Coronavirus cases rise as vaccination accelerates

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John Authers/Bloomberg:

This Recovery Is Special, Whatever Bond Yields Say

The importance of economic data can sometimes be exaggerated amid a near-constant flood of releases. That doesn’t apply in this case.

One problem with the over-excitability about daily data is that people might not realize when something astonishing really has happened. So, to be clear: this week’s data from the U.S. are something very special. We knew a recovery was going on, and we could guess that repeated stimulus would juice it a bit, but the data confirm an amazing rally.

Perhaps most dramatic is retail sales. The following chart from Bespoke Investment Group shows U.S. total retail sales, seasonally adjusted, going back to 1992. What happened during last year’s shutdown was unprecedented. But the extent of the rebound since then is even more remarkable. Spending has done far more than return to its prior trend. And it has done this having already fully recovered far more quickly than it did after the previous recession:

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Isabella Grullón Paz/NY Times:

How Democrats Who Lost in Deep-Red Places Might Have Helped Biden

A study by a liberal group found a reverse coattails effect in 2020: Down-ballot candidates may have helped elect President Biden, rather than the other way around.

The president, who eked out a 12,000-vote victory in Georgia, received a small but potentially important boost from the state’s conservative areas if at least one local Democrat was running in a down-ballot race, according to a new study by Run for Something, an organization dedicated to recruiting and supporting liberal candidates. That finding extended even to the state’s reddest districts.

The phenomenon appeared to hold nationally. Mr. Biden performed 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent better last year in conservative state legislative districts where Democrats put forward challengers than in districts where Republicans ran unopposed, the study found. The analysis was carried out using available precinct-level data in eight states — Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Kansas and New York — and controlling for factors like education to create a comparison between contested and uncontested districts.

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USA Today Editorial Board:

President Biden should name Vice President Harris to launch and lead a police reform drive ASAP

Our View: Biden owes Black voters for his job and Senate control. It’s past time to ramp up police reform and make it a priority. Lives depend on it.

While he promised a national policing oversight commission during his campaign, Biden indicated this week through domestic policy adviser Susan Rice that the commission will not happen. Nor did police reform come up at his first news conference, not even as one of his secondary priorities, behind curbing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and reviving the economy. And though Biden has signed nearly 40 executive orders, none addresses policing problems.

Are these signs that Biden has abandoned some of his most loyal supporters in their time of great need?

Not necessarily. The decision on the commission arose from a consensus among civil rights groups and the administration that it would be better to try to pass an actual reform law than to talk more about what reforms are needed.  And so the focus has shifted to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has passed the House and now awaits Senate action, or inaction.

Noah Smith/substack:

Republicans and the Great Replacement

The idea that they’re being “replaced” is now part of the core GOP ideology

And in a House subcommittee meeting on April 14th, Representative Scott Perry of Florida said the following:

“For many Americans,” Perry began, “what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.”

So what started as a fringe neo-Nazi chant is now a mainstream idea in the GOP. Given the taboo around the idea, it’s probably even more common among Republican voters themselves; Tucker is a savvy operator who knows how to speak to his audience’s fears, so if he feels confident enough to support the idea despite the taboo, you can bet a lot of Republicans are worried about the exact same thing.

So how did we get here? Why is the Great Replacement now increasingly core to the conservative worldview? First, it makes sense to ask who or what the folks on the right think is actually being replaced.

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Zack Stanton/Politico:

The GOP-Big Business Divorce Goes Deeper Than You Think

It’s not just about voting rights; it’s that businesses and the Republican Party increasingly care about incompatible things, says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.

The recent spat between leading Republicans and major corporations like Delta, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball criticizing Georgia’s restrictive new voting law isn’t just about voting rights; it’s the sign of a deeper breakup that has been years in the making. For anyone confused about how Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell could admonish big companies to “stay out of politics,” after building a career on corporate donations and business-friendly policies, this deeper breakup tells the story.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a legendary business professor and associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has watched this split grow in recent years, and has heard it from CEOs he knows and works with. What the GOP cares about and what major businesses care about are, increasingly incompatible, he says.

“The political desire to use wedge issues to divide—which used to be fringe in the GOP—has become mainstream,” Sonnenfeld says. “That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.”

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Rebecca Sun/Hollywood Reporter:

Asian Americans in Media: “You Can’t Extricate the Humanity of Yourself From the Journalist”

Elaine Quijano was on call for CBSN the night of March 16 when word of the shootings in Atlanta broke. Coincidentally, she was in the middle of a pre-interview for an update to the streaming news network’s Asian Americans: Battling Bias, a 30-minute special that first aired last October and was expanded to an hourlong version March 31.

“My producer said, ‘There’s been a shooting,’ and I was relaying information to the activist [I was interviewing] in real time,” the anchor tells The Hollywood Reporter. “There was a silence on the other line, and then I heard her start to cry.”

Over the next few days, Quijano had panels to moderate and interviews to conduct and a nightly political news show, Red and Blue, to anchor, leaving her little opportunity to process for herself the killing spree that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women. “I was numb. I’m tired on so many levels because it’s a lot to confront,” she says. “There was no time to reflect on this in a detached way.”

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Matthew Sittman/TNR:

Whither the Religious Left?

Left-leaning people of faith will never be reliable allies of the Democratic Party, nor will the party reliably offer them a comfortable home. But their fortunes are linked.

Every so often, the “religious left” breaks through as a topic of fervent interest, a story that draws attention from beyond the reporters dedicated to the religion beat. Usually this has something to do with the fortunes of the Democratic Party, most of all the performance of its presidential candidates. In celebration, the deft use of religion receives a fair share of the credit—proof that talking convincingly about God can help overcome the party’s reputation as a bastion of out-of-touch coastal elites. In defeat, some blame inevitably falls on a supposed lack of faith-based appeals in campaign messaging, or a failure to make religious outreach a higher strategic priority—devoting resources to sway Midwestern Catholics, suburban evangelicals, or “moderates” for whom churchgoing is a comforting signifier.

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