A reminder from the past

A constant talking point on the right is that Donald Trump is strong and would never have permitted Putin to invade Ukraine. Their past relationship demonstrates the absurdity of this and we should remind ourselves of it.

The two leaders' wishes for closer relations have been thwarted -- for now.

Vaccine and votes by county in Georgia

I managed to get into a debate on Facebook with a bunch of right-wingers on vaccination. I accidentally let it get dragged into the rabbit hole of whether red states have lower vaccination rates than blue states. One of the posters claimed that he “just did a quick check here in Ga and the counties Biden won by the most are pretty much identical to the ones he lost by the most.” I could not let this pass so I laboriously entered the vaccination rate by county and the percentage that voted for Trump in 2020 into a spread sheet and produced a scatter graph. As you can see, it has a definite downward slope, showing that the lower the percentage of vaccinated persons in a country, the higher the percentage of people who voted for Trump.

The mess that is the Republican party

Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg: “Republicans have lost a made-to-order opportunity supplied by the Jan. 6 attack. Mainstream Republicans could have looked good by consistently condemning the attack, thereby distancing themselves from organized hate groups involved in the event. Instead, they’re stuck defending the indefensible and making it a major part of Republican messaging, while allowing their leading voices to be … well, let’s call them the high-profile Republicans least likely to appeal to swing voters. …

“The Republican agenda right now is a combination of three things: Opposition to whatever President Joe Biden and the Democrats propose; support for whatever Fox News Channel’s product of the month happens to be; support for whatever incoherent and self-serving whims come out of Trump’s mouth.

“This is barely a formula for making the strongest supporters happy. It’s certainly no way to build a policy agenda. What has been a problem for the party for several years, especially at the national level, is only getting worse. …

“If I had to guess, I’d stick with my first instinct — that Republican Party dysfunction matters a lot to its future ability to govern competently, but won’t have any serious effect on the 2022 elections. But I can’t say I’m as confident about that as I was six months ago.”