Trouble in MAGA land

A quote often misattributed to Josef Stalin goes something like, “The death of one person is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic.” In Donald Trump’s world, and to judge by his standards, a million deaths would be a “great success.” Don’t be surprised if it should literally come to that one day, because these days Trump is touting “only” 60,000 American deaths as just that — a great success.

That is the height from which Donald Trump has fallen in only a couple of months. Recall on February 26th Trump said, “And again, when you have 15 people [infected by COVID-19], and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” From fifteen cases to sixty thousand deaths in just two months and he’s still crowing about what a “pretty good job” he’s done — and MAGAland is starting to notice.

Last month I predicted that Trump’s astonishingly laissez faire attitude toward the coronavirus pandemic might start to nibble away at his otherwise stalwart base of core believers. There is now some evidence that is actually happening. Reports are beginning to trickle in that people in MAGAland are starting to die, or at least get very sick. Some of them are connecting the dots between Trump’s claim that everybody can now get tested and the reality on the ground. Not only can they not get tested, more often than not they have to get close to death before they are tested. By then it’s often too late.

This was not a particularly difficult thing to predict. MAGAland is composed of inherently selfish people. They hate immigrants and anyone on welfare except themselves. They like to control others and deny them their rights — their reproductive rights, their right to marry, their right to live unmolested by the police — but despise being controlled themselves. The suffering of others means nothing to them so long as they and their families are okay.

It is only when the world they created begins to infringe on their own rights, their own jobs, their own health, their own mortality, that they suddenly learn compassion, they abruptly grow suspicious of the people they once supported. It is the inevitable consequence of the Martin Niemöller confession: “Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” They are starting to wake up to the reality that Donald Trump cares no more about them than he does about anyone who isn’t named Trump. In other words, Trump is exactly like they are — and they hate what they see in the mirror.

Prior to this pandemic I was deeply worried that Trump might get a second term. I knew then what I know today, that most Americans are against him. That ought to be enough to ensure his failure in November’s election, but this is a world of Russians and Republican dirty tricks and, back before coronavirus, the election was still looking like enough of a squeaker that Republican dirty tricks might carry the day. I no longer think that way. I see strong evidence now to suggest that not only is Trump going to lose in November, he’s going to lose by a prodigious landslide.

I think that not only is Trump going to lose in November, his prospects are going to get worse and worse the closer to November we get. Trump has an astonishing propensity for self-sabotage. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t say or tweet something so boneheaded and so utterly inimical to his prospects for reelection that one would be justified in supposing those tweets or those words were written by the opposition. Nobody campaigns for Joe Biden better than Trump.

That does not mean we can relax. There’s too much at stake for that. We must remain hypervigilant in our war against this tyranny. We can relax, breathe easy and take a break on January 21st, 2021. Until then we have work to do. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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