COVID-19, protests, China: What’s really going on behind the scenes
Three things are happening, have been happening, relative to COVID-19, international politics, and the 2020 presidential election.
First, to the international politics part of this.
China has played the hell out of the West, including the U.S.
Seriously, troll level: expert there, the way the Chinese government shut down Wuhan at the outset of COVID-19, to set the tone for what the brain trust wanted the rest of the world to think would be necessary to stem the tide.
The West pliantly went along, in the process cratering their economies, and rendering themselves incapable of responding to the atrocities involving Hong Kong and Uighur Muslims.
And in the meantime, the regime there is now hyping its drive to become the world’s #1 economy.
And we’re supposed to believe that the repression of Hong Kong and the Uighurs and the push from the Chinese government to take over the world economy just coincidentally picked up steam after they crushed COVID.
We’re also supposed to be smarter than that.
Next, to the 2020 presidential election.
People on the right will tell you that Democrats are riding COVID as a way to undermine the re-election campaign of Donald Trump, which, hey, you’ve seen the Joe Biden summer TV spot riding COVID as a way to kneecap Trump, so, OK, yeah, might be at least a little something there.
The right will tell you that the CDC and the states are dramatically overcounting COVID-19 cases and deaths, but the right isn’t alone in having issues with the “numbers.”
The left will tell you that the official numbers are dramatically undercounting the same.
Whatevs. Let’s just accept the numbers for what they are.
The sum effect for Democrats is that COVID has taken away the most important metric that Trump had working in his favor.
As recently as February, in the aftermath of the failed impeachment effort, the economy was still going strong, and the political scientists who track such things were telling us that GDP and employment data were suggesting to them that Trump was on track for re-election, in spite of what seemed to be the conventional wisdom of the time.
The last four months have done a number on the numbers, of course, and with Trump not able to simply snap his fingers and make COVID go away, opting instead to leave the public health response to the states, well, that left open the opportunity for governors in the blue states to take the ball and run with it.
Which is how it was that the likes of Andrew Cuomo and Ralph Northam became mini-celebrities with regular breaking news live local TV coverage, which they used to highlight both their action and the Trump administration’s inaction.
One issue here has been that the success of several blue states to manage the public health situation has begun to manifest in quicker-than-expected economic recoveries in those states, including Virginia, which has largely been spared both in terms of the public health and economic impact from the pandemic.
It’s only July, three months and change out from the November election.
Expect to see the blue state governors pump the brakes, is the safe bet there, because the stakes are what they are.
You know, an election to win, and all.
But before you start to think that this is all playing against Trump, a couple of points to ponder.
One, even with the strong economy back in the first quarter, his re-election was still at best a 50/50 proposition, given that he did in fact lose the popular vote back in 2016 by 3 million votes, only getting elected on the most technical of technicalities, ahead of four years of relentless pressure from Democrats and the media.
His best bet was, even if none of what had happened in the past four months were to have happened, to muddy the waters, as his team did back in 2016, which featured not one, but several, perfect storms, from the butthurt Bernie Bros to James Comey playing politics with an FBI investigation a week out from Election Day.
Those things just happened, but credit to the Trump team, they played them to great tactical advantage, to open the door just enough.
So, Trump won that one by uglying things up, and his team was preparing itself for another mud wrestling match in 2020, risking impeachment on the clumsy effort to get dirt on a certain Democrat in the event that this certain Democrat would be the nominee.
Which is to say, Trump has the opponent that he wanted, in Joe Biden, and the impeachment campaign had a sort of Streisand effect on the dirt that was gathered from Ukraine, getting it out into the public domain, setting up the odd scenario that has the October surprise already out there as a foundation to be built upon.
So, there’s that, which was already in the works, and then there’s what the Trump folks could not have counted on, in the form of the nightly news reels featuring protestors taking to the streets in big cities across the country, clashing with police, setting fires to government buildings, private businesses, basically holding blocks of these cities hostage.
Democrats thought this fall would be a reprise of 1980, when Jimmy Carter had to run for re-election against a backdrop of international chaos, internal economic collapse and mass social anxiety over the direction of the country.
You can guarantee that the Trump team will do its best to pivot the fall from 1980 to 1968, setting up Biden as a hapless Hubert H. Humphrey, forced to hold together a coalition that includes the radicals in the streets pushing violent change and the moderates in the suburbs who aren’t sure what to make of what they’re seeing on the news every night.
And so, our cities burn, and they will continue to burn, because the Trump side thinks it benefits them.
And despite the fact that the rest of the West has figured out that lockdowns don’t actually crush, but actually only prolong, the COVID-19 experience, we will continue to see them used by blue-state governors, because they think it benefits them.
The real winner here, if it wasn’t already obvious, is China, which can act with impunity internally, and continue practically unabated on the international scene in its quest to become the #1 economy.
The frustrating thing, from the American perspective, is that we’ve done this to ourselves.
But, hey, there’s an election to win.
Story by Chris Graham