There is a singular and profound question that tugs at the sleeve of even the most sober analyst pondering the federal response to coronavirus. To wit, what the hell is it with these people? Although he's since backed off the proposal Michael Gerson couldn't figure out why Trump would decide to re-open the nation on Easter:
It's particularly important for churches that continue to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic to follow the guidelines laid out by health experts given that worship services are among the largest regular gatherings in modern society, among the most physically intimate, and likely include the greatest number of vulnerable people. Even single members of large congregations can have a dramatic effect on how coronavirus spreads or doesn't, as South Korea found out the hard way.
Let's look at the bad news from this Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) tracking survey first: despite remarkably lousy-but-stable favorability numbers (41% approve, 55% disapprove), Pres. Trump has a strong chance of being re-elected in November, unless the situation changes significantly between now and then.
A thing that I do not understand is why journalists assume that Democratic presidential candidates absolutely must respond to pro-life activists, or deal with The Abortion Problem. I sometimes think it's because they teach you in journalism school that every four years Swing Voters sprout from the earth like cicadas demanding propitiation. And if the Swing Voters are not sufficiently placated, all manner of hell will break loose, like Swing Voters clinging to God & guns or refusing to speak to responsible centrist journalists in Midwestern diners so the poor scribblers can't expense their rice pudding. Things happen!
John Stoehr, who has been one of my favorite political commentators for a while now, went ding-an-sich in yesterday’s column, discussing the difference between politics itself and the way we talk about politics. “It’s good to step back and talk about how we talk about politics,” Stoehr says, “especially given that how we talk about politics is often as real as Santa Claus and unicorns.”
A new profile of the wonderfully foul-mouthed political scientist and rising election prognisticator Rachel Bitecofer describes her theories about voting as “unsettling,” and there’s no question that they’ve been received that way by many. They certainly have caused a stir.
Of course some Democrat took the bait from the Dems-for-Life types, because of course they did, and of course it was Amy Klobuchar, because… of course:
Last night President Trump gave his State of the Union address, the night before his expected acquittal in a sham impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. To paraphrase Dylan, you gotta belong to somebody, and I at least would like it to be someone better than a walking avatar of nihilism.
You ever hear the saying, “same shit, different day”? I’m reminded of that very phrase a lot in the religion-and-politics beat. A lot.
The following first appeared on ReligionDispatches.org: