Monday, April 13, 2020


The president is going to regard this as a dominance challenge:
States on the country's East and West coasts are forming their own regional pacts to work together on how to reopen from the stay-at-home orders each has issued to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The first such group to be announced came Monday on the East Coast. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts each plan to name a public health and economic official to a regional working group. The chief of staff of the governor of each state also will be a part of the group, which will begin work immediately to design a reopening plan.

Later on Monday, the West Coast states of California, Washington and Oregon also announced they are joining forces in a plan to begin incremental release of stay-at-home orders. Governors of the three states will collaborate on their approach to getting back to business in "in a safe, strategic, responsible way," as announced by California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The West Coast group is even planning to encroach on a Very Special Epsiode of Trump's reality show.
At noon Pacific Time on Tuesday, California will announce what Newsom called a "bottom-up" plan on Tuesday for the easing of restrictions in the state and "targeted interventions" to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That briefing will come hours before Trump is expected to outline the members of his "Opening our Country" task force, setting up a possible clash between the caution the Western-state governors have exhibited so far and Trump's desire to move quickly to reopen the country.
Trump's task force is this set of geniuses:

When these governors put up resistance to Trump's go-go plans, do you think he'll just shrug and say, "Oh well, I guess good people can disagree on reopening the economy"? That's unimaginable. He clearly regards this as a direct challenge to his masculinity.

We're regularly told that Trump has no legal right to decide when the economy reopens. We're told it's up to the states. But Trump can become even more vindictive than he has been regarding medical equipment, economic relief funds, and unrelated issues. I can easily imagine the feds not offering California a dime after the next bad wildfire. I can imagine deliberate delays on stimulus checks to residents of the affected states. I'm probably failing to imagine just how vindictive the president can be, and in what ways.

I suppose he can't treat these states much worse than he's already treating them. I suppose there are legal barriers to some of what he'd like to do -- although with the current attorney general and federal bench, I think what Trump can get away with is limited only by his own imagination.

But he won't take this lightly, and he'll never forget this.


UPDATE: At National Review, John "Torture Memos" Yoo refuses to endorse Trump's threatened power grab, arguing that the president can't force the economy to open because our system gives police power to the states. Yoo, however, writes this.
Trump could use the money appropriated by Congress to respond to the pandemic as a reward for states that end their lockdowns in May. He could send disaster relief funds, made available by the Stafford Act in time of emergency, or allocate more medical equipment and protection supplies to these states, perhaps on the ground that they risk greater harm from the virus in exchange for opening up.
Yup, that's what's coming -- South Dakota, for instance, where the governor refuses pushes hydroxychloroquine and to issue a statewide stay-at-home order even after a large meat-processing plant had to shut down in response to more than 300 cases of covid-19, will get the big bucks, and the Northeast and West Coast won't.

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