Posts Tagged ‘COVID politics’

COVID AND TRUMP—THE MEDICAL AND THE POLITICAL

October 3, 2020

So now he’s got it. The public reaction is as expected, and a bit unexpected. Many anti-Trumpers have unsurprisingly wished him ill, if not death, and have made snarky remarks about hsi getting what he deserves, and “karma.” What is surprising is that some far Leftists (Rachel Maddow comes to mind as an example) have appropriately wished him and Melania well despite their disagreements with him and oft-professed outright hatred. And, in fairness, Trump did set himself up for criticism with his off-and-on support for masking and do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do tepid support for social distancing. The argument on the Left, however, that the pandemic is on its face a Trumpian failure of management, like most Leftists arguments, loses validity when we actually inject facts. Despite Trump’s intermittent, and sometimes over-the-top proclamations of optimism with respect to the virus (motivated, per Trump, by a wish to prevent panic), he did restrict travel from China and then Europe (and was criticized for it) at a time both sides were uncertain of the virus’ eventual impact here. It is conveniently ignored by the Left-dominated media that Pelosi was sightseeing in Chinatown in a virtue-signaling show of her lack of Chinese xenophobia for the cameras, Biden was actively labeling Trump xenophobic, Cuomo was sending infected old folks back to the nursing homes, and Cuomo or de Blasio (or both) were telling people to ride the subways and have a good time. Trump gets zero credit from these same media sources for providing the support requested by the state governors of both political stripes (for which he was publicly thanked by them) and ramping up ventilator production, a resource that ended up never being overwhelmed. So his handling of the pandemic is a mixed bag with, as usual, his deeds outshining his words and personal example.

Medically, the president falls in a “high risk” category for complications by dint of age and (over-) weight and has a roughly 1-5% chance of this depending on whom you ask. So, God-willing, he’ll have a mild infection and rapid recovery. I’ve found Ben Shapiro’s analyses to be sober and factually grounded, and I agree with him that Trump’s medical course, considering human nature, is likely to affect policy with respect to economic lock-downs going forward, even though it should not be dictated by anecdotal evidence but by the data.

Politically, there’s mostly downside. Most obviously, as mentioned, his lip service to masking and social isolation while serving as a less than stellar example has given fuel to those that have criticized him. It is true that the evidence for the value of masking came late and remains mixed, but it is reasonable to do both in situations where people are likely to be in close contact, especially indoors. The criticism of the Left rings hollow with hypocrisy, though, as we’d be hard pressed to find a single outcry from their ranks during the frequent mass protests. Additionally, Trump will be denied the opportunity for live rallies for at least 2 weeks and could miss out on the next debate opportunity. Overall, I don’t see the president’s illness as affecting those that have already made up their minds whom they are voting for. For the likely vanishingly small segment of the population that remains undecided (and that could determine the result in a close election), it seems unlikely to help him in the face of the constant Leftist anti-Trump drumbeat. That being said, a small portion may give a sympathy vote.

Barring a serious change in the president’s health, the election may have already been decided, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the results to roll in.