President Donald Trump is a racist. It’s impossible to deny at this point, it has been well documented for years. Well, I’m willing to wager that Trump’s racism along with the Republican mantra that less voter turnout means better results, is the explanation behind the administrations terrible Covid-19 response.
Trump’s racism is there for everyone to see. The continued damnation of the central park five after they were exonerated. The false Obama birther conspiracy. Using anti-Semitic symbolism against Hillary Clinton. Praising Nazis in Charlottesville. Sharing videos of white supremacists. Demonizing Black Lives Matter. Attacking attempts to desegregate the suburbs. Let’s not forget his Muslim ban and immigration policies. That’s all just atop of my head.
Another racist reaction that goes largely unmentioned is the difference between his responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Trump was very quick to react to Hurricane Harvey when it hit Texas and submerged Houston underwater. When Maria hit Puerto Rico on the other hand, the lack of response is still being felt today.
It was that revelation that got me thinking. We all know Trump has terrible leadership skills. He arrives late at the party, if he comes at all, if the people involved aren’t Anglo-Saxon white. With Houston, it was a no brainer. The city is only 50% white, but in Trump’s mind I’m sure it was closer to 100%. He acted fast. Puerto Rico, not so much.
Why should Trump’s Covid-19 response be any different? The Don’s reaction was slow at first, going the denial route, but he did step in a little when New York first got hit hard. He sent a medical frigate to help, congress passed what turned out to be a corporate relief bill with a little stimulus check for the rest of us. Things were moving.
As New York beat the virus back, it was revealed that African and Hispanic Americans were suffering disproportionately from the pandemic in the hardest hit places. It appeared the coronavirus was not the great equalizer the media deemed it to be.
Blacks were dying at disproportionately higher rates compared to other ethnicities. African Americans make up about 13% of the population, but in those places, they were making up 27% of Covid-19 deaths. Without access to affordable healthcare, Covid was killing off the poor at much higher rates. In effect, if you are black in the United States, you are three and a half times more likely to die from Covid-19.
The question must be asked, after Trump was made aware of these vulnerabilities among minority groups, did he give up on purpose? We all know he wanted to reopen the economy as well, but at that point the stock market had already rebounded and that’s all he really cared about.
Let’s face it, would a wealthy, privileged, racist man lift a finger to help poor, African and Hispanic Americans? He’s the direct opposite of what he represents. Hell no. Would he help anyone at all? You might think the answer is still no, but he would if Republicans told him to.
The reason they don’t speak up now is because of an old line from Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation. He said back in 1980, “They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote… As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Republicans have lived by those words ever since.
It’s why you’ve seen endless efforts over the ensuing decades by Republicans to suppress the vote across the country. Voter ID laws, poll taxes, gerrymandering, felon restrictions. All types of nonsense that would have made the now deceased Weyrich proud.
With Trump way behind Biden at the moment, it’s in the interest of Republicans to keep the pandemic going well into Autumn. I can’t think of a better way to suppress the vote than to make the election too dangerous.
Power is all they care about. That’s why Republicans went from denouncing Trump at the beginning to embracing him in the end. All the lives that are being lost right now is purely political from the Republican point of view.
Between President Trump’s racism and Republican voter suppression efforts, I have no expectation that the Covid-19 response is about to change. Unfortunately, with the election still 17 weeks away, things are set to get much worse. Keep that mask on.