Patterico's Pontifications


Court of Appeals Decisively Overturns Silly Panel Decision in Flynn Case, 8-2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:15 pm

Mostly trust content from Patterico!

I blew the prediction on the panel decision, giving Judge Henderson far too much credit. (I never gave Judge Rao any, nor did she deserve it.) But I did make this prediction:

I should have stayed out of the prediction business with this panel decision, and I should not be making further predictions on the case, but here is my prediction on the case. The full court will stay this order, rehear the case en banc, and reverse the decision.

Bada bing, bada boom. 8-2. Meaning the only two people who stuck up for the dishonest panel decision were the two judges in the majority in the dishonest panel decision.

The lesson here is that this was not a hard case. Whether to dismiss the case is a tough call. Conventional wisdom says Judge Sullivan won’t deny the Government’s motion, and I agree he probably won’t, though I think there’s a decent argument he should. But no matter what you think about the merits, this was never a valid case for mandamus. Never! Only partisans and people who had totally lost their perspective (there’s almost complete overlap there, by the way) thought that the dishonest panel decision made any sense. It never did, and today the rule of law was restored for a brief moment. Hats off to the en banc panel.

And stop paying attention to the partisans who told you to expect a different result.

The Plot Thickens: Biden and Trump Campaigns Strategize Over Country’s Civil Unrest

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:26 am

[guest post by Dana]

Barring any change in his schedule, President Trump will head to Kenosha tomorrow, in spite of Gov. Evers telling him not to come. Meanwhile, to the consternation of local Democrats, Joe Biden has opted out of making a visit today ahead of Trump:

Donald Trump, who’s planning to visit Kenosha on Tuesday, is claiming the mantle of law and order even as he stokes conflict between protesters and his supporters. Trump is trying to take credit for restoring order by loudly calling for an influx of National Guard troops and painting Democrats as too fearful of alienating their base to denounce violence.

Joe Biden last week called for a halt to the violence, though it took him longer than many Democrats wanted. The Democratic nominee decided over the weekend that he would not travel to the pivotal battleground state on Monday ahead of Trump’s visit. Instead, the Biden campaign plans to ramp up messaging that Trump’s rhetoric has only inflamed hostilities on the streets, beginning with a speech in Pennsylvania Monday.

Both party nominees are attempting to strike the right balance between the civil unrest and law and order that will benefit them most. In starker terms, how do Biden and Trump effectively condemn the violent civil unrest and urge the cities to regain control while, at the same time, use the turmoil to their advantage? And how does one effectively convey a ‘law and order’ theme in the battleground state:

The balancing act over the riots and police misconduct marks a new, intensifying phase of the election. Both campaigns are preparing for a burst of activity: Biden plans to break his monthslong hold on travel to swing states in the coming weeks, with stops expected initially in Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to appear in Minnesota and Arizona soon.

But even as he and his running mate Kamala Harris cautiously plot a return to the road — a trip to Wisconsin could come as soon as later this week — some Democrats are expressing frustration that the ticket declined to visit Kenosha in the immediate aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting. Some party members were already irritated that Biden did not give his convention speech in Milwaukee last week.

Democrats fear Trump is diverting attention from his handling of the pandemic and the economy to the violence in Wisconsin and Portland. Biden himself has pointed to remarks by Trump advisers suggesting the violent clashes make for a favorable backdrop for the incumbent.

Biden’s attempt to quell the violence from afar is only boosting Trump in the must-win swing state, some Wisconsin Democrats contended.

I hate to say it, but it looks like it’s going to be an ugly week ahead. Buckle up.



Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 22

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:47 am

It is the thirteeth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe” (Jesus gathered the twelve to Himself):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 16:21-28:

Jesus Predicts His Death

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Jesus gathered the twelve to Himself and spoke:

– Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all will be fulfilled, that is written of the Son of Man.

– However they understood nothing and did not know what that saying was.

My Jesus, draw me after You,
I am ready, I want to leave here
and go to Jerusalem to Your passion.
It is a good thing when I can understand
the importance of this time of suffering and
death thoroughly, as my consolation!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share any stories that you think will interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Exactly how is this helpful during a pandemic??

The University of Alabama made headlines this week with the shocking announcement that more than 500 students, faculty, and staff had tested positive for the coronavirus in the first five days of classes. But professors at the university say they were just as disturbed by emails from the administration telling them not to speak up about outbreaks.

In an email to the politics department, professors were explicitly instructed not to tell their students if someone in a class tests positive.

“Do not tell the rest of the class,” the email reads, with the word “not” underlined. It goes on to say that students who test positive are not considered an exposure risk if masks were worn and social distancing was practiced—meaning the students and professor may never be informed if someone in their class tests positive.

Multiple other emails from other departments reviewed by The Daily Beast warn teachers against telling students about a positive classmate or posting about it on social media, even in the most general terms, claiming it could constitute a HIPAA violation.

(H/T Simon Jester)

Second news item

More angry youth using unorthodox tactics to campaign for Trump:

Third news item

Asking the obvious:

Eh, the pizza guy should read In Defense of Looting, and see if the author can persuade him that…

…looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society. The rioters who smash windows and take items from stores, she says, are engaging in a powerful tactic that questions the justice of “law and order,” and the distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.

Fourth news item

This, all day long:
(Do not skip, watch in its entirety.)

Fifth news item

Promises, promises:

President Trump on Thursday pledged a Covid-19 vaccine would be available by the end of 2020, the most concrete claim he has made yet about the timetable for coronavirus vaccine development.

“We are delivering life-saving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” he said.

While Trump has repeatedly hinted at a possible vaccine approval before the end of 2020, his pledge Thursday marks his most definitive stance yet on a vaccine timetable. While it is possible that the Food and Drug Administration could issue emergency authorization for a vaccine by the end of the year, it is far from a sure bet — no drug company has completed clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Sixth news item

Oh, no:

Finally today, Nevada researchers have confirmed the first US case of COVID-19 reinfection, involving a 25-year-old Nevada patient. The patient was first infected in April, then 48 days later tested positive after two negative tests following the first infection.

The viral genomes of the first and second isolates show differences that indicate the two infections were independent of each other.

Seventh news item

Another doctor diminishes profession’s credibility with attempt to justify a familar double-standard:

Reports estimate that 50,000 demonstrators showed up at the March on Washington rally to demand racial justice. There were 1,500 guests in attendance at the White House. Covid doesn’t care one iota about why you are gathered in ridiculously large numbers during a pandemic. Either there is an increased risk of transmission when crowded together with other individuals, or there isn’t. You don’t get to have it both ways. Shame on these medical professionals. If there was ever a time we needed to be able to trust them, it’s during a pandemic.

Eighth news item

Jerks to the left of me, jerks to the right:

(H/T lurker)

And, just because we’re sizzling through the dog days of summer, here is a gorgeous recording of “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong, followed by an excerpt of Vivaldi’s “Summer” from the Four Seasons:

More summertime:


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Have a great weekend.



Republican Convention Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In case you want to talk about the haps tonight, this is the place.

The main attraction will be Trump accepting his party’s nomination after daughter Ivanka introduces him. Word on the street is that Trump will take direct aim at Joe Biden in his acceptance speech:

Trump is expected to go after the former vice president on everything from the economy to trade. He will also talk about Biden’s record on China, immigration, crime, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas,” Trump is expected to say. “We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.”

Trump’s attempt to fault Biden’s response to the coronavirus could be especially tricky, given the president’s authority over the country’s actual response. The president’s team has attempted to argue that Biden was slow to sound the alarm as the virus gained steam in the United States.

[Ed. Wait. What?? Exactly how does Trump go after Biden for his response to the pandemic? Has Trump forgotten that *he* is currently the sitting President of the United States and that, for better or worse, he is in charge of the U.S. pandemic response?? Maybe he should hit Biden up for some of those magic drugs he suspects him of taking to improve his memory during the primary debates. Gad, the show hasn’t even started and I’m scrambling for an adult beverage of choice from just imagining Trump criticizing Biden for his pandemic response. Without the slightest hint of self-awareness, there is no doubt that the president really would be that dumb and tone-deaf… ]

The president is also set to inject some optimism into his speech as he talks about the Republican Party going forward:

The Republican Party goes forward united, determined, and ready to welcome millions of Democrats, independents, and anyone who believes in the Greatness of America and the righteous heart of the American people.

This towering American spirit has prevailed over every challenge, and lifted us to the summit of human endeavor.

Scheduled speakers include:

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser
Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president
Dan Scavino, White House deputy chief of staff for communications and director of social media
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal attorney
Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse
Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed by ISIS
Alice Johnson, criminal justice reform advocate and former federal inmate
Ann Dorn, widow of slain retired police Capt. David Dorn
Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York
Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
Wade Mayfield, small business owner who received a personal protection program loan
Debbie Flood, president of a Wisconsin manufacturing and steel company


Gov. Evers Accepts Help From The Feds In Kenosha

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:38 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Trump made the announcement yesterday after Gov. Evers had reportedly turned down federal assistance:

After Kenosha police officers shot Jacob Blake, who is black, protests began in the city. On Tuesday night, armed citizens took to the streets to protect local businesses from being vandalized or destroyed. Yesterday, one of those armed citizens was arrested for his alleged role in the fatal shooting of two white males at the protest:

A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested Wednesday after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles (24.14 kilometers) from Kenosha, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide in the attack Tuesday that was largely captured on cellphone video. The shooting left a third person wounded.

“I just killed somebody,” the gunman, carrying a semi-automatic rifle, could be heard saying at one point.

According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

As for how the gunman managed to slip away, Sheriff David Beth described a chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

The sheriff told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that militia members or armed vigilantes had been patrolling Kenosha’s streets in recent nights, but he did not know if the gunman was among them. However, video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle to what appear to be armed civilians walking the streets. And one of them appears to be the gunman.

“We appreciate you being here,” an officer is heard saying to the group over a loudspeaker.

More video on Rittenhouse’s movements that night at this link.

The Daily Caller posted a video in which Rittenour was interviewed before the shootings:

Meanwhile, there is this, which comes after Gov. Evers fanned the flames before an investigation had even taken place in the shooting of Jacob Blakes:

The presidents of four law enforcement organizations in Wisconsin sent a letter to Governor Tony Evers Thursday, Aug. 27 asking that he and those in his administration “discontinue and refrain from making statements and issuing press releases specific to the City of Kenosha Police involved shooting until the facts of the investigation are known.”

Note: It is legal for people 18 and over to openly carry a gun in Wisconsin, with no license required.


Trump Says He Will Request Drug Testing Of Biden (And Himself) Before Debates

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

This strikes me as yet another indication of how upside-down things are right now. We are in the midst of a pandemic where a highly-contagious disease just won’t quit, yet at Melania Trump’s Rose Garden speech this week, with 70 guests spaced about 2 feet apart, the White House only administered coronavirus tests to the guests seated “in the rows near the President and vice-president”. Further, the White House did not take guests’ temperatures before entering the premises nor require them to wear masks. Playing fast and loose with the virus is normal with this administration, and it becomes more significant when contrasted with Trump’s demand that Biden take a drug test before the debates…as a precaution:

President Trump says he will call for drug tests for both former Vice President Joe Biden and himself before the first candidates’ debate on Sept. 29. In an Oval Office interview Wednesday, the president expressed suspicion at what he said was a sudden, marked improvement in Biden’s debate performance during the Democratic primary season and suggested that he believes the improvement was the result of drugs. The president offered no evidence to support his speculation.

“Nobody thought that he was even going to win,” Trump said. “Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie. We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way — you can’t do that.”

When asked what he thought was going on, Trump responded:

“I don’t know how he could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie,” Trump answered. “My point is, if you go back and watch some of those numerous debates, he was so bad. He wasn’t even coherent. And against Bernie, he was. And we’re calling for a drug test.”

Apparently, there was no basis for Trump’s claims other than his own um, knowing eye:

“All I can tell you is that I’m pretty good at this stuff,” he said. “I look. I watched him in the debates with all of the different people. He was close to incompetent, if not incompetent, and against Bernie, he was normal … and I say, ‘How does that happen?'”

“Go back and watch his performances in some of those debates,” Trump continued. “He didn’t know where he was. And all of a sudden, he was not good, he was normal, and I don’t understand how. I don’t know if there is or not, but somebody said to me, ‘He must be on drugs.’ I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m asking for a drug test. Both candidates. Me, too. I take an aspirin a day.”

Trump did not say what sort of drug test he wanted, nor did he name any specific drug, or make any suggestion about who should administer the drug tests.

As a reminder, Trump made the same request of Hillary Clinton in 2016:

Donald Trump suggested Saturday that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has been “getting pumped up” with performance-enhancing drugs and challenged Clinton to take a drug test before the final debate next week.

Trump argued that Clinton was more energetic during the beginning of their debate last Sunday, but lost her steam by the end of the debate. He offered no evidence to back up his wild claim.

“I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” Trump said during a rally here. “Because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, huff, take me down. She could barely reach her car.”

Obviously, no drug testing was administered in 2016, nor will it be in 2020. This move by Trump is yet another pre-emptive strike in case he loses the debates bigly. First, remind people that Biden is old and too feeble-minded to come out the winner in a debate unless he has taken some unknown, unnamed performance-boosting drug. Then, if when Biden comes out the winner, Trump can blame his loss on Biden’s drug use as well as pointing to it as proof that it’s a “rigged election”.


CDC Kinda Sorta Walking Back Stupid Guidelines That Were Obviously Forced on Them By Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

New York Times:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scaled back the agency’s recommendation advising some people not to get tested after exposure to the novel coronavirus, now saying “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

The statement by Dr. Robert R. Redfield was issued to some news outlets late Wednesday, and more broadly Thursday morning, after a storm of criticism over the new C.D.C. guidelines — involving potentially asymptomatic people — which were the product of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and not C.D.C.’s own scientists. Dr. Redfield made the statement in an effort to clarify the new policy, an official said. However, the guidelines issued earlier this week remained on the C.D.C.’s website as of Thursday morning, and it appears unlikely that the agency will change them.

Trump has been against testing people from the beginning because, while it is good for the country and saves lives, he thinks it hurts him politically — and, frankly, he has shown he does not care about Americans’ lives if saving those lives causes him the slightest inconvenience. They rushed through this rule while Fauci was in surgery — he thinks it’s misguided — under pressure from the top. Now there is an outcry, and like the dismantling of sorting machines at post offices, they’re sort of pretending to undo the action while not really undoing the action.

A government under Donald Trump is rotten and has to go.


Milwaukee Bucks Boycott Playoff Game [UPDATED x2]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:17 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Amidst a resumed season taking place in a bubble environment and with plummeting television ratings, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team has apparently decided to sit out tonight’s scheduled NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Here’s part of Sports Illustrated’s report:

The team’s decision comes as a response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot by police multiple times in the back Sunday in Kenosha, Wisc.

Prior to Wednesday’s tipoff, which was scheduled just after 4 p.m. ET, the Bucks did not come out to the court to warm up. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, top NBA executives went outside Milwaukee’s locker room around 4 p.m. ET.

At around the time of the game’s initially scheduled start, the Magic returned to their locker room. According to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon and Shams Charania, the Magic are waiting to hear officially from the league as to what will happen.

“We’re not coming out for a while,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. “There will be a team statement.”

Bucks SVP Alex Lasry tweeted his support of the team, stating “I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

The Blake police shooting appears to have strongly impacted countless players and coaches in the Orlando bubble.

Bucks guard George Hill, who left the team’s locker room wearing a “Change the Narrative” shirt, told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears that the team is not playing in light of the Blake shooting. “We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Hill said.

Hill said Monday he regretted coming to the NBA bubble amid all that is going on in society. “We can’t do anything [from Orlando],” Hill said. “First of all, we shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”

The Bucks said in a statement Monday that, “We stand firmly against reoccurring issues of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the black community.

Theoretically, one squad deciding unilaterally not to play a game should count as a forfeit, so the Bucks who entered the game with a 3-1 games lead in the best-of-seven series should find their lead cut to 3-2 when and if the next scheduled game commences on Friday. But something tells me that the NBA is going to allow this game to be rescheduled, in the dictates of social justice.

On a small scale I suppose this move “brings awareness” to the issue of Jacob Blake’s shooting, but I don’t really see it accomplishing anything in a broader sense. And it would be a riot (probably literally) if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded by shutting down the league for the rest of the season, suddenly expressing fears about COVID-19 infections in the Sunshine State. We survived for three months without the NBA; rest assured most of us can survive until the 2020-21 season begins.

UPDATE: ESPN, a television partner of the NBA, reports that all three NBA playoff games scheduled for tonight are to be “postponed.”

UPDATE II: Shams Charania of The Athletic has a pretty fascinating report:


Biden, Trump, And The Undecideds

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:24 am

[guest post by Dana]

Axios reports why no one should count Trump out just yet, and why he could still take the election:

He’s doing better in some swing-state polls than he was at this point in 2016. And his floor of support holds strong, regardless of what he says or does.

Not only is the stock market on fire, but a lot of blue-collar workers in building, plumbing and other manual crafts are doing quite well, too.

Trump’s big bet is that there are a lot of working class voters, especially in rural areas, who did not vote in 2016 but will this time.

His other bet is that months of dumping on Joe Biden, often with lies or wild hyperbole, will do what he did to Hillary Clinton: Make the Democratic nominee seem slightly more unpalatable than himself.

The New York Times profiled a swath of Trump’s steadfast supporters who “outlined myriad reasons for wanting to re-elect him, ranging from the pragmatic … to a gut-level attraction to his hard-nosed personality.”

And the “social desirability” factor in polling — do we tell the blunt truth? — is a huge unknown this year because of the new attention to racial issues.

Behind the scenes: People in Trump’s orbit feel much better about the race than they did in mid-June.

These officials feel the operation is becoming more disciplined, and is more centered around a message — that Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris embrace leftist policies, and won’t stand up to the violent excesses of the far left.

An interesting difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is the likability factor. Trump supporters discount this as anything meaningful. When asked about how likable they think Trump is, there is often a reflexive and vigorous defense offered: “Well, he may not be likable, but he tells it like it is!”. And it’s true: 2016 certainly showed us that a swath of Americans not only didn’t mind, but actually embraced a bombastic blowhard who offends people on a seemingly daily basis. But clearly, likability matters to voters. Consider who Trump ran against in 2016. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Hillary Clinton has never topped any list of most likable politicians or public figures. Just ask Barack Obama. During the 2016 election campaign, no matter how hard (and awkwardly) she tried to convince us that she wasn’t a shrill and disapproving scold, we saw through it because history had already taught us otherwise. Biden, however, is a different animal. People like Biden, not just as a politician, but as a person. He has created long-lasting friendships with people from all walks of life as well as from across the political aisle. He has a likability quotient that Hillary could only dream about.

Anyway, the report points to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll looking at the undecideds who could help close the Biden-Trump gap to Trump’s benefit:

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll revealed that just 13% of voters say their vote is up for grabs in the presidential election. That is compared with 50% who say there is no chance they will support President Trump and 37% who say there is no chance they will support presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The up-for-grabs or persuadable voters are people who said that they currently don’t support either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden or that they back one candidate but still might vote for the other. The small size of that group underscores the divisions in the nation’s politics. Still, they could have an outsize impact on the results. For Mr. Trump, who had 40% of support from all registered voters in the poll to Mr. Biden’s 51%, winning them over is one pathway to close the gap.

“Right now, Trump’s down 11 points. This is a group he’s got to run the table with. He’s got to win all of them,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, who worked on the survey with Republican Bill McInturff.

An important note:

It also found Trump’s standing with Hispanics is as good if not better than 2016 — and had improved his image by 20 points among whites, who are more than 70% of the electorate.

And from this week, a reminder about how the undecideds helped push Trump to victory in 2016, and why they are just as critical in 2020:

As stark as the differences are between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, millions of Americans can’t seem to choose between them. They’re the 10 percent of prospective voters who, with less than three months to go until the election, are still technically “undecided:” They haven’t made up their minds between the Republican and Democratic nominees, currently back third-party candidates or, at this point, just don’t care. Analysts say there are fewer undecideds this year than in 2016, when a surge of last-minute converts to Trump among them helped decide the election. But it’s still a sizable enough cohort—particularly in key battleground states—to potentially determine the 2020 result. “They are a relatively small population but they are certainly enough to alter the outcome,” says Chris Jackson, head of public polling at Ipsos.

Question: Does Trump readjust his tone and messaging to reach the undecideds, and if he does, will anyone buy it and see it as being genuine?:

For Trump, trailing by eight points on average in the most recent polls, these undecideds present both an opportunity and a risk. Should he stick with the bombastic, polarizing persona that keeps his base energized or moderate his policies and tone in an attempt to woo undecideds—and possibly alienate his most fervent supporters?

And I’ll just mention that tonight is the third night of the Republican convention. Scheduled speakers include:

Vice President Mike Pence
Second Lady Karen Pence
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik
New York Rep. Lee Zeldin
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president
Keith Kellogg, the vice president’s national security adviser
North Carolina congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn
Civil rights activist Clarence Henderson
Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump and a campaign advisor on Trump’s re-election campaign

Also speaking tonight, but not on the list, will be Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. According to reports, she will be sharing her “personal story”.


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