This year has gone from bad to worse. From a pandemic to an economic crisis to riots, and now the president contracting COVID-19 during the home stretch of his reelection campaign, it seems there is always more bad news to upend our plans.
Certain figures on the Left have shown that their famed “compassion” is the real mask they habitually wear. More than a few explicitly have wished harm and death on the president and the first lady in the wake of the news. Michael Moore said his “thoughts and prayers” are with the coronavirus. At the same time, some, to include rather surprisingly Rachel Maddow, have shown welcome class. Not everything has to be political all the time.
I confess this news has rattled me. A friend with whom I’ve had a long-running debate about the seriousness of the coronavirus was surprised I was so concerned. But even those of us who think COVID-19 is overblown understand it’s not nothing, particularly for someone Trump’s age.
The people who have died are chiefly the elderly. From friends, family, and statistical data, we know that some of the people who survive have a tough time in their recovery, taking several weeks to return to health. The statistics are on Trump’s side; even at his age, 94.6 percent survive. But it could be a few weeks until he’s better, and this is truly a critical moment for his campaign and the country.
Getting sick also affects Trump’s campaign more dramatically than it would most.
Trump’s campaign, unlike Biden’s, is built on generating enthusiasm. The man is a campaigning machine, with multiple rallies in various states over the last few weeks. These large rallies are an important symbol. They visibly demonstrate a significant enthusiasm gap between him and his opponent and remind his supporters that they’re not alone, even though social media is apt to make them feel as though they are.
In contrast, Joe Biden’s campaign is mostly virtual, and he can only muster sad-looking gaggles of mostly obligated supporters in backyard settings.
The rallies also show something relevant about Trump and his character. He is showing up in a way Biden is not. From Biden’s “lids” to his lethargic debate performance, nothing about him shows energy or strength. These are difficult times. The presidency is always a difficult job. Hillary bragged about taking a 3 a.m. phone call. One wonders if Biden could handle one at 3:00 p.m.
While the virus is constantly in the news, it has not affected most of us personally. A truly deadly pandemic shouldn’t require constant testing to reinforce its seriousness. It became clear by May that the early predictions of a disease akin to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 were overstated. Obviously, some people died from COVID-19, and others were very sick, but this happens every year with the flu.
Even with the more precise data, there is still enthusiasm for extended lockdowns and other measures enacted by blue state politicians and their busybody allies. If Trump gets well and does so quickly, it will be good for him and the country. It will remind everyone that this is a highly survivable disease that is completely mild in the vast majority of cases.
But symbolism works both ways. If he fares poorly, that will cause a double blow to the country. It will wreck his campaign and encourage the destructive risk-aversion among the Lockdown Mafia. An outlier event for an elderly person will become an excuse for keeping schools shut down, destroying social life, extending our economic pain, and other insanity.
There are some indirect signs Trump may have a serious case. For starters, he is now in the hospital. And he’s apparently on an experimental drug cocktail. It could all be the product of an abundance of caution and a desire to speed up his recovery. His video and public appearance on Friday night do not look like someone at death’s door. But life is full of surprises.
Trump has risked his health and wealth to serve the country. His contracting COVID-19 is not a sign he was foolish, but rather that he has been public-spirited and patriotic. He surely knew there were some risks to him from the virus. But a calculated risk for a higher purpose is not stupidity, it is courage.
We all should wish and pray that President Trump enjoys a speedy recovery, not only so that he may continue his service to the country, but so that his condition does not become a rallying point for those who would destroy it.