Of course, this would have to happen on Trump’s watch. We all knew it would be something big. We all knew we couldn’t possibly make it through the whole four years without stumbling on something he could seriously fuck up.
We thought it would be more of a garden-variety disaster — a war, earthquake, wildfire, tsunami, cat-5 hurricane, etc. These we understand. These have media profiles we’ve grown used to. Each is easily imaginable as the kind of challenge Trump and his GOP stooges were born to botch. They’re only in it for the grift, after all. Competence just gets in the way.
But they weren’t thinking plague. Way too biblical. Way too low tech. Not to mention low visibility, which Trump thinks is for losers. So it totally blindsided him. He couldn’t see it, so he never saw it coming.
Of course, neither did we. We weren’t expecting COVID to be so prodigiously talented at self-promotion (the Donald Trump of microorganisms?). A ninja that sneaks in under the radar, it invades our respiratory system, makes a few million copies of itself, then lays low for a week or so. It doesn’t even let us know it’s there until long after we’ve passed a bunch of those copies on to the next guy.
Which scares the shit out of Trump. He’s a germophobe to begin with, so the whole idea gives him the willies.
Then there’s the invisibility thing. Not being able to see or even sense his enemy is something totally new to him (me too, but I’m not in charge of the free world). And what he can’t see, he can’t make a deal with. Or sue. Or get Bill Barr to cover up.
Then, of course, there’s the infuriating fact that COVID is impervious to insult. He can’t just tweet it away. It doesn’t do press briefings (invisible things rarely do). It has no interest in photo ops or interviews on Fox, and it doesn’t need Mitch McConnell to wreck the economy—it can do that on its own.
So Trump’s anxiety level is surely cranked up to eleven. He can’t spin this. He can’t gaslight it. He’s desperate for somebody to blame, and the old razzle-dazzle isn’t working anymore. He has no credibility with anyone outside his imbecile base. The non-Fox media now debunks his lies in real time, before they even get out of his mouth. And as the curve gets steeper and refuses to flatten, that same imbecile base might actually start to find out—the ultimate hard way— how they’ve been conned (though that’s far from a sure thing). The thing is, it might be too late, because his words could start killing them off, maybe as soon as next week.
Look at the demographics. The highest percentage of his dumbfuck supporters are in the high-risk zone for the virus. They’re over sixty. They have more than their share of compromised immune systems, derived from an assortment of long-term health issues. These people would be right in COVID’s sweet spot, even if they weren’t being gaslit by Fox.
But instead of protecting them—the only voting bloc he has left—Trump is telling them to go out and party. And, no surprise, they’re stupid enough to listen. Which means a rather large number of them — six or seven figures, maybe — won’t be voting in November.
As demographic shifts go, this one’s a killer.