Republican-leaning folks are protesting lockdowns in various states, and getting encouragement from Trump. Are the protesters considering the implications in terms of life and health? Are they asking for a plan? Or are they stomping their feet was though this was all a hoax? Michigan had the biggest protest so far, and here's the view from a Michigander of the divisions within the state. It's the equivalent of 'Let 'em die.'
So let's strip away the dressing and lay it bare. Republicans are desperate to get the economy back on track because it was looking quite good and greatly helped their chances in the upcoming November elections.
But where are the Democrats in this? Some Republicans suspect that the Dems are gleeful over this disaster if it dooms Trump's chance at reelection, and maybe also hands the Senate to the Dems. That's a suspicion, but would any Dems in office actually try to worsen the epidemic or the economy for the electoral advantage? That's pretty bloodthirsty. However, it's clear from many comments I read that it's exactly what some Republicans think. Good luck trying to prove otherwise. It's a nasty accusation that they won't be able to back up, but they throw it to cause the suspicion and to blacken their opponents.
Dems aren't going to be completely honest either. Most aren't giving Trump credit for closing down a lot of the travel from China. They are giving him a hard time for his lack of leadership, but he richly deserves that. There was a lot of time wasted not getting prepared for this epidemic. There were warnings and information coming in to those paying attention that this virus was spreading quickly around the world, starting with areas with more travel.
This is largely a rant, so I'll follow my rules for rants, whatever they might be today. I haven't seen Dems trying to gain political advantage except for pointing out that the economy might be wrecked and the stock market is way down, so Trump can no longer claim successes with them. That's a bit weak on the causation, but fair on the result. Trump can't claim good things about the economy now because we are in a massively different situation, and it's not one caused by the Dems. It's partially caused by this black swan event, and partially by Trump's poor handling of this black swan event.
I've seen Republicans make all kinds of different arguments trying to avoid the obvious. This is fucking terrible for Trump's reelection prospects. One pundit I read has written for years that presidents will tend to get reelected unless there's a major crisis or a war that's not going well. If there's a crisis, well, the president might well be toast. This appears to be crisis beyond Trump's ability to manage. Maybe not, but probably. So Trump is clearly in trouble. I hope that isn't in dispute among the honest.
Not His Fault!
Some of the ludicrous stuff that Trump supporters have been saying: It's no worse than the flu! Trump was being impeached [so that makes it the Dems fault???]. The Chinese lied to us. Dems attacked Trump for blocking flights. Trump did a lot of things to prevent the spread. It's a lie that the National Security pandemic team was dismantled. It's a bunch of fearmongering. Don't panic. Don't buy up all the toilet paper, you idiots. Dems said we'd have a million people dead by now but it hasn't happened, so they're complete liars. Trump did take it seriously. Lockdowns aren't necessary. Lockdowns will ruin the economy just to save a few lives. Dems don't care about people losing their jobs and businesses. Dems love this, that we're all dependent on the government giving us money to survive. The suicide, murder and abuse rates are already shooting up. People aren't going to be able to take this lockdown for very long. Just wash your hands - no need to shut down the economy. It's only bad in dirty places that have Democratic governors and mayors; the rest of us shouldn't have to shut down. It's because of poor Dem hygiene practices. The governors are happy with Trump's leadership. The governors are in mutiny. This death rate isn't higher at all. Lots of deaths are labeled as covid but that's to get extra money... or make the GOP look bad. Go check your hospital and see if it's overwhelmed, or is it just a hoax? <--- And I didn't even get into the arguments about testing or personal protective equipment (PPE).
Yes, I have seen a conservative saying each one of these. I'm not making up any of them.
Dems are bashing Trump regularly, and not completely honestly either. They don't say that any leader, GOP or Dem, would be facing very difficult circumstances. Decisions have to be made with imperfect information, and not all of them will be right. So the impulse to attack everything Trump does is wrong, but many Dems are still doing that, just today bashing Trump for putting a hold on immigration. If lockdowns make sense, so does a hold on immigration, duh!
So there is reasonable cricism of Trump, and a lot of it, and there is stupid criticism of him.
A big problem is that a lot of people won't believe information that doesn't come to them except from their stilted media. So if Fox News isn't telling them this pandemic is real, they aren't going to believe it even with the availability of reports from Lombardy, Spain, New York City, Seattle, and New Orleans. It gets even worse than that. They won't believe anyone who says something similar to MSM or experts. They are very effectively vaccinated against believing anything from anyone remotely associated with the suspect media and politicians. So they will never be convinced short of nearly dying or having someone in their family nearly die.
This total resistance to anything from experts or MSM media means that there will always be a cadre who can mutually reinforce each other. They will also fight the most sensible, well-supported information. They will attack good idea, good arguments, and good people simply because they are always on the offense, and think anyone with different ideas is brainwashed. I'm seeing so much of this.
I see Trump supporters who think that anyone who criticizes Trump over his handling of covid-19 is gleeful that people are dying by the thousands. Many people are feeling vindicated that Trump is so clearly out of his depth. I'm among those who thought that Trump would be a disaster if he ever had to handle a major crisis, and now that's exactly what he has to do, and he is handling it as poorly as we always suspected he would. There is no 'rising to the challenge' from him.
Covid flips the campaigns
Sadly, we're in this situation as the US presidential campaign heats up, so the stakes are very high. Prior to this pandemic, it looked like Trump had a very good chance of being reelected based on the economy if nothing else. But this huge crisis and the economic toll, his chances are diminished a lot, and his supporters know this. Trump and his supporters are desperate to reverse the economic losses, which accounts for their push to reduce stay-at-home orders and reopen states as soon as possible, whether it is safe or not, whether there are good plans in place or not. Reopen Now!! is what a lot are saying, and they aren't interested in evaluating the risks and rewards. Are Dems desperately trying to prevent this for electoral advantage? Not that I know of, but GOPers accuse them of this. This is also playing out in the issue of vote-by-mail.
Planning for how to handle a pandemic wouldn't generally be easy, but this one is harder than the last. This virus spreads more easily, kills somewhat more people, is mutating (not unusual), affects several organ systems, is a type of virus that isn't conducive to a vaccine, and perhaps not to immunity through antibodies either. This might be a long slog, like it was with HIV, except that this can affect many more people, but luckily our technology is much more advanced.
Advanced or not, we are in some uncharted territory. We haven't had a pandemic like this in a hundred years, and our expectations have risen very high in terms of the safety we expect. What would it be like, being on the team that has to plan the reopening of a state or country, knowing that there is no cure, no certain prevention, and more danger of death that we're accustomed to?
Extras. A program for small businesses to continue to pay workers ran out of money in just two weeks. The parties in Congress took several extra days to sort out how to provide more funds, partly because Dems wanted to fund other groups and GOPers wanted to limit it. Both stances are based on constituencies. GOPers only want to support businesses, and Dems want to support hospitals, states, and businesses that are very small. Dems were holding the money for business ransom, trying to force Republicans to help broader groups. The GOP mostly won this time. Dems were only able to get aid earmarked for the very small businesses.
Some examples of conservative media and what they are saying about Dems reveling in this pandemic. Most are from Rush Limbaugh (archive here). Time series: Limbaugh1, Limbaugh2, Limbaugh3, Limbaugh4, Limbaugh5, Limbaugh6, Limbaugh7. This started with Limbaugh saying it was nothing but Dems hope it will be something (CHECK), then it's well under control but Dems are going try to spin that Trump lied about it being under control, it's something that isn't in control but it's being weaponized against Trump. It's not just Limbaugh, it's also Townhall. Columbia Journalism Review looks at this.
Aid to red states - Good. Aid to blue states - waste. Same as with hurricane relief.
Opinions about which drug is most effective against covid are based on partisanship. That makes no sense because it should be based on test data, right? But there's the chloroquine and the remdesivir camp, and data be damned!
Opinions on masks could be based on partisanship. <Eye roll> More of that proud animosity to those wimpy scientists, liberals, and SJWs.
April 28, over 59K deaths, and someone is still declaring this a hoax.