We begin today’s roundup with Jane Mayer’s deep dive at The New Yorker on the big money behind the Big Lie about the 2020 election:
Although the Arizona audit may appear to be the product of local extremists, it has been fed by sophisticated, well-funded national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country’s wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives. Dark-money organizations, sustained by undisclosed donors, have relentlessly promoted the myth that American elections are rife with fraud, and, according to leaked records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported, and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to vote.
On the pandemic front, Paul Krugman at The New York Times looks at what’s happening in Florida:
But Florida is in the grip of a Covid surge worse than it experienced before the vaccines. More than 10,000 Floridians are hospitalized, around 10 times the number in New York, which has about as many residents; an average of 58 Florida residents are dying each day, compared with six in New York. And the Florida hospital system is under extreme stress.
There’s no mystery about why this has happened. At every stage of the pandemic DeSantis has effectively acted as an ally of the coronavirus, for example by issuing orders blocking businesses from requiring that their patrons show proof of vaccination and schools from requiring masks. More generally, he has helped create a state of mind in which vaccine skepticism flourishes and refusal to take precautions is normalized.
More on Florida from John Nichols at The Nation:
US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from South Florida, says Floridians are going through “death by DeSantis.”
DeSantis is not changing course, however. Instead, he is peddling explanations for his inaction that defy even his own twisted logic.
Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post look at Congress’s failure to prepare for a future pandemic:
Biden’s preparedness-funding request got cut completely from the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Public health experts then hoped it would be shifted into the reconciliation bill that Democrats plan to pass with a party-line vote. Senate aides have told me, however, that while there is a line item in the reconciliation package for pandemic preparedness funding, it has been shaved down — from Biden’s original $30 billion to about $5 billion.
Remember Sarah Palin? Dana Milbank provides his take on her possible Senate run:
She floated a Senate challenge to Murkowski last fall, and nobody much noticed. Will they care now? Doubtful. Palin herself has acknowledged that people think of her as a “has been.” And there’s a specific reason for that. When she burst onto the national stage 13 summers ago, she was on the cutting edge of crazy. But the problem with launching a crazy contest is that, once started, it never ends: There’s always somebody willing to take things up a notch.
Trump supplanted Palin, and now there are 147 insurrectionist Republicans in Congress and countless would-be authoritarians in state governments. QAnon’s Marjorie Taylor Greene holds pole position today, and Palin is back in the pack. What was crazy in ’08 is now the Republican norm.
On a final note, The Washington Post editorial board takes on the eviction moratorium controversy:
Democrats are pointing fingers: progressive lawmakers have criticized conservative Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), while Ms. Pelosi blames the Biden administration and Republicans. In truth, this is not the administration’s fault, nor is it Congress’s. Washington has provided money. States are just failing to distribute it, a bureaucratic disaster that will squeeze landlords and commit perhaps millions of renters to extreme financial hardship, even homelessness.