MetroFocus: October 19, 2020

METROFOCUS FRONT PAGE FORECAST

A look at the news making local and national headlines this week and how it impacts the tri-state. Weighing in this week is our veteran panel featuring political commentator and CUNY Professor J.C. Polanco, noted author, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University and a senior scholar at their Eagleton Institute of Politics, Dr. Saladin Ambar and NY Daily News editorial board member, Laura Nahmias.

 

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METRO FOCUS.'

THIS IS OUR WEEKLY FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

YOU KNOW THE ROUTINE.

EVERY MONDAY NIGHT WE'RE BRINGING YOU A LOOK AHEAD AT NEWS MAKING LOCAL AND NATIONAL HEADLINES THIS WEEK AND HOW IT COULD IMPACT THE TRI-STATE.

SO TONIGHT WE'RE GOING TO START WITH NEW YORK'S CORONAVIRUS CRACKDOWN AS WELL AS THE STATE'S PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE A POTENTIAL COVID-19 VACCINE.

WE'LL ALSO PREVIEW THE FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AND WHETHER THIS WEEK'S SHOWDOWN COULD BE PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAST STAND.

LET'S GET STARTED WITH OUR PANEL GUESTS.

BACK WITH US TONIGHT WE HAVE ONCE AGAIN A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK EDITORIAL BOARD.

WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY AN AUTHOR AND ASOESH YAS PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE SCHOOL'S EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS.

WELCOME, PROFESSOR.

HI, JENNA.

HOW ARE YOU?

AND OF COURSE WE ARE WELCOMING AGAIN A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ATTORNEY, AND MEMBER FACULTY MEMBER.

ALSO WAS PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

SO EXCITED TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY.

THANK YOU.

SO LET'S START.

YOU WERE RECENTLY MARRIED IN THE AGE OF COVID I GUESS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE CALLING IT.

AND THERE'S BEEN A LOT MADE ABOUT THIS THING IN WILLIAMSBURG THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO INCLUDE 10,000 PEOPLE.

JUST THE NOTION OF THAT SEEMS TO FLOUT EVERYTHING WE'VE BEEN HEARING FROM HEALTH EXPERTS ABOUT THIS PANDEMIC.

WHAT IS IT THAT WE KNOW IN TERMS OF WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN AND WHAT WE UNDERSTAND AT LEAST THE COMPROMISE THAT'S BEEN REACHED?

WELL, ESSENTIALLY, WEDDINGS IN MANY COMMUNITIES REGARDLESS OF FAITH OR ETHNICITY CAN TEND TO BE HUGE AFFAIRS.

THIS PLANNED WEDDING WAS FOR THE SON OR GRANDSON OF AN IMPORTANT RELIGIOUS FIGURE IN BROOKLYN'S ORTHODOX COMMUNITY AND THERE WERE RUMORS THAT REACHED THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF THE SIZE OF THE WEDDING.

WE DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS ACTUALLY 10,000 PEOPLE BUT IT WAS CERTAINLY SUPPOSED TO BE LARGE AND PEOPLE WERE INTENDING TO TRAVEL IN ORDER TO ATTEND.

IT HAD ALL THE POTENTIAL HALLMARKS OF A SUPER SPREADER EVENT.

THE WEDDING HAS BEEN SCALED BACK TO BECOME A MORE INTIMATE CEREMONY THAT NO LONGER VIOLATES THE STATE'S GUIDELINES FOR MASS GATHERINGS AND TO REDUCE THE RISK THAT IT COULD TURN INTO SOME KIND OF MASS, CONTAGIOUS EVENT.

THAT IS REQUIRING PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO ABIDE BY RULES THAT ARE TO HELP PROTECT EVERYONE.

SCIENTISTS KNOW FOR A FACT AT THIS POINT THAT THESE LARGE, MASS GATHERINGS ESPECIALLY IF PEOPLE ARE INDOORS AND NOT WEARING MASKS, OR EVEN IF THEY ARE WEARING MASKS, ARE IN VERY CLOSE CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER INDOORS, THAT CAN SPREAD THE VIRUS.

IT CAN SPREAD THE VIRUS VERY RAPIDLY AND IS A UNIQUE DANGER.

I'D LIKE YOUR TAKE -- AGAIN, THIS ISN'T JUST ABOUT THE WEDDING BUT IT IS HAPPENING IN A SITUATION WHERE WE'RE SEEING SPIKES PARTICULARLY IN SOME OF THE HASIDIC ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES IN NEW YORK STATE AND WHAT THAT SAYS PERHAPS ABOUT WHERE SOME PEOPLE ARE FEELING WITH THIS ONGOING PANDEMIC THAT JUST SEEMS TO BE DRAGGING ON AND ON.

WE'VE BEEN UNDER THIS PANDEMIC FOR SEVEN MONTHS.

WE HAVE HAD THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DEATHS.

THERE HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS OF COMPANIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE NOW BELLY UNDER AND MANY UNEMPLOYED.

AND THE GOVERNOR AND OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE A TOUGH TIME BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO BALANCE CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTIES WITH PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND THIS IS SOMETHING AS YOU HEARD FROM LAURA ISN'T INTENDED TO BE PUNITIVE BUT DOES HAVE THE APPEARANCE IT IS WHEN YOU ARE TARGETING SPECIFICALLY ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE AND THERE SEEMS TO BE A DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE RIGHT OF EVERYONE BEING SAFE AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS.

I THINK THIS COULD HAVE BEEN DONE IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY IF IT WASN'T DONE IN SUCH AN ABRASIVE MANNER.

WE WOULD HAVE HAD PEOPLE ON THE GROUND COME TO AN AGREEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING AS TO WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THESE EVENTS NOT TO HAPPEN.

I ALSO THINK THAT WE'RE IN A TOUGH SITUATION BECAUSE, AND I'M GOING TO TELL YOU I KNOW A LOT OF FOLKS MAY DISAGREE WITH ME ON THIS.

AS SUPPORTIVE AS I AM FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND AND I SUPPORT SOCIAL JUSTICE AND BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER WE SAW MANY GATHERINGS OF THOUSANDS AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT WERE CLEARLY SUPER SPREADER EVENTS BUT SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN TREATED DIFFERENTLY BY OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS.

THIS IS SOMETHING I HEAR A LOT FROM PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY THAT IS BEING TARGETED FOR THE SPIKE MENTIONED A LITTLE EARLIER.

WE HAVE TO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING.

ALSO A REALIZATION THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE A VERY DIFFERENT WAY OF HANDLING OUR FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO PRACTICE THEIR RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND BALANCING THE CONSTITUTION AT THE SAME TIME.

THIS ISN'T EASY.

OF COURSE IT'S DIFFICULT ON SO MANY LEVELS.

PROFESSOR, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THESE SORT OF PERHAPS CONFLICTING MESSAGES THAT ARE COMING FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK J.C.

IS RIGHT THAT THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AS WELL AS THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP, THOSE ARE SACRED RIGHTS.

OF COURSE THEY'RE NOT ABSOLUTE RIGHTS.

I THINK THE ONLY REAL DIFFERENCE AND I HEAR WHAT HE IS SAYING ABOUT THE PROTESTS THIS SUMMER, IS THAT THOSE WERE OUTDOOR EVENTS AND OBVIOUSLY MANY OF THOSE PEOPLE IF YOU GO BACK TO THE FOOTAGE WERE MASKED UP.

BUT HOLDING AN EVENT WITH FOUR, FIVE, 10,000 PEOPLE INDOORS IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN HOLDING ONE OUTDOORS.

SO I THINK WE KNOW THAT AS WELL THAT THE INDOOR PHENOMENON IS AN ADDITIONAL PROBLEM.

BUT EVERYONE, REALLY, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THEY'RE PROTESTING, WHICH IS A RIGHT, OR WORSHIPING, OR HAVING A WEDDING, EVERYONE REALLY NEEDS TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES.

AND AGAIN, IT IS A BALANCING ACT.

I'M NOT SURE THAT WE'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, MUCH EVIDENCE THAT THOSE PROTESTS ACTUALLY LED TO SPIKES RESULTS IN TERMS OF POSITIVE CASES.

LAST I HEARD THAT WAS NOT THE CASE.

THERE WAS REALLY VERY LITTLE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE AN INCREASE OR DRAMATIC RISE IN COVID RELATED INCIDENTS OR RELATED TO THOSE PROTESTS.

BE THAT AS IT MAY THE POINT IS WELL TAKEN.

ALL OF US, THOSE OF US WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTEST, WHO WANT TO PROTEST, AS WELL AS PEOPLE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO A WEDDING AND RIGHT TO WORSHIP, WE'VE ALL GOT TO IN EFFECT PUT COMMUNITY FIRST AND THE WELL BEING AND SAFETY OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS AT THE FORE.

I THINK THAT IS THE CRITICAL POINT.

WELL, WE'VE SEEN, ALSO, I SHOULD SAY, IN ADDITION TO THE PROTESTS WE SAW OVER THE SUMMER, THIS ONE POTENTIAL LET'S SAY INCIDENT, THERE'S ALSO BEEN OTHER INCIDENTS THAT HAVE ALSO CREPT UP IN THE CITY.

FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE CAUGHT PARTYING AT A BANQUET HALL I BELIEVE IN QUEENS.

I JUST WANT TO BE CLEAR THERE ARE SEVERAL DIFFERENT INSTANCES OF PEOPLE READY TO BREAK THE RULES BECAUSE QUARANTINE FATIGUE HAS DEFINITELY SET IN.

I WANT TO TURN THE CONVERSATION A LITTLE BIT TOWARD THE WAY AT LEAST NEW YORK HAS RESPONDED.

GOVERNOR CUOMO RIGHT NOW IS DEFINITELY IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES PROMOTING HIS BOOK 'AMERICAN CRISIS' TALKING ABOUT THE GREAT STEPS THAT NEW YORK TOOK.

AND I THINK WE AT LEAST ON THIS PANEL CAN AGREE THAT, YOU KNOW, WHAT NEW YORK WAS FACING AT THE BEGINNING ESPECIALLY WITH SO LITTLE UNDERSTOOD WAS DIFFICULT.

THE GOVERNOR WAS GIVEN A LOT OF EMERGENCY, UNLIMITED POWERS.

AND SOME POLITICIANS ARE NOW SAYING IT IS TIME TO TAKE THOSE BACK.

FIRST, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU CAN LAY OUT EXACTLY WHAT THOSE EMERGENCY POWERS HAVE BEEN AND WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING OR WHY THEY'RE SAYING WE NEED TO PULL BACK ON WHAT HE IS ABLE TO DETERMINE FOR THE ENTIRE STATE?

WELL, BACK IN I THINK IT WAS EITHER LATE FEBRUARY OR EARLY MARCH THE GOVERNOR -- THE LEGISLATURE PASSED LEGISLATION THAT WAS VERY BROADLY WORDED THAT ESSENTIALLY ALLOWED THE GOVERNOR TO TAKE ANY ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE THE HOLLYWOOD HEALTH AND TO ADDRESS THE COVID CRISIS, WHICH GAVE HIM A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF LEEWAY TO DO BASICALLY ANYTHING AS LONG AS HE COULD JUSTIFY THAT IT WAS IN THE INTERESTS OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

HIS ARGUMENT BEING THAT HE COULDN'T ASK THE LEGISLATURE TO COME BACK AND UNDO OR CHANGE A LAW OR WRITE A NEW LAW EVERY TIME HE -- A NEW SITUATION CROPPED UP THAT REQUIRED HIM TO ACT IN WAYS THAT HE WASN'T SURE HE WAS ABLE TO DO BY EXECUTIVE ORDER.

AND THE -- HIS POWERS -- I MEAN, THE LONGER THAT THIS CRISIS GOES ON AND THE LONGER HE HAS THIS ALMOST UNLIMITED AUTHORITY IN A STATE WHERE THE EXECUTIVE ALREADY HAS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF POWER, THE MORE PEOPLE QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT HE'S OVER STEPPING.

IT ALSO RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT, GIVEN AT LEAST IN -- AFTER THE INITIAL, EARLY SPIKE, AND SO MUCH DEATH IN NEW YORK AND MISSTEPS AND DELAYS IN LOCKDOWN, RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT CUOMO HAVING THOSE POWERS ESSENTIALLY AN AUTHORITARIAN POWER HELPED NEW YORK RESPOND TO THE CRISIS MORE SWIFTLY THAN IN OTHER STATES.

THAT IS A REALLY DIFFICULT QUESTION IN A DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, BUT WE'VE SEEN PLACES WITH MORE AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS.

MAYBE BETTER ABLE TO CONTROL THE CRISIS BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY HAVE MORE POWER TO CONTROL PEOPLE.

YOU HAVE TO WONDER WHETHER OR NOT THAT PLAYED A ROLE IN NEW YORK'S ABILITY TO RESPOND AND ADAPT QUICKLY FOR THOSE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF THE CRISIS.

J.C., YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW NOT ONLY HAS THE GOVERNOR HANDLED THIS, BUT IS IT TIME TO PULL BACK, EVEN THOUGH EXPERTS ARE NOW WARNING THAT WE COULD BE HEADED INTO A VERY DIRE, DARK TIME WITH THIS PANDEMIC?

LOOK, I THINK WHEN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS DECIDED THIS IT WAS WELL INTENTIONED.

HAVING TO COME BACK TO ALBANY AND MAKE THE DECISIONS ON THE FLY IS VERY DIFFICULT.

I UNDERSTAND.

THE PROBLEM IS WE HAVE CREATED AND THIS IS NOT TO SPEAK TO GOVERNOR CUOMO'S INTENTIONS AT ALL BUT THE PROBLEM IS WE'VE CREATED A BENEVOLENT DICTATOR MODEL.

MY PARENTS ARE FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND IN 184 H WHEN THEY CREATED THE CONSTITUTION ONE GUY WANTED ARTICLE 210 THAT SAID THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY CAN ACT UNILATERALLY IN TIMES OF WAR.

YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.

WE WERE ALWAYS IN TIMES OF WAR.

HE GOT TO ACT UNILATERALLY ALWAYS.

THAT IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE WHEN WE HAVE A DEMOCRACY WHEN WE ARE USED TO HAVING A SAY TO SEE OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS NO LONGER HAVE A SAY BECAUSE OF THIS EMERGENCY POWERS THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS.

I THINK IT'S TIME FOR US TO AT LEAST BEGIN THE QUESTION AS TO WHEN TO CURTAIL THOSE POWERS, WHEN DO WE HOLD THEM BACK A LITTLE, WHEN SHOULD WE REVISIT, BECAUSE RIGHT NOW IT BECOMES INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS FOR NEW YORKERS.

WE HAVE ONE PERSON DECIDING THE FATE OF OUR BUSINESSES.

WE HAVE ONE PERSON DECIDING THE FATE OF WHEN WE GO TO THE GYM, WHEN WE GO TO THE BAR, WHEN WE GO TO THE THEATER.

THAT TAKES A TOLL ESPECIALLY OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK CITY WHERE THERE ARE PLACES WHERE COVID ISN'T AS MUCH OF AN ISSUE.

AND IT JUST DOESN'T SEND THE RIGHT MESSAGE FOR OUR DEMOCRACY.

IT MAY BE TIME FOR US TO RE-EVALUATE WHETHER IT MAKES SENSE.

ANOTHER THING TO LET YOUR VIEWERS KNOW, I AM A CENTRIST AND I THINK MOST OF YOUR VIEWERS KNOW THIS FROM MY TIME HERE, BUT THERE IS A PROBLEM WHEN YOU HAVE ONE PARTY RULE DECIDING ON THIS ISSUE SO UNILATERALLY.

WE NEED TO HAVE A MORE DIVERSE METHOD OF GETTING TO THESE DECISIONS.

IT SEEMS THAT THIS DECISION TO GIVE THIS KIND OF POWER WAS DONE BY ONE PARTY HAVING FULL CONTROL AND GIVING IT TO ONE PERSON TO HAVE FULL CONTROL.

THIS IS DANGEROUS FOR THE SYSTEM.

IT DOESN'T SPEAK TO THE INTENTIONS OF THE GOVERNOR OR THE ELECTED OFFICIALS BUT AS A MODEL JUST PIGGYBACKING OFF WHAT LAUREL WAS SAYING IT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THIS IS A BENEVOLENT DICTATOR MODEL.

IS THIS DANGEROUS TO THE SYSTEM TO HAVE THIS BENEVOLENT DICTATOR AS J.C. SO ELOQUENTLY PUT IT?

RIGHT.

WELL, IT IS.

FRANKLY.

YOU KNOW, NEW YORK'S GOVERNORSHIP GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE CONSTITUTION WAS REALLY THE MODEL FOR THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY.

HAMILTON WROTE ABOUT NEW YORK'S GOVERNOR AND COMPARED IT FAVORABLY WITH THE PROPOSED PRESIDENCY.

WE'VE ALWAYS HAD A STRONG GOVERNORSHIP IN NEW YORK.

NEW JERSEY, MASSACHUSETTS.

NEW YORK'S GOVERNORSHIP IS REALLY THE PREEMINENT MODEL OF POWER.

AND THE CHALLENGE IS THAT WHEN WE'RE IN A MOMENT OF EMERGENCY, SUCH AS WE ARE NOW, MANY OF THE PEOPLE WANT THAT KIND OF POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE EXECUTIVE.

BUT WE FALL INTO A DIFFICULTY BECAUSE, GUESS WHAT?

IT'S COVID-19 TODAY BUT ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE OUT OF A PANDEMIC CRISIS?

IT MAY NOT BE THIS ONE.

RIGHT?

WE DEALT WITH SARS.

WE DEALT WITH H1N1, A NUMBER OF PANDEMIC POTENTIALALITIES.

WE'VE RUN THE RISK OF TURNING TOO MUCH POWER OVER AND THEN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH SO AS MUCH AS I LOVE STUDYING GOVERNORSHIPS AND I HAVE TREMENDOUS RESPECT FOR THAT INSTITUTION AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO THE STATES AND CERTAINLY TO NEW YORK STATE, WE DON'T WANT IT TO TURN INTO WHAT FRANKLY OUR PRESIDENCY HAS BECOME, WHERE, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE THE ABILITY, PRESIDENTS HAVE THE ABILITY TO REACT UNILATERALLY AND IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM AND PREVENTING TERROR AND SO FORTH BUT THE EXERCISE OF OUTSIZE POWER IS, YES, FAMILIAR TO AUTOCRACIES BUT NOT DEMOCRACIES SO WE HAVE TO BE WARY ABSOLUTELY.

J.K.C., DID YOU WANT TO INTERJECT?

NO.

I FOR ONCE OR TWICE TODAY AGREE WITH THE PROFESSOR.

I'LL GO PLAY THE LOTTO TONIGHT BECAUSE I AM FEELING LUCKY.

THE LION SHALL LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB, J.C.

IN ADDITION TO THE DANGERS OF ALLOWING ONE PERSON ONE PARTY TO HAVE TOO MUCH CONCENTRATED POWER, WHAT ABOUT THE WAY THAT THIS STATE IS SORT OF ROLLING OUT THIS MICRO CLUSTER STRATEGY TO CONTAIN THE OUTBREAK?

AGAIN THIS COULD TAKE US BACK TO AS WE WERE DISCUSSING EARLIER FREEDOM OF RELIGION, FREEDOM TO ASSEMBLE, ETCETERA, BUT DOES THIS SEEM TO BE THE BEST WAY TO DO IT THAT, YOU KNOW, IN SMALLER GROUPS WHERE WE'RE SEEING SUDDEN SPIKES AS OPPOSED TO UNILATERALLY EVERYONE HAVING TO LOCK BACK DOWN?

THEORETICALLY WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS POINT.

THE LOCKDOWN WAS A BLUNT INSTRUMENT THAT WE HAD TO USE BECAUSE WE DID NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO TEST PEOPLE WIDELY.

AND CONTACT TRACE AND THEN ISOLATE PEOPLE WHO HAD THE VIRUS.

THE VIRUS NEEDS -- EXISTS SO LONG AS IT IS ABLE TO TRANSMIT HOST TO HOST.

IF YOU CAN QUARANTINE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE IT THEN EVERYONE ELSE WHO DOESN'T HAVE IT CAN CONTINUE TO GO ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS.

GOING TO SCHOOL.

GOING TO WORK.

WITH A VERY EFFECTIVE CONTACT TRACING PROGRAM AND VERY ROBUST TESTING PROGRAM YOU SHOULDN'T NEED TO LOCK ANYTHING DOWN AT ALL.

WE'VE SEEN FROM EVEN THIS MICRO CLUSTER STRATEGY SOME POTENTIAL FLAWS IN NEW YORK STATE'S TESTING AND CONTACT TRACING WHETHER THAT IS DISTRUST IN THE TRACING PROGRAM OR THE FACT PEOPLE AREN'T REQUIRED TO BE TESTED ON A REGULAR BASIS.

IT IS SELF-SELECTING FOR MOST PEOPLE.

BUT THE MICRO CLUSTER STRATEGY IS INTENDED TO LOCK DOWN AS FEW THINGS AS POSSIBLE WHILE ALLOWING THE REST OF OUR LIVES TO COMMENCE.

WE HAVE THE TESTING KCAPACITY I NEW YORK WE DIDN'T HAVE IN MARCH.

WE HAVE THE CONTACT TRACERS.

WE JUST NEED THOSE PROGRAMS TO WORK.

TIME WILL TELL.

WE HAVE A FEW MORE WEEKS TO KNOW WHETHER THE MICRO CLUSTER STRATEGY IS EFFECTIVE OR NOT.

J.C., DO YOU SEE THIS AS A WISE MOVE?

ORIGINALLY WE UNDERSTOOD THAT WE NEEDED TO DO THE SHUTDOWN AS LAURA MENTIONED BECAUSE WE DIDN'T WANT PEOPLE GOING FROM NEW YORK CITY TO ALBANY.

I KNOW THE GOVERNOR USED TO GIVE EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE THAT LIKED RESTAURANTS AND COULD EASILY GO FROM NEW YORK CITY LIKE I WENT TO ALBANY.

I DON'T KNOW PEOPLE WILL COME BACK TO THE BRONX.

I UNDERSTAND WHY THAT HAPPENED.

I UNDERSTAND THE REGIONAL CLOSURE OF THINGS BECAUSE OF SPIKES AND COVID.

HOWEVER WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THINGS AT THE MICRO LEVEL WE ARE REALLY TALKING ABOUT YOU CLOSE ONE RESTAURANT IN THIS CORNER BUT YOU LITERALLY ON THIS CORNER CAN HAVE YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN THEREBY HURTING THAT BUSINESS OWNER AND THE PEOPLE IN THAT BLOCK BUT NOT THIS BLOCK.

WHAT STOPS ME FROM COMING FROM THIS BLOCK TO CROSS THE STREET?

THAT IS WHEN IT GETS A LITTLE RIDICULOUS.

WHEN YOU REALLY CONSIDER THE EFFECT IT HAS ON THE OWNER WHO NOW CAN'T SELL HIS GOODS TO THE PEOPLE IN THAT BLOCK BUT THIS ONE CAN.

SO THE MICRO CLUSTER EFFECT IS GOING TO BE MORE DIFFICULT TO REALLY HAVE NEW YORKERS RALLY BEHIND.

IT JUST SOMETIMES DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

CURRENTLY WE HAD A SITUATION IN THE BRONX FOR EXAMPLE.

WE HAD A DIVIDER BETWEEN YONKERS AND THE BRONX AROUND THAT WOOD LAWN AREA.

ACROSS THE STREET YOU CAN HAVE LUNCH WITH NO PROBLEM BUT YOU LITERALLY CAN HOP TWO STEPS INTO THE BRONX AND THEN IT'S A COMPLETE LOCKDOWN HURTING THE BUSINESS ON THIS SIDE BUT NOT ACROSS THE STREET.

THESE THINGS ARE ILLOGICAL FOR NEW YORKERS.

THAT DOES SEEM TO FIT WITH ESPECIALLY SUCH A CONDENSED POPULATION.

PROFESSOR, JUST YOUR THOUGHTS BEFORE WE MOVE ON, ON MICRO CLUSTER STRATEGY?

IT SEEMS THAT IT IS ALL WE HAVE.

I MEAN, BACK TO LAURA'S POINT THAT THERE WASN'T A NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY THAT ALLOWED US TO AVOID THIS SITUATION AND SO ATTACKING THE PROBLEM NOW AS PEOPLE HAVE USED PROBABLY EXCESSIVELY THE METAPHOR OF A WACHAMO THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE.

IT IS ABSURD AT TIMES.

I DON'T KNOW GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE'RE IN NOW OF A TIME WHEN THERE WON'T BE SOME PARTICULARLY INJUSTICE TO SOME PARTICULAR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY OR SET OF INDIVIDUALS.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE REAL STRUGGLE.

THERE'S NO STRATEGY THAT EVERYONE IS GOING TO FIND FAVORABLE AND I UNDERSTAND THE RATIONALE FOR ATTEMPTING TO CLOSE DOWN CERTAIN CLUSTERS OR HOT SPOTS.

AGAIN, IT IS PROBABLY ALL WE HAVE UNTIL A VACCINE WHICH IS GOING TO PRESENT ANOTHER SET OF ISSUES IN TERMS OF DISTRIBUTION AND WHO GETS THEM FIRST.

THAT MAY BE, YOU KNOW, ANOTHER SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR OF JUST THIS KIND OF UNEVEN BURDEN SHARING.

WELL, WITH ALL OF THIS BEING THE BACK DROP, OF COURSE WE'RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, I BELIEVE THAT IS HAPPENING ON THURSDAY, AND SO COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAST STAND?

WE ARE SEEING A LOT OF POLLS RIGHT NOW THAT ARE SAYING THAT HE'S LAGGING IN THE POLLS BEHIND JOE BIDEN ESPECIALLY IN SOME RITICAL SWING STATES.

BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE ALSO SAYING, YOU KNOW, THE POLLS SAID HILLARY WAS SUPPOSED TO WIN IN 2016.

SO WHAT DO WE KNOW OF WHAT OR WHAT CAN WE PREDICT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD REALLY FOCUS ON TRYING TO DO IF HE TWOONTS PULL O YOU THE A WIN EVENTUALLY?

I CAN'T EVEN SAY ON ELECTION DAY ANYMORE.

YOUR THOUGHTS?

NOW THAT I AM ON THE OPINION SIDE OF THINGS, I HAVE TO EXPRESS MY OPINION AND SAY THAT I HOPE FOR THE COUNTRY'S SAKE THAT HE DOES NOT PULL OUT A WIN.

I AM EXHAUSTED FROM THIS PRESIDENCY.

AND FROM ALL OF THE CHAOS AND THE ILLNESS AND THE ECONOMIC DEPRIVATION THAT PEOPLE ARE LIVING UNDER.

I DON'T KNOW HOW HE CAN CHANGE WHO HE IS IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, GIVEN THAT IF HE HAD JUST FOLLOWED THE SCIENCE ON THE CORONAVIRUS, IF HE HAD WORN A MASK AND BEHAVED IN A RATIONAL WAY TO CONTINUE TO GET STIMULUS TO PEOPLE I THINK HE WOULD BE WINNING THIS CONTEST.

AND YET HE HAS SHOWN THIS STUBBORN RESISTANCE TO BEHAVING RATIONALLY IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS AND THIS IS THE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW HE COULD -- IT'S POSSIBLE -- BUT HE IS AN UNDISCIPLINED, IRRATIONAL PERSON, AND I DON'T SEE THAT CHANGING ANY TIME SOON.

J.C., THERE IS ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE?

SHOULD WE BELIEVE THE PO LLLS TS TIME?

I THINK THE POLLS ARE NOT SHOWING THE TRUE STORY.

I THINK THIS IS A LOT CLOSER.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SAYS IT IS A LOT CLOSER.

I DEFINITELY THINK THERE IS AN ENTHUSIASM BEHIND PRESIDENT TRUMP'S RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

HERE IN NEW YORK AND THE TRI-STATE AREA, WE REALLY DON'T SEE IT.

WE MAY BE IN A SURPRISE ON ELECTION NIGHT WHEN THE RESULTS ARE A LOT CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.

I THINK THE PRESIDENT -- HE IS A TV PERSONALITY.

HE HAS A CHAMELEON ABILITY TO ACT DISCIPLINED ON THURSDAY NIGHT.

IF HE CAN SPEAK TO SENT RIFTS AND MODERATES ON THURSDAY MUCH MORE DISCIPLINED THAN HE DID VERSUS VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN IN THE FIRST DEBATE, I THINK HE MAY SWAY SOME VOTERS.

I THINK THIS IS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN'S ELECTION TO LOSE THOUGH.

WE HAVE TO BE HONEST ABOUT THAT.

HOWEVER, THERE IS STILL AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PRESIDENT TO APPEAR PRESIDENTIAL ON THURSDAY, TO SHOW SOME COMPASSION, SOME EMPATHY.

I THINK THERE IS A SILENT MAJORITY OUT THERE THAT WE JUST DON'T SEE IN THE UNITED STATES OF NEW YORK WHERE WE LIVE AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE IN FOR A SHOCKER ON ELECTION NIGHT WHEN THIS IS GOING TO BE A LOT CLOSER THAN WE THINK.

WE'RE ALL WAITING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS AS WE HAVE THIS EXTENDED, EXTRA LONG ELECTION CYCLE RIGHT NOW.

PROFESSOR, AGAIN, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT THE PRESIDENT ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO DO TO SPIN THIS IN HIS FAVOR, AND IS J.C.

RIGHT?

ARE THERE THINGS THAT WE MIGHT NOT BE FULLY APPRECIATING, GIVEN LIVING IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF NEW YORK CITY?

I WANT TO GIVE YOUR VIEWERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN BACK TO J.C. AND I DISAGREEING AGAIN.

MOMENTARY LAPSE IN JUDGMENT.

I WILL DISAGREE.

I DON'T THINK IT IS A SILENT MAJORITY.

I THINK IT IS A LOUD MINORITY.

WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT DONALD TRUMP DID NOT WIN THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTES IN THE LAST ELECTION.

I THINK HIS STRATEGY IS THAT OF A CANDIDATE WHO DOES NOT SEE HIS ABILITY TO WIN EVEN AN ELECTORAL COLLEGE VICTORY.

WHAT IS HIS STRATEGY?

TO GET HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO, YOU KNOW, FOMENT THE POSSIBILITY OF ARRESTS, TO TRY TO LIMIT ACCESS TO POLLING PLACES AS WE'RE SEEING IN CERTAIN STATES.

IT'S HIS DESIRE TO TELL, YOU KNOW, WHITE SUPREMACISTS TO STAND BY AND STAND BACK.

YOU KNOW, IT'S TO SOW DISBELIEF IN MAIL-IN BALLOTS.

IT IS FRANKLY TO MAKE THAT LOUD MINORITY, YOU KNOW, TRANSLATE INTO AN ELECTORAL VICTORY ON ELECTION DAY.

I THINK THE DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR THAN 2016, AND I LIKE EVERY OTHER POLITICAL SCIENTIST EXCEPT FOR MAYBE ONE I THINK LITERALLY ONE, YOU KNOW, THOUGHT HILLARY CLINTON WOULD WIN.

I THINK THE DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR IS THAT I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY AMERICANS THERE ARE WHO ARE WALKING AROUND SAYING I JUST -- THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT JOE BIDEN THAT I LIKE.

I WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT CAST MY BALLOT FOR HIM.

HILLARY CLINTON HAD VERY HIGH NEGATIVES.

FAIR, UNJUST, OR NOT, OVER DECADES SHE HAD, YOU KNOW, BEEN PILLERIED IN THE MEDIA AND WAS VERY UNLIKABLE.

WE KNOW THAT FROM A SURVEY STANDPOINT.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH JOE BIDEN.

I WOULD POSE THE QUESTION THIS WAY.

IF JOE BIDEN CANNOT WIN PENNSYLVANIA, MICHIGAN, AND WISCONSIN UNDER THESE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES WITH HIS SCRANTON BACKGROUND AS A WHITE MODERATE, THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY.

TO LAURA'S POINT ABOUT DESPAIR, I REALLY DON'T.

UNFORTUNATELY, THAT IS A SOMBER NOTE, BUT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE SO I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT J.C. AND THE PROFESSOR DID AGREE ON AT LEAST TWO POINTS SO MAYBE THAT IS A POSITIVE TAKEAWAY.

THANK YOU TO OUR GUESTS.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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