Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Let's Do It

Accurate, but also irrelevant:
When the President refused to allow CNN's Kaitlan Collins follow up on Weija Jiang's question- and Trump stormed off like a petulant child- it dramatized a damning moment. However, Trump's initial slam of mainland China undoubtedly resonated with many Americans as CBS; Major Garrett (his name, not his rank, seriously) suggested when he explained (toward the end of the first four-and-a-half minutes of the video below)

But having said all of those things and those are conspicuous and well-scrutinized decisions not made by this Administration that have made the spread of Covid-19 worse, it is also true and this is one one the hard things, Elaine, about this story.

Two things can be true at the same time- one that reinforces the Trump Administration message and one that does not. I just disclosed the one that does not, meaning the decisions taken in February and March that could have been very helpful.

That does not let China off the hook. China didn't do things that it was bound to under its treaty obligation with the World Health Organization. It was not transparent, it suppressed information, it intimidated people who had it, and there is a trail of incontrovertible evidence that in certainly December and January and possibly earlier, China knew more than it disclosed and that reluctant- that unwillingess to share what it knew with the world made this pandemic far worse.

If the Biden campaign believes the issue of "China" will go away in the fall, it is mistaken. If the Biden campaign believes that the China issue can be checkmated by relying on the obvious reality that Donald Trump is a bigot, it is mistaken.

Voters know two politically crucial things very well about the coronavirus- that President Trump has exacerbated the pandemic, causing tens of thousands of extra deaths; and that it originated in China, which did its best to keep it a secret.

And they are mad at mainland China which, as the President would put it, is "a very beautiful thing." It's a very beautiful thing to Trump, who recognizes the enmity, and that it dovetails neatly with his bigotry, the core of his message to Americans.

This won't be counteracted by merely calling Trump a "racist" or ignoring the issue. As a bully (a trait which greatly enhances his image) and budding fascist, Trump feeds on anything he perceives as weak but cannot handle a counter-punch. The Biden campaign ultimately will have to respond to China-baiting by Trump by making the latter the face of China appeasement, which has the additional advantage of being accurate.  In a video from last month, The Lincoln Project showed the way with....

"China" no longer is the dark horse issue of the campaign, rather one of its major issues. The Bidenists cannot count on neutralizing the Trojan horse which Donald Trump skillfully obscures with the hostility he periodically displays, of which the bold Weija Jiang was reminded The Democratic campaign must- and can- turn it on its head and leverage it against the President.

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