By Robert A. Vella
There is perception, and there is reality. For some people, perception is reality and objective truths either don’t matter or don’t exist. Here at The Secular Jurist, we focus on facts, evidence, and the verifiable metrics knowledgeable people use to understand reality while acknowledging that perception is an important consideration too in certain cases.
President Donald Trump, like most dictators and all megalomaniacs, believes the manipulation of public perception can alter realities which are inconvenient to him. But, there’s a big problem. For that manipulation to work, tight control must be exercised over the information available to the public. If important truths leak out, it threatens to collapse the flimsy house of cards built on disinformation. Why? Because people may be gullible, they may be distracted, and they may be apathetic, but they are generally smart enough to recognize a lie.
As the 2020 election grows near and his reelection chances continue to be stuck in the proverbial mud, Trump is trying to erect not a house but a towering skyscraper of cards. With every gust of wind, of which there are many these days, the whole structure blows apart. Still, Trump keeps trying to rebuild… again, and again, and again. But, there isn’t much time left anymore.
Today, we’re covering the state of the presidential race from a few different angles. First, the latest public opinion polls out this week all show Americans’ desire for necessary change in the nation’s leadership and direction. Readers should concentrate not on individual poll results, but on the totality and consistency of the polling as well as on the insights revealed about what voters are thinking. Second, readers should examine the negative public reactions detailed in the following stories to Trump’s maniacal behavior and also to the sycophantic Republican candidates who are supporting him. Third, readers should note the increasing resistance of career officials within the Trump administration who are obviously trying to salvage their reputations before the Trumptanic slips under the waves. Finally, readers should pay careful attention to a dreadfully disturbing story about a gynecologist working for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) who has allegedly been performing forced sterilizations on female detainees in Georgia.
Addendum: Based on my Electoral College snapshot maps, I’m forecasting that Joe Biden has a floor of 279 electoral votes (270 is needed to win) and a ceiling of 358 electoral votes. The low estimate assumes that Trump would win all of the swing-states currently within the polling margin of error, and at least one state currently outside the margin of error, which are: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Biden leads Trump 50-45 among 428 registered voters surveyed between September 10-13. Voters over the age of 65 are essentially split between the two, with Trump’s 49-47 sitting within the poll’s 4.7 percentage point margin of error.
Monmouth’s poll shows Biden leading among Florida Latinos 58-32, roughly in line with Hillary Clinton’s 27-point margin in 2016, though she lost the state to Trump overall. A recent poll by a Democratic Latino research firm reported Biden’s advantage among Hispanics was smaller, 53-37 percent, a finding that alarmed Florida Democrats who have been concerned about the amount of outreach the campaign is doing to attract these voters.
Trump holds a substantial lead over Biden among white voters, 56-39 percent. However Trump won the same group by more than 30 points in 2016, and Biden’s support in central Florida and areas outside of Democrats’ traditional strongholds in the southern part of the state is stronger than Clinton’s was in 2016.
One major warning sign for the president is the level of support among military voters, where Trump has a 4-point lead over Biden among veterans and those in military households. However among all survey respondents, a larger percentage — 70 percent — said that Biden respects the military and veterans, compared to just 56 percent for Trump.
The poll was conducted shortly after an explosive report in The Atlantic, parts of which were subsequently backed up by other outlets, that detailed accusations of Trump belittling top military officers and denigrating soldiers’ sacrifice — accusations the White House has steadfastly denied — as well as similar comments recorded by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that were made public.
Among likely voters in North Carolina, 49% support Biden, 46% Trump. In Wisconsin, likely voters break 52% for Biden to 42% for Trump.
The results suggest North Carolina voters see some strength in each candidate. Likely voters there divide over which candidate would better handle the top issues in the campaign, with Trump holding an advantage on handling the economy (52% to 45% among likely voters) and Biden ahead on handling the coronavirus pandemic (52% to 46%) and racial inequality in the US (53% to 41%). They see Biden as more apt to unite the country (54% to 40%), and are more likely to say Trump has the stamina and sharpness to be president (50% to 44%). They split evenly (47% to 47%) over who has a clear plan to solve the country’s problems and who would keep Americans safe from harm (49% Trump to 48% Biden).
In Wisconsin, on the other hand, Biden has an edge over Trump on all but two of those tested matchups, and on those where Biden does not have an edge, neither does Trump. Biden is widely viewed as more apt to unite the country (55% to 36%) and handle racial inequality in the US (55% to 38%). He is more trusted by a 13-point margin on the coronavirus outbreak (54% to 41%). He is more often seen as having a clear plan to solve the country’s problems (49% to 43%) and has the edge on keeping Americans safe from harm (50% to 45%). Wisconsin likely voters split evenly on who would better handle the economy (49% Trump to 48% Biden) and who has the stamina and sharpness to be president (47% Trump to 44% Biden).
Bob Woodward said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has displayed a failure of leadership amid the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s absolutely tragic. It’s tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000-plus people who have died. If he’d been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now,” Woodward told “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Back in March, Trump told Woodward during an on-the-record interview that he chose to downplay the virus.
Woodward went on, “It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.”
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that he thinks it will be the late second quarter or third quarter of 2021 before a Covid-19 vaccine is generally available to the American public.
When asked when he thought there would be a vaccine ready to administer to the American public, Redfield said he thought that there would be vaccine initially available sometime between November and December, but “very limited supply and will have to be prioritized.”
“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public, so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third, late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led an escalating pressure campaign against his own Food and Drug Administration this spring and summer, urging the agency to abandon its responsibility for ensuring the safety and accuracy of a range of coronavirus tests as the pandemic raged.
Then in late August, Azar took matters into his own hands. Overriding objections from FDA chief Stephen Hahn, Azar revoked the agency’s ability to check the quality of tests developed by individual labs for their own use, according to seven current and former administration officials with knowledge of the decision.
A whistleblower who previously worked at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia detailed a high rate of hysterectomies and alleged medical neglect in a complaint filed to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general Monday.
Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse employed by the center who’s represented by the Government Accountability Project and Project South, stated in a complaint that while some women may have required a hysterectomy, “everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.”
The Government Accountability Project provides representation for whistleblowers and Project South is a social justice organization. The complaint is also signed by several immigrant advocacy organizations: Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network.
“The allegations put forth in this whistleblower complaint point to an alarming pattern of unsafe conditions and a lack of oversight at privately-run ICE facilities,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in a statement, adding that allegations of hysterectomies being performed on women without consent is “incredibly disturbing.”
The doctor, who three lawyers identified as Dr. Mahendra Amin, practicing in Douglas, Georgia, has continued to see women from the Irwin County Detention Center for the past several years despite complaints from his patients.
Amin was the subject of a Justice Department investigation in 2015 for making false claims to Medicaid and Medicare. As a result, he and other doctors involved paid $525,000 in a civil settlement, according to the Justice Department.