Eric Smith / Flickr

“Don’t cry for me Orange-tina” — new Trump world national anthem. 

Welcome to the COVID Chronicles, 28 days out edition. We will do this once a day until COVID-19 is gone, or Donald Trump is gone, or the blessed day when both are but a bad memory.

Last night the world watched TrumpVita climb the steps of the southern portico — twice, he didn’t like the first take — for the worst photo op in history. He stood there with his orange makeup slathered on with a trowel and chest heaving, gasping for breath. He admonished Americans not to let coronavirus “dominate” our lives. But in short order that is exactly what is going to happen to Trump. Like it or not, he can’t fight Mother Nature. Or, as he would say, “it is what it is.” And it’s about to get much worse. John Stoer, the Editorial Board:

It’s clear he’s sick, though. What’s more, he’s very sick. Doctors do not administer dexamethasone to someone who is not. The steroid makes patients feel like they have energy to spare while tamping down their immune systems, the AP reports. Trump is no doubt correct in saying he feels better than he has in 20 years. That didn’t prevent his chest from visibly heaving, though. And watch out when the drug wears off. It’s common knowledge covid patients feel better before they crash for the worse. The next week is going to be the most important week of this president’s mortal life.

Skeptics maintain he’s faking it to avoid facing Joe Biden a second time. Again, that’s understandable….The debate was unlike most in fact. Its impact has been lasting. Trump didn’t just fail to win new voters, he lost old voters, and he lost them, because he seemed, when standing next to a former vice president speaking from his heart, petty and weak. Skeptics, however, forget something important. You don’t avoid looking weak by pretending to be weaker. Getting sick a month before Election Day is this president’s very worst nightmare. […]

Even if he recovers, he cannot credibly maintain (among people who find it credible) his image of infallibility—the idea he’s invincible. Yes, allies are trying mightily to portray him as some kind of Rambo, some kind of grotesque super-white superhero who can crush the covid with his bare hands. (That venomous smurf Ben Shapiro is representative in this regard. This morning he tweeted: “Wait until Trump develops the anti-covid serum, using his own anti-bodies like Will Smith in ‘I Am Legend,’ and then wins 50 states.” Never mind that Smith’s character kills himself after realizing he’s the bane of the world.) But we are rapidly approaching a tipping point after which these efforts are going to backfire. Indeed, we may already be there. The president’s campaign is crunched for cash.

To be sure, some will always be skeptical. But the rest of us should remember the whole truth. The point of Trump’s project, in the eyes of his hardest supporters, is the power to instill fear in the eyes of their enemies (and taking pleasure in seeing that fear). If enemies do not fear this president, there’s no point to this president. You don’t instill fear when you’re struggling to breathe. You don’t instill fear when you’re dead.

As we speak, the right-wingnuttia talking point of Trump having been deliberately infected and sabotaged by Evil Democrats is taking hold and flourishing as the main narrative. Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, the whole crowd are on board the bio-terrorism crazy train. And the yous and mes are the terrorists — or something. Daily Beast:

Explaining that it would “be very easy to do it at the White House,” Limbaugh added that he was “leveling no allegations” while gaming out the potential plot to infect Trump. “A-ha—the Chi-Coms, the Chi-Coms,” he said after his guest suggested the Chinese could have launched an attack. “Well, let me just throw a couple things out to you, and see—these are just possibilities, these are not—whatever you think out there, folks, we are leveling no allegations. What about an infected swab that they are testing people with?”

“What about some person who has the virus but is asymptomatic and is walking around all of these places—getting close to people, breathing on them, touching them—and maybe a Republican, even,” Limbaugh continued. “What do you think about those two possibilities?” […]

Other fringe personalities—though ones with a large MAGA foothold—have also embraced the notion that Republicans and Trump were specifically targeted for the virus.

Failed congressional candidate and QAnon fan DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, whose call to “#FireFauci” was retweeted by the president, offered up her thoughts over the weekend. “Trump was fine until the debate, where they set up microphones & podiums for him,” she noted at one point. “Incubation period is usually 2 – 3 days. He tests positive a couple of days after the debate. I put nothing past the left. NOTHING.”

P.T. Barnum famously said that nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. Apparently the GOP’s reworking of that concept is that nobody ever lost an election underestimating the stupidity of the American voter. The gullible and uninformed will always be with us. But this is the first time in history that I know of that a major political party has sought to cultivate them as a voting bloc. But then again, perhaps the Republicans know their constituency a lot better than we do? Because it’s either that, or they flat out have no problem insulting the intelligence of the American electorate. I guess that that is the question we’re going to find out the answer to in 28 days. Is this still America — or is it Trump world? And if the latter is the case, we are done and democracy is but a dream. My take is that Trump’a performance on November 3 is going to make the Hindenburg look like a soft landing. Let’s get out the vote and make that happen.


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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.



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