Abridged Pundit Roundup: Decisions

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that brings together important political discussions and analysis around the internet.

We start today with René Pflster, Marc Pitzke and Ronald Nelles by Der Spiegel, writes about “not the odds, but the stakes” (to quote NYU media professor Jay Rosen) of the upcoming US presidential election.

America’s voters vote in four months and Trump has never been stronger in the polls than he is right now. After the televised debate between the former president and incumbent Joe Biden — a disastrous night for Biden — Trump received another boost. According to a new nationwide poll, Trump’s advantage has grown since then. And in all seven swing states, where the presidential election is likely to be decided, the 78-year-old Trump is ahead of the 81-year-old Biden, according to New York Timespoll tracker. Trump will officially be named the Republican nominee at the convention in mid-July — the leader of a party that has completely backed him.

The Nov. 5 election is, of course, far from over, but many liberal Americans like Paul Starobin are convinced that a second Trump term would be even more radical than the years after his first election in November 2016, when even Trump himself did. t think he would end up in the White House.


The United States is currently facing a question central to any liberal order: How to deal with a politician who seeks to destroy the very system that installed him in a position of power? How can democracy defend itself against those who hate democracy? Trump hasn’t exactly tried to keep his plans secret: he wants to use the judiciary to exact revenge on his enemies, intending to go after Biden and his family along with anyone else he sees as his enemies. Those who try to stand in his way will – should Trump’s plans become a reality – come under pressure from the Internal Revenue Service, which has everything it needs to drive any dissenters to ruin with an endless stream of audits.

Rex Huppke in USA Today covers the utter incoherence and lies in yet another Donald Trump rally speech.

During the event, the former president slurred wordsclaimed his son Don Jr. is married when in fact he is only engaged and consistently described the world around him in a way that is completely incompatible with reality.

During a heartbreaking moment, Trump stopped talking for a full minute while the usual eerie music benefits from a staunch conspiracy group called QAnonplaying in the background. He sweatily moved his head back and forth and randomly pointed at people, who didn’t seem to know exactly what he was doing.


At one point during Tuesday’s rally, Trump said that tourists who go to Washington, DC and visit the Jefferson Memorial or the Washington Monument “stop getting shot, robbed, raped.” It was disturbing to see a man who hoped to be president again acting so confused. Violent crime in the District of Columbia has declined by more than 20% this yearbecause crime throughout the country has plummeted.

Apparently the media’s double standard continues.

Communication professor at the University of Utah Jacob L. Nelson writes for The Conversation about an additional explanation for journalists playing up the Joe Biden story after the debate.

First, when it comes to reporting, journalists value sudden events – also known as “topicality.” They especially value those that play out in a very public way – known as “spectacle.” The debate offered both. Until then, journalists and the public alike had not regularly monitored or monitored Biden’s age, other than a few notable outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal. The debate offered a live opportunity for the world to see for itself why there has been concern about electing an 81-year-old to a second term.

Second, journalists depends on sources for their reporting. Unsurprisingly, as soon as Biden’s halting debate performance began, political reporters began hear from panicked insiderswhich seems to have started the discussion of “replacing Biden”.

As a scholars who explore the relationship between journalism and the public, I believe these sources are reaching out to journalists as a way to keep the spotlight on this news story. That’s a big part of the reason for this coverage, which every day seems to bring new quotes, leaks and scoops about Biden’s age from people involved in Democratic Party politics.

Adam Server of The Atlantic offers an analysis of some media coverage of a draft 2024 GOP platform, which provides yet more examples of the media’s “strategic illiteracy.”

On Monday, a draft of the GOP platform began circulating ahead of the Republican convention. Coverage of the platform’s position on abortion was remarkable in its uniformity. The New York Timesbroke the headline“Following Trump’s lead, Republicans adopt platform that softens stance on abortion.” NBC News announced“Trump Pushes New GOP Platform Softening Party’s Positions on Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage.” Washington Post agreed: “GOP adopts platform softening language on abortion, same-sex marriage.” These headlines could not be more misleading. (An outlet, The 19thcommendably got it right.)

First, while the new platform omits language from the 2016 version that opposes marriage equality, it is silent on equal rights for same-sex couples and definitely does not support them. That omission is meaningful and should not be construed as moderation. The Trumpified right-wing majority in the Supreme Court has already done so took silent aim at the decision which gave same-sex couples the right to marry, and some of the sitting justices, such as Samuel Alito, have condemned that decision outright. Once the right-wing bloc on the court has the numbers and the right case, that decision will likely be overturned.


Second, if the party’s stance on marriage equality is a matter of strategic silence, media coverage of the abortion language amounts to strategic illiteracy. Here is the plankunder a headline that reads “Republicans will protect and defend a voice of the people, from within the states, on the question of life”:

Paul Krugman of The New York Times continues its examination of the actual economic trends versus the so-called “vibe cession.”

So what are the facts that a story about economic perceptions should explain beyond poor consumer sentiment? I would point out four observations.

First, while consumer sentiment is weak, consumption has remained strong, essentially in line with its pre-pandemic trend.


Second, Americans are far more positive about their personal financial situation than about the economy as a whole…

Third, Americans are much more positive about their state or local economy than they are about the national economy


Finally, perceptions of the economy have become extremely partisan.

Heather Thompson writing for El País in English writes that better bus systems could well lead to more affordable housing in America’s cities.

Bus rapid transit (BRT), a type of system that works like a ground-level subway with buses, can transport more people faster and more reliably than cars and even conventional buses. BRT has expanded in many places in the United States and certainly warrants much greater attention.

Relative to other types of transit such as subways, BRT can carry about the same number of people per vehicle at significantly lower costs to build and operate. Compared to cars, BRT systems can transport tens of thousands of passengers per hour using the same amount of road surface which would only move a few hundred if people travel by private vehicles. The basic features of BRT provide a larger plan to improve all public transport by using elements such as dedicated lanes, level-boarding for accessibility and off-board fare collection to make services faster and easier.

As the concept of BRT becomes more familiar, some US cities are even emerging as BRT leaders. From the nation’s first system in Pittsburgh (whose success has propelled more recent investments) to San Francisco’s 2022 debut Van Ness corridor, there is growing BRT enthusiasm among transit agencies and everyday riders.

Finally today, TAylor Lorenz of The Washington Post notes the presence of digital content creators at the NATO summit taking place in Washington DC, which concludes on Thursday.

NATO invited 16 content creators from member countries including Belgium, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom to attend the summit. The US is running its own social media mission in support. An additional 27 creators were invited to the summit by the Defense Department and the State Department, which last year became the first government-level agency to establish a team dedicated to partnering with digital content creators.

The creators have a large following on platforms including TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, and cover topics ranging from politics to national security to news, current events and pop culture. Over the course of 48 hours this week, a group of creators met with top officials from the most powerful institutions in DC, including the Pentagon and the State Department. At the White House, they met with John Kirby, President Biden’s national security communications adviser. At least two creators were given interviews with Foreign Minister Antony Blinken.

Deploying social media stars in DC could engage NATO at one critical moment with a generation born after the enemy it was formed to resist had dissolved. Biden’s support and united support for Ukraine has strengthened the alliance. But concern is growing within NATO about the possibility of this Donald Trumpwho uses the alliance as a punching bag in stump speeches, could return to the White House.

Everyone have the best day imaginable!

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