Post-mortem on US elections and Covid-19

Post-mortem on US elections and Covid-19 Featured

I WROTE a four-part series of articles on the United States elections, beginning at a time when the US polls were predicting a Biden win. The trend held but the actual voter turnout was unexpected and unprecedented with 153 million Americans turning out to vote, the biggest this century; 52 percent of whom voted for President-elect Joe Biden, awarding him 306 electoral college votes — a landslide. Six swing states that made the Donald president in 2016 flipped from Red to Blue (Democrats), making Donald Trump a loser. This makes Trump only one of six one-termer presidents in US history —– not to mention that this impeached president lost the popular vote twice (2016 and 2020).

But what is remarkable is the 48 percent Trump supporters, a substantial segment of which US media identified as the “true believers.” They irresponsibly risk exposing themselves to the coronavirus in droves to attend Trump’s political rallies. Exit votes later confirmed their profiles to be mostly “white older men (50 to 65-plus years), noncollege degree holders populating small rural towns and evangelical Christians.” These are the Trumpers.

Laying the ground for a massive fraud
Predictably, Trump negated the results, as he declared, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” attempting to cast doubt on the process itself. First, he laid the predicate for his accusations by discrediting mail-in ballots, traditionally the voting preference of minorities and blacks, predominantly Democrats, months before the actual voting — an implausible indictment as he is the sitting president and has control of the levers of power. This subversion continues by launching frivolous lawsuits brazenly instigating reversal of the results, even bullying state election boards.

A mandatory hand-recount in the state of Georgia, a Republican stronghold, confirmed the same results — Trump lost. The Georgia secretary of state, a Republican whose office oversees the voting process unequivocally stated that there was no election fraud. Trump now questions the recounted results, insanely demanding another recount.

No evidence of fraud
Trump’s allegations of massive fraud are now fraying at the edges with charges either thrown out by the courts, haphazardly filed then dropped or their own lawyers simply withdrawing from the cases. His pathetic schemes to undermine state legislatures to delay or reverse certification is his desperate throws of Hail Marys and may constitute a felony. Trump’s own appointee, Christopher Krebs, of the Department of Homeland Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) which spearheaded efforts to protect the 2020 elections declared that “…this 2020 election was one of the safest and most secure in recent history — despite a raging pandemic, a surge in mail-in voting, the looming specter of foreign interference, and an unprecedented firestorm of disinformation, the election largely went off without a hitch.” Next day, he was fired!

The results also suggest that the voters’ intent was primarily to kick Trump out from the presidency rather than a wholesale repudiation of the Republican party. And here is the rub. Republicans even gained seats in the House with the Senate still to be contested. And the complicit Republican leadership, particularly Mitch McConnel, Lindsay Graham and the spineless Ted Cruz, among others, held their own. What remains to be seen is whether the ideological pendulum will swing back to the center-left with Biden at the helm after four years of Trump propelling the radical swing to the right with copious amounts of bigotry and racist undertones. It may be a safe conjecture that America grudgingly exposed itself as still the land of the entitled white folks albeit struggling to fulfill its forefathers’ dictum of a more perfect union. Seventy-three million Americans endorsed this appalling perception.

Trumpism’s triumph
Pundits, historians, academics and political technocrats will take years to dissect and divine the effects of these 2020 elections. The real casualties are America’s revered values preached to the world for a hundred years: freedom, tolerance and equality of opportunity; and its vaunted concept of democracy, all tied neatly to its global prestige and status. Trump unmasked the lie taught about America, a romantic notion of “a city on a hill, a shining beacon to other countries.” Countries like the Philippines and the rest of the world may now look down pathetically at a once great country, self-righteous and quick to condemn the very same acts by which America is now guilty of. What is unconscionable is the hypocrisy of it all. America has reduced itself into a category she has always looked down upon and scorned — a despot-headed Third World country. The South American, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries may be too civilized to gloat. America has established a unique niche for itself — a deteriorating First World industrial giant with a Third World political psyche.

The pandemic
The other catastrophe that continues to define Trump is how this pandemic was confronted and handled with the acquiescence of his base and his complicit GOP cohorts. It was a monumental failure of leadership, one that is heroically demanded by its citizens in times like these – a contagion and economic dislocations. The world too invariably look up to an altruistic American leadership. Instead, its leader choked. His months of vacillation and underestimating the lethal effects of the virus was impelled more by parochial political calculations than concern for public health and safety. He was up for re-election and he was protecting his phony reputation as the president best able to reign over the economy. He took a gamble on people’s lives on a vaccine as a deus ex machina playing between opening up the economy, doing away with lockdowns versus the observance of minimal safety protocols by enforcing universal use of protective masks and social distancing. This was a false choice. He bet all-in and lost, along with 262,000 American lives.

Trump had many chances to stop the contagion’s spread once it broke out from China. It was his arrogance that prevented him from confronting the looming danger. And it was his narcissism and lack of empathy that blinded him to people dying and suffering.

Timelines of death
In early January when Covid-19 cases were but a handful, with hubris, he declared: “We have it under total control. It’s just one person coming in from China…it’s going to be just fine…this is a hoax…one day just like a miracle, it will disappear.” Health Secretary Azar and Peter Navarro, erstwhile members of his coronavirus task force, warned Trump about the “possibility of pandemic that could cause 500 million deaths.” He scoffed at them. Later, in an interview with author Bob Woodward in early February, Trump confessed he knew that coronavirus was airborne and that “It’s more deadly than your strenuous flus…I wanted to play it down.”

By mid-March there were just 2,700 cases and 57 deaths; by March 31 with an accelerated 1.07 million Covid testing, 164,620 cases, 3,170 deaths. “This will go away by Easter,” he said.

By April 30, 1.04 million cases and 60,966 deaths; May 31, 1.77 million and 103,781; June 30, 2.5 million and 126,140; September 22, there were 200,000 deaths; by election day, 100,00 new cases daily; by November 23, there were 12.5 million cases, 262,000 deaths.

This man has blood on his hands. His legacy. The beginning of a new American century. God save America!

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Read 215 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:22
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