If you happen to listen to Trump or Fox News (essentially the same thing), for months you have been hearing how ruffians are taking over our cities and how it won’t be long before they bring their lawlessness to the suburbs.
They make no distinction between the overwhelming majority of peaceful protesters who have a legitimate reason to be marching and those looters and arsonists who belong in jail. Fox News frequently runs old footage of rock throwing and fires that occurred in late May and early June to create the false impression that violence is currently consuming our entire nation.
This coordinated message of “law and order” worked for Richard Nixon and Trump hopes it is equally effective for him. The purpose of this campaign is plain and simple—distraction. Trump does not want COVID-19, the most consequential event of our lives, to become the focal point of this election, but his recent illness has put the virus right back on the front page of every newspaper in the land.
Trump cannot say the word “virus” without blaming China, but blaming others for his failure doesn’t wash. The origin of the virus doesn’t begin to explain why, despite our medical knowhow and wealth, we have far more deaths than any other country.
The blame game is no longer working for him. We all see what happens when people don’t wear masks and avoid social distancing, as when hundreds of the inner circle sat on the White House lawn to welcome the new Supreme Court nominee.
No matter how hard Trump tries to steer the conversation away, this election will be a referendum on his handling of COVID-19, and with cases beginning to rise again, his days in power are numbered.