After 3 1/2 years, this sequence should be as regular as a person full of bran. 1) The Trump administration does something stupid, and a scandal ensues. 2) The Trump administration tries to obfuscate and bullshit their way out of the scandal. 3) The media uncovers facts that cut through the Trump administrations bullshit. 4) The Trump administration throws a bright, shiny object into the air to distract the media and the public, while they try to hose away the previous mess. 5) Before the bright, shiny object hits the ground, a new Trump administration fuck up explodes, fixating the media’s attention on it instead.
The Trump administration followed this strategy to a “T” in the current coronavirus outbreak. First they bullshitted about it, calling it the latest Democratic hoax, and disputing facts as they came out. Then they tried to obfuscate around it, by dragging out tame “experts” and other GOP shills to try to hammer home the Trump administration point of view. Then they tried to blame the governors of individual states, mostly blue states, for bungling their own response to the crisis, and making it worse.
After more than two months of getting his ass kicked, Trump decided it was time for the bright, shiny object, and Boy! this time he has a doozy. Trump arbitrarily decided that it was time to reopen the United States for business again, and the consequences be damned. This glowing ball actually served two purposes of distraction. First, it is designed to move the coronavirus off of the front page, as the media covers the various states reopening, and the success or failure therein. And second, if in fact the stock market rebounds to an appreciable extent as more businesses reopen, it will once again allow Trump to flagellate the deceased equine about how his economic genius saved the country.
But the simple problem is that this time, the ploy won’t work. It won’t work because the coronavirus is not a political scandal that can be easily hosed away or cleaned up, it is a public healthcare nightmare. The coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, and while the media will certainly cover the effects, pro or con, of stated reopening for business, the coronavirus will remain as the dominant topic in the news throughout the summer. And depending on how it assays out, the bright, shiny object that Trump threw up into the air to distract the media and the public, the reopening of the American economy, may be a dominant feature of his defeat in November.
For months now, one of the Trump administration’s favorite harbingers of all things coronavirus has been the University of Washington coronavirus “model.” As Rachel Maddow showed tonight, the model is handy not only because it tracks and predicts the spread or lack thereof of the virus, and not only because you can look at individual states, but also because the model actually adds dates that allow states and other agencies to predict when cases will hit peak, plateau, and decrease. The Trump administration loves the UW model because of it’s sunny predictions regarding the death toll in the United States from the virus, and in fact the CDC gas a link on the main page of their website taking readers to the UW model.
But it turns out that there was a basic problem with the UW model. And that problem was that the researchers took for granted that states, the federal government, and citizens would take the called for measures to ensure public safety. This means observing stay-at-home orders, and keeping those orders in place for as long as necessary. But multiple states refused to institute stay-at-home orders, people are now starting to ignore the orders and go out in public, and more and more states are beginning to relax or rescind those orders. As a result, today the University of Washington revised it’s August 1st projected death toll upwards from 74,000 to 138,000. And guess what? The link to their model is no longer on the CDC home page.
This is where the “boomerang effect” comes into play. The die is already cast. Per Trump’s apocalyptic orders, more states are beginning to reopen. The object was to deflect media coverage from the virus, and that is already happening. Recently. at the top of each hour, after the host gives out the latest numbers for the virus, they are beginning to branch out to reporters in remote locations that are starting to reopen, for boots on the ground reporting on how it’s going. And that remote coverage will only increase as more and more states and cities reopen for business. It would seem as though the Trump distraction is working.
But it won’t matter. And here’s why. For the sake of convenience, let’s just say that all of the current crop of states that are starring to reopen started on May 1st with phase 1. By May 20th these states will already be into phase 2, because Trump is intent on reopening the states for business, and the numbers be damned. Only the numbers aren’t immediate, are they? And if the stock market happens to perk up, that will garner further media attention, and further Trump self congratulations. Personally, I don’t think it will, because there’s a huge difference between a store being open, and people actually shopping in the store. But that’s neither here nor there.
Because the gestation period fro the coronavirus is anywhere from 8-13 days before symptoms actually onset, And it is several days after that before the victims health conditions deteriorate to the point that they are brought to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment. With that simple formula and math in mind, the rest is easy to extrapolate.
With the states already committed to reopening starting on May 1st, and into phase 2 by May 20th, starting in the 2nd week of June, we can expect to see a definite and sharp spike in the reporting of new cases, followed about 10-14 days later by a spike in deaths. I predict that the tip of the spear will come in states like Georgia and Florida, which took half assed measures at best to ensure public safety in the first place, and rushed to reopen to please Glorious Bleater.
And the heartland will be devastated. Many Midwest states suck as AR, ND, NE, and IA took few or no preventative measures at all. And all of them are already struggling with hot spots from unsafe meat processing plants or over crowded state prisons. Those states are showing a willful disinterest in dealing with the problem as is is right now, and steaming full speed ahead to reopen as quickly as possible, making it child’s play for the virus to spread throughout the state, and into surrounding states.
And at that point, right in the middle of summer, whatever media coverage was being spent on the reopening or America is going to boomerang back to the coronavirus, and it’s going to boomerang back hard. And when that happens, Donald Trump is going to pull his hand out of his pocket, and find that he’s holding a winning ticket for the trifecta of pain.
First, the media will boomerang back to wall-to-wall, 24 hour coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in a way that we haven’t seen since New York was setting a grim new fatality record every goddamn day. It will immediately toss a photon torpedo through Trump’s bright, shiny object. Second, as the virus rages in it’s resurgence, doctors, researchers, and immunologists will take to the air in a maelstrom to lay the blame specifically at the feet of Donald Trump and his GOP cohort governors, for reopening the states and economy far too early, and with far too little protection and guidelines in place. And third, even if the stock market does enjoy a short term dead cat bounce from the states reopening, and the promise of normalcy ahead, as the coronavirus situation worsens, and the grim specter of states and major cities once again having to lock down, the Trump recession will quickly threaten to become the Trump depression.
The old saying is that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, which is why they tend to spend most of their time getting swatted across the nose with a rolled up newspaper when the kids tease them into stupid time. But in this case, the Trump administration went to the well once too often, and they chose the worst possible bright, shiny object for their distraction. And if this works out the way I fear it will, by the time election day rolls around, Trump is going to wish that a rolled up newspaper across the snoot was the worst of his worries.
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen