Monday, March 30, 2020

The Weekly Extinction Event Wrangle

With this week's round-up of the best of the Lone Star left from the past seven days, the Texas Progressive Alliance was thinking all this time we had ten years or so before we died gradually from climate chaos.  (Stephen King's The Stand' used to be one of my favorite books, too.)

Greg Abbott's COVID-19 presser yesterday declared war on Louisiana travelers.

Gotta love the rolled-up sleeves.  He's hard at work, getting his hands dirty, clearing brush dressed casually, not in his usual suit and tie.

Abbott said he was dramatically expanding a previous executive order that requires a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans. Now, the state is also mandating a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone driving into Texas from anywhere in Louisiana and for those flying in from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, as well as anywhere in California and Washington.

Enforcement of this directive falls to the DPS, but I have lots of unanswered questions.  Update:

To be fair, I'm of the opinion -- authoritarian concerns remaining -- that this measure might actually be a good idea after reading this story.

Moving on, the governor also pre-empted any plans of releasing people from incarceration in order for them to avoid contracting the virus.

"Releasing dangerous criminals from jails into the streets is not the right solution and doing so is now prohibited by law by this declaration," Abbott said at a Sunday afternoon briefing, hours after officials announced that a 39-year-old man had tested positive for the coronavirus. The order said such a release “would also hinder efforts to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”

Orwellian, that last sentence is (in my best Yoda voice).

The newly appointed monitor over Harris County’s misdemeanor bail protocol, Duke law professor Brandon Garrett, said the decree violated “many state and federal constitutional provisions.”

Alec Karakatsanis, a civil rights attorney who represents thousands of indigent defendants awaiting trial at the lockup on felony charges, called the governor’s stance illegal and perilous.

“The edict is dangerous, unprecedented, chaotic, and a flagrantly unconstitutional attempt to infringe fundamental constitutional rights,” he said. “If enforced it would have catastrophic public health consequences.”

This diktat is more in line with Herr Abbott's (and General Paxton's) catering to the TXGOP primary voting base.  'Three hots and a cot, bust rocks, no a/c for you'.

Before we go any further down the path of conflating Darwinism and eugenics, perhaps we ought to read Ross Ramsey's latest.

Political people have noticed the dissonance on Gov. Greg Abbott’s support for local control in the face of the new coronavirus and his disdain for it in recent battles over property taxes, rideshare regulations, paid sick leave, and other local policies.

But the range of local reactions to the coronavirus, ranging from stay-home orders of various strengths to business-as-usual responses elsewhere, have the governor hesitating to impose statewide directives.

Over here are Dallas County and the city of Austin, telling residents to stay inside. Some Austin leaders have even told residents not to walk on the popular trail around Lady Bird Lake for exercise, for fear they’ll come within six feet of one another.

And over there are places like Midland and Palestine, where restaurant dining rooms are closed but many stores are bustling with customers.

From Ramsey last week:

Those local differences help explain why (Abbott) has been so reluctant to issue statewide stay-at-home orders. Metropolitan areas are aggressively putting social distancing rules in place, while less populated parts of Texas are more reticent.

Kuff also noted the different attitudes toward stay-at-home orders in some parts of the state, and pointed out that coronavirus doesn't care about anyone's attitude or ideals.

While this may be about geography or political affiliation, I think both Kuffner and Ramsey buried their ledes.  Let's start with Abbott: he's at least smart enough to filter his every twitch through a Lone Star uber-conservative cheesecloth.  Operation Jade Helm was one of our early clues.  And everybody should understand that if you can't get to that thought process, you'll never understand his (and by extension, their) motivations.

Here's today's example.

If you laughed when you saw Fox News hosts calling the coronavirus a charade a couple of weeks ago before turning on a dime, then laughed again when Fox fired Trish Regan because she called the pandemic a plot against Trump, then you possess the required acumen to discern why rural Texans just think they're smarter than us city slickers.  Oh, and why conservatives think liberalism is a mental disorder.  (It kinda is, FWIW, which is why liberals -- you are aware I prefer 'neoliberals' -- keep trying to call themselves 'progressive'.)

I'll leave the rest of this theorizing to you.  Let's extend last week's mockery of Dan Patrick's self-selection as a human sacrifice to Wall Street, courtesy Alice Embree at the Rag Blog.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, coughing. 
Photo graphic by James Retherford / The Rag Blog

Some Texas retirees and grandparents have a response to the Lt. Governor and hope it will go viral, so to speak. The Texas Alliance of Retired Americans (TARA) is launching a Virtual Cough-In Campaign for the week leading up to the Lt. Governor’s 70th birthday on April 4.

Retirees are not going to intentionally or accidentally spread contagion. They are urging everyone to phone or e-mail the Lt. Governor about his stupid, dangerous false dichotomy between health and the economy.

Below are TARA’s suggested scripts, timed for a message machine. The scripts are for grandparents and grandchildren, retirees and workers at essential jobs, and for those parents staying home with children trying to keep a virulent microbe from overwhelming our hospitals.

Pick up your phone. Dial one of these two numbers:

The Texas Lt. Governor Message Line: (512) 463-5342
The Texas Lt. Governor Office Line: (512) 463-0001

Cough or clear your throat and choose the script that suits you:

Version 1:
As a senior I am horrified that you would offer up my life for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. We are valuable, productive, and vital to our families and communities, and not the only ones at risk from Covid 19 as nearly 50% of those affected are in their 20s and 30s. If you choose not to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents, you should resign.
Version 2:
As a [son, daughter, grandchild, fill in the blank as best suits you], I am horrified that you would offer up the lives of senior members of our families and communities for the sake of the stock market and the 1%. Ignoring scientific evidence and advice is reckless. Advising the general population to do so goes against your duties to represent, serve, and safeguard the health and well-being of all your constituents. It’s time for you to resign.

If you don’t want to let Dan Patrick get away with murder, make a call. Do it from a safe distance so that you don’t become another ICU patient needing a ventilator. Do it so that you don’t spread a virus you may not know you have. Do it for your grandchildren.

New scripts are being written for each day and will be posted on the TARA Facebook page.

Nonsequiteuse, in similar fashion, minced no words with Patrick.  And Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer had an early look at the worst Texas reactions to the coronavirus.


David Collins, candidate for US Senate from Texas:

Capitalism is canceled, henceforth and forthwith. It. Doesn't. Work. For. Us.


I've recently heard the US economy described as a "house of cards," and it seems like an apt description. But I have a quibble with it, because there's the economy on one hand, and there's the "economy" on the other. The latter is what the media means by the word: Stock market indices and the facts and figures that emanate from Executive Branch agencies. The former is what is actually happening at street level. Millions of underpaid, overworked American citizens and immigrants are holding the real economy together, and they're doing a damn good job of it.

Our nation, our society, and our government cannot solve this by throwing money at corporations who do not/cannot guarantee that they will continue compensating their employees at their regular rates. I am convinced that only direct payments from the government to individuals and families will keep them and the macro economy afloat. (EDIT: And, oh yeah, Medicare for All too. I left that part out earlier.)

A smattering of election and voting related-developments:

Mustafa Tameez warned about the need for election protection.

And more about the concerns and impacts of COVID-19.

Patricia Sharpe at Texas Monthly talked to restaurant and bar workers about how they're coping.

Loren Steffy also elaborated on why we didn't really need a crystal ball to know that Texas unemployment claims were going to spike last week.

Meanwhile, in an ironic reversal of fortune, Mexico says it's time to close the g.d. border to those filthy, disease-carrying Americanos.

“It is important that in Mexico, and particularly at this border, we implement restrictive measures because United States residents and citizens are crossing every day to Matamoros to shop, go visit the doctor and their family and that means a greater risk for the families of Matamoros,” said Matamoros Mayor Mario Alberto López Hernández, in a recent news release.

Better Texas Blog says, once again, that everyone needs paid sick leave.

And down-shifting to other state news ...

And we mourn the passing of Texas playwright Terrence McNally.

The lighter items will wrap this edition of the Wrangle.

Brea LaVelle, and her teacher colleagues, really miss their students.

Friday, March 27, 2020

RIP Toy Cannon

Not feeling the politics blogging today.

Wynn was one of my favorites -- one of every Astro Buddy's, no matter their age -- in the mid-and late '60's.  Many of his fans thought his nick was for his bat.

Wynn played 11 of his 15 MLB seasons in Houston and was named an All-Star in 1967.

At 5-9, the diminutive outfielder earned the nickname "Toy Cannon" for his powerful arm. He debuted with the Colt .45s in 1963.

Some great photos at this link.

And a review of some of the best remembrances, via Tweet.  Click on them and you'll find more videos and memories.

The Astrodome in its early configuration was well-known as a pitchers' venue.  Nevertheless, a couple of Astros crushed balls into the remote upper tiers back in the day, and had the seats they hit painted with their nicknames.  Wynn was one; can you name the other (he's pictured here on the left)?

Wynn was traded by the Astros to the LA Dodgers during the 1973 winter meetings for Claude Osteen (and another player), and Wynn made the All-Star team in both of his two seasons in southern California.  In '75 he went from the Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves in a blockbuster trade involving current Astros manager Dusty Baker.

At the time of his passing he served as a community outreach executive for the Astros.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Weekly Wrangle II, extended pandemic pandemonium edition

Too much to cram into one.

Let's begin as we often do with TXElects, this time with a personal message from publisher Jeff Blaylock: "Like Much of Daily Life, Elections Grind to a Halt".

The ongoing response to contain the severity of the spread of COVID-19 has impacted most aspects of a normal, daily life in the state’s largest counties. ...

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week postponed the May 26 runoff elections until July 14, the date he ordered for the SD14 special election, which normally would have (occurred) in conjunction with the May 2 general election. Unable to postpone those elections on his own, Abbott  suspended portions of the Election Code and other codes to enable local governments to hold those elections in November. ...

Campaigns are hamstrung by social distancing, limits on the size of gatherings and the economic pressures so many Texans are facing. Candidates are simply unable to campaign. Door-to-door blockwalking efforts have largely ended. Rallies can’t be held because of social distancing guidelines and prohibitions of events above a certain attendance. “Retail politics” is largely impossible.

They are also unable to raise money. I expect the July semiannual and quarterly reports will show a significant downturn in contributions compared to the same period in prior election cycles.

Fundraising events cannot happen. Economic pressures and uncertainty affecting Texas families will sharply reduce the number of small donors. Candidates will likely be more reliant than ever on large donations or the ability to self-fund their campaigns. We may very well see this come into play in the runoff elections where candidates who have built a broad network of support are suddenly disadvantaged.

I expect campaigns will get created with digital campaigning, including video meet and greets and increased reliance on social media. Fundraising efforts will get creative as well, but they are facing a cascading uncertainty that will likely drive down political contributions. Creativity does not necessarily require money, so I expect we will see some innovative uses of cheap technology in the coming weeks and months.

I also expect the pandemic response will slow voter registrations, although we will not see this data for some time. The next statewide data point does not come until November, which we all hope is well after Texas has returned to business as usual. Depending on when that occurs, registrations may rebound.

In the meantime, there are signs that campaigns are shifting their grassroots efforts to community service from politics. “I will put my campaign’s grassroots team on the job of helping our neighbors across our huge district,” said CD13 Republican runoff candidate Josh Winegarner in a press release. “I want to help people and help Texans help each other.” Several other candidates have released similar statements, as has the Texas Democratic Party, which launched ConnectTexas, an online community where folks can connect with people locally and statewide to communicate their needs, share resources, and create a sense of unity despite the uncertainty.”

-- Lite Guv Dan Patrick saw Greg Abbott, John Cornyn, and Louie Gohmert all getting free publicity for being stupid, discriminatory, or just plain incompetent and hypocritical, and decided he couldn't be left out of that action.

 "No one reached out to me and said, 'As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?' And if that's the exchange, I'm all in," he said. "And that doesn't make me noble or brave or anything like that.

"I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me ... that what we all care about and what we all love more than anything are those children," he added. "And I want to, you know, live smart and see through this, but I don't want to see the whole country to be sacrificed, and that's what I see."

Patrick -- as he has unceasingly reminded us -- is pro-life ... but should the Wall Street gods require a human sacrifice, I believe we have our first volunteer.  Personally I'll never be willing to risk myself for a corporation's P&L statement.  YMMV.

-- Speaking of "pro-life", Greg Abbott banned abortion on Sunday.

Gov. Greg Abbott didn't say anything about it last week when he announced his ban on elective medical procedures, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made it clear Monday afternoon -- abortion is banned in Texas until, at the earliest, April 3. Before the novel coronavirus pandemic, anyone seeking an abortion in Texas faced a lengthy ordeal.
Now they face utter uncertainty.

“We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our healthcare professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time,” Paxton said. “No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”

The full force of the law, in this case, is a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

Paxton's office says the ban is essential to preserve Texas' stock of personal protective equipment. Texas anti-abortion groups are praising Abbott's order for different reasons.

-- Those centralized voting centers the Harris County Clerk and other election administrators throughout the state were so impressed with themselves about implementing?  Maybe not so much.

-- And postal voting might be a good thing (obviously the TDP wouldn't be paying Chad Dunn, the money they are if they didn't think so) but it would present a host of new problems.  Such as: where do we store all the paper?

While mail-in ballots seem like an elegant solution as the United States grapples with containing COVID-19, experts say slow-moving state and county governments, inconsistent state rules and limited resources to buy essentials such as envelopes and scanners could make it difficult to ramp up nationally to reach more than 200 million registered voters in the November general election. Among the possible downsides of a quick transition are increased voter fraud, logistical snafus and reduced turnout among voters who move frequently or lack a mailing address.


“To move from a couple of thousand to a couple of million (printed ballots) requires an entirely different infrastructure,” said Tammy Patrick, a former county election official who is now a senior adviser at the nonprofit Democracy Fund in Washington, D.C. “It’s going to be a different logistical lift for them to even ramp up the printing of the ballots, let alone ordering a million envelopes that are the right size and compatible with” the U.S. Postal Service’s method of sorting mail automatically.

Amber McReynolds is the CEO of Vote at Home, which helps policymakers and election officials improve their vote by mail processes and policies. “The unprecedented public health crisis” calls for localities to “be extraordinarily creative with our solutions,” she said.

Yet there are states, like Texas, where McReynolds thinks it may be very difficult to implement a robust and universal vote by mail system. Texas’ election administration is almost entirely controlled by counties, which each set their own voting processes. Rural counties frequently use machines that produce no paper backup and have no infrastructure to store it, while larger counties have more sophisticated systems that keep a printed record of ballots. The state has little authority to change local election administration decisions.

McReynolds has called for centralizing the printing, mailing and collecting of ballots at the state level, though without legislative action this would not be possible in Texas. Centralization, with appropriate technology to open, sort and scan ballots, would mean fewer people counting votes and less need to recruit thousands of volunteers.

Much, much more at the link above.

-- And courtesy US Senate candidate David Collins, here is your updated Texas Green Party list of state and Congressional nominees, with more likely to come out of the state convention.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Weekly Pandemic Pandemonium Wrangle *updates

With this edition of the best lefty blog posts, Tweets, and news from around and about our still-Great State, the Texas Progressive Alliance has all the TP it needs for a two-month quarantine, but is already running out of potato chips and beef jerky.

(Ed. note: There have been so many developments since yesterday morning that this post contains only a few of the most significant updates.  Additional Wrangling to come for Tuesday, 3/24.)

Greg Abbott has postponed the May 26 primary runoff elections to July 14.

Holding the election in May “would cause the congregation of large gatherings of people in confined spaces and force numerous election workers to come into close proximity to others, thereby threatening the health and safety of many Texans and literally exposing them to risk of death due to COVID-19,” Abbott said ... It “would therefore prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in containing the COVID-19 disaster.”


The Republican Party of Texas supported a delay “to allow for time to ensure that Texas voters and their votes are protected and safeguarded.” In a letter released publicly, the Texas Democratic Party said it wanted a process that “reduces the need for in-person voting and enhances Texans’ ability to vote by mail.”

The Democratic Party has since filed a lawsuit in Travis County (.pdf) to expand ballot-by-mail voting, “instead of bringing our democratic process to a halt.” The lawsuit seeks to “allow any person who does not want to risk their health or that of their family’s [sic] during this coronavirus pandemic to vote by mail.” Specifically, the suit claims that Section 82.002, Election Code, already allows voters to cast ballots by mail “under the circumstances of this pandemic” and seeks a declaratory order.

Kuff looked at expanded vote by mail possibilities, the subject of the TDP's lawsuit.

Abbott has deferred to local governments the decision as to whether to take further action locking down their communities.

Abbott will not be ordering a statewide shelter-in-place at this time, pointing to the lack of positive novel coronavirus cases in more than 200 counties.


The governor had previously fallen in line behind the leaders of the state's major urban metropolitan areas in closing schools, assisted living facilities, restaurants and bars, and other large gathering places in order to stop the spread of the contagion.

Abbott has come under withering criticism for rolling too slowly on protecting the state's citizens against the rapidly-expanding pathogen.

But at least the governor hasn't been as big an embarrassment as John Cornyn ...

... or Louie Gohmert ...

Update: ... or Dan Patrick.

But Texas Democrats have lowlights of their own: Rep. Marc Veazey tried to earmark additional spending for F-35s as part of one of the governmental stimulus spending bills.

There is likely an overload of helpful -- and unhelpful -- information in your inbox, social media timelines, and on your teevee, radio, and podcasts about the pandemic.

Texas bloggers also had the topic foremost on their minds.  Here's a sampling:

Alex Birnal at the Rivard Report highlighted how coronavirus demonstrates the need for paid sick leave.  Lisa Gray at the HouChron interviewed vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez about the state of COVID-19.  Space City Weather shares their thoughts also, including social distancing and flattening the curve.  And The Bloggess tells her social distancing story.

A very strange story from the legal world makes news.

These are just some of the bizarre details of the years-long feud between former Proud Boys attorney Jason Van Dyke, who was also a member of the group and briefly led it, and Thomas Retzlaff, the man who Van Dyke alleges is trying to destroy him.

Now new evidence in a Texas police file obtained by the Daily Dot reflects that Van Dyke threatened Retzlaff’s life a little more than a year ago.

No excerpt can really do justice (pun intended) to this case, so click over and read.  The Southeast Texas Record offers a drier account.

Restaurants and their employees are suffering the worst of the economic body shots.  But no small entrepreneur adapts quicker to adverse business conditions, or takes better care of their own.

Here's something for us to watch while we shelter in place.

Kam Franklin, in Texas Monthly, tells how her band, The Suffers, got their start.

And music fans across genres said goodbye to Houston native Kenny Rogers.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Race for the White House Update

-- Anybody seen Joe Biden this week?  Is he in quarantine?  Extreme social-distancing?

Can he be bothered to make a statement about COVID-19?

-- So much for that "Russian asset" crap.  On the other hand, I hope she hasn't somehow managed to compromise the presumptive nominee, in three-D chess/Manchurian fashion.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, whose unsuccessful but unstopping campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination seemed to have slipped the normal bounds of political narrative and public opinion, startled her supporters and whoever else was still watching on Thursday when she suspended her candidacy and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.

In a video statement, a beaming Gabbard said that, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she had concluded that her duty was to serve in Congress and to await a possible call-up to active duty with her state’s National Guard.

The Democratic primary voters had chosen Biden, Gabbard said, and she had faith in his character. ...

As with everything else she has said and done, Major Gabbard exits with some observers parsing the meaning of her words (is "offering my full support" an endorsement or not?) and the intention of her actions.  Relative to her lawsuit against the 2016 standard-bearer:

“It should have been for $50 billion,” she told NBC News. “This is who I am. And so to so directly dismiss the value, the honor, the loyalty and sacrifices, not only for me, but for any service member in this country, it can't go unchecked.”

A few last words.

That acrimony, and Gabbard’s idiosyncratic positions, had led to speculation about a third-party spoiler candidacy. At various times, in various segments of the politics-consuming public, she was criticized or praised for being a committed anti-imperialist, or an apologist for the brutality of the Syrian regime, or a vector for Russian mischief, or a sympathizer with Indian Hindu fascism, or the most genuine leftist in the race, or a secret far-right theocrat.

Yet in the end, though her video included praise of Bernie Sanders and one more repetition of her standard denunciation of “regime-change wars,” Gabbard seized the banner of normalcy and party discipline before either Sanders or Elizabeth Warren did. It was the most surprising thing left for her to do.

Whose workout videos will we miss the least?  Hers or John Delaney's?

Update: Mike Bloomberg breaks what's left of his promise to keep staffers employed through November in battleground states.  Texas politicos will recall -- or won't forget -- he furloughed them earlier.  Now he's contributing to the nation's unemployment rate, firing everybody else and donating the remaining $18 million to the DNC.

Bloomberg had hired his campaign's field staff with the assurance that they would have jobs through the November election, even if he dropped out of the race -- which he did, on March 4, while throwing his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden. The DNC plans to use the money from Bloomberg to hire their own staff, although NBC News' Maura Barrett notes that "the campaign is encouraging everyone [not involved in the transition of a few battleground state offices] to apply to the DNC," despite them also being advised that the pay would not likely be the same.


Bloomberg's $18 million transfer to the DNC is far more than the legal limits for individuals, but campaigns are allowed to make unlimited transfers to political parties. As of March 5, the New York Post reports that the Bloomberg campaign had 2,400 paid staff members in 43 states.

-- Bernie is still raising money.  Just not for his campaign.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Nevertheless, He Persists

Voters in Florida, Arizona, and Illinois (made a choice yesterday) that goes beyond their preference for Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. With Americans being urged to stay at home or risk infecting themselves and others with the coronavirus, they also have to decide whether they want to put their health on the line to cast a ballot.

Sarah Watts Wisniewski lives and votes in Illinois. She said that her husband cast his vote this morning, but she may not head out to the polls. “I’m not sure it’s worth the risk, since so many older people go vote, and I don’t want to expose them to anything unintentionally,” she said.

Multiple states have postponed primaries, most notably Ohio, where state officials called off the election last night because of health concerns. Others include Georgia and Louisiana, whose primaries weren’t slated to take place until late March or early April. But officials in the three states that chose to move forward with their elections say they expect everything will run smoothly.

“We’re dealing with it in a thoughtful way, but we’re not going to panic,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “The fact of the matter is these things can be done in ways where you’re not going to have large crowds, because it’s just one vote.”

"Just one vote".

Not everyone agrees. Hundreds of polling places across the three states are shuttered, as many poll workers did not show up, citing health concerns. Election volunteers are typically older Americans, one of the most susceptible populations right now. Many polling locations were set up in nursing homes and assisted living areas, but those have been shut down, at least in Florida, causing state Democrats to demand a list of closures.

As no such list exists, many counties are trying to keep their constituents informed the best way they can, either by making their own local lists, or having people onsite to help direct people to their new polling locations. ...

Some citizens have self-quarantined, but will still show up to cast their ballots, like Katie Stitzer from Arizona. “We only have 18 confirmed cases statewide, and none in our county,” she said. “I’m not super excited about it since [Elizabeth] Warren is out, but I’m going to vote anyway, with my hand sanitizer.”

The results -- not to mention the outcome -- were predictable.

-- The Coronavirus Outbreak Has Made Voting In Illinois Today A Full Mess

“A functioning democracy should not have this,” one person trying to vote said.

-- Florida:

-- Arizona:

-- Not forgetting Ohio.

Politicians of all stripes expressed frustration Tuesday after Ohio's primary was postponed until June by the state's elected officials amid concerns attendance at polling places would contribute to coronavirus pandemic.

The Ohio Democratic Party sued Tuesday afternoon over Secretary of State Frank LaRose's decision to set a new date, saying that power rests only with the Legislature. Messages were left seeking comment from LaRose, a Republican, and the state attorney general, who represents him.

The state's top health official, Dr. Amy Acton, cited the need to contain the pandemic in calling off the election hours before voters were supposed to cast ballots Tuesday morning.

Democratic state chairs in primaries still on the calendar understood there would be a price to pay that was beyond, you know, people's lives and health.

"Exit polls? We don' need no steenking exit polls!"

Because Landslide Joe was going to win anyway, right?  Might as well keep those MSDNC interns safe in the studio; they're not getting paid much more than an unemployed bartender anyway.

And it's not as if the exit polling has been all that good.

As I understand it, the CIA has overthrown governments in countries whose elections demonstrate lower percentages than these.

So is there a plausible case to be made for this?

Once the news networks reported former Vice President Joe Biden was the winner of all three primaries, Biden appeared via livestream from his home in Wilmington, Delaware. “This is a moment, where we need our leaders to lead.”

“It’s also a moment where the choices and decisions we make as individuals are going to collectively impact on what happens, make a big difference in the severity of this outbreak and the ability of our medical hospital systems to handle it,” Biden added.

What he declared was rather hypocritical. Biden likely secured an insurmountable delegate lead over his opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders. But he also showed zero leadership, put his base of elderly voters, who have overwhelmingly supported him, at risk, and his campaign disregarded CDC guidance to a degree that likely resulted in dozens of people becoming infected with the coronavirus because they believed what they claimed about how “safe” it was to vote. 

Alas, it does not seem that Bernie is going to make that case at this time.

Sanders may have skipped the traditional election night speech but he did hold a live-streamed event on Tuesday evening and rolled out a proposal for counteracting the potential looming recession from the coronavirus: $2,000 monthly cash payments to every household for the duration of the crisis.

The live-stream was, almost unintentionally, an encapsulation of where Sanders is in the race: a candidate pressing more for his ideas than himself -- and wedded deeply to the platform that running for president provides his agenda. Sanders urged that any fiscal countermeasures from Washington to the pandemic would not amount to “another money making opportunity for corporate America and for Wall Street.”

Still, some members of the Sanders team seem to be itching for a prolonged primary fight, even as few know what exactly he and his wife, Jane, plan to do next.

Sanders made one other announcement on Tuesday: that he had processed more than 10 million contributions in his 2020 campaign, adding up to more than $191 million.

That includes $2 million on Sunday, even as the nation was facing a financial standstill from the mass closures of businesses and “stay home” edicts from health officials.

In other words, Sanders is likely to have the money to keep running if he wants to.