Any decent thinker is always trying to assess what’s going on in any given situation, and make sense of it. At a time like this, when everything is on fire and lives are on the line, there’s an even greater tendency to try to figure out what’s really going on. Lately, much of this instinct has been focused on trying to figure out what Donald Trump’s plan is here.
I’m here to tell you he doesn’t have one. In the general sense, yes, Donald Trump is hoping to find a way to spin this pandemic in his favor and win reelection. But that’s not a plan. It’s a wish. Plans involve strategy. They involve doing X with the reasonable expectation that it could cause Y to happen. Good plans also involve what to do next if X doesn’t work. Trump has none of this going on.
Everyone paying close attention to the science knew that hydroxychloroquine was highly unlikely to work as a coronavirus miracle cure. But Donald Trump’s plan to save himself was to bet big on this drug and then… hope that it magically worked and made the pandemic go away so he could take credit? That’s not a plan. It’s like buying a lottery ticket and calling it a retirement plan.
Now that hydroxychloroquine has crashed and burned, Donald Trump is up there talking about injecting people with sunlight? Having people ingest disinfectants that will kill them? Again, this is not a plan. This is finding out your lottery ticket didn’t win, and buying yet another lottery ticket with even worse odds, and telling yourself you now have a plan.
This isn’t a guy who has some secret evil genius master plan to win the election. He was already facing historically difficult odds of reelection before the pandemic came along and put him in an even worse position. Now his plan to save himself has gone from “hope a random untested drug magically cured everyone” to “hope sunlight can be injected into people’s veins.” If he had a real plan, we’d be seeing him taking steps toward carrying out his plan. We wouldn’t be seeing this desperate flailing nonsense.
Even the most unprepared of people can buy a lottery ticket and accidentally win – which is why we must keep working hard to help Joe Biden expand his lead over Trump. But the fatalism I keep hearing about Trump having some secret master plan to win the election no matter what? That’s as baseless as it is toxic. There are so many good reasons to be pessimistic right now. A failing idiot like Trump having an evil genius master plan isn’t one of them.
Vigilance is important. But vigilance does not mean sitting around and coming up with the most fatalistic scenarios possible, as an excuse for not having to put in the work, because you’ve convinced yourself the other side is going to win anyway. In fact that’s the opposite of vigilance. In real world terms, vigilance means working hard to achieve a desired result. Go put in the work and get Joe Biden even more votes. Finish Donald Trump off. This is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report