A Crisis Turned Into A Tragedy

Dont cry for me, Secret Service. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

In an unprecedented and blistering move, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has written a scathing editorial, titled "Dying In a Leadership Vacuum," that blasts Trump's catastrophic COVID response and declares, "Our leaders have failed." In response to "the largest public health crisis of our time,"  the critique reads, "our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent... They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy." The piece was written by all its editors; since starting publishing in 1812, the journal has only run four editorials, and this is the first that addresses electoral politics. Having waited so long, they did not mince their words: Noting that America leads the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths - over 7.5 million and 210,000 respectively - the editors write,  "Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment...We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs." In fighting back against this administration's deadly anti-science idiocy, the journal thus joins Scientific American, which recently announced it was endorsing Biden, its first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history.

They have plenty of company. Trump's post-COVID numbers have plummeted, likely because people are done with his bullshit and know he got care they don't and won't, especially in hard-hit communities of color. From a guy at a D.C. bus stop, with five coronavirus deaths in his family, "He's talking about people they don’t got to be catching buses...They don’t have to go to CVS." Polls now have Biden leading 55-34%; his margin grew a whopping 16 points from before to after Trump's diagnosis. In the newest poll, Biden's leading 51 to 40 in the usually tight Florida race, 54-41 in Pennsylvania, and 50-45 in Iowa. Meanwhile, Heather Cox Richardson notes, COVID has ravaged the White House, leaving military leaders quarantined, terrified aides in PPE, an empty West Wing, an FDA standing up for strict vaccine guidelines, and still no contact tracing - with the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Goldman Sachs all going with the non-sociopath. Trump's latest, gonzo, drug-fueled antics haven't helped, from frenzied tweeting - Russia hoax! Clinton emails! - to declaring his COVID diagnosis "a blessing from God." (There was no comment from the 210,000 dead and their grieving families.) Nor did his surreal, gasping, orange-coated, triumphantly maskless strongman act on the White House balcony, which summoned the spectre of Evita - though PattiLuPone noted she had more lung power "and I wore less makeup." The Lincoln Project is here for it.

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