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Trumpism is based on a shared delusion about our politics. The virus punctured it. – The Washington Post

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In the world of Donald Trump, American cities are burning because of Democrats’ rioting and looting. In the world of Donald Trump, the coronavirus pandemic happened because of China, because of Barack Obama, because of anyone but him.

The president’s world is a folie a deux, a delusion he shares with his supporters that is completely unsullied by reality. That delusion was always a problem, but he and his supporters could avoid that reality if Trump and his supporters could hide in their red bubbles. The shared delusion was a compelling message: Life is bad, but it’s not your fault, you are not the bad guy, someone else is.

But the presence of the novel coronavirus, the force of natural disaster, the reckoning with racism have all made it harder to hide inside the meager Potemkin village of Trumpism and has forced a reckoning between reality and delusion.

A high school teacher in a southwest Iowa town that’s a Republican stronghold called me to tell me about the kids and families in her school, struggling to reconcile their maskless worldview with the realities of the infection.

“Kids keep disappearing from school, no one is talking about why,” she said. “People with the virus are encouraged not to get tested so they don’t ruin it for everyone else.” It’s a cognitive dissonance that both hides from reality while acknowledging that it is there.

The teacher spoke to me on the condition of anonymity. She could get fired for talking about the reality she lives with every day. Her school’s message is essentially “this is the truth, let’s never speak of it again.”

This delusion has always been popular among Trump’s supporters — like blaming immigrants for a loss in jobs and a rise in crime in 2016. It had a wider appeal because it is easier to blame others for your misery when another party is in control. But that message isn’t nearly as contagious when Republicans have controlled the levers of government for four years, cutting off the flow of immigrants, and yet for the majority of Americans things are worse.

It’s hard to hide from that reality when school kids wear masks. Businesses are closing, and President Trump, who has covid-19, was put on supplemental oxygen to keep him breathing long enough to tell us that everything is fine. Just fine.

Even as the president suffers from the disease, sympathy and support for him are not increasing. This unwillingness to reckon with reality is why only 12 percent of people polled say they trust the information from the White House. That lack of trust shouldn’t be surprising. But it is, mostly because of what it reveals: Beyond his political base, Americans are no longer participating in the delusion.

Before his diagnosis, the biggest Trump news story was that the president had told Bob Woodward that he knew that the novel coronavirus was “ … also more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” all while he downplayed it — and he continues to downplay it.

He has tried to continue this charade by having his doctors give misleading statements and taking a joyride in a vehicle that potentially put hospital staff and Secret Service agents in harm’s way.

The reality of Trump’s mix of drug cocktails and his need for supplemental oxygen contradict the narrative that he has conquered the virus. It’s as if he’s kicking down his own thinly constructed reality, and frantically trying to rebuild it again.

But Trump’s narrative works if you already bought in. You can hide, too, in the shared delusion if you are rich enough and White enough not to have to face reality. But for the rest of Americans, coughing, jobless, worried and already heading to the polls in record numbers, the vision isn’t selling.

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Week In Politics: Breaking Down Trump And Biden's Last Presidential Debate – NPR

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With the election fast approaching we discuss the implications of this week’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden.



SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Ten days until the most contentious presidential election in recent memory will be over – maybe. Of course, millions of Americans have already cast their ballots. The two candidates met this week for a debate, which, at times, actually resembled one. We’re joined now by NPR’s Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Debate No. 2 – maybe less to talk about because it was a bit more civil, would you say?

ELVING: A bit more, more than a little. It reminded us quite a bit of a presidential debate or what they were once supposed to be. It probably didn’t change many minds. But for those still undecided, there was some substantive information to be had along with the impressions and the exaggerations and, of course, outright falsehoods. This was probably the last opportunity for either of these two candidates to address a national audience before Election Day. And we should remember, something like 50 million Americans have already voted. And that’s perhaps only a third of the record total of votes we expect to see by the end of this process. Estimates are the turnout rate will be the highest in more than a century.

SIMON: And how are these two candidates going to spend these few precious days until November 3?

ELVING: You know, Joe Biden’s going to be hitting the key swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania. That’s where he is today. He’ll be wearing his mask, holding pandemic-style events like we’ve seen. He also has former President Obama out there. We saw him just this last week. He was in Pennsylvania. And he’s out there on the stump rallying Democrats.

Meanwhile, on the other side, the president is locked into a frenzied round of rallies in his coming days – five this weekend alone. And despite the pandemic, his often mask-less crowds can be expected to pack together to hear him. Just today, I saw a poll from Pew Research that says only 1 Trump voter in 4 thinks that the COVID is even an important voting issue.

So these events showcase the enthusiasm of Trump’s strongest supporters. And he believes they show him as a winner. Here we have this 74-year-old man just recently recovered from COVID. He’s out there performing, drawing on whatever sources of energy he may have, projecting his closing message, a victory over the virus. He says we’ve turned the corner. He says it’s going away. But, Scott, 1,000 Americans died of COVID on the day of that debate. And yesterday, we had 85,000 new cases – a new single-day record.

SIMON: And, Ron, still no new relief bill for those suffering from the pandemic. Do both parties think there’s some kind of political advantage they can gain in not passing something before Election Day?

ELVING: This is less about the presidential campaigns and more about Congress, where there’s a mix of principle and cold-eyed election calculus at work here. Lots of Democrats want a big package of relief, and they think a skinny one is counterproductive. And they want to help cities and states that are going bankrupt right now. Generally, Republicans oppose that. But Republicans, especially in the Senate, are divided over how much to do right now. At least half the Senate Republicans think we have to stop. Let’s look at the numbers. They point out that the federal budget last year just ended with a record $3 trillion – $3 trillion – in the red. That’s a lot of new debt in one year. You know, when Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he called it a major scandal that the federal debt, going all the way back to George Washington up to Ronald Reagan, was approaching $1 trillion. Well, now we have $3 trillion in new debt in just 12 months.

SIMON: Let me follow up on something you said earlier, Ron. Projections, if they’re on target, show this could be the highest turnout in more than a century.

ELVING: That’s right. 1908 was the highest turnout rate. And, of course, since then, the franchise has been greatly expanded. Just a century ago, we added women to the list of people who were qualified to vote in America. And then, of course, about 50 years ago, we added people 18 years old. So it’s a much, much larger group of people. So when we get a turnout rate as high as it was in 1908, it’s going to blow the doors off and be 150 million people.

SIMON: Well, NPR’s Ron Elving, thanks so much for being with us. We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we?

ELVING: Yes, we do. And thank you, Scott.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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'Escape the politics': B.C. clinics headhunt Alberta doctors – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

The move led some doctors to publicly consider leaving Alberta, with the provincial government having identified more than 200 rural doctors reconsidering their practices in April. In some communities, doctors have followed through with the decision, with five Stettler physicians announcing in September their plans to leave Alberta.

Recently proposed rules by Alberta’s regulatory college for doctors would prevent doctors from quitting en masse, requiring physicians to stagger their departures.

Yearwood said the fractured relationship between doctors and the government presents a significant opportunity for other jurisdictions looking to bring in more physicians.

“These doctors are talking about leaving, and I’m in the business of supporting doctors, so if they’re going to leave I would like them to come to us,” Yearwood said. “With the news out of Alberta, with all the disenchanted doctors, I chose to take this approach to get right to the heart of the matter.”

The campaign hasn’t resulted in considerable uptake yet, Yearwood said, but traffic to his company’s website has surged. He said he expects to be in touch with more doctors in the upcoming weeks and months.

Calgary has been B.C.’s main competition in recruiting doctors over the past decade, said Yearwood. He called it the “destination of choice” for many, with factors like a better billing system, lower taxes and lower property costs central to the city’s success. But the tide now seems to be turning.

“We were behind the eight-ball financially for a long time but recent changes have more or less levelled the playing field,” he said.

Though part of the Denning Health Group campaign takes a political angle, Yearwood said the company is also looking to lure doctors with warmer weather and competitive compensation.

The Alberta government has said that despite a spotlight on doctors leaving the province, this year has seen a net gain in physicians in Alberta.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Elizabeth May's comment on NDP's women candidates 'sexist' says women-in-politics advocate – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
As B.C. wraps up its provincial election, federal MP Elizabeth May is attracting heat for a comment condemning the NDP’s women candidates.

On Oct. 23, May posted to Twitter saying, “Be kind. Don’t elect any idealistic climate concerned women to an NDP government to whip their votes and crush their dreams. Vote Green.”

Her comment was a come-back to another user’s tweet encouraging people to vote for the NDP’s Kelly Greene of Richmond-Steveston. The tweet in support of the NDP includes a video of Greene speaking with the NDP’s Bowinn Ma.

Ellen Woodsworth, an advocate for women in politics, says May’s comments are sexist and disappointing.

“You’re saying if a woman is running … that she’s going to automatically do what that party does without having a mind of her own,” said Woodsworth, a former Vancouver city councillor and the current co-chair of the non-partisan Women Transforming Cities.

“I think that’s really sad. I think it’s not doing what we need to do, which is to motivate, encourage and support women to run, and as they decide to run to really be there for them and give them as much support as you have because it’s a really grueling path,” she said.

Woodsworth said she thinks May’s comments are in reference to frustration from some voters and candidates that the NDP has not cancelled the Site C dam project.

“There was strong hope that (the NDP and its candidates) would be speaking out,” she said.

“(But) there’s a lot of good women (running) who’ve got strong records on environmental issues, and some of them are running for the NDP and some run for the Green Party,” Woodsworth added.
 

Ma took to social media and replied to May, calling her comment “crushing.”

“Portraying (us) … as naive, helpless, delicate women who need to be saved from the Legislature is not kind. It’s patronizing and holds women back,” reads Ma’s tweet.

A leader like May, who is the former leader of the Green Party of Canada, needs to be encouraging other women to run, Woodsworth said.

“I think it’s really critical for women in a leadership position, like Elizabeth May … (she) would want to be encouraging women to run for any party and I know that some of the women running … are outstanding.”

Other women, some of them frequent commenters on B.C. politics, also weighed in, calling the comment “awful,” bad modelling of feminism, and pointing out that there’s no B.C. Green candidate running in Richmond-Steveston.

May’s comments come at the bitter end of an election marred by several incidents of sexist and racist comments, including BC Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite’s comments about NDP candidate Bowinn Ma, which made national headlines.

May’s comments, as well as Thornthwaite’s, show that women can enact sexism as well, Woodsworth said.

“I’ve got many scars on my back from being attacked by women,” she said.

“Our society is very sexist, it’s racist, and anybody who goes into the political fray has to try to stand in a very principled place and … recognize how difficult it is for other women, other diverse women, to put themselves forward and to run and give them that support,” Woodsworth added.

“If you disagree with them politically, fine, state your disagreements, but don’t undermine them.”

However, at least one person commented on Twitter in apparent agreement with May, saying that they were disappointed with what they see as Ma’s lack of criticism on the Site C dam project.

Women Transforming Cities is trying to encourage more women to run for municipal government in B.C.’s 2022 municipal elections.

Only 16 per cent of mayors in Canada are women, Woodsworth said, and of elected councillors, women only make up 25 per cent.

“We encourage women and encourage diverse women to think seriously about coming forward and running for political office,” Woodsworth said.

In a recent tweet, the organization encouraged women to start planning their run several years in advance.

“Think you want to run for school board, council, or mayor in your city in B.C. in 2022? Start now. Talk about it with your friends and family. Make a plan. Now is a great time,” it reads.

CTV News Vancouver has reached out to May for comment.

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