I wrote about what I consider the biggest mystery in politics: Why is the president so uninterested in stimulating the economy, if an economic recovery is so very obviously his best chance at a comeback victory?

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Let’s reject some explanations.
- He doesn’t grasp the economy’s significance to his reelection? Improbable.
- He’s afraid of blowing up the deficit? That's funny.
- He’s just lazy? Well, tweeting “MORE TRUMP BUCKS NOW!” takes 10 seconds.
What I heard from several Republicans is something more like the veil of optimistic delusions:

Embedded in the argument for stimulus is the presumption that the economy needs stimulating. But that would contradict Trump’s very public argument that “everything is great!”
It's the warped psychology of "as long as I don't call the chiropractor, there's nothing wrong with my aching back."

Or—for those unlike this author who don’t relate to the feeling—like a certain cartoon dog in a burning room. It’s the This Is Fine style in American politics.
This trend is bigger than the president's veil of delusional optimism.

Political scientists have, in the last few years, noticed many Americans' appraisal of the economy has become disconnected from economic indicators. 65% of Republicans think THIS economy is "excellent/good"!
Big picture: What might initially seem like a Trump delusion is, in fact, a national affliction.

In the past, the economy shaped many voters’ political preferences. Today, political preferences often shape voters’ attitudes about the economy.

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…

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More from @DKThomp

29 Sep
Here is your must-read Day Two story on the Trump tax returns

scotsman.com/news/politics/…

Lots of details, but the upshot is pretty simple: There's something very, very odd going on with Trump's Scotland investments
In the last 15 years, records show none of Trump's business ventures in Scotland have turned a profit——not the golf courses, not the residences, not the retirement homes, and certainly not the luxury helicopter charter service.

But that's the tip of the iceberg.
Trump bought Turnberry in 2014 for £35m in cash in a year his businesses were failing. The corporate vehicle overseeing Turnberry owes the £115m to Trump's Revocable Trust. Another failing golf club at Aberdeen owes £43m to Trump and and an LLC with unknown sources of income. Image
Read 5 tweets
28 Sep
On top of everything else, the dynamic-graph rendition of the NYT Trump story is just exceptionally well done—and it makes exquisitely clear that something very, very curious is going on with Trump's golf properties

nytimes.com/interactive/20… ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
Let's be precise about Trump's demonstrated superpower from the last 4 years: It's not really "tyranny." It's more like super-immunity.

There's very little here that Trump's "tyranny" accomplished—outside of self-preservation—that the Senate GOP didn't want to do. Image
IOW: Trump's superpower isn't at all that he can manifest into American law whatever he says and wants, but rather that he can escape the consequences of everything that he tries to do.

His autocracy is often flimsy. It's his immunity that's teflon.

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
My very narrow point here is: You can't introduce "Trump junked Obama's regulations! and approved conservative jurists!" as evidence of tyranny. That's just granting Mitch McConnell his 2016 wishlist.

Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
Somebody change my mind about this, but given:

a) the safety of in-person voting in other countries, like Korea, that conducted elections without outbreaks; and

b) the many issues with mailed ballots,

I'm worried abt the unforced error of Dems' "don't vote in person" messaging Image
In-person voting isn't more dangerous than shopping at a grocery store—something millions of Americans do, every week, without triggering traceable outbreaks.

theatlantic.com/politics/archi…
This has to do with the nature of COVID's transmission.

Viral droplets are overwhelmingly produced by exerted exhalations, like shouting, singing, and talking.

A high school gym voting center w/ universal masks and "Library Rules" is—given all we know—very low risk. Image
Read 7 tweets
17 Sep
Fascinating paper on one of the biggest outstanding questions about COVID: Why does mortality differ so dramatically by age? And why do children seem to have the lowest mortality rate?

biorxiv.org/content/10.110…

Basically: What's *special* about young kids?
The virus can latch onto ACE2—a protein present in many cell types, eg lungs. This paper shows that ACE2 levels appear in babies, decline through childhood, and then increase in older age.

Kids' cellular regulation “pulls up the ladder” the virus uses to invade the body.
As the paper notes, ACE2 expression generally increases with age but it's extremely diverse within ages, which might partly explain some stories about surprisingly resilient old folks, or surprisingly susceptible young adults.
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
Good news from Germany: COVID fatality rates are declining for every age group—and especially for the elderly.

cebm.net/covid-19/decli…

Some U.S. studies are reporting the same thing. Brief thread on causes and implications—>
1. Better hospital treatment: Doctors started off knowing just about nothing about this disease. Now they know more than nothing. Drugs like remdesivir and dexamethasone have helped.

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
2. Expanded testing in the U.S. is finding milder cases and younger cases. As the age and severity distribution of the COVID case loads shifts "down," you'd expect fewer diagnosed cases to die.

This can't explain everything though, bc hospital-mortality rates are also down.
Read 7 tweets

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