Trump’s sketchy views on COVID-19 make sense now
The link between Nazism, Trump’s administration and the Spanish flu
I have been around enough politicians and participated in enough political events to think I have a pretty good idea of what the campaign plan is. But I could never figure out why the golf enthusiast in the White House was going out of his way to not only harm his own opposition but also the people who would vote for him in November 2020. Coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) is responsible for more than 1.17 million infections and approximately 68K deaths in the United States. And worldwide, those numbers skyrocket to 3.5 million and more than 247K deaths.
Influenza deaths of 1918 are correlated with an increase in the share of votes won by right-wing extremists, such as the National Socialist Workers Party (aka the Nazi Party), in the crucial elections of 1932 and 1933.
I’ve grown indifferent to Donald Trump deciding that he won’t wear a face mask because he doesn’t like the look. According to him, he doesn’t want to be “sitting in the Oval Office behind that great resolute desk” with a mask on — even if it’s going to save his own life. So it seems perfectly logical that he’d also talk Vice President Mike Pence into not wearing a face mask in the Mayo Clinic building. (I do not have documented proof of this, but considering his rambling with former FBI Director James Comey about “loyalty,” I’m willing to bet this discussion happened. He already managed to convince him to play a game of hide-the-water-bottle.)
After all, presentation is everything. Oddly, the VP backtracked on the latter decision when it was too late, stating at a Fox News virtual townhall meeting, “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic and I wore it when I visited the ventilator plant in Indiana” two days later. Too little, too late.
Still though, it’s not only illogical but perplexing to see a bunch of people putting their lives on the line to drive past political officials’ buildings and try to bully them into decreasing social isolation, storm the lobbies and have a stand-off with nurses — all of which are trying to save their lives — while the president is basically responding to his supporters like Ivan Drago, “If he dies, he dies.”
A larger argument could be made that he’s already making fun of his own supporters’ naivete, stating publicly, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” But what is it about these voters that are so blindly supportive of a man that has neither their own mental and/or physical health as a top priority?
In a prior retail report, I briefly mentioned the tragedy of the 1918 Spanish flu and how it affected nationwide communities and businesses in this piece, “COVID-19 and Its Impact on Consumer Behavior.” But Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report’s “Pandemics Change Cities: Municipal Spending and Voter Extremism in Germany, 1918–1933” took a deeper dive into this health outbreak.
The line that specifically caught my attention was this one, “Influenza deaths of 1918 are correlated with an increase in the share of votes won by right-wing extremists, such as the National Socialist Workers Party (aka the Nazi Party), in the crucial elections of 1932 and 1933.” (For the record, the analysis is based on approximately 60 cities per year for six years between 1925 and 1932.)
Interestingly, the report confirms that regions more affected by the pandemic may have gravitated toward political parties aligned with anti-minority sentiment. Rise in xenophobia and referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”? Check and check.
Also in the report, “An increase in the share of the population that is unemployed is also strongly related to an increase in the share of the vote obtained by the national socialist party.” While there is a segment of the population that feels like it has been robbed because it works for a non-essential company, the primary reason for those companies being closed is blindly overlooked. But again, if you don’t quite understand, or choose to downplay, that reason, it just looks like the local government robbed you of your job. And at the federal level, those same protesters have a co-signer — who wants them to swallow disinfectant.
While the report leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the correlations are coincidental or causational, it does remind its readers that Spanish flu (nor COVID-19) was not some kind of manmade sickness created to purposely hurt one particular community. Unlike a large majority of Trump’s supporters, COVID-19 genuinely “does not see color.”
Sadly, minorities are still getting hit hard by the virus. African-Americans account for a disproportionate amount of those who died from COVID-19. And in my own state of Illinois, 26,517 individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 to date checked the “Hispanic” box. Of that total, according to today’s press release from Governor J.B. Pritzker, 15,959 tested positive for COVID-19 — a positivity rate of 60 percent, nearly three times the state’s average. Somehow, Trump’s supporter base is still acting like social isolation is an overreaction.
In my personal opinion, if the leader of the free world (because of the electoral college, not the popular vote) is telling his followers that COVID-19 will all blow over with minimal deaths (that continue to rise), shuns the idea of wearing a face mask and urges his followers to go back to work regardless of risk factor, I have to wonder if he understands that these are the same people who are most likely to head to the polls in November. I’m only left with one obvious conclusion to his antics: If they die, they die, as long as he gets the votes from the “very fine people” who survive.
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