(CNN)Within the pantheon of Greek gods, Dionysus loomed massive. He was the god of fertility, the god of wine and, on the springtime festivals held in his identify, the deity most carefully related to the beginning of theater.
This week in America he would have felt cheated, as a possibility for actual drama slipped by way of his fingers.
As a substitute of an initially scheduled head-to-head debate, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared individually — in numerous cities, with totally different moderators and on totally different networks — in overlapping city halls.
Had they been on the identical stage, the putting variations between the 2 — and the selection voters face two weeks from now — would have appeared much more dramatic:
Trump, on NBC, bragging about his administration’s file, sowing confusion about one of the best well being practices in a pandemic, refusing to tamp down rampant conspiracy theories like QAnon and expressing confidence he’ll win his bid for re-election.
Biden, on ABC, methodically describing insurance policies he would implement as president, emphasizing the injustice of discrimination in opposition to transgender individuals and of the observe of redlining, touting the advantages of pelletizing horse and cow manure to cut back carbon emissions, conceding that he had made errors in his profession and grappling with the prospect he would possibly lose.
“NBC’s Savannah Guthrie spoke for many People in frustration by stating that Trump was the President of the USA, not somebody’s loopy uncle,” wrote Joe Lockhart. “However for anybody watching Thursday night time, what they received was a full dose of America’s crazy uncle.”
It was a catastrophe for the President, Lockhart wrote, as a result of a lot of the dialog was concerning the nation’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump even misplaced the TV rankings battle to Biden’s city corridor.
Essentially the most alarming a part of Trump’s city corridor? “The second,” wrote Frida Ghitis, “when he not only refused to denounce, but actually appeared to defend QAnon, a collective of conspiracists so excessive in its beliefs that one shudders to listen to what its followers assume.”
Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio famous that the President “replied to a query concerning the conspiracy principle phenomenon by saying, ‘I do know nothing about Q Anon.’ He mentioned this despite the fact that he has distributed QAnon-based claims together with his personal social media accounts, and his rallies have lengthy been gathering spots for vocal and extremely seen shows of QAnon symbols and concepts.” As D’Antonio noticed, it’s characteristic Trump, who has mentioned he knew nothing about former KKK grand wizard David Duke in 2016 and the Proud Boys in 2020.
With lower than three weeks till the election, NBC made a giant mistake scheduling the Trump city corridor for a similar time as the primary hour of the Biden occasion, wrote Jill Filipovic. The community gave Trump “precisely what he desires: His personal platform with out the extra considerate, and extra presidential Joe Biden standing in sharp distinction subsequent to him. NBC will get the rankings it expects by turning a political occasion into actuality present theater. And the American public will lose out.”
For all of the specificity of his coverage plans, Biden was purposely hazy on whether or not he would transfer to develop the Supreme Court docket, wrote Alice Stewart. He “heads into subsequent week’s scheduled debate within the pole place: within the entrance row, main within the polls, with momentum on his facet.” Because the chief within the polls, Biden had motive “to play it secure” however voters ought to count on “him to come clean on key issues,” Stewart noticed.
Biden and Trump are scheduled to fulfill for his or her second and ultimate debate Thursday.
A ardour for voting
Nobody has seen something prefer it: early voting is smashing information across the nation.
Among the many individuals ready to forged their ballots was Norman F. Robinson III, the son of civil rights demonstrators within the Sixties. It took him 4 hours to vote in Decatur, Georgia. “It isn’t nearly discovering the desire to face in a protracted line — it is also about selecting to take action as safely as we will within the midst of a lethal pandemic,” noticed Robinson. He was glad to see that just about everybody wore a masks, although they did not at all times observe 6 toes of distancing.
Robinson thought of voting by mail, however like many others was involved by the political assaults on that observe. He wasn’t going to take the chance that his voice would not be heard. “For me, standing in that lengthy line was impressed by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd,” he wrote. “It was vital for me to be there as a result of now we have a President who encourages the Proud Boys to ‘stand again and stand by.’ Our voices will be heard and our mandate is our vote.”
Actor and singer Mandy Patinkin says he “wasn’t at all times the liberal snowflake Hollywood elitist pinko commie socialist Democrat a few of my Twitter commenters inform me I’m.” He credit his spouse Kathryn and buddy Martin Sheen with making him understand that the whole lot we do is political ultimately.
“After I take a look at this political second,” he wrote, “after I see the divisive, mean-spirited, hateful rhetoric that seems to be driving our politics, I can develop despondent. It could really feel as if we have misplaced our manner.” Patinkin mentioned he attracts hope from the way in which individuals are caring for one another by way of the pandemic. He mentioned he’s backing Joe Biden. “If we’ll fall in love with each other once more, as People, then this is the time to show up, to commit and to make the right choice for our future,” Patinkin noticed.
For extra on the election:
Robin Cogan, Barbara Glickstein and Diana J. Mason: Why your vote could be a life-or-death decision
Amy Coney Barrett’s listening to
The takeaway from 4 days of hearings this week on the Supreme Court docket nomination of Decide Amy Coney Barrett was clear: Democrats haven’t any lifelike solution to cease her affirmation within the ultimate days of the presidential marketing campaign.
As historian Julian Zelizer identified, that is the achievement of a decades-long battle by Republicans to shift the nation’s prime courtroom decisively to the suitable. “With Barrett on the Supreme Court docket, no matter occurs in November, the conservative courtroom will probably be a significant legacy of the Trump presidency,” he wrote. “It’ll represent a huge blow to Democrats, who have lost this political battle.”
Barrett would fill the seat vacated by the dying of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Actress Ashley Judd remembered RBG as “our voice within the room who steadily, unflinchingly, defended the equal dignity, rights and protections below the regulation of men and women.” Against this, Judd wrote, Barrett’s historical past suggests she’ll comply with a distinct path: “She can have the prospect to render enormously consequential choices for American girls for generations to return. Based on her record, we should be profoundly alarmed.”
Barrett gave little floor on points raised by Democratic senators, insisting that there have been many areas she couldn’t touch upon as a result of they could come earlier than the courtroom sometime. Elliot Williams wasn’t shopping for it. “In response to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Barrett refused to reply the simple query of whether or not each American President ‘ought to make a dedication — unequivocally and resolutely — to the peaceable switch of energy,'” Williams wrote.
“It might not have been hard for Barrett to show some distance from the President by restating uncontested factors concerning the regulation — significantly to a nation hungry for peaceable and safe elections in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.”
In Paul Callan‘s view, Barrett sailed by way of the hearings. “With six of her seven kids, her husband and different members of the family watching proudly from the seats behind her, Barrett demonstrated a keen intellect, along with a formidable self-confidence leavened by just the right splash of humility below hours of senatorial questioning,” Callan wrote.
For extra on Barrett and the courtroom:
Getting off the Trump practice?
By the raging controversies of the Trump administration, Republicans have stood by the President, with few exceptions.
However now — with Trump behind Biden by double digits in nationwide polls, with Democrats elevating more cash than Republicans in lots of races and GOP management of the Senate in danger — “the fever could also be beginning to break,” wrote John Avlon. “Donald Trump has held his occasion consistent with bullying techniques and the white-hot love of the conservative populist base.”
Avlon spoke with longtime Republican operative Ed Rollins, who mentioned “the potential is there to lose not solely the presidency however the Senate as properly … and to see the type of wipeout we have not an skilled for the reason that post-Watergate 12 months of 1974.” Avlon concluded, “as he threatens democratic norms and insists on his alternate actuality, extra Republicans could — at the very least in chilly moments of personal panic — awaken from their hyperpartisan stupor to understand that loyalty is always a one-way street with Trump.”
One Republican may make an enormous distinction within the marketing campaign’s endgame, argued Arick Wierson and Bradley Honig. As unlikely as it’s, they wrote, former President George W. Bush ought to declare his assist for Joe Biden. “It is a uncommon second in historical past when it turns into incumbent upon a former president to carry out a service that he alone is positioned and certified to do: endorse the candidate from the opposing party to save democracy from a successor who has brazenly urged he would work to erode the voting course of.”
It might be a mistake to conclude from the polls that the election is already determined, wrote Eric Zorn within the Chicago Tribune. “Biden’s common polling lead immediately is smaller than (Hillary) Clinton’s was at the same level in 2016 in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio,” he famous. “It is barely bigger than Clinton’s lead was in North Carolina. And, in fact, for what it is price (not a lot), his lead is considerably bigger than Clinton’s was within the nationwide polls.”
Zorn added that the problems and the temper of voters are totally different this time, so, “I am not saying historical past goes to repeat itself. I’m saying don’t for a second think this race is over.“
For extra views on Trump and the GOP:
A harmful plan on Covid-19
In a doc they name the “Nice Barrington Declaration,” a bunch of scientists has argued in opposition to Covid-19 lockdowns. This week some prime Trump administration officers — although not Dr. Anthony Fauci — indicated they’re open to the concept of aiming for “herd immunity,” famous Jeffrey D. Sachs.
Their view: “Let the pandemic run its course till a lot of the inhabitants is contaminated and has ostensibly developed antibodies to keep off future infections. Typical estimates maintain that 70% or extra of the inhabitants would thereby grow to be contaminated,” Sachs identified.
“If carried out, a herd immunity technique would possibly simply be the most reckless action by the White House yet.” A whole lot of hundreds of People may die or develop long-term problems from Covid and susceptible populations can be at extreme threat. “If a dependable and secure vaccine will quickly be obtainable to guard residents, absolutely there’s overwhelming motive to not grow to be contaminated now, however quite to remain secure till the vaccine arrives,” Sachs wrote.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on many large cities, “emptying usually bustling streets and haunting previously crowded subways,” Fareed Zakaria wrote in an excerpt from his new e book, “Ten Classes for a Publish-Pandemic World.”
“Folks sheltered in place or scattered to the suburbs. Work shifted to laptops and Zoom, because the vitality of cities was changed by an eerie quiet.”
Does this spell doom for cities? As in previous crises, individuals will return, Zakaria wrote. “Cities are an excellent solution to arrange human beings for contemporary life — permitting individuals to mingle, work, and play, all in the identical place. They assist build the economic and social capital upon which wholesome societies relaxation.”
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Storms and fires
Hurricanes are given human names like Katrina, Maria and Sandy every season to assist individuals make a reference to these huge pure phenomena. For under the second time, as John D. Sutter famous, this 12 months the “World Meteorological Group has run out of human names … for storms within the Atlantic.” So now they’re utilizing the letters of the Greek alphabet.
On October 7, Hurricane Delta hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and two days later, it made landfall in Louisiana. It arrived within the US, the place at the very least 4 individuals died, nearly every week after Tropical Storm Gamma hit Tulum, Mexico.
“Unnatural disasters like these Atlantic storms, which we all know are supercharged by global warming, are becoming so frequent and so dangerous that they virtually have a numbing impact on our collective psyche — the alternative of the supposed impact of naming storms within the first place,” wrote Sutter.
In a collection of particular stories for CNN Opinion this fall, Sutter will probably be answering readers’ questions concerning the affect of local weather change, together with “the myriad wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington.” (Usually such disasters carry fast help from the federal authorities, however on Friday, the state of California confirmed that the Trump administration had turned down its request to declare a catastrophe over six wildfires in, what Tess Taylor wrote, “seemed to be a colossal act of pettiness and cruelty.” Later within the day Trump reversed the choice.)
Sutter, who has reported on local weather for years, desires to handle the fears “many world wide share, even when they do not have the precise phrases to specific it. Perhaps that is you. Or perhaps you are too drained or anxious or simply so overwhelmed lately that it solely happens to you late at night time, when the children are asleep otherwise you’re alone and there is no one to speak to…”
“The reality is, we do not have to be paralyzed by the magnitude of this disaster. There are workable options — we’re simply not pursuing them, or not doing so wherever close to the economy-shifting scale (or the planet-saving pace) that the science of worldwide warming requires.”