Sometimes a crime is so awful that even eyewitnesses refuse to believe their own eyes. Trump’s actions in 2020 fall into that category. The seriousness of the pandemic was not just incompetence: The pandemic became the heart of his reelection strategy.

Nothing I’m saying here is new to Daily Kos. I’m just summarizing what has been said here all along, what should be obvious, but which has not often been put together in one place. This is just a recap, really, for the benefit of readers who may have missed some of it at the time.

Start last winter. Trump was behind in the polls, his hard-line policies earning adulation from hard-line followers, but repelling many educated and suburban voters who had previously felt comfortable enough with the Republican Party. He was a nitwit who couldn’t figure out much himself but he had a competent political team reading the polls. They needed a way to turn it around. And then the pandemic hit.

We now know that Trump did not believe his own words, in February 2020, when he downplayed the virus; he admitted as much to Bob Woodward. He and his political team, instead, saw an opportunity. The Democratic field was large and strong. Joe Biden was not in such great shape early on, but any of several leading candidates looked like serious threats to the incumbent. With Covid spreading rapidly in late March, schools an stores closing, voters clamored for the right to vote by mail, or excuse-less absentee. The Wisconsin primary was the first one run after that; reportedly over 50 voters caught Covid in the process of voting. 

This, then, created the opening Trump wanted, an actual strategy. Use the pandemic to divide voters. Democrats would behave rationally, fear the virus, and vote by mail. Trump told his supporters that the virus was fake, that the risk was low, so they’d vote in person — at least the ones who were still alive. And the states did permit wider mail voting, especially in November. But there was little chance that the deaths of Trump supporters that would result from this cynical strategy would make a serious dent in the electoral percentages. He could afford to lose a hundred thousand or more supporters to the grave if he could discount even more Democratic votes. And the early deaths were in blue states and in inner cities, Democratic redoubts. It wasn’t until summer and especially after Sturgis when the reddest rural areas got hit hard.

The other half of the strategy, then, was the count. As the old saw goes, it’s not the votes that count, it’s who counts the vote. Trump’s plan was to try to discount mail voting: Have swing states change the rules so ballots would have to arrive earlier to be counted. Don’t make it easy to get a mail ballot. Challenge as many mail ballots as possible. And, on a  nationwide basis, sabotage the post office so that as many mail ballots as possible could be lost. If enough Democrats voted by mail unsuccessfully and Republicans, disbelieving the risk of Covid, voted in person, then the totals could be swung in key states.

That was the strategy. And you could see it play out right up to and especially after Election Day. As Kos pointed out beforehand, the early returns, on election night, would favor Trump, followed by a “blue wave” of counted mail-in votes. The two different sets of votes would differ, and indeed they did. Trump’s post-election strategy has been to ignore that obvious fact, even though he planned it that way, by pretending that the mail-in votes had to be corrupt because they should have been just like the in-person votes.

And his minions went on TV doing silly statistical games like saying that there was “one in a quadrillion” odds that the Biden vote was real, basically because it didn’t match the in-person vote. His court fools, like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell, continue to spout conspiracy theories about the vote count’s being wrong. But that was the plan. Trump’s base of low-information low-intelligence voters believed it, and that enabled his planned mob coup to go ahead on January 6. They hoped that disrupting the electoral vote counting ceremony would throw the election into the House, where Republicans had a majority of states (one vote per state).

All the while since November, Trump has used the claim of a stolen election to raise more money from the suckers who voted for him and hadn’t died of Covid. He’s in deep debt personally, a failed businessman who faked it all along with borrowed money, and all he has left is the adulation of the deplorables. Like a prosperity gospel preacher fleecing a congregation of poor people to buy himself another Rolls-Royce or private jet, Trump shamelessly uses his electoral loss for personal gain. And Covid denialism, anti-mask, anti-vax, anti-science militancy helps fuel it. The pandemic did not get him reelected but he’s still making the most of it, and more deaths are an inevitable part of the strategy. Maybe he hopes anti-vax and variants will prevent herd immunity from happening before the 2022 midterms, though I wouldn’t count on it, at least anywhere but the reddest of states.

So yes, Trump and his team (Miller, Giuliani, Kushner, etc.) did intentionally and knowingly undertake actions that killed over half a million Americans, which puts them well up there in anyone’s mass murder statistics. And it’s still going on. It’s one of the greatest crimes in American history, at least post-1865, it’s happening right under our noses, yet people refuse to see it. This is no conspiracy theory, it’s simply a year’s news. Mass death is the essence of Trump.

Poll

3580 votes Show Results

Do you agree that Trump’s team let the pandemic spread so they could claim the election was stolen?

3580 votes Vote Now!

Do you agree that Trump’s team let the pandemic spread so they could claim the election was stolen?

Yes, that’s pretty much what happened
2590 votes
Not quite — he was just incompetent and let it spread while using regular racist voter-suppression tropes
899 votes
No, you’re spouting CT
1%
52 votes
Other; see my comment
1%
39 votes

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is downright spooky to an old man, born to WWII veterans, eight years after the war.
    .
    Fascism is like having termites: blind to everything, except relentless hunger. Pure animal instinct.
    Um, just sayin…
    –Doug MacNamara.

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