How Trump is losing the politics of pandemic

How Trump is losing the politics of pandemic, by Cameron Stewart.

Donald Trump is going through the darkest days of his presidency. He is losing the politics of the pandemic and is in growing danger of losing the coming election.

He has lost, through no fault of his own, the robust economy that was his strongest case for re-election. But now Trump appears to be gradually losing the confidence of Americans in his ability to steer the nation through the coronavirus crisis.

A 17-state survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee has found that the president is struggling in key election battleground states and is on course to lose the election without some sort of economic rebound before the November poll.

And yet, polls also show that two-thirds of Americans are more fearful of the virus that has claimed more than 55,000 lives than they are of the ramifications of the collapsed economy. As much as these voters want better economic circumstances, they are fearful of the economy being reopened too quickly and triggering a deadly second wave of infections. …

Poor leadership, and doing weakly in polls:

Trump’s prospects of re-election are being undermined by his erratic leadership so far during this pandemic. …

Trump began this pandemic poorly by playing down the gravity and danger of the virus — especially during three crucial weeks from late February to mid-March — which meant that he moved too slowly and too late to slow its rapid spread across the country.

Since then he has largely refused to use his position as president to co-ordinate a national federal response to the crisis. Trump is right to leave it to state governors to choose when they should reopen the economy because the virus is impacting unevenly across the country.

But on other issues, Trump has baulked at the very notion of exerting federal leadership. Most remarkably, he has refused to order a wartime-style federal effort to co-ordinate mass testing across the country, instead leaving it to the states who are short of equipment and trained personnel.

Trump continues to peddle falsehoods about the success of testing across the US when the reality is that the US is far behind many other nations in per capita testing.

Yet at the same time Trump has been encouraging state Governors to reopen their economies. This means that Americans are being encouraged to go back to normal life while not having the widespread testing in place to give them confidence that it is safe to do so. …

Trump has not used his press conferences — a powerful prime time bully pulpit — to try to unite the country and express empathy for the dead but has used it instead to try to settle scores and attack his critics. …

By contrast Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, is locked-away in a basement in his Delaware home, barely visible to voters and yet he is increasing his lead over Trump in the polls each day….

In Australia:

There is a reason why Scott Morrison has record approval ratings while Trump’s numbers are underwater — leadership in a crisis does matter, and most Americans believe they are not getting that leadership right now.

Another major difference is that in Australia the left and the media are not asking the question about the crucial delay on closing borders. They are complicit too. Closing borders was never even mentioned in the media during February. Instead, the focus was on the universities, and how their income from Chinese students might be disrupted. Of course, as this blog pointed out, those costs are dwarfed by what we are now going through. If only we had closed the borders when Taiwan did, and when this blog and others advocated.

But in Australia Brendan Murphy and the government will soon be congratulating themselves on crushing the virus (with no interruptions to their paypackets). This distracts everyone from the incompetence of our ruling class in letting this preventable harm befall us — by not paying attention early on and not acting quickly enough.