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Podcast | Race to the White House: Reopening the US economy

V Nivedita | Updated on May 09, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

Background

* Donald Trump's plan to ease lockdown

* Trump's approval rating slips

* Joe Biden addresses assault allegation

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US President Donald Trump wants to reopen businesses, and it looks like his strategy for this is not having a plan in place. On Sunday, he went on Fox News and attended a virtual townhall, named America together, Returning to Work. In it, he discussed the need to get the economy rolling again, even while admitting that easing the lockdowns could increase the number of cases. He told employers and workers not to worry as more help was coming.

On Tuesday, he stressed that states should reopen, moving from his cautious tone on Sunday. He even presented the easing of the ‘stay at home’ orders as fait accompli. He is even considering moving to the phase-2 of his Covid-19 response plan, which includes disbanding the White House coronavirus task force.

It was the first time that he clearly laid out his plan. “Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes,” Trump said. “But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.” He said this, even as 1.2 million people were infected in the US and
more than 76,000 killed so far. 33 million people filed for unemployment benefits since the crisis began.

Even while Trump wanted to reopen the economy, AP reports that his administration shelved a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which provided step-by-step advice to local leaders about when and how they should reopen their business. The CDC’s report also included details about reopening public places, mass transit, day care centers, religious places and restaurants.

After weeks of flip flopping on who is supposed to handle the crisis – the federal govt or the states – and now, Trump now seems to have left the States on their own. Following Trump’s cue, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Montana have lifted restrictions, while Texas, Maine and Illinois have lifted restrictions partially.

But states jumping the gun on reopening. Business Insider India reports that not one state meets Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security's guidelines for reopening. The guidelines said that the number of cases should have declined for at least 14 days, states must have enough capacity to test at least those with Covid-19 symptoms and their contacts and there should be enough PPEs for health workers. The report quotes Cailtin Rivers, a researcher at the university, who, in her personal capacity, told the House Appropriation Committee that
not one state meets these criteria.

So, how are Trump’s approval ratings? 10 polls show that more people disapprove of Trump’s actions, but a two week tracking poll by Gallup
gives 50 per cent approval to Trump, while 48 per cent disapprove. But, this not good news, as it is a fall of 10 percentage points from
last month. Overall, the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Trump's disapproval ratings is 6 points higher than his approval rating.

Joe Biden was finally asked about the sexual assault allegations, and he denied them vehemently. In an interview to Megan Kelly, the
accuser, Tara Reid hopes that Biden will quit. A Morning Consult poll found 61 per cent of the democratic party's voters still believed that Biden should be the party's nominee, while 26 per cent wanted the party to change the candidate.

There is an age divide here. In the morning Consult poll, 40 per cent of those under 45 want Biden removed. 15 per cent of those about 45
want the same. In a similar poll conducted by morning Consult/Politico, A Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted May 2-3 posed the same
question to voters but only provided details of Reade’s allegation. It found 28 percent of Democrats said Biden should be replaced atop the
ticket, within the sample’s margin of error of 3 percentage points.

According to a Monmouth university poll, 37 per cent say the allegation is "probably true", while 32 per cent say it's probably not true. 31 per cent have no opinion. It also shows that even among the group that says the accusation against Biden is probably true, he still wins 1 in 3 of
their votes. This shows that two of the three people do not support Biden.

Published on May 08, 2020
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