By Robert A. Vella

One month ago, a small number of right-wing demonstrators often wearing MAGA hats and openly carrying firearms voiced their anger at state governments for imposing “stay at home” orders during the height of the coronavirus pandemic’s initial wave of infections.  Despite the limited scale of the demonstrations, which typically numbered in the hundreds, the news media gave it a disproportionate amount of coverage.  Over the last two weeks, the truly massive global protests against racial injustice by police – sparked by the brutal murder of George Floyd – dwarf those previous demonstrations.  Hundreds of thousands of people of all races and ethnicities have taken to the streets in protest across America and throughout the world (see:  Huge Crowds Around the Globe March in Solidarity Against Police Brutality).  The great disparity in numbers alone tells a lot about these two stories.

On Friday, the Department of Labor released its monthly employment report for May showing a modest 1.4% decline in the U.S. unemployment rate due to the easing of those economic restrictions which right-wingers were demonstrating against.  Desperate for any good news, President Trump overhyped the report in a press conference.  Although it is true that more Americans returned to work, the report presented a misleading picture of the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.  At the bottom of the report, a “misclassification error” was noted that admitted an underreporting of the actual number of unemployed workers by about 3%.  The discrepancy means that the true unemployment rate for May is not a still worrisome 13.3%, but a rather depressing 16.3%.  Numbers don’t lie, but sometimes people lie about the numbers (intentionally or not).

From:  A ‘misclassification error’ made the May unemployment rate look better than it is. Here’s what happened.

When the U.S. government’s official jobs report for May came out on Friday, it included a note at the bottom saying there had been a major “error” indicating that the unemployment rate likely should be higher than the widely reported 13.3 percent rate.

The special note said that if this “misclassification error” had not occurred, the “overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported,” meaning the unemployment rate would be about 16.3 percent for May. But that would still be an improvement from an unemployment rate of about 19.7 percent for April, applying the same standards.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that puts out the monthly jobs reports, said it was working to fix the problem.


Economists say the BLS was trying to be as transparent as possible about how hard it is to collect real-time data during a pandemic. The BLS admitted that some people who should have been classified as “temporarily unemployed” during the shutdown were instead misclassified as employed but “absent” from work for “other reasons.”

The “other reason” category is normally used for people on vacation, serving jury duty or taking leave to care for a child or relative. These are typically situations where the worker decides to take leave. But in this unusual pandemic circumstance, the “other reason” category was applied to some people staying at home and waiting to be called back.

If those previous numbers weren’t enough bad news for The Donald, the following numbers certainly are.  Even before COVID-19 struck the U.S. in late January, Trump’s reelection prospects looked shaky.  After his weak, irresponsible, and embarrassing response to the pandemic, and after his tyrannical plan to squash the racial injustice protests with military force blew-up in his face, Trump may have destroyed whatever chance he had for a second term.  He has also damaged the GOP’s hopes for maintaining control of the U.S. Senate which seemed likely at the start of the year.  Although the 2020 election is five months away and the situation could still change, the polling numbers are absolutely abysmal for Trump and Republicans and their deficits are especially concerning when we look at where they are losing support.

First, Trump’s job approval rating is deeply negative at 53.9% disapprove versus 41.7% approve, and Republicans trail Democrats in the generic congressional ballot 49.0% to 40.6% (both from FiveThirtyEight).

From:  Donald Trump’s historically strong with his base [at 93%], and that’s his problem

Dating back to 2000, no Republican ever had more than 91% of Republicans backing him at this point in ABC News/Washington Post polling. The average Republican had 84% of Republicans behind him. A base-first strategy in those elections made a lot more sense than one during the Trump era.

(The historic nature of these numbers holds if we include independents who lean Republican.)

Perhaps Trump believes he doesn’t need to change his strategies because he disregarded most people’s advice and still won in 2016. That’s a mistake. Beyond the fact that there’s good evidence that Trump ran as much more of a moderate than he’s governed, Trump had a lot more room to grow with the base in 2016. He scored just 74% of self-identified Republicans in an ABC News/Washington Poll taken right around this point — the lowest of any Republican since 2000.

Where Trump is weak is outside the Republican base. In the ABC/Washington Post (the numbers are similar for Monmouth), Trump’s at 39% among independents and 3% among Democrats. Both of those are lower than any Republican at this point in ABC News/Washington Post polling dating back to 2000.

There is, in other words, a lot more potential support for Trump outside the core Republican base. Trump, though, doesn’t seem interested in making the effort.

If Trump doesn’t switch things up, he may find that the other side’s base is bigger than his. Biden right now is winning a larger share of Democrats (96% in Monmouth and 95% in the ABC News/Washington Post poll) than Trump is winning Republicans. Both polls, as has been true for almost every year on record, measured more Democrats than Republicans in this country.

From:  Poll: Trump’s base is eroding [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]

Remember that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but he lost it narrowly, by about 2 points. That closeness was what allowed him to win the Electoral College vote and the White House. A popular vote loss of 7 points would make such an Electoral College win extremely unlikely in 2020. But narrowing a 7-point deficit is not an easy task. And other numbers in the latest NBC/WSJ poll make clear just how complicated that challenge may be. Trump has lost ground with many different kinds of voters. Start with education. One of Trump’s key strengths among voters has been his support among blue-collar workers without a college degree. In 2016, he lost college graduates by about 9 points, but won voters without a degree by about 8 points. There was an “education gap” in the results, but Trump gained as much as he lost in it.

But this week’s poll finds him leading among those without a degree by only about 3 points, while he is losing voters with a degree by 24 points. That’s a massive edge for Biden among voters with a degree and a much smaller edge for Trump among voters that are a big part of his base. And even if Trump can win back a chunk of his non-degree vote, the losses among those with a degree is sizable. He’d likely need to chip into that Biden’s college+ edge to get a margin more to his liking. Gender poses a similar problem. Trump has always leaned on male voters and done worse with women. He won men by about 12 points in 2016 and lost women by the same amount, about 12 points.

But in the new NBC/WSJ poll, his edge with men has eroded to about 8 points, and his deficit with women has exploded to 21 points. That’s a gender split that basically makes it impossible for Trump to win the popular vote. Women tend to make up more of the electorate than men. And a split like that would make an Electoral College win extremely unlikely for Trump. It would require swing states to have electorates or gender splits that look dramatically different from the overall national figures. But the most problematic number in the poll for Trump may be his standing with white voters in the head-to-head with Biden. In 2016, Trump won white, non-Hispanic voters by 21 points. It made up for the huge losses he faced with communities of color.


But his edge with white voters is down to just 6 points…

From:  Exclusive: In warning sign for Trump, Republicans growing pessimistic about country’s direction

(Reuters) – Republicans are more pessimistic about the country’s direction than at almost any other time during Donald Trump’s presidency, as a trio of crises – the coronavirus pandemic, an economic downturn and mass protests over police brutality – buffets his administration.

Only 46% of Americans who identify as Republicans say the country is on the right track, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last week. It is the first time that number has fallen so low since August 2017, when a rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia led to violent clashes with counter-protesters.

As recently as early March, before the novel coronavirus forced widespread shutdowns across the country, about 70% of Republicans said they were optimistic about the country’s direction.

Related stories:

George W. Bush and Mitt Romney won’t support Trump in 2020, while some GOP officials consider voting for Biden

Sunday shows – Powell ‘can not in any way support’ Trump, will vote for Biden

If Republicans Are Ever Going To Turn On Trump, This Might Be The Moment


New Mexico officer charged with involuntary manslaughter after man put in neck restraint dies

Brazil removes virus data amid rising death toll

Judge in Jeffrey Epstein grand jury case has ties to those with a stake in outcome

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