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Trump seems to be getting pretty good polls on coronavirus

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That’s according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll. This baffles a lot of Democrats, so let’s break it down. We all agree that his initial handling, or mishandling, of the crisis was disastrous. He said cases would be “down to zero” soon. He lied about coronavirus being “a Democrat hoax.” For these statements alone, which have and will cost lives, he should have been thrown out of office.

But since last weekend, he’s sprung into high gear. He has his daily T.V. show, with his supporting actors beside him. He knows how to generate headline-grabbing bullet points: direct payments to every American. Closing the borders. Working closely with the Governors and even with Pelosi and Schumer. Producing tests, PPE and ventilators at a furious pace [a lie]. The “curve” should start to go down by mid-summer. We’re doing a tremendous job. And so on.

To the extent Americans see him every day on their television sets (and with so many of us sheltering in place, there’s not much else to do besides watch T.V.), this is somewhat reassuring. He’s there, apparently taking it seriously; better late than never.

So we have to start from there: his effort to rehabilitate himself is working. To tell you the truth, if a pollster called me up and asked if I approve of the job Trump is doing on coronavirus, and “yes” or “no” were my only choices, I’d have to answer “Yes.” If Obama or Biden were president, I don’t know what either would or could be doing now, besides or in addition to what Trump is doing. Maybe they’d have a different approach to the economic aspects of the crisis—more direct help to workers, less to corporations. I don’t know; the administration and the Congress are still working out the details. But Trump seems to be doing what has to be done.

Despite the positive polls, this is not necessarily good news for Trump. He’s getting overall credit for doing his job. That’s a pretty low bar. It’s actually the first time he’s done anything that a majority of the American people approve of. I don’t think he can leverage that into a general uptick in his overall approval ratings—but then, I never underestimate the gullibility of the American people.

Emotionally, I veer between despair and hope. My banker called on Friday to tell me he thinks second quarter GDP and stock market performance will be disasters, but that the third and fourth quarters of 2020 should start us on the road to recovery. Okay. At the same time, I think of industry after industry collapsing: airlines, autos, food service, travel, retail, small business—and I can’t see how to avoid a Depression. There’s a standard meme in political speeches, to the effect that “America is resilient, we can get through anything.” Yes, I suppose so. We got through the last Depression and World War II, we got through the Cold War and Sept. 11, we got through the Great Recession that started under George W. Bush; and maybe we’ll get through this too.

But how long will it last? How much suffering will ensue? And what will be the long-term impact of COVID-19? Americans were already divided; now, we’re physically afraid of each other. Hand-shaking may be dead, hugging a quaint anachronism. But I will give coronavirus credit for this: the supermarkets now let senior citizens like me get in before everybody else. As Martha Stewart would say, that’s a good thing!

  1. Steve

    Don’t know how you could say Trump’s doing a good job on corona virus now. In fact, he’s doing a horrible job. His happy talk daily press conferences are downright dangerous. The mentally challenged of this country, which appears to be upwards of 40% of the population believe his bullshit and act on it. He is a disaster in all respects.

    Paul Stark

  2. Paul, I hear you. I had my doubts when I wrote that. But I said if the ONLY choice was “yes” or “no” I’d have to say “yes” because I don’t know what else any Democrat could do, beyond the economic stimulus package which is still being worked out. I wish and hope the voters will remember trump’s lie that coronavirus was a Democrat hoax. I hope that they will vote him out of office. And then I hope he is prosecuted, as a private citizen, for every crime he has committed, from rape to campaign finance violations, from perjury and obstruction of Congress to colluding with the enemy, which is a capital offense. So I’m not a trump fan! Thank you for reading my blog and for writing in.

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