Dan Gross/NY Times:
I Helped Lead the Gun Control Movement. It’s Asking the Wrong Questions.
A campaign galvanized by mass shootings and assault weapons will inevitably find itself in a dead end. But there’s a way out.
If this pattern plays out again after the shootings in Georgia and Colorado, no one should be surprised. One of the most common questions I have gotten from journalists has been, “If things didn’t change as a result of (insert previously unthinkable tragedy here), how can we ever expect them to change?”
I believe that is the wrong question and illustrates the problem with the gun control debate in the United States. Though it does not grab national headlines, the daily toll of gun deaths and injuries is just as horrifying as our mass shootings, and more preventable as a matter of policy. The gun control movement should focus on the deaths and injuries that are most common, rather than be galvanized by mass shootings like the one that put my brother in a coma.
Quarterly Gap in Party Affiliation Largest Since 2012
In Gallup polling throughout the first quarter of 2021, an average of 49% of U.S. adults identified with the Democratic Party or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. That compares with 40% who identified as Republicans or Republican leaners. The nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage is the largest Gallup has measured since the fourth quarter of 2012. In recent years, Democratic advantages have typically been between four and six percentage points.
David Leonhardt/NY Times:
The Georgia Voting Fight
Sorting through the heated debate over Georgia’s new voting law.
The Georgia law is part of an ongoing effort by the Republican Party to make voting more difficult, mostly because Republicans believe they win when turnout is low.
There is no accurate way to describe this effort other than anti-democratic.
Ezra Klein/NY Times:
Four Ways of Looking at the Radicalism of Joe Biden
It’s unexpected, but it’s not inexplicable.
The collapse of the Republican Party as a negotiating partner. Most discussions of the renewed ambitions of the Democratic Party focus on ideological trends on the left. The real starting point, however, is the institutional collapse of the right. Before Biden, Democratic presidents designed policy with one eye on attracting Republican votes, or at least mollifying Republican critics. That’s why a third of the 2009 stimulus was made up of tax cuts, why the Affordable Care Act was built atop the Romneycare framework, why President Bill Clinton’s first budget included sharp spending cuts. Both as a senator and a vice president, Biden backed this approach. He always thought a bipartisan deal could be made and usually believed he was the guy who could make it.
But over the past decade, congressional Republicans slowly but completely disabused Democrats of these hopes. The long campaign against the ideological compromise that was the Affordable Care Act is central here, but so too was then-Speaker John Boehner’s inability to sell his members on the budget bargain he’d negotiated with President Barack Obama, followed by his refusal to allow so much as a vote in the House on the 2013 immigration bill. And it’s impossible to overstate the damage that Mitch McConnell’s stonewalling of Merrick Garland, followed by his swift action to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, did to the belief among Senate Democrats that McConnell was in any way, in any context, a good-faith actor. They gave up on him completely.
The result is that Obama, Biden, the key political strategists who advise Biden and almost the entire Democratic congressional caucus simply stopped believing Republicans would ever vote for major Democratic bills. They listened to McConnell when he said that “the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan.” And so Democrats stopped devising compromised bills in a bid to win Republican votes.
Biden Administration Announces 500,000 New Sign-Ups At HealthCare.gov
Promoting enrollment, something the Trump administration never did, seems to be paying off — and helping a lot of people.
So this is what it looks like when the people in charge of the Affordable Care Act want it to reach as many people as possible.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday announced that, between mid-February and the end of March, more than 500,000 Americans had signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace that the Affordable Care Act created for people buying insurance on their own.
That timeframe corresponds with the first six weeks of a “special enrollment period” that the Biden administration created. Normally, enrollment at HealthCare.gov is confined to the last few weeks of the calendar year, as it typically is for employer policies.
‘A moment of peril’: Biden sees infections climb on his watch
Possible ‘fourth wave’ could erase hard-won gains.
For the first two months, all the coronavirus numbers broke in the Biden administration’s favor.
More than 100 million Americans have gotten at least one shot of vaccine and more than 200 million doses have been sent to states, a dramatic acceleration of the bumpy vaccine operation it inherited. Virus-related cases and deaths, which peaked in January, have fallen by about two-thirds since President Biden’s inauguration.
But the Biden White House is seeing new infections climb on its own watch — a potential crisis that could erase many of the hard-won gains of the president’s first 75 days, should the numbers keep rising. After railing for a year about the last administration’s response and vowing a more muscular strategy, Biden is encountering the limits of his own authority. The president can help secure and distribute supplies and medicines, issue guidance and urge caution — but like President Donald Trump before him, he has few tools when governors decide to lift coronavirus protections at the wrong moment, manufacturers botch vaccine production, or Americans refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated
Likely Legal, ‘Vaccine Passports’ Emerge as the Next Coronavirus Divide
Businesses and universities want fast, easy ways to see if students and customers are vaccinated, but conservative politicians have turned “vaccine passports” into a cultural flash point.
Around the country, businesses, schools and politicians are considering “vaccine passports” — digital proof of vaccination against the coronavirus — as a path to reviving the economy and getting Americans back to work and play. Businesses especially fear that too many customers will stay away unless they can be assured that the other patrons have been inoculated.
But the idea is raising charged legal and ethical questions: Can businesses require employees or customers to provide proof — digital or otherwise — that they have been vaccinated when the coronavirus vaccine is ostensibly voluntary?
Can schools require that students prove they have been injected with what is still officially an experimental prophylaxis the same way they require long-approved vaccines for measles and polio? And finally, can governments mandate vaccinations — or stand in the way of businesses or educational institutions that demand proof?
Legal experts say the answer to all of these questions is generally yes, though in a society so divided, politicians are already girding for a fight.