How COVID-19 will change Trump’s re-election tactics

How COVID-19 will change Trump’s re-election tactics, by Miranda Devine.

One picture on the weekend encapsulates the polarised politics of the pandemic in America, with implications for November’s presidential election.

A man in green surgical garb and N95 mask stands in the middle of a road in Denver, Colorado, blocking the path of an SUV headed for a protest to demand the city reopen for business.

Opposing protesters stand-off in Denver as tensions rise in the US over whether to maintain coronavirus restrictions. Picture: Alyson McClaran

The obstructed driver, a middle-aged blonde wearing an American flag T-shirt, is leaning out her car window, brandishing a placard reading “LAND of the FREE”. …

The images went viral, so to speak, and appeared to depict an America that is losing its mind.

The insta-narrative was that COVID-19 “truthers” are attacking the very health workers who have put their lives on the line, while the Bad Orange Man in the White House eggs them on.

In reality, the protests in places like Colorado, California and Michigan are not as insane as they sound.

While news out of the US is focused on the epicentre in New York City, with more than 10,000 deaths, what has been lost in translation is that the virus has disproportionately hit Democratic states such as New York, California, Michigan and Washington.

Yet other less populated areas of the country remain largely untouched, while subjected to the same kind of economy-wrecking, life-depleting lockdown restrictions.

It’s a blue state-red state viral divide. …

Pointless over-regulation:

Similarly, in Michigan, protesters rallied against mercurial overreach by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a putative running mate for Joe Biden who has been dubbed “Half Whitmer” by Trump.

For instance, she has banned lawn mowing while marijuana dispensaries are free to operate as “essential services”.

“You can basically smoke your grass but not cut your grass,” said White House spokesman Kellyanne Conway. …

November election:

Trump is a political Houdini. His re-election will rest on keeping the virus at bay and the economy sputtering back to life.

His tactics will include uniting Americans around a common enemy, China’s communist regime, and portraying Biden as soft on China.

To that end, Trump proxies have been demanding reparations and suggesting class actions from businesses financially ruined by the pandemic unleashed by China on the world.

It’s not just allegations of sloppy security at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which led to the virus escaping, or the subsequent cover-up by the Chinese government.

There is also the charge of criminal intent, that the Chinese government, decided on January 23 to impose domestic travel bans in Hubei province but allow international flights to spread the virus to the rest of the world. …

As Americans emerge into the sunlight to survey their ruined economy, you can bet Trump will be focusing their anger on China.

He will point to last year’s trade wars to demonstrate that he has been a China hawk from the start, in contrast to Biden, who has been an apologist for the Communist regime, with a history of questionable family investments.

hat-tip Stephen Neil