Trump versus the Majority

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Almost a week after Mike Pence declared that the federal government had made ‘remarkable progress’ in fighting the corona virus ‘under the leadership of Donald Trump,’ at a briefing by the Corona Task Force where Dr. Anthony Fauci was barely allowed to talk after having been muzzled for weeks, that same Dr. Fauci testified in the Senate that he is ‘very concerned’ about the surging pandemic and fears that the number of daily new COVID-19 cases will soon rise to 100,000. Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, who are not as self-destructive as the president, issued strong statements in favor of wearing masks, something Trump still refuses to do, and governors in southern and western states reversed decisions about opening bars, allowing indoor dining and access to beaches.  Meanwhile the EU blocked entrance to Europe for travelers from the US, and some eastern states imposed two weeks of quarantine on travelers coming from states where the virus is raging.  And with Americans getting infected in record numbers the administration is still trying to get Obamacare repealed, without an alternative for the 24 million potential victims of that action.

The corona crisis is only one of three areas where Trump has positioned himself in opposition to the interests and convictions of a significant majority of the American people.  While the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has swollen to a social giant and is crying out for racial justice the US President has presented himself as the main defender of confederate traitors and their statues.  To make crystal clear where he stands Trump re-tweeted a video in which the chant ‘white power’ was prominently featured. Even more outrageous was the news that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers and that the president must have been aware of it at least since February 2020, when the information was included in his daily security briefing, but should have known since March 2019, when he was briefed about it by John Bolton.  The White House initially lied that Trump had not been briefed, which produced all kinds of speculation about  his allegiance to Putin, and is still scrambling to explain why the only action by ‘the most informed person on the planet Earth with regards to threats to the US’ had been inviting his Russian idol to the G7.  

As insane as it seems that the president would run on issues that are rejected by a large majority of the voters there is some logic to it.  Trump knows that he cannot expand his base beyond its hard core of non-college white males and hangers-on, so his only option is to deepen that core by mobilizing deplorables who for whatever reason have not voted for him in 2016.  That strategy can only work if it is complemented by so much voter suppression in battleground states that it opens a narrow path to an Electoral College majority, hence Trump’s ranting against voting by mail.

Next to the information about the Commander-in-Chief’s betrayal of his own troops a record became public of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, Putin and Erdogan most prominently among them.  The president’s preference for authoritarian strongmen is well known, but easy access to him for the Turkish leader and his slavish attitude towards his Russian handler still raise the question what leverage they have over Trump, who thuggishly called Theresa May ‘a fool’ and Angela Merkel ‘stupid.’

Finally, the question is in order if Trump is trying to kill off Mike Pence before the November election, so that Nikki Haley can still take his place.  First the vice president was sent to a church in Dallas, where a large choir happily spread the virus by singing Christian hymns, and today he is in Phoenix, another corona hotspot.  It may be one more of Jared Kushner’s changes to Trump’s re-election campaign.

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