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Hospitals In New Virus Epicenters Are Dangerously Full

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Coronavirus is starting to overwhelm hospitals in the states that have become the new epicenters of the disease. Arizona and Nevada reported their highest levels of hospitalizations (so far) in recent days and, according to Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler, "If we don't change this trajectory, then I am within two weeks of having our hospitals overrun."

Donald Trump, who got us here, said over the weekend that "99 percent" of COVID-19 cases are "totally harmless." Which would likely come as news not just to the more than 130,000 people who have died so far but to the people in those hospitals in danger of being "overrun."

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New Voting Rights Battles Erupting In Key Swing States

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

When the 2020 election season resumes in Ohio on April 28 and continues in nearly half of the states through July, Americans will see if new voting regimens instituted in response to the pandemic will help voters or preview state-by-state partisan battles over voter turnout.

Already there are troubling signs that the past decade's voter suppression battles will continue and accelerate in battleground states. Wisconsin's April 7 primary, the month's only presidential contest that was not postponed by the pandemic, is exhibit A. However, as 24 states and territories will hold primaries and caucuses in coming weeks, and other elections this summer, Republicans in some states are already tilting the rules and means of voting to favor their base in the fall.

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Nevada Nastiness Could Hurt Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ clash with the hospitality workers union did not start the history of bad feelings about him in Nevada. That started four years ago. Both involved thuggery wherein nasty Sanders followers harassed other candidates and their backers with misogynist and racist delight.

Worse than these outbursts are Sanders’ two-faced responses to them. He verbally condemns this behavior. But he never fires or singles out the perps. Then he and his surrogates go into weasel mode, holding that the nastiness comes from both sides.

“Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me,” Sanders recently said, “and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks.”

But supporters of all campaigns aren’t engaging in bullying or ugly personal attacks. Just his.

I’m convinced that the Bernie brutes played a part in Sanders’ mediocre performance in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders was supposed to win handily in both. Such conduct may dampen an expected Sanders win in the Nevada caucuses.

This month, the powerful Culinary Union 226 put out a flyer comparing the candidates’ positions on a variety of issues. On health care, it noted that Sanders would “end Culinary Healthcare,” the union’s health plan. This is the simple truth. Sanders’ single-payer proposal would do away with all private coverage, the culinary workers’ included.

Not content to explain why its vision might be superior to the union plan, the Sanders cult chose instead to bully and personally threaten the union leaders, not to mention journalists dissenting from Sanders’ worldview.

“It’s disappointing that Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada simply because our union has provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer.

The union has made no official endorsement for the Democratic caucuses.

Sanders spokespeople argue back that nobody knows for sure who is behind this intimidation: So much of it is taking place on anonymous social media. That is a fair concern.

But we can assume it’s not coming from President Donald Trump’s camp, which badly wants Sanders to be the Democratic nominee. Feeding suspicions that these creeps are largely Berners was the violence perpetrated in 2016 by totally identifiable Sanders activists after Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses.

The swine stormed the dais at the Nevada state Democratic Party convention, hurling the C-word at the women trying to run the meeting. The chairwoman received death threats against her and her family.

This trumped-up anger centered on Sanders’ charge that the party made last-minute rule changes favoring Clinton. PolitiFact swatted down those claims as false.

When Sanders couldn’t put off responding to his followers’ behavior, he issued a flaccid statement that didn’t mention it until a third of the way in. Then he went on to blame the other side for much the same. That statement has disappeared from his website.

This year the Bernie brigade is going to the rallies of other candidates and booing them. Note that supporters of other candidates aren’t booing Sanders at his rallies. Sanders himself participated in the culinary union’s town halls, and no one heckled him.

What’s going on? Some Sanders campers may be suffering MAGA envy, wanting to act out their frustrations on others. And for young people, especially, Sanders’ militarism may have some romantic appeal.

But it would be a step toward restoring decency in our politics — and the party’s future — if other Democrats were to put up their own resistance against intimidation. The way to do it is to show displeasure at the polls.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Trump Will Hold Rally In Nevada Despite Canceled GOP Caucus

Reprinted with permission from Independent Media Institute

Donald Trump is heading to Nevada on Friday for a campaign rally on the eve of the state’s presidential caucuses. However, unlike his previous rallies in early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada Republicans will not be able to vote for Trump (or anyone else) the day after the rally.

That’s because Nevada is one of several states to cancel their nominating contest.

In September 2019, the Nevada Republican Party voted to cancel the state’s presidential nominating contest, becoming one of the first in a series of states to follow suit.

State officials admitted they were canceling the contest to help Trump. The decision to cancel was based on the “inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting our delegates at the National Convention in Charlotte,” Keith Schipper, Nevada GOP spokesperson said at the time.

Since then, Republicans in several states have either canceled their nominating contest or changed the rules to all but assure Trump is victorious.

Along with Nevada, Republicans in Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, and South Carolina canceled their nominating contests.

The GOP state parties in GeorgiaMinnesota, and Wisconsin refused to list any candidate other than Trump on their state’s primary ballot.

In Michigan, Republicans changed the amount of support a candidate needs to receive national delegates.

“This kind of un-American bullshit shouldn’t happen here,” former Rep. Joe Walsh, a Republican who recently ended his campaign for the GOP nomination, said in January about states canceling their primaries.

In states that have not rigged the primary for Trump, support for him has been lackluster.

In Iowa, Trump became the first incumbent to lose a delegate to another candidate in almost 30 years, losing one of Iowa’s 40 delegates to former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

On the day before the New Hampshire primary, Trump boasted that he had the support of 95% of Republicans. Yet he received less than 86% of the New Hampshire GOP vote.

“President Trump has delivered for Nevada, and Nevada is going to deliver for him,” Nevada Republican Party chair Michael McDonald said in a press release about Trump’s upcoming rally, set for Feb. 21. Trump lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

On the Democratic side, voters in Nevada will caucus on Saturday, Feb. 22, to help select the nominee who will face Trump in November. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leads in the average of Nevada polls, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

After Nevada, Democrats in South Carolina will vote in a Feb. 29 primary. South Carolina Republicans canceled their primary.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore