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Coronavirus, the stock market and Trump: A cautionary tale

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For a “hoax” perpetrated by the “Democrat” Party, coronavirus sure has caught Trump’s attention. His public appearances lately, especially at those coronavirus pressers presided over by a grim Pence, who looks rather like an undertaker, have shown a side of Trump we’ve rarely seen before: somber, halting, hesitant. Is this calculated body language, or is Trump really baffled and confused by the disease, and by the sudden, unprecedented slide of the stock markets? It’s hard to say, given the make-believe nature of the man—he’s been a performer for decades. There may no longer be sunlight between the “real” Trump and the person he plays on T.V. The two have become one—frightening thought.

Anyhow for once in his life forces are conjoining against him over which he has no control. Minions and sycophants obey his every command; viruses do not, nor does the buying and selling of stocks. This is what’s giving Trump that deer-in-the-headlights look lately. It’s a good look for him: no longer the sneering, snarling avenger, but an obese old man who has been humbled by events.

Trump, humbled? Let me find a better way of putting it. No, the man is not “humbled.” He has no humility—has, in fact, no such redeeming moral qualities. To put it in Freudian terms, there’s no superego there, just the raw, primal id rubbing up against a tumescent ego. This is animal cunning, with some human intelligence to guide it. A dangerous combination, a human insect, poisonous, sneaky and secretive.

That China seems to have contained coronavirus must be a great relief to Trump in those wee hours of the night when, tired of tweeting at last, and possibly sedated, he lays his massive head down on some pillow and tries to sleep. Trump’s only defense against charges of failing to adequately warn and protect the nation’s health has been that, someday soon, when warm weather returns, coronavirus will burn itself out and disappear, “miraculously.” I asked my doctor the other day if this is true; after all, flu burns itself out every Spring, why not coronavirus? “Because,” she explained, “the viruses are different.” Flu is not a coronavirus. We do not know if the novel coronavirus will burn out now that Daylight Savings Time is behind us and the days are getting longer and warmer. Donald Trump hopes so; he hopes, too, that the irrational mania that drives the buying and selling of stocks will push the markets up by thousands of points, just as it’s driven them down. But this is precisely why Trump looks so shocked lately: the List of Things Trump Cannot Control is led by viruses and stock prices.

There are things he can control through the power of the presidency. Yesterday he floated the idea of a payroll tax cut to help the economy. Well, this at least was some progress: Trump is loath to admit any failure on his watch but even a person of his incandescent pride cannot deny the thousands upon thousands of points the Dow Jones has fallen in the last week. What to do? The stock market—“his” stock market has been a point of personal boasting (even though the markets began their 11-year ascent in the winter of 2009, under Obama). Today, as I write, there is no cut in payroll taxes that has been announced. The premature announcement is one of Trump’s favorite tactics: say we have peace with North Korea (when we don’t), say we’re pulling out of Afghanistan (when we’re not), say coronavirus has been contained (when it hasn’t), say Mexico will pay for The Wall (when it won’t), say Obama was born in Kenya (a lie), say he’s cutting the payroll tax (when he’s not)—Trump’s idiotic followers will repeat it everywhere: He made peace with North Korea! He got out of Afghanistan! He cut the payroll tax! Well, facts have never been known to trouble Republican heads.

As for the Democratic race, now the pundits say it’s all down to Michigan! Who knows. To me it looks like Biden has things wrapped up. Lord knows he’s not a perfect candidate. I doubt there’s a Democrat anywhere who can watch a Biden interview or speech on T.V. and not privately shudder: Biden can be inspiring but he also can be doddering. He’s old. Trump will make hay of that: Trump is old, too, but not as old as Biden and, to tell the truth, for 73 going on 74 this June 14, Trump looks and sounds pretty good.

If the election were held today, we’re told by pollsters, the Democrat would win. Glory hallelujah! The only way to begin to un-do the damage caused by this Trump crowd is to take back the White House and seize control of both Houses of Congress and protect the Supreme Court before the orange shitgibbon can get his fat little hands on it again. God protect Ruth Bader Ginsburg and grant her long life! Well, at least through Jan. 22, 2021.

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