Much is being made by some the more milquetoast members of the media of what they are spinning as a “pivot” by Donald Trump with regard to his position on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. They have observed him wearing a face mask for the first time after four months of mocking those who did so, including his opponent, Joe Biden. They have seen him resume the coronavirus briefings (aka Trump reelection campaign photo-ops), and managing to stick to the script prepared for him on his Teleprompter.
Trump's months long dismissal of the pandemic's severity, and his stubborn negligence and incompetence, has resulted in the preventable deaths of nearly 150,000 Americans. And now it is morphing into an awkward display of robotic and transparently insincere “sympathy.” But the consequences of his inaction and deliberate malfeasance are too tragic to ignore. The reasons for which, Trump has just admitted in private discussions with his staff. According to the Washington Post…
“In the past couple of weeks, senior advisers began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among ‘our people’ in Republican states, a senior administration official said. They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
So Trump's newfound concern for the suffering citizens of this country was only triggered by his own political self-interest. He wasn't worried until he learned that his supporters in the red states that he has pandered to exclusively were vulnerable to the viral disease blanketing the nation. Until now, Trump must have thought that only Democrats were susceptible to the coronavirus. And if so, then he couldn't care less.
However, Trump could not have been more wrong (as usual). Studies support the more probable likelihood that Republicans and Trumpists are actually at greater risk. That's because they are more attentive to his self-serving and recklessly false platitudes, and his insistence that COVID-19 wasn't any more dangerous than the common flu. Trump's cult disciples believed him when he said that it would just disappear as if by magic.
A series of surveys by Axios show that “President Trump's words and actions have shaped Republicans' perceptions and behavior on everything from wearing face masks to worrying about economic collapse.” Among their findings is that Republicans report wearing face masks about 41% of the time, less than half of what Democrats reported (81%). Only 38% of Trump's followers say they are “'very concerned' about the COVID-19 outbreak.” That's compared to 83% of Democrats. The same partisan gaps exist on questions about whether someone has visited relatives (Republicans 61%, Democrats 36%), and concern about the economy collapsing (Republicans 54%, Democrats 60%).
The bottom line is that Trump's faithful have fallen in line behind his dismissive view of the pandemic. They continue to reject the serious risks and the warnings of health experts. And many are still convinced that simple and proven methods of mitigating the spread (face masks, social distancing, contact tracing, etc.), are actually “Deep State” plots to infringe on their liberty that will eventually lead to America becoming one big communist gulag.
This deranged behavior is directly attributable to the example set by their messiah. And the more they try to emulate him, the more likely they will become victims of the virus. That is not good news for anyone. These careless Trumpoids can just as easily transmit the virus to Democrats as to Republicans. The virus has no partisan affiliations.
But as Trump is discovering, if the virus spreads more rapidly in parts of the country where his voters are more numerous, then the odds are greater that more them will become infected. And if illness – or death – prevents them from casting their votes for him, then he's finally going to be concerned. It's nauseating that it would take that sort of egomaniacal selfishness to move Trump to act, but it's better than him continuing to not act at all.
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