Biden’s Pitch: I Feel Your Pain

Out of all of our political traditions, its adherence to political conventions is one that may be one of the most puzzling. Voters (instead of party bosses) have been choosing the Democratic Party’s nominees for president ever since 1972. Delegates nowadays mainly gather at them to hobnob, cheer during speeches, and cast the pre-determined votes for the nominee during the roll-call. Some in the party argued even before the pandemic that they are an outdated relic. But they still retain some advantages, the most important of which is that they preview the party’s messaging for the general election.

Joe Biden’s remarks after accepting the nomination were somber & serious. He described an America battered by the coronavirus pandemic, with a president at the helm who insists the virus will magically disappear. On the economy, Biden said we’re facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with widespread unemployment & small businesses everywhere shuttering their doors.

Other than calling for investing in rapid coronavirus testing & a national mask mandate, Biden’s speech was light on policy details. But maybe it didn’t need a lot of heavy policy speak to be effective. Halfway through, Biden did something the current president has never done during this pandemic that’s killed more than 170,000 people: he acknowledged our grief, and our pain.

I have some idea how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep black hole that opens up in the middle of your chest and you feel like you’re being sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes. But I’ve learned two things:   First, your loved one may have left this earth, but they’ll never leave your heart.  They’ll always be with you.  You’ll always hear them.  And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose.

Biden comes from the school of old-fashioned, retail politicking (which is impossible to do now given the pandemic). This speech, however, was the rhetorical version of it – a way to connect with voters and say, “I feel your pain.” Compared to the lies & bombast of the current occupant at the White House, that in itself may be what people tuning in needed to hear. I hope this contrast will make a difference.

Countdown to Election Day: 71

This Week’s WTF Moment in Congress 

Given the U.S. Postal Service crisis, Congress has come back in fits & spurts. Last Friday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a virtual hearing on the Postal Service, at which Sen. Tom Carper had some trouble unmuting himself on Zoom…

Reading List 

FDA, under pressure from Trump, expected to authorize blood plasma as Covid-19 treatment (Stat)

The president is expected to announce tonight that the FDA will be approving blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a therapeutic treatment for the disease, despite concerns among officials at the National Institutes of Health that more data is needed before it can be approved. I’m so surprised that this president who treats science like a joke is rushing to approve something that needs more scientific evidence that it works…

Trump campaign releases list of Republican convention speakers (Axios)

This looks like a horrible episode of “The Apprentice.”

‘Not just a low-wage recession’: White-collar workers feel coronavirus squeeze (Politico)

The economic damage from the coronavirus continues to spread alongside the virus.

Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful (Medium)

Good article that explains why so many of us are feeling burnout.

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