Their first priority is fighting the culture war and resisting/reforming/changing everyone else and not the virus.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                OK, you got me there.
                The UK is also failing.

                Does this make everyone feel better?
                “Yes, I got a D-, but Billy got an F”

                Why can’t America have a police force that behaves like a first world professional force?
                Why can’t we have a competent government response to a pandemic?

                We know that other nations perform better, so its not some iron law of structures.

                We chose this. And by excusing our failure, we still refuse to choose anything else.

                Its like some Bizzarroworld version of Gene Krantz- “Failure is our ONLY option!”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Why can’t America have a police force that behaves like a first world professional force?

                Because we don’t want one. We want the police to enforce our views in the culture war.

                That means they get involved with the war on drugs and the war on illegal immigration. In NY it means they enforce abusive union contracts. In many places they’re ordered to deal with the homeless and mentally ill. In the past they’ve enforced redlining.

                In California the police are ordered to engage in arrests in high enough numbers to create jobs for the prison guard’s union. Everywhere politicians use the police to look tough on crime and they make deals with police unions to avoid police accountability.

                It’s cool that protesting against the police is more important than engaging in social distancing. So… is reforming the police more important than supporting unionism? More important than continuing the war on drugs? Mental health reform or it’s lack?

                Mental Health is pretty big btw, a third to half of all police killings involve someone who is mentally ill… but fixing that might be so expensive that we just live with some dead people. Are the protestors willing to raise taxes on themselves to pay for more mental healthcare?

                Why can’t we have a competent government response to a pandemic?

                You, personally, aren’t willing to put fighting the virus above fighting the culture war, even as a concept.

                Why do you think everyone else should be held to a much higher standard? Why do you think that’s even possible?Report

  5. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    You see fewer masks out in the country because you’re out in the country. Lower population density means fewer contacts, and more space between people. It’s safer to go for a walk in a park in a suburban or rural area than in an urban area. Has anyone done a study of mask use in stores or other confined areas? My guess is the urban / rural split is less than you’d think.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar
      Ignored
      says:

      I travel widely as you might remember, and I see a lot of variation in mask compliance (in travel plazas and truck stops) regionally. I don’t know how useful that observation is since truck drivers can be from anywhere but I find it to generally be higher in the Northeast.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    In all these discussions about the pandemic, one thing we here at OT are going to have to confront, is how we will behave when it strikes us personally.

    At the rate things are going, it is an almost certainty that at least a few of us here whether front pagers, commenters, or our family members- will get the virus and become sick.

    It is also a fairly good chance that one of us or our families will be sick enough to need intensive medical rare, and maybe even will die of it. Some of us, and many of our close family members are in the exact demographic group most at risk.

    So of course when this happens, we will follow the norms and guidelines at OT and be respectful and compassionate and try to avoid turning one’s family tragedy into a political point.

    But the bitter truth that everyone will know, without even needing to be told, is that this sickness, suffering or death is entirely unnecessary and completely preventable.

    The first wave of sickness and deaths could be attributable to our nation being caught off guard, or by China’s manipulation of numbers, or WHO’s lack of clarity, or whatever you want to name.

    But as time has worn on, and other peer nations handled the pandemic differently, we see the growing stark contrast between their outcomes and ours.

    The number of Americans who suffer or die didn’t have to be this high. Regardless of whether one thinks it is overblown or not, the cold hard fact is that it could have been lower, much lower had we made different choices and behaved differently.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      For what it’s worth, I’m already affected by the virus. My blood pressure has wandered back up.

      All of the exercise I used to do from going to the climbing gym to something as simple as stopping by the store on the way home from work and going up and down half of the aisles is something that just doesn’t happen anymore.

      Sure, I run 5Ks. Sure I go jogging otherwise. But my day at work? It’s spent on my tuchus.

      I’m one of the lucky ones. But there are a lot of people doing a lot of damage to themselves and not even noticing it.

      The number of Americans who suffer or die didn’t have to be this high. Regardless of whether one thinks it is overblown or not, the cold hard fact is that it could have been lower, much lower had we made different choices and behaved differently.

      I wish that we had done more to properly shame impromptu gatherings throughout the months of June and July, instead of explaining how they were above criticism.Report

    • Avatar Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      The number of Americans who suffer or die didn’t have to be this high. Regardless of whether one thinks it is overblown or not, the cold hard fact is that it could have been lower, much lower had we made different choices and behaved differently.

      Remember when the flu was deadlier then COVID 19? Pepperidge Farm remembers . . . . Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    We see our own Big Sort here, where those on the right apparently feel the need to deny or obfuscate the Trump administration’s complete incompetence in dealing with the virus or the resulting economic crisis.

    As Stillwell points out, Trump has at different times denied that Covid is serious, peddled quack cures for it, denied it’s a federal responsibility, denied all personal responsibility for it, asserted that the states need to procure their own PPE and ventilators, and confiscated the PPE and ventilators that the states had procured. He’s failed to lead, follow, or at least get out of the way.Report

  8. Avatar CJColucci
    Ignored
    says:

    Why wouldn’t any sane, honest layperson, when asked about the death rates for various age groups, say anything other than “I don’t know”? This isn’t something most of us have any reason or need to know to go about our business safely, or to judge whether the authorities are doing a good job or not.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    What I notice about all the discussions about the various institutions- the CDC, WHO, FDA Surgeon General, etc- is that even in all the fierce criticism of their performance, there is never any talk about what or how they should do better, or even if they can or should do better.

    The criticism doesn’t take the form of “Lets change to a better institution” but more of the form that “institutions cannot work/ should not work/ cannot ever be trusted.”

    I’m linking this to the Republican party’s anti-platform platform,whereby they simply declare loyalty to the person of Donald Trump and whatever he may decide.

    They aren’t declaring loyalty to some political theory or ideology or even a broad set of principles, but to a personage. And we see it in how all the organs of the state are now expected to bend towards his benefit; Any state organ or institution which deviates even slightly from loyalty to his personage is branded as corrupted and an enemy.

    This all gets back to my point about how the modern conservative movement is a revolutionary one, that rejects the legitimacy of any governance that isn’t its own.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      there is never any talk about what or how they should do better, or even if they can or should do better

      Have you had any discussions where people argue that it needs to be more lenient? Like the equivalent of the FDA that they have in Europe, whatever it’s called? Like they argue stuff like “they are too restrictive in the US, they should have looser standards to the point where, oh, 8 epipens are approved, the way that they’ve done it in Europe”? Anything like that?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        My observation was about self-described conservative Republicans, Trumpists.
        I know you prefer some different FDA structure, but your position is pretty much unique to you.

        But even then, I’m thinking of a bigger picture, a vision of a world where we have trusted institutions which can speak with authority, institutions which are wholly independent of political organizations.

        We talk a lot about how “liberals trust science” but that misses the mark I think.

        Its more that liberals are now alone in trusting institutions, whereas Trumpists have lost faith and trust in any institution that isn’t Trumpist.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          So you wish that instead of saying something like “I want this particular institution to have a weird and unique outcome”, you wish that you could get them to say something like “the FDA should be more like the European Medicines Agency, which exists”?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            OK, you need to stop thinking this comment has something to do with your views on the FDA.

            I’m not even disagreeing with your ideas. But they are entirely irrelevant to what’s going on with the Trumpists and their rejection of independent institutions.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s those “I’ve never seen an X where Y” phrases.

              It’s a bad indicator.Report

            • Avatar CJColucci
              Ignored
              says:

              Ideas?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                They include stuff like “the FDA needs to be less risk-adverse” and, as examples, I usually give the Epipen situation for the US and compare it to Europe.

                Sometimes I discuss how the FDA is captured by big pharma and use its refusal to reschedule Marijuana from Schedule 1 as an example of that (and compare contrast with their relatively speedy approval of Zohydro).

                To give a third example of a criticism, I point out to stuff like the testing debacles that happened early on in the Coronavirus Plague and how the FDA is asserting authority that it ought not have.

                So: Too Risk Averse, Captured by Big Pharma, and Misuses and Abuses its Authority even in the face of a Global Pandemic.

                It should not be that. It should not be that. It should not do that.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Coincidentally just seen:

      This belief in personal loyalty behind the President extends to how Republican voters view their party leaders in Congress. Seven in 10 say they want to vote for Republican candidates for Congress who do what Trump wants, rather than be independent.
      https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/cbsnews-eye-on-trends/

      The Republican Party has taken on a very cultish revolutionary, “l’état, c’est moi” posture.Report

      • Avatar Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        What were the corresponding numbers for Obama in 2012?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Obama wasn’t elected as a repudiation of the existing Democratic party. Trump was.Report

          • Avatar Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            If so, then what were the corresponding numbers for Trump in, say, 2017?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              You have Google. You figure it out.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t find a similarly phrased question.

                The argument can’t be “the Republicans are becoming more cultlike” without having multiple data points. More than that, you’d have to demonstrate that the poll question correlates to cultlike thinking. So you’d have to show that Democrats don’t do the same thing four years into a presidency.

                I just don’t remember seeing a question like this before. Frankly, since “independent” is a keyword in politics, I don’t have a lot of faith in the phrasing.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                The RNC recently decide not to have a platform other than “We love Trump.” This is AFAIK unprecedented.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Pretty sure that’s not true.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/RESOLUTION_REGARDING_THE_REPUBLICAN_PARTY_PLATFORM.pdf?_ga=2.109560193.504857691.1598219603-2087748323.1598219603

                WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the
                policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the
                Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it
                RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the
                President’s America-first agenda;
                RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a
                new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;
                RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in
                accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for
                President Trump and his Administration; and
                RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including
                any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order

                Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Wow, you’re completely wrong, and you provided a link that proves it. You’re wrong in a way that it’s hard to believe a person could be and still be considered honest. It isn’t like you left out some obscure paragraph in a long document that shows your error; you left out the first two paragraphs:

                WHEREAS, The Republican National Committee (RNC) has significantly scaled back the size and scope of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte due to strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety of convention attendees and our hosts;

                WHEREAS, The RNC has unanimously voted to forego the Convention Committee on Platform, in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement;

                And that would be bad, but the fact that the fifth paragraph foresees what you did and calls it out makes it look even worse:

                WHEREAS, The media has outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not adopting a new platform in 2020Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Principles stated: None.
                Goals stated: None
                Positions taken: We support Trump 100%.

                Also, we know what we did looks like the worst kind of bootlicking, so we will preemptively deny it as soon as we can get the polish off of our tongues.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                If taken as a lone statement, it isn’t a platform, so you can’t criticize it for not being a platform. If taken with the attached platform, it is a platform, the one from 2016 which has been unchanged. You can’t have it both ways; you can’t have it either way, because both ways demonstrate that you’re wrong. You have thoroughly demonstrated that your first statement was false. That leaves three possibilities: that you realize it’s false, that you don’t realize it’s false, or that you don’t care if it’s false. As for reasons why you’re insisting that there’s some truth to this falsehood, I have no clue.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that a lot of Liberals aren’t interested in making coherent criticisms of Trump and his administration. People don’t really vote for platforms (directly) they vote for the team, then the person sometimes the other way round.

                That said, not updating a simple Executive Plan such as a Platform does bespeak a level of incompetence rarely displayed, if ever.

                That is, a simple perusal of the 2016 platform (which you note is attached) suggests an incomprehensible set of Executive positions… to whit:
                1. The President officially supports Puerto Rican Statehood. (Does he?)
                2. The entire section on AgPolicy is incomprehensible given Chinese Trade policies and Covid.
                3. Balancing the Budget and Debt… these aren’t and can’t be the policies of this Administration.
                4. Criminal Justice reform… this section simply has to be reviewed and rewritten with regards Policy preferences given everything in the last 6 months… it’s simply dated and out-of-context. [editorially, he could even build on some things for a decent response… but he hasn’t so the ‘platform’ is deficient and doesn’t help]
                5. And I’m skipping the sections where he may have enacted the policies he said he would (taxes), but which now need updating to what’s next or what needs refining…
                6. Also skipping Foreign Policy…

                Sure, there are plenty of things that would just be “rolled over” into 2020… but given the rather significant developments during his Presidency (owing in some cases to his successes, others his failures) reviewing and updating priorities and goals is simply a baseline Executive Process.

                Not doing an Executive review of the Executive plan is deficient and negligent. Blaming it on ‘time’ or ‘resources’ isn’t the type of lie we should allow an Executive to make.

                That’s the criticism we should make of Trump not having a Platform in 2016… it simply demonstrates he doesn’t have a plan and doesn’t know what he’s doing.

                It should be an occasion where one questions whether trust placed in this Executive in 2016 was misplaced. On what grounds is it renewed?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                MAGA! is all the platform they need.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, we preemptively close off all discussion of a platform. This is much like the states that cancelled their GOP prudential primaries, because allowing any criticism of, opposition to , or even unapproved discussion of Trump is Communism.

                It’s bootlickers all the way down.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                When we’re all debating why a second Pence term in 2028 is a bad Idea… don’t say I didn’t try to help.

                Plus, I don’t see any particular virtue in Primaries at all, much less for a sitting President. I’d rather we have more parties, coherent platforms, no primaries and a different voting system.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
            Ignored
            says:

            Obama was explicitly elected as a repudiation of the Republican party under the divisive presidency of Bush II.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *