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Where’s Uncle Joe? (He Needs To Get on Zoom)

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Touré have a few requests for the presumptive nominee and a whole lot of feelings about who loses when America “opens for business.”

  • Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to keep slaughterhouses open –– even as outbreaks threaten their workers, and their communities.

  • Biden’s ongoing, conspicuous absence from the COVID conversation is a missed opportunity. What if he were to brief us too, as a counterpoint to Trump’s unhinged infomercials?

  • On our wishlist? Talk about testing, SBA loans and an end to the war on drugs.

First things first: Touré wants to button up last week's spirited conversation.

He’s been insisting for weeks that VP picks don’t move the needle in presidential elections. Danielle and last episode’s guest pundit, political science professor Christina Greer, disagree.

Turns out the Twittersphere did too — democracy-ish listeners felt he was “as wrong as two left shoes,” says Touré. But this week he saw a story in the New York Times that backs him up: VP selections don’t sway general elections in any meaningful way.

“I’ll just leave it right here,” he says.

Episode Highlights –– What Black Voters Need

The racism of reopening

The rush to reopen America is “steeped in so much racism,” says Danielle, “when we are talking about the fact that a majority of the people that are dying from COVID-19 are Black and Brown.”

It’s especially apparent in Trump’s mandate that meatpacking plants stay open despite alarming outbreaks among employees.

“Who do you think works in those factories?” asks Danielle. “We know who is doing that dirty work –– who has always been doing America's dirty work. Black and Brown people.

“Again, he's putting our lives at risk, saying that we are expendable in order to literally feed the rich.”

Meanwhile, Touré is still watching the White House’s coronavirus briefings, AKA the daily presidential infomercial.

“I continue to love the fool that Trump makes of himself, when he runs through his greatest hits,” he says. “We had the greatest economy of all time, we blockaded China. We're testing more people than anywhere, ever. All the governors love me … It's not actually a briefing of information. It's a rundown of lies. It's a campaign rally.”

Biden’s Silence Is Deafening

Aside from a high-profile endorsement by Hillary Clinton this week, Joe Biden has been relatively –– well, “blatantly silent,” says Danielle.

In light of Trump’s spectacular mishandling of a historic crisis, the silence is deafening.

“It seems fairly obvious to me that Biden should get in the game,” says Touré, who thinks the former veep should schedule pressers right before or after Trump’s daily COVID briefing –– ”to say, here's actual information about what's going on.”

He doesn’t have to call out Trump’s incessant lying, he adds. “That's for news reporters.”

Biden might not be able to do much to directly combat COVID, but he could remind us what real leadership looks like. He could invite reporters to Zoom in and show us how a real president responds to questions. He could bring on actual experts to explain the latest news.

“Chuck Todd is not the only person who can book a doctor,” says Touré.

Here’s the role Biden should play: ‘empathetic chief’

Danielle agrees that Biden’s conspicuous absence is a missed opportunity.

“It seems, Touré, so goddamn simple,” she says. “Knowing that the current administration does not care about the underserved or the economically vulnerable, let Joe Biden act as our president. Let him be that empathetic chief.”