Last night I started to rewatch the first season of the HBO Watchmen series and I found the whole thing really disturbing. Not that I had not found the first episode disturbing in the first place as I, like many people, had never heard of the Tulsa massacre and for a while I thought it was all made up for the series. Oh how wrong I was! However, since the episode was first aired, only a few months ago, so much has happened that honestly if we had been told back then we wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are.
The only reason why I mentioned Tulsa was because it can be seen to symbolise the way that President Trump believes he can be re elected and the consequences of his attempt to regain ground. President Trump decided that Tulsa would be a great place to have his first coronavirus rally in June and given the history of Tulsa you have to say he couldn’t have picked a better place to reinforce the notion that he either doesn’t care about black Americans and/or he is a white supremacists. This was around about a month after the George Floyd killing and parts of America were close to boiling point. Any other President would try and lower the temperature instead Trump did the opposite and went ahead with his rally which, for a number of reasons, turned out to be a disaster in the short and the medium term.
The short term disaster was that so few people attended – certainly not the ‘millions‘ of people who had applied to go. The PR was a disaster and came to symbolise a campaign going round and around in circles but getting nowhere fast. It did not set up a come back for the President but rather only underlined the way he cannot unite a very divided country at the moment.
The medium term problem was that it underlined the idea that President Trump doesn’t care two hoots about the coronavirus crises gripping the United States of America at the moment. When you look at the Oklahoma infection data it is noticeable that just how much the infection rate increased after Trump’s rally. This is not to say that the rally was a major contributor, it certainly didn’t help lower the number of infections. Nor is Oklahoma out of step with the overall national picture. Instead it just shows how important the early summer explosion of infections has been in informing people’s view of just how well the President of the United States has performed in his attempts to try and deal with disaster that has lead to the deaths of 146,754 so far of people in the United States of America.
To show how really important this is to the re election prospects of President Trump look no further than his own ‘home‘ state Florida. Here was see over 423k of infections and 5853 deaths. Florida a is swing state that Trump won in 2016 and needs to retain yet at the moment he is an average of 6% behind Joe Biden. The national position is even worse with Joe Biden holding a healthy 8% lead. It would seem that this is really going to be a Coronavirus election along with the economic disaster that will hit America in August if the relief packages are not voted through Congress in time.
Back in April I wrote ‘…One of the biggest things that the voters will have on their minds come November will be the coronavirus, its handling and how it has affected their lives …‘ I also suggested that all was not lost as he needed to gain around 4% rise in the polls to be competitive and in truth nothing much has changed (especially the poll numbers) apart from President Trump has had 4 months to demonstrate to the American people that he has a handle on the coronavirus disaster which he clearly hasn’t managed to do. Instead he seems to be pursuing a Law and Order policy that appears to be counterproductive in the one thing he needs to do – appeal beyond his base . Will he be reelected? It is looking unlikely however, think what has happened in the last 99 days and you have to say it is far too early to call.