Until a few weeks ago, Donald Trump was cruising along and felt confident he would be re-elected in November.
Given the fact that the US economy was doing well; unemployment was low and the stock market—the only thing that matters to him—was on a bull run, Trump’s optimism may have been justified except the serious threat posed by COVID-19 that he refused to acknowledge.
He mocked those that said the coronavirus was a serious threat to the US.
Addressing a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina on February 28, Trump parsed his lips slowly in pronouncing the word ‘coronavirus’ and called it the Democrats’ “new hoax”.
He declared to loud cheers that it was “fake news”.
In his long and rambling speech that lasted more than two hours, Trump said “median household income has reached the highest level in the history of our country. The unemployment rate nationwide has hit the lowest rate in over 50 years. The average unemployment rate from my administration is the lowest for any US president in recorded history…”
He even boasted “the unemployment rate among African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans has reached record lows. Black youth unemployment has reached an all-time low…”
He concluded by saying, yet again, “the best is yet to come, we will make America great again.”
What Trump refused to admit despite repeated warnings from health professionals as well as US intelligence agencies was the very serious threat posed by COVID-19, as reported by the Washington Post on March 20.
While in denial for the first half of March, by March 17, he suddenly changed his tune, but still not nearly enough.
At the White House briefing, he said he was urging “Americans to take action for 15 days to help stem the outbreak. So, it’s a 15-day period… we’re asking everyone to work at home, if possible, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people. By making… these temporary changes, we can protect our economy, because I think our economy will come back very rapidly… our country can be rolling again pretty quickly. Pretty quickly.”
Not so fast, Mr. President.
Today, the situation is very different. With more than 257,000 confirmed cases, the US leads the world in the number of infections.
Even if its death toll of nearly 7,000 lags behind that of Italy (11,690+) and Spain (10,700+), this would bring little comfort to most Americans.
Quoting Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, Pat Buchanan wrote that on March 30, she “projected some 100,000 to 200,000 US deaths from the pandemic, ‘if we do things almost perfectly.’ She agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s estimate that, if we do ‘nothing,’ the American dead could reach 2.2 million.”
Buchanan is no left-wing revolutionary.
Nor can he be dismissed as a ‘conspiracy theorist’, that the corporate media immediately declares when someone expresses an opinion contrary to the official version.
It would still be more than two-thirds of the total dead (291,557) in the Second World War that lasted from 1941-1945.
As for the US economy, 10 million people have already filed for jobless claims in the last two weeks.
That, however, may be the tip of the iceberg.
“The coronavirus economic freeze could cost 47 million jobs and send the unemployment rate past 32%,” according to St. Louis Fed projections.
With 393,347,000 guns in the US, there is serious risk that an armed insurrection might erupt if people are unable to get food. Americans are the most violent people in the world.
Media reports about the stock market crash while admitting that it is worse than what happened in 2008-2009 or the earlier one in 1987, refuse to provide dollar figures.
They only quote percentage losses that an average person cannot fully fathom.
Even the IMF chief talks in vague terms: “Coronavirus pandemic economic fallout ‘way worse than the global financial crisis’,” without putting a dollar figure on it that would make more sense to non-economists.
We all know that it would be worse, but by how much? Is it $2 trillion, $10 trillion or $15 trillion?
To put an actual dollar figure on the losses would result in an even greater pandemic than that caused by the coronavirus.
Trump must be pulling the few strands of hair left on his head at the turn of events.
His chances of re-election look increasingly precarious now.
The only way he could stay in power would be to declare martial law and cancel the November presidential elections.
He is so desperate to cling to power that he might just do that.
The US has always been a dictatorship; this would just prove to everyone its ugly reality.