As the Covid-19 wave moves out of New England and into the south and west of the United States, the extent of infections is rising exponentially, especially in areas where Republican governors and state legislators responded to Donald Trump’s call to reopen early regardless of the consequences. States like Florida, which Trump had held up as an exemplar of optimism and positivity, are now overwhelmed by huge infection rates and a climbing mortality rate.
We are now three months off polling day for the US presidency and Trump is flailing about, seeking alibis for his complete miscalculation of the Covid risk and his stubborn refusal to grasp the reality of the pandemic. On Fox News, his cheer leaders even call the pandemic the Dem-panic. This grave crisis was originally dismissed by Trump and his allies as a “hoax” being exaggerated by the Democratic Party and the fake media for political purposes.
He predicted that the third quarter would be a three month period of amazing sustained recovery bringing the US back to previous levels of economic success. The problem with the third quarter is that it begins in six weeks’ time. There are no signs of a v-shaped recovery on the horizon. All the indications are that hospitals and medical facilities across huge swathes of the US will be in a state of crisis for the next six weeks.
“Sleepy” Joe Biden is rapidly overhauling Trump in key swing states. Pessimistic Republicans even fear that their stronghold since the days of Lyndon Johnston, the Lone Star State of Texas, may become marginal as Trump’s support level implodes.
Nearly all of his domestic options have now been closed off. On the international front, it is difficult to see how he could improve his chances by military strikes against Iran.
Likewise, air strikes against the Assad regime in Syria would have very little political traction in Trump’s voter base. His efforts to secure an Israeli-Palestine settlement (managed by his son-in-law Jared Kushner) have come unstuck.
Israel is beset by a massive Covid wave. Binamin Netanyahu has experienced Trump-like falls in his personal popularity and is now the subject of a criminal prosecution. Annexation of the West Bank, designed to appeal to zionist and evangelical supporters in the US risks losing all of America’s key allies in the region from Saudi Arabia to Jordan and to Egypt, not to mention the Gulf States.
Only Venezuela is small enough and weak enough to be the subject of some military intervention that would not damage share prices in Wall Street. And there seems little prospect of ousting the regime of Nicholas Maduro without very significant US casualties.
China is not playing ball with the Trump regime. Recent revelations that Trump pleaded with President Xi to increase Chinese imports of American agricultural produce to boost Trump’s re-election prospects in the mid-west reveal just how weak Trump’s leverage on Beijing just has become.
It is hard to see how Beijing would actually want to see the re-election of Trump rather than the election of Joe Biden. Accordingly, Beijing cannot be relied upon to twist the economic squeeze on North Korea at this time. Yet another key project of Trump’s foreign policy, the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, has completely stalled.
In short, Trump’s foreign policy lies in tatters and his domestic economic situation is awful.
Even the Supreme Court appointees have failed to deliver key decisions on the pro-life agenda which Trump promised his conservative and evangelical supporters.
Even if Wall Street has held up thus far, its buoyancy is beginning to resemble a Pollyanna-style Ponzi scheme which cannot last.
On top of that, Trump has continued to haemorrhage key allies. John Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened”, apart from being a turgid volume of self-justification by its warmongering author, has let the cat out of the bag in relation to the political chaos and madness stalking the corridors of the White House. And now, on the heels of Bolton’s work, comes Trump’s own niece with a detailed account of the personal and psychological horror story from which Trump’s egomania has sprung.
The problem with all of this is that many people suspect that there is virtually nothing that Trump would not do to secure his own re-election.
Is there any stunt available to him to reverse his dismal political outlook? He might ramp up his dog-whistle racist rhetoric against BLM activists and reinstate confederacy statuary or the use of the confederate flag. But that tactic has not worked to reverse his decline so far.
He has commuted the jail term of Roger Stone, the self-professed author of the “Lock Her Up” chant in 2016. Anyone who has seen the “Call Me Roger Stone” would worry that they could together cook up another entirely mendacious campaign aimed at Biden, along the lines of the Ukrainian smear.
While things are looking good for Biden, a lot of nasty things could happen between now and 100 days’ time.
Brace yourselves for what a cornered Trump might do in his desperation.