Donald Trump's coronavirus response has been a disaster wrapped in a medical mushroom cloud, so he'd rather voters focus on other issues when considering whether to extend his reign of terror in the White House. His Twitter insult comedy hasn't missed a step, and he singlehandedly thought about saving Christ statues in Brazil.

Yes, the coronavirus is still out there, infecting a record number of people each day, but Trump's campaign is confident Americans will just lose interest in COVID-19 and stop talking about it. Their strategy is to treat a global pandemic like the Spice Girls in 1999.

"They're of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day," said a former administration official in touch with the campaign.

This is both grotesque and bonkers. Even with a mortality rate of just one percent, COVID-19 would claim the equivalent of a couple 9/11s each week. Just like cops tend to notice you driving a car drenched with blood, people will pick up on the fact that their loved ones are dying around them. Yes, the election is before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Trump has that going for him, but October's daily Zoom funerals will come up at the debates.

Trump considers COVID-19 a "political loser." I'm sure the feeling is mutual. His advisers are instead crafting an “economic recovery" message, and while the undertaker business is thriving under Trump's watch, that's likely the only good economic news for 2020. As future real president Joe Biden keeps saying, the economy can't recover until we get the virus under control.

The president is obsessed with a return to “normal." He wants to convince Americans that they can “live with the virus," like it's the wacky roommate in a sitcom that leaves the toilet seat up and shreds your lungs. Trump is pushing for the return of professional sports and demanding that schools reopen.

He's very serious about this, as you can tell from the screaming all-caps. It reminds me of Lincoln's often-overlooked "CIVIL WAR MUST STOP!!!" tweet. He also suggested that Biden and other rational people who are skeptical of reopening schools in just two months (!) have sinister motives.

See? Trump isn't a weenie. Biden's the weenie!

What Trump still fails to grasp is that voters have responded positively to politicians who took the coronavirus crisis seriously. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enjoyed 60 percent approval for her COVID-19 response. Meanwhile, Trump's approval has tanked since the pandemic hit.

From the Independent:

The president's approval dropped the fastest in 500 counties suffering from 28 deaths resulting from Covid-19 per 100,000 people, according to the latest data from Pew Research Centre.

By late June, his support fell 17 per cent among voters who previously said in March they approved of the president — just as the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a national emergency and global pandemic.

Trump's support has dropped across the board: Men, women, college graduates and non-graduates, people over 65 ... no one thinks he's a righteous dude. This is especially the case in counties experiencing a rise in coronavirus infections, which at the current rate will soon be all of them.

Some Republican senators and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have suggested that Trump blame China for this mess of his own making. But blaming isn't doing. Voters will want to see results, as well as their friends and family again.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham pointed out an inconvenient truth: Trump's the president and this is all on him.

Anytime you're an incumbent, you kind of own these things more than the challengers.

Trump can remain in denial if he wants, but that only makes the situation worse for him. According to a Gallup poll from last week, 65 percent of voters believe the coronavirus crisis has worsened. And a recent poll in Texas revealed that just 46 percent of voters believe the country's coronavirus response is going well. That's down from 56 percent in April. And 65 percent of Texans agree with those damn liberals that it's not safe yet to send kids back to school.

No one's buying the bleach Trump's selling.

[Washington Post / The Independent]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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