Will Americans Risk Death To Vote Trump Out Of Office?

Thom plus logo The contours of Donald Trump's reelection strategy are coming into view. It appears he's trying to get as many people infected as possible in red states and swing states, so by November they will have herd immunity and can go vote.

He's also promoting the idea that, if you are white and under 60, you really don't have to worry so much about getting the virus or bothering with "sissy" things like wearing masks or social distancing, so even if you didn't get sick, you can still safely go vote. Key to this strategy is for him to never be seen in public wearing a mask.

He's counting on Democrats and other well informed voters to stay sheltered in place until November, and to continue believing that masks and social distancing are vital, so they will be reluctant to go out to the polling places in November.

This perfectly explains his outrage at swing state governor Whitmer for sending out 7 million applications for absentee ballots: his strategy depends on people not being able to easily vote from home but having to physically go out and confront the virus.

The danger to his strategy is if it produces too many deaths that he and his red state governors can't conceal.

As he encourages red states and swing states to open back up, he is reigniting a resurgence of the pandemic in parts of America where it was only a small factor or had been under control. If people in red and swing states start noticing large numbers of their neighbors getting very sick or dying, they may join high information voters and Democrats in being reluctant to go to the polls.

Working with red state governors to hide the numbers of infections and deaths, as we see in several states now, he's betting that deaths of old people and black people will not get the news attention that might otherwise freak white people out and cripple his strategy. He's also betting that there won't be such a severe infection or death rate, at least among his white voting base.

It's a high stakes bet.

If the red states and swing states can get past the infection peak through the summer and early fall, particularly among maskless followers of Fox and rightwing hate radio, he may end up with a good turnout and reelection.

On the other hand, as the death rates rise in those states, If some of these governors won't help him hide the statistics and the news media begins to show what's going on, he could be seen as a Herbert Hoover type character who essentially did nothing of consequence in the face of a crisis.

Americans tend not to vote for ineffectual leaders. Time will tell if Trump's strategy of intentionally letting more Americans die will help him get reelected, but his recent comments about wanting the Republican National Convention in North Carolina to be packed to the rafters certainly highlight his commitment to his herd immunity strategy.

Trump's herd immunity strategy will depend on the roughly half of Americans in red and swing states hitting about a 50% infection rate well before election day, so they are recovered and can go vote. That would be half of about 150 million Americans, and if the death rate from this virus stays where it is, that could be over a million dead Americans.

The next two months, as infections begin to rip all across America as the result of Trump's reopening the country, will pretty much seal his November fate.

Will he and Fox News be able to cover up the deaths, or get white people to ignore them, and win? Or will he kill a million Americans, lose, and be seen by history as the man willing to let his fellow citizens die in droves for ultimately unsuccessful but purely political and purposes?


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