Will Saletan Profile picture
National Correspondent, @Slate. Question everything.
BlackeyedSusan28 ~BUILD BACK BETTER💙~BLM🇺🇸 Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
3 Apr
Based on this @stphnfwlr analysis of the GA elections law, here's my list of which parts are good, bad, fine, or overhyped, based on my biases that 1) easier voting is good, 2) partisan control is bad, and 3) ID is a reasonable and manageable concern... /1 bit.ly/31Lkbbs
Bad stuff:
- shorter window to request absentee ballot
- later mailing of absentee ballots
- limiting drop boxes (The stated concern is security, but this is already addressed by moving them inside voting sites)
- shorter runoffs, which could limit the window for early voting /2
Good stuff:
- requires at least one drop box per county
- expands days/hours available for early in-person voting
- requires polls with long waits to add staff or another precinct (for next election)
- online option for ballot applications (already begun, but now formalized) /3
Read 7 tweets
19 Mar
The new US intel report on the 2020 election — written by people who worked under Trump — destroys his lies about election fraud and Chinese interference. And it exposes him, in effect, as a Russian asset.

Here's a short thread with the key findings ... bit.ly/38VjgsC
The main conclusion mirrors 2016: "Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party [and] supporting former President Trump."

But there's more to the story.
The report says Russian agents used Trump's buddies to "launder" their fake stories about Biden. Giuliani, Don Jr., Nunes and Jordan played along. Trump kept spreading the planted stories even after he was told Giuliani had been "worked by Russian assets." bit.ly/38VjgsC
Read 7 tweets
14 Feb
Chris Wallace: "Does Donald Trump bear any responsibility for the attack on the Capitol?"

@LindseyGrahamSC: "No. In terms of the law, no... The speech on Jan. 6 was not an incitement ... I don't think he caused the riot ... Did he incite this riot by his speech? Absolutely not."
Graham on the case against Trump: "The trial record was a complete joke, hearsay upon hearsay."

On @HerreraBeutler's story that Trump, during the riot, said the attackers cared more about the election than McCarthy did: "It doesn’t tell me a whole lot, because it’s all hearsay."
Graham says Harris is as guilty as Trump: “If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House. Because she actually bailed out rioters, and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open.”
Read 4 tweets
7 Feb
On Fox, @Liz_Cheney says even if senators don't convict Trump, the "criminal investigation" of Jan. 6 will examine, e.g., "whether the tweet that he sent out calling Vice President Pence a coward while the attack was underway ... was a premeditated effort to provoke violence." /1
Cheney unloads: "The extent to which the president, President Trump, for months leading up to Jan. 6, spread the notion that the election had been stolen, or that the election was rigged, was a lie. ... We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth." /2
Cheney continues: "President Trump claimed for months that the election was stolen, and then apparently set about to do everything he could to steal it himself."

On Jan. 6: "We’ve never seen that kind of an assault by a president ... on another branch of government." /3
Read 5 tweets
6 Feb
Does NYT apply consistent standards when evaluating alleged racial or sexual misconduct? Or does it switch standards based on internal pressure?

Regardless of what the right standard is, these cases suggest pressure, not principle, is driving outcomes. /1 nyti.ms/36MoAgU
McNeil says he used a slur only in the context of attributing it to someone else, and only when that incident was raised by another person.

I don't know how accurate that account (below) is. But after hearing it and other evidence, @deanbaquet decided he shouldn't be fired. /2 Image
On Jan. 28, Baquet wrote: “it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious. ... in such cases people should be told they were wrong and given another chance.”

On Feb. 5, Baquet wrote that McNeil's resignation was “the right next step.”

What changed? /3
Read 7 tweets
24 Jan
Birx confirms on FTN that the White House censored her on COVID: "I was not able to do national press."

@margbrennan: "Do you think the administration was suppressing vital information to win the election?"

Birx: "I don’t know what their motivation was." cbsn.ws/39bjbSc
Birx says she and her HHS aide were the "only two people who regularly wore a mask in the White House."

She says she knew the US was repeating a mistake from the HIV epidemic: "If you’re only looking for sick people, you miss a lot of what is really happening under the surface."
.@margbrennan notes that after a CDC official in late February warned of community spread, Fauci said on TV that "the risk to Americans remains low."

Birx describes her reaction: "I’m in South Africa. We’re yelling at the... television, saying, 'This is going to be a pandemic!'"
Read 4 tweets
31 Dec 20
Highlights from NYT's big COVID story:

1) After Atlas arrived in August and said COVID deaths were overstated, Trump "often [told] aides that the real number of dead was no more than 10,000."

He dismissed about 95% of attributed deaths as fake news. /1 nyti.ms/3hEjRCj
2) Azar, Kushner, Hicks, and pollster Tony Fabrizio lobbied Trump to wear and promote masks. They showed him evidence that masks worked and that Republicans supported mask mandates.

Who talked Trump out of it? Meadows and Stephen Miller. They told him, "The base will revolt." /2 Image
3) In multiple meetings, Trump explicitly opposed testing on the grounds that it exposed infections, thereby making him look bad and hurting his reelection chances. In debate prep, He told Kushner, "I’m going to lose. And it’s going to be your fault, because of the testing." /3
Read 6 tweets
5 Dec 20
The GOP is in the grip of insurrectionists. It's controlled by a president who's trying to overthrow an election, and a base that's rallying in streets to threaten coups and civil war.

The match hasn't been struck yet. But here are some warning signs. /1 bit.ly/33LEpDd
The president has demanded direct intervention in the election:

- “STOP THE COUNT!”
- Millions of votes for Biden, because they were counted outside the view of GOP partisans, must be nullified
- “the results of the individual swing states must be overturned ... immediately.” /2
Trump is rejecting Biden's legitimacy:

“Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained”

Biden “cannot be considered ‘president’” and should be called “presidential occupant” /3
Read 9 tweets
29 Nov 20
"Close the bars and keep the schools open," says Fauci on @ThisWeekABC. "The default position should be to try... to keep the children in school or to get them back to school. ... If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all."
.@margbrennan: "Are you asking governors to close the bars to keep schools open? Is that your advice?"

Birx doesn't say yes. She says where cases and hospitalizations are high, the first places to close are those "where people cannot wear masks," i.e., "bars and... restaurants."
Birx emphasizes masks, not closures. "What we do know works is mask mandates," she says in response to the question about bars. In states, cities, and counties that mandated masks, "We can see a really significant difference in not only cases but hospitalizations and fatalities."
Read 4 tweets
27 Nov 20
"Don’t talk to me that way! You’re just a—you’re just a lightweight! ... I’m the president of the United States! Don’t ever talk to the president that way!”

Today at the White House, Trump had one of the saddest meltdowns you'll see by a public figure. /1 bit.ly/33kyGE1
Trump rejected the election:

"It was a rigged election, 100%."
"This election was a fraud."
"Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes."
"I got 74 million, but there were many ballots thrown away. So I got much more than that."
"At the highest level, it was a rigged election." /2
Trump claimed *millions* of votes were fraudulent:

"687,000 fraudulent votes cast in PA."
"I won [GA] by hundreds of thousands of votes."
"We have tens of thousands votes more than we need in all cases."
"You’re gonna find fraud of hundreds of thousands of votes per state." /3
Read 7 tweets
2 Nov 20
This comparison of Monmouth's final PA polls shows how samples have been adjusted to avoid a 2016 surprise. 2016 weighting on left, 2020 on right.

Dems are down from +11 to +2. And education weighting is added to ensure 64% are non-college.

Biden leads anyway, by 5 to 7 points.
Links to the docs:

2016: monmouth.edu/polling-instit…

2020: monmouth.edu/polling-instit…

Search for "weight."

Kudos to @MonmouthPoll for publishing its methodology and crosstabs in such detail. Most pollsters don't.
Left: Siena poll of PA, late Oct. 2016.
Right: Siena poll of PA, late Oct. 2020.

Party ID in the sample went from D+5 to D+3.

Non-college went from 56% to 60%.

Gender shifted from 54-46 female to 52-47.

Clinton led 46-39. Biden, in the more difficult 2020 sample, led 49-43.
Read 4 tweets
31 Oct 20
Vote. If you do, Trump is gone. These numbers explain why.

1) Biden leads by 5 in PA. He leads by 8 to 9 in MI and WI. That’s bigger than Clinton's leads at this point.

Even if Trump gets the same surge he got in 2016 in those states, Biden wins them. bit.ly/2GihLtI
2) In 2016, Trump did NOT surge in FL, GA, or AZ. His margin ended up just the same as the margin in polls four days before the election.

Biden is leading those states by 2.1, 1.6, and 3.1. He doesn't have to win them. But if he gets one, that's insurance in case he loses PA.
3) Unlike Clinton, Biden is above 50% in MI, WI, and PA. Trump can't just pick up undecideds. He has to take vote share from Biden.

Biden is also closer to 50% in FL, NC, GA, and AZ than Clinton was. He has an extra 2.5 points in those states, on average. bit.ly/2GihLtI
Read 4 tweets
25 Oct 20
Excerpts of @MarkMeadows' jaw-dropping CNN interview:

1) He says WH is focused on limiting deaths, not spread. "We’re not going to control the pandemic," he says. "What we need to do is make sure that we have... vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die" from it.
2) @MarkMeadows derides Biden for promoting masks: “This president is leading, while Joe Biden is sitting there suggesting that we’re going to mandate masks.”

”What is Joe Biden’s plan for the pandemic?” Meadows asks later. ”He’s going to wear two masks, like he does every day?”
3) Meadows argues that masks aren't "the answer," since experts admit they wouldn't make schools perfectly safe.

He suggests mask science is dubious because WH virus officials Fauci and Birx, "the people you like to tout," changed their views. (They now strongly urge mask use.)
Read 6 tweets
24 Oct 20
2020 is not 2016. To come back and win, Trump would need a far greater miracle than he got last time.

This thread shows surveys from 5 key states. Same pollsters, similar time frame, 2020 vs. 2016. Look at Biden’s numbers compared to Clinton’s. He's polling significantly higher.
Pennsylvania:

Muhlenberg
Oct. 20-26, 2016: Clinton 45, Trump 39
Oct. 13-20, 2020: Biden 51, Trump 44

Quinnipiac
Oct. 10-16, 2016: Clinton 47, Trump 41
Oct. 16-19, 2020: Biden 51, Trump 43

Monmouth
Sep 30-Oct 3, 2016: Clinton 50, Trump 40
Sep 30-Oct 4, 2020: Biden 53, Trump 45
Michigan:

Ipsos
Oct. 14-20, 2016: Clinton 45, Trump 41
Oct. 14-20, 2020: Biden 51, Trump 44

Epic-MRA
Oct. 22-24, 2016: Clinton 41, Trump 34
Oct. 15-19, 2020: Biden 48, Trump 39

Glengariff Group
Oct. 10-11, 2016: Clinton 42, Trump 31
Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2020: Biden 48, Trump 39
Read 7 tweets
19 Oct 20
This WP investigation, based on inside reporting, finds that Trump and like-minded advisers — in particular, Scott Atlas — have abandoned the war on the virus. They've decided to accept mass infection, and they've undercut measures to stop the spread. /1 wapo.st/3dMuQb2
Atlas is undermining preventive measures. He dismisses masks and social distancing as meaningless. Two days ago, he publicly rejected the idea that "masks work." He says all restrictions on activity should be lifted except for the highest-risk groups. /2 wapo.st/3dMuQb2
Atlas has blocked efforts to test the general population. As a result, money allocated by Congress for testing is going unspent. That's one reason why people can't get fast test results. It also impedes the government's ability to monitor the spread. /3 wapo.st/3dMuQb2
Read 7 tweets
26 Sep 20
This week, Trump was asked whether lives could have been saved if the country had shut down 2 or 3 weeks earlier.

“Nobody really thought to do that,” he said.

Actually, someone did. Trump threatened to fire her, and he opposed the idea for 3 fatal weeks. bit.ly/335H6zI
On Sept. 15, Trump denied that early on, he was "downplaying ... the severity of the crisis."

“Not downplaying," he protested. "I didn’t downplay it.”

He's literally on tape telling Bob Woodward in March: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.”
“You were ... praising President Xi," said Stephanopoulos. "You were saying he was transparent" and "was doing a good job.”

“No. I didn’t say one way or the other," Trump insisted.

In Jan & Feb, Trump literally praised Xi's "transparency" and said "He's doing a very good job.”
Read 7 tweets
28 Aug 20
For four days, we’ve watched Republicans lie about Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus.

Now it’s time to tell the truth. This article documents everything he did to multiply the death toll. Here are a few key facts and excerpts to read and share. /1 bit.ly/3fImz7h
Trump says China deceived him about the virus. But Trump actually collaborated with Xi to deceive the rest of us. Here’s a phone call in which Xi fed Trump a rosy talking point that US health officials called misleading. Trump then used that talking point at a campaign rally. /2
This chronology shows that Trump downplayed the virus and said it was going away 1) after he was told it was spreading, 2) after he was told that China was understating the crisis, and 3) after his own health officials warned it would overwhelm the US. /3 bit.ly/3b0kHpN
Read 16 tweets
9 Aug 20
The @washingtonpost reports that Trump, in continuing to tell Americans that the virus is receding, is in fact contradicting an internal White House projection — which, according to aides, alarmed him — that infections will rise from August to October. /1 wapo.st/2XJloOO
The Post report also indicates that Trump has refused to force companies to produce equipment for virus tests, on the grounds that doing so would expose him to responsibility for the testing shortage, which he prefers to dump on governors. /2
The article says Trump's chief of staff, @MarkMeadows, "personally monitors" Fauci’s media appearances and "admonishes" him when he sees Fauci "sounding out of sync with Trump." Meadows has instructed Fauci, Birx, and other health officials not to "opine on restrictions." /3
Read 6 tweets
7 Aug 20
Kudos to @nytimes and @SherylNYT for publishing this article on Birx, which rectifies some of the unfair criticism aimed at her in NYT's July 18 article. This one tells the rest of the story: She's been pushing the White House and governors to do more. /1 nyti.ms/30AEgS0
The July 18 article was full of criticisms of Birx, many of them anonymous, that exceeded, and in some cases contradicted, evidence in the public record. Some of that evidence was in the article itself. I described some problems with that article here. /2
Among the additional info in the new article:

1) "Inside the White House, aides refer to Dr. Birx as 'Dr. Doom' for her efforts to temper the president’s positive spin."

2) A State Department adviser says Birx told Pence, "You’re putting a mask on and appearing with a mask." /3
Read 5 tweets
2 Aug 20
On CNN, Birx escalates rules for personal behavior:

1) “If you’re in multi-generational households and there’s an outbreak in your [area], you need to really consider wearing a mask at home.”

2) If you vacation in a hotspot, you "need to come back [and] assume you’re infected.”
Birx warns rural residents: “What we’re seeing today is different from March and April." The virus is now "into the rural" areas, too. "You are not immune or protected from this virus … No matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance.” @CNNSotu
On reopening schools, Birx defends online instruction: “If you have high case load and active community spread … we’re asking people to distance-learn at this moment, so we can get this epidemic under control.”
Read 4 tweets
19 Jul 20
This NYT story on the administration's COVID fiasco reads like a gang attack on Deborah Birx. Political officials who made bad decisions looking for a scapegoat, backed by quotes from doctors and scientists who think she didn't stand up enough to Trump. /1 nyti.ms/30odYB3
The article is full of claims attributed to Birx, saying in April that the numbers were heading in the right direction. Maybe that's because ... they were? "Mitigation was working." “All metros are stabilizing.” The US "was on the same trajectory as Italy." That was all true. /2
But the article says Birx "failed to account for a vital variable: how Mr. Trump’s rush to [reopen] would help undercut the social distancing," etc.

Wait, what? We're holding the mitigation-advocating scientist responsible for the president who trampled her recommendations? /3
Read 6 tweets