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Politico - The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading

Do You Agree With Furman Democrats Should Worry About This?  

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Politico - The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading

I plan to vote for Joe Biden. 

I have friends who will vote for Trump that have been saying this for a while now.  What do you think?

Quote

 

In early April, Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a professor at Harvard, was speaking via Zoom to a large bipartisan group of top officials from both parties. The economy had just been shut down, unemployment was spiking and some policymakers were predicting an era worse than the Great Depression. The economic carnage seemed likely to doom President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.

Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.

“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

The former Cabinet secretaries and Federal Reserve chairs in the Zoom boxes were confused, though some of the Republicans may have been newly relieved and some of the Democrats suddenly concerned.

“Everyone looked puzzled and thought I had misspoken,” Furman said in an interview. Instead of forecasting a prolonged Depression-level economic catastrophe, Furman laid out a detailed case for why the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag — truthfully — about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever.

Since the Zoom call, Furman has been making the same case to anyone who will listen, especially the close-knit network of Democratic wonks who have traversed the Clinton and Obama administrations together, including top members of the Biden campaign.

Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”

Rest of article here

 

 

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We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

can't we all hope this going to be true?

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3 minutes ago, Max Power said:

We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

can't we all hope this going to be true?

Apparently not. I heard there are some people who actually cheer when people get laid off. Call it GREAT NEWS! and everything. 

 

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Hard to imagine the record unemployment we’re seeing right now will magically be resolved by November.

 

Unfortunately most don’t benefit from the stock market doing well.

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I voted no, not at all. A good economy was baked in at the start of all this and opposition to Trump should have almost nothing to do with the state of the economy. The main argument there is that Trump came in with 7 years of economic momentum and he has either botched it or seriously stalled it and knocked it back with this complete failure of a pandemic response.

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1 minute ago, whoknew said:

Apparently not. I heard there are some people who actually cheer when people get laid off. Call it GREAT NEWS! and everything. 

 

It wouldn't surprise me. There are posters on this very board that said if their daughter was inappropriately touched buy Biden they should suck it up in order for Trump to be ousted. 

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From Harry Enten yesterday - "Folks,, Trump is already winning on the economy. A majority approve of him on it, and he beats Biden on it. I'm skeptical that a v shape or checkmark shape rebound will help."

--

Trump is and has been deeply unpopular. And that's with a good economy prior to COVID. 

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1 minute ago, Skoo said:

Hard to imagine the record unemployment we’re seeing right now will magically be resolved by November.

 

Unfortunately most don’t benefit from the stock market doing well.

I didn't read the full article, but it looks like the quoted portion is focused on "growth". It's possible that November employment data will show large growth compared to today. "Growth" depends on the comparison point. Not sure if that's the point being made or not. Again, I didn't read the whole article and the quoted portion wasn't clear to me what the actually prediction is.

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12 minutes ago, Max Power said:

We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

can't we all hope this going to be true?

Yes...but the overall point was not the worry that economy is good...the worry is Trump being easily re-elected.  That was the whole point of what he is saying.

That does not mean people aren't happy with good economic numbers or cheering for bad ones and for people to stay unemployed.

 

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Trump is doing enough other stuff wrong that good economic data is unlikely to suddenly swing voters his way. There's also every reason to believe that Covid will be a big problem again in the fall.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

Yes...but the overall point was not the worry that economy is good...the worry is Trump being easily re-elected.  That was the whole point of what he is saying.

That does not mean people aren't happy with good economic numbers or cheering for bad ones and for people to stay unemployed.

 

So far the only person I've seen saying it was great news about people getting laid off is the President. 

Edited by Mile High
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I voted definitely not. 
 

First because I really hope it happens. No idea if it will. But it would be wonderful, so long as the COVID threat goes away as well. In fact, if you asked me right now, would I be willing to trade for another 4 years of Donald Trump in exchange for a revitalized economy and an end to the coronavirus, I would agree immediately; it’s a no brainer. 

Second because I don’t think Trump wins even if the economy roars back. I believe opinions are pretty firm and won’t change in time for November. He lost suburban women a long time ago, and the Obama coalition is motivated and will stay motivated. So if we do get the economy back we will still get rid of Trump. Win win. 

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Posted (edited)

I also think the poll will be brought up and used later to bash people.  Similar to the one about a recession.  Lost will be any nuance in the discussion.  If the poll favors "yes, Dems should be worried", the narrative will be pushed that Dems don't want a strong economy so they can get rid of Trump.  (Im not criticizing the poll here, don't take that wrong...its a topic worth discussing for sure)

So I voted on the fence...I think a giant boom would increase his chances.  That does not mean I am against improvements to the economy, its the result of that being Trump I am against.  

Edited by sho nuff

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It is a bizarre situation for sure.   I have many family members who are in the trades. By all rights they are Democrats as they are minority, live middle or a little below middle.  Yet they are voting for Trump because they think he is the best option for them to keep working and growing what they do. They say they have had more business and made more money before COVID than ever before.

So I guess it is economy, economy, economy.

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25 minutes ago, sho nuff said:

Yes...but the overall point was not the worry that economy is good...the worry is Trump being easily re-elected.  That was the whole point of what he is saying.

That does not mean people aren't happy with good economic numbers or cheering for bad ones and for people to stay unemployed.

 

It just goes to show the Democrats would rather America struggle longer than Elect Trump again. 

I understand their position. I don't agree with it, but let's not pretend it's something it isn't 

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1 minute ago, Max Power said:

It just goes to show the Democrats would rather America struggle longer than Elect Trump again. 

I understand their position. I don't agree with it, but let's not pretend it's something it isn't 

This is exactly what I was talking about...that isn't what its about, people are not wanting America to struggle longer...that isn't the fear.  Im not pretending...its the same as the recession thread.  It wasn't that people preferred a recession, its that they thought more of him was worse than a short recession.  Just as with this...people think the economy will come back, and hope it does...the hope is it does not also result in Trump.  The fear is more Trump, not a fear of economic prosperity...people can still want that...but still realize (and fear in this case) that it brings along a stronger possibility of more of Trump.

 

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I had to triple-check to make sure this thread wasn't started in January.

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My stack ranking of potential outcomes here:

1. COVID continues a downward trend until it is completely contained and treatable, economy comes roaring back, and Trump loses.

2. COVID continues a downward trend until it is completely contained and treatable, economy comes roaring back, and Trump wins.

3. COVID continues a downward trend until it is completely contained and treatable, economy continues to suffer, and Trump loses.

4. COVID continues a downward trend until it is completely contained and treatable, economy continues to suffer, and Trump wins.

5. We’re all ####ed. 

YMMV

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33 minutes ago, timschochet said:

the Obama coalition is motivated and will stay motivated.

It's the Biden coalition now.  They're not the same thing.  They're just fundamentally different brands and I think Dems will have to deal with that for better or worse.  

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38 minutes ago, Max Power said:

We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

can't we all hope this going to be true?

Not necessarily.

 

It all hinges on how you are defining: "Best" and "economic data".

 

For too many people, Stock Market = Economy.  There is a belief that if the stock market is strong, then the economy is strong.  But, while the two are related, they are not equivalent, and in some ways are in tension with each other.

For example, when a company announces mass lay-offs, it frequently is followed by a rise in the company stock price.  For owners of the stock - cutting jobs/wages/expenses is seen as good for profits - which drives the stock price up.  But for those employees, you would be hard-pressed to call that data - "good".

The same is true with overall employment numbers - if employment numbers return to previous levels, that looks good, on paper.  But, if employment numbers rise, while wages are stagnant - then that is bad for the overall economy (but the stock market will love it).

My personal opinion here is that there will not be a V-shaped recovery - even if you look just at the stock market.  I think many stocks were artificially inflated by stock buy-back programs that will no longer exist.  I also think that the Covid19 pandemic will permanently alter the business landscape in many ways, some easy to project, some less obvious.  Overall, I think consumers will be more cautious in spending - both in overall amount, but also when/where they spend money.  Restaurants will be hard hit - with many forced out of business even when things open up.  Commercial real estate will be another area that I think will feel long-term ramifications as more businesses scale back office space for employees.

 

(I also would be suspect of a strong recovery in the third quarter - given the uncertainty around a 2nd wave of Covid19 in the fall, and/or just a seasonal recurrence before we have a proven treatment.  The notion of a 2nd, albeit shorter, shutdown will still be on the minds of many - e.g. schools in our area are preparing for next year with the expectation that schools could be shut down again on short notice)

 

I also think, morally, it is wrong to equate "strong economic data" with "good for the country".  I would rather we focus less on "material wealth" and more on intrinsic value - better education, better infrastructure,  better healthcare, etc.  But, I recognize that I am in a distinct minority there.

 

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Incredibly important excerpt:

“In absolute terms, the economy will look historically terrible come November,” said Kenneth Baer, a Democratic strategist who worked in a senior role at the Office of Management and Budget under Obama. “But relative to the depths of April, it will be on an upswing — 12 percent unemployment, for example, is better than 20, but historically terrible. On Election Day, we Democrats need voters to ask themselves, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ Republicans need voters to ask themselves, ‘Are you better off than you were four months ago?’”

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I worry about a lot of stuff.  Sure, I'll worry about this too. (And, to be clear, I'm worried about Trump being reelected, not about the economy improving.)

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In theory, worrying about the economy improving is absurd but we all know politics are ugly and I’m sure some Democrats are rooting for just that.

I hate Trump but am of course rooting for the economy to improve ASAP. I personally don’t see it getting that much better though (nothing close to where it was pre-COVID) until there is vaccine or cases/deaths just about disappear as people are still hesitant to go out and live their normal, daily lives.

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Posted (edited)

Not worried at all. If the economy goes up that is good, though by economy I mean people having jobs and getting paid enough to live, not numbers in an excel sheet that only matter to the top 10%. The stock market is not the economy to most people, and a hypothetical person making 40k a year getting laid off is not going to be saying "Great news, Apple stock is up 12% today".  Even then, I don't see it happening. Covid stuff is going to linger a long time due to the lack of sheltering in place, though hopefully it gets better due to more prevalent mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. Retail and restaurants are not going to be viable with any percentage of people staying at home, and a significant number of people are even after restrictions have been eased.

The article is 40% Republicans quoted and 40% anonymous sources, so it seems a little light on Democratic insight besides one guys quotes from 6 weeks ago when as far as we know he thought the Covid stuff would be over by now.

Edited by huthut

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He's never sniffed 50% approval ratings even with a self proclaimed "record economy," (which is a steaming pile of it in and of itself).

But, yeah, he can still win. We're not a very sophisticated electorate in general.

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2 minutes ago, roadkill1292 said:

He's never sniffed 50% approval ratings even with a self proclaimed "record economy," (which is a steaming pile of it in and of itself).

But, yeah, he can still win. We're not a very sophisticated electorate in general.

Exactly. Unemployment will likely still be very high by the time the election comes around. Additionally, this is based on the premise we will have COVID19 under control by the fall (very doubtful) 

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Here is the most important part of the article:

"Instead, he believes, the way to think about the current economic drop-off, at least in the first two phases, is more like what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster: a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound."

The problem is that this doesn't resemble a hurricane, or an oil spill, or any of the examples they give in terms of how to look at this. Those are short lived. This will be an ongoing issue through the election. It likely will wax and wane in different areas over time, but there is zero chance it stops being a major disruption in our lives in the next 6 months. So the analogy would be more like a hurricane that doesn't die out when it makes landfall, but instead moves across the country hitting city after city, and sometimes circling back to hit a previously damaged city a second or third time. 

If that were to happen, I doubt the recovery would be shaped the same way. 

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Posted (edited)

Furman is just pointing out the economic numbers should rebound relative to say March.

Unnamed advisors and strategists were the ones saying Dems should be worried about this.

Which are we supposed to be agreeing with?

It definitely looks like numbers will be better than the Spring.

Biden should have plenty of arguments as to why he is better to be the Prez.

Edited by The General
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Rachel Bitecofer continues to opine that nothing will change substantial numbers of voters' minds between now and November. The sides are baked in and it will be a contest of turnout. She doesn't think that short term economic gains or pains will affect many voters' choices and neither do I. It's a culture war going on now and sides have mostly been chosen.

But it still appears, Tim notwithstanding, that Dems remain way more pessimistic about their chances than Trump voters do. That difference in optimism levels remains one of the most curious facets of this election.

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voted definitely not.  i think democrats would do well to hope, and plan for this possibility.

also, i did read the whole article, and nowhere did i see that Furman suggested democrats should worry about an economic rebound. (though no doubt some do)

also, i saw Furman on TV yesterday, and while he did say he sees a likely very strong 3rd quarter bounce from the previous extreme downturn (not nearly returning to previous levels)

he said he expects any further recovery in the 4th quarter and going forward to "be a slog".

 

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

 In fact, if you asked me right now, would I be willing to trade for another 4 years of Donald Trump in exchange for a revitalized economy and an end to the coronavirus, I would agree immediately; it’s a no brainer. 

 

Thanks Tim. I think this is the heart of the question. 

But I think it's more naunced than that.

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is re-elected and we get a revitalized economy and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

vs.

Joe Biden is elected and the economy remains sluggish and coronavirus stays about like it is now with people divided over how serious it is and about the same number of people are sick with it as are now.

 

What is the pick then?

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15 minutes ago, The General said:

Furman is just pointing out the economic numbers should rebound relative to say March.

Unnamed advisors and strategists were the ones saying Dems should be worried about this.

Which are we supposed to be agreeing with?

 

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7 minutes ago, song said:

 

also, i did read the whole article, and nowhere did i see that Furman suggested democrats should worry about an economic rebound. (though no doubt some do)

 

 

This is the line I'm referring to:

Quote

Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”

 

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3 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks Tim. I think this is the heart of the question. 

But I think it's more naunced than that.

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is re-elected and we get a revitalized economy and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

vs.

Joe Biden is elected and the economy remains sluggish and coronavirus stays about like it is now with people divided over how serious it is and about the same number of people are sick with it as are now.

 

What is the pick then?

This strikes me as an absurd hypotheitical.

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7 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks Tim. I think this is the heart of the question. 

But I think it's more naunced than that.

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is re-elected and we get a revitalized economy and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

vs.

Joe Biden is elected and the economy remains sluggish and coronavirus stays about like it is now with people divided over how serious it is and about the same number of people are sick with it as are now.

 

What is the pick then?

Why are these the 2 choices?

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7 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks Tim. I think this is the heart of the question. 

But I think it's more naunced than that.

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is re-elected and we get a revitalized economy and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

vs.

Joe Biden is elected and the economy remains sluggish and coronavirus stays about like it is now with people divided over how serious it is and about the same number of people are sick with it as are now.

 

What is the pick then?

Are you asking me which of those I prefer? 

Given that choice I’ll take Trump. 

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7 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

This is the line I'm referring to:

Quote

Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”

That's not Furman saying that. It is an unnamed former Obama official. Furman was saying that economic data should look more positive as we move into the fall.

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Posted (edited)

So now it's ok to believe unnamed sources?

Edited by Leroy Hoard
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11 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

This strikes me as an absurd hypotheitical.

The choice is:

Tom Brady at QB and your team goes 0-16

or

Steve Urkel at QB and you go 16-0

Shouldn't we all be rooting for Steve Urkel to play QB for our team?  :wall::wall::wall:

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14 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks Tim. I think this is the heart of the question. 

But I think it's more naunced than that.

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is re-elected and we get a revitalized economy and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

vs.

Joe Biden is elected and the economy remains sluggish and coronavirus stays about like it is now with people divided over how serious it is and about the same number of people are sick with it as are now.

 

What is the pick then?

This is simply inane.

 

What if the options are:

Donald Trump is reelected and you get 4 more years of policies that led to the spread of the coronavirus.

 

vs.

 

Joe Biden is elected and you try something different

 

 

What is the pick then?

 

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5 minutes ago, Leroy Hoard said:

So now we it's ok to believe unnamed sources?

"Yes"

- Anonymous 

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28 minutes ago, roadkill1292 said:

But it still appears, Tim notwithstanding, that Dems remain way more pessimistic about their chances than Trump voters do. That difference in optimism levels remains one of the most curious facets of this election.

my guess is democrats are scared, and trump voters are still riding high and adopt the "never let them see you sweat" bravado of their champion.

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17 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

This is simply inane.

 

 

Sorry to hear you think it's inane. :shrug:

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Posted (edited)

Like others have noted, I really didn't see any named people "worrying" that the economy will improve.

Also, I think it's important to note, as more of a general rule, that predicting and rooting for are not the same thing.  All too often, I see one person say/write something like "I expect X to happen", and someone else respond that it's disgusting to root for X.  To make another sports metaphor, I'm predicting the Raiders finish in the middle of the pack around 8-8.  That doesn't mean other Raiders fans should castigate me for rooting against the Raiders.  Maybe this would be a better example using the Redskins or Dolphins, but I imagine everyone gets the idea.  Similarly, I can simultaneously hope that our economy recovers fully AND predict that's not terribly likely.

Edited by Rich Conway
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Just now, Joe Bryant said:

Sorry to hear you think it's inane. :shrug:

It seems to me that you are asking under any scenario would you vote for Trump.

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9 minutes ago, song said:

my guess is democrats are scared, and trump voters are still riding high and adopt the "never let them see you sweat" bravado of their champion.

Incidentally, this is why the betting odds and Vegas still has Trump as the favorite ( even though it’s closer to even than it was): because the public still thinks he will find a way to win again, and part of that is Democrats scared and Trump fans overconfident. Both sides seem to think Trump has this magic power to defy the polls, defy the odds. 
 

He doesn’t. Nobody does. Sure he can win again but the odds are even greater against this time than they were last time. When you’re the underdog you lose far more than you win. Trump may pull it out but it’s not reasonable IMO to expect him to do so. Expect him to lose. 

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28 minutes ago, The General said:

Why are these the 2 choices?

They can be any choices you like. That was just what came to mind.

I'm sure most people would do a ton to have coronavirus completely eliminated. I thought maybe something more realistic like just getting it under control might make for a more realistic discussion. 

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1 minute ago, The General said:

It seems to me that you are asking under any scenario would you vote for Trump.

Not at all. Tim was pretty clear on the scenario in which he'd vote for Trump. 

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38 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

and coronavirus becomes no more of a worry or concern to people than a normal year of flu.

 

I have greater doubts about this and for me at least it’s by far the more important part of your question. 

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There is no scenario where I would vote for Trump.

 

None whatsoever.

 

But that is not what makes the question inane - it assumes a causation and/or correlation that does not exist, and ignores reality.

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