MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: October 19, 2020

Weighing in on local and national headlines 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.

AIRED: October 19, 2020 | 0:28:19
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
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.