The coronavirus, hideous as it is, as much as we wish it had never happened, wish that we could close our eyes and find it was all just a bad dream, has perhaps just one benefit. But it's a really big, very good one.
COVID-19 may have made it far-less likely that Trump will get a second term as president.
Even before the pandemic, while Joe Biden was in the lead, there was no certainty that he'd win. In 2016, Hillary Clinton had a big lead and even won the popular vote by 3 million -- but because of 70,000 votes Trump won the election through the Electoral College. But even more to the point, consider after the pandemic. Without even doing much more than was sane and normal, if Trump had simply followed basic CDC guidelines, if he had pushed people to wear face masks, if he had told people to socially distance, if he had recommended that states keep their businesses closed for a few weeks longer -- it's likely that infections and deaths in the United States would have been significantly less and in line with the rest of the world. And if after all of that he showed just the most human hint of compassion, he very well would have been seen as a savior who actually kept the country safe, and he may have won in a landslide.
The coronavirus isn't like any of Trump's other victims he's confronted in his life. It couldn't be bullied. It couldn't be be scared off by a lawsuit. It couldn't be bought off by a settlement. It didn't care about state borders. It didn't care about anyone's politics. It didn't care about making America great. Or making it liberal. Or keeping it a democracy. It didn't care about if you're from the city or country. Or care about gender. Or age, even if some people are less likely to die because they're young, because anyone can be infected, and then infect others. And above all, it didn't care if you believe in it. It's science, it's not a belief system.
And yet Trump being Trump dealt with COVID-19 like he dealt with any obstacle in his life. He lied, swaggered and pretty much ignored it. He ridiculed masks. He kept lambasting the country's most respected doctor on infectious diseases. He praised a doctor who believed in alien DNA and demon sperm. He suggested testing the use of bleach, disinfectants, UV rays, quinine and hydroxychloroquine. He watched the stock market and ignored the actual economy. He showed a stunning, total lack of concern for those who'd lost their lives or lost loved ones or lost jobs. He kept saying that COVID-19 would just disappear like a miracle. And his team would go around saying how the coronavirus was locked-down air tight, and that the pandemic would be over by Memorial Day. And how the economy would boom in July. And Trump said he thought "only" 40,000 Americans would die. And then he was hearing "just" 60,000. And he thought "big ratings numbers" meant that people loved you, and so he went on TV every day and put on a sick vaudeville show which people watched -- because a) all channels interrupted their regular programming to air it, and b) people slow down to look at car crashes. And the public could not only see this leader in charge out of control, they could also see the reality of COVID-19 around them and how it had changed life. And so, Trump's approval actually started to drop. And the divide between him and Joe Biden grew, in Biden's favor.
But COVID-19 wasn't done. And neither was Trump.
For starters, because of Trump ignoring the basic CDC safety protocols, there was never a "second wave" since the first wave never ended. Infections and deaths grew. And people in droves refused to go out to local businesses. And the public actually knew this, saw it, lived it. But Trump and the enabling, complicit Republican Party thought they could flim-flam them.
Over these months, I had a lot of friends saying, "Oh, God, I hope people remember when the go to vote in November.." But I kept replying -- seriously??? People are sheltering at home. They're wearing face masks when they go outside. They're working at home. Their children aren't going to school. They got laid off from their jobs. Their businesses went bankrupt and many of those lost jobs won't be coming back. They aren't going to movies, the theater, restaurants. They aren't getting together with friends. Or relatives. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died. And you wonder if people will remember that in November??! Four months away?? People will likely not forget this for the rest of their lives. And further -- people don't even have to remember until November. Early voting would be starting as early as September, in just two months. And for most states, in October.
And Trump was oblivious to this, oblivious that this was how the coranavirus worked. That when you ignore it, it grows and spreads. And not only did COVID-19 not stop, his most cult supporters would gather en masse as human Petrie dishes without face masks and social distancing -- and that only served to make the problem worse. This wasn't something where, if you chose to be irresponsible, it would only hurt you, personal choice and all that -- COVID-19 is an infectious disease. It spreads to others. That's how it works.
And Democrats understood this, and therefore planned for months to have a virtual convention, and as a result it went smoothly and was even interesting and entertaining, On the other hand, Trump wanted Big Crowds to cheer him, and so Republicans kept trying to hold a real, in-person convention, that no city wanted, and so at the last minute had to cobble together a virtual campaign, and it was sloppy and didn't put the party and its candidate in a bright, shining light, which is largely the point of a convention these days.
And for all this, much of the public watched aghast. Enough Americans understood the reality of COVID-19 by then, since it had overtaken their lives. And they could see the deaths and infections grow. And they could see the lies and understand them first-hand. And see the antics. And seniors could hear him say that nobody dies from COVID-19, just seniors. And so, many his supporters didn't even want to go to Trump campaign events in the same numbers as before, to the point where his Tulsa rally indoors was a disaster, and the outdoor "overflow" actually had to be cancelled, and the end result was one of the iconic photos of the Trump time in office -- him haggard, without a tie, wandering from his helicopter across White House grounds.
And his approval dropped. He lost 12 points from seniors alone. Biden's lead in the polls grew. And COVID-19 kept rolling along.
And yet it got even worse.
Trump held that ghoulish "Rose Garden Massacre" to rush through his nomination to the Supreme Court. And as a result, 34 people associated with the White House tested positive for COVID-19. And among Republicans who've subsequently tested positive from that and elsewhere were Trump's campaign manager, his press secretary, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and two Republican senators.
And...and...and yes, of course, Trump himself tested positive. And had to get airlifted to the hospital. And Trump being Trump made even that worse, taking a bizarre joy ride around the block, putting Secret Service agents in unnecessary danger purely for his own egomaniacal self-aggrandisement. And then, while still testing positive, took off his mask before entering the White House. And had his posturing Mussolini on the balcony moment.
And COVID-19 didn't care. It just kept infecting people and lowering Trump's approval and polling numbers, not only nationally but in battleground states to the point where Trump is in deeply serious electoral trouble -- most especially with 12 million people already having voted. And where the best hope of Republicans now is not electoral, but voter suppression and legal machinations.
And then Trump and Republicans kept pushing forward with this Supreme Court nomination, even though they hypocritically did the opposite in 2016, which most everyone remembers, almost a year before the election while voting this year has already started and is just 20 days away. And the public, by a massive 74% want Congress to deal with COVID-19 relief rather than this confirmation. And yet Trump and Republicans are going ahead with the Senate hearings, ignoring COVID-19. Ignoring the realities of COVID-19 that everyone can see and feel.
He still hasn't learned that ignoring COVID-19 is a Really Bad Idea. It doesn't care. It just doesn't care. And Republicans haven't learned that either. And so, not only are Trump's poll numbers terribly bad, but Republicans might lose the Senate. And lose the House.
All because of Trump screwing up COVID-19.
I hate it. I hate what COVID-19 has done to life.
I'm just glad that Trump is taking a massive hit as a result of it. And it might keep him out of office for another four horrifying years.
Yes, I know, there are still three weeks to go. But that also means Trump has three more weeks to screw things up even more. And given that he's running on empty, and now is on his COVID-19 Superspreader Tour again, and on it big time, every single day, I think that the odds are in favor of him screwing things up even more.
How much more? Well...after I finished writing this, I had to jump back in, because the Washington Post has a report from a White House source that the administration is, fact, now going for the disastrous, horrifying policy of herd immunity, where many more hundreds of thousands could die just before the end of the year. So...yeah, there's more that Trump can do to really screw up by the election with the coronavirus.
So, as much as I hate this COVID-19 pandemic down the bottom of my bones...I'm just extremely glad that at least one thing good may come of it. And happily, it's a Really Good Thing.
That Trump may not get re-elected to another four years.