The Big Gamble

Donald Trump isn’t wearing a mask. Neither are most of his supporters, from what I’ve been able to ascertain, and certainly most of those supporters who live near me aren’t. The Vice President insists that coronavirus cases are going down, even when CDC data says the opposite. Tomorrow, Trump will be holding an indoor rally for 20,000 people in Tulsa, with as many as 100,000 expected outside, and I’m willing to bet that most of them, if not the great majority, won’t be wearing masks, either. A number of Republican acquaintances have made it known to me that they believe that the danger of the entire coronavirus situation is overblown, if not an outright hoax. The university system here in Utah is declaring that fall classes will be conducted in person and begin on schedule, despite the fact that Salt Lake City is still in condition orange, and is considered a hotspot by the CDC.

So… what’s this all about?

It’s definitely not about public health, not with U.S. deaths over 120,000 and increasing daily, and with case numbers rising in 23 out of the 50 states.

Rather, it’s clearly about economics and politics, particularly politics, in the case of Donald Trump. Now that recent poll numbers show that, at least for the moment, a significant majority of Americans believe that Trump has mishandled the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has apparently decided that the only way he can win re-election is if he can revive the economy, and that’s exactly what he’s pushing for, regardless of the number of additional deaths this may cause.

The rally tomorrow is clearly a gamble. If 20,000 or more of his supporters appear, and there’s no significant increase in coronavirus cases, he can trumpet to the world that the risks are overstated, and what’s important is the economy. This position is helped in public perception by the time lag between exposure and the appearances of symptoms, as well as by the fact that many of those infected won’t show symptoms, even though they’ll spread the disease. Also, if the crowd comes from a wide area, once they disperse, it will be difficult to trace development of infection. All the while, Trump, or his team, will be saying words to the effect that the coronavirus isn’t so bad, and look what Trump has done for the economy.

And, anyway, so far as Trump is concerned, another few thousand deaths, or even more than that, is a small price to pay for getting re-elected.

And… it just might work.

6 thoughts on “The Big Gamble”

  1. Trevor says:

    It’s an interesting strategy to be sure.

  2. Postagoras says:

    With respect, trying to explain incomprehensible behavior is a trap for smart people- the trap being, that you come up with a clever and wrong explanation.

    Trump may have thought of the gamble that you’ve described, but I think it’s way simpler than that.

    Trump’s money and his personality have insulated him from any consequences for his entire life. He is simply winging it.

    He likes campaigning in front of a big crowd, so that’s what he set up. If there had been a huge crowd, great. There wasn’t a huge crowd, but Trump says it wasn’t his problem, and points the finger elsewhere. And in his mind, that big crowd would’ve been there, if only blah blah blah.

  3. John says:

    IM A HUGE FAN of your works. But honestly shut the hell up sir and use some brain cells and not parrot what CNN and MSM say. IM a jimmy dore, Tim pool follower where I get most of my news from. Who both are liberal democrats.

    1. I look at statistics, scientific articles, and people’s behavior, and I frankly don’t judge news sources by their “political” orientation, but by whether they make sense. The same is true about how I judge people. After having spent some 20 years in politics, I can damn well figure out political behavior, especially when politicians decide that the chance of economic improvement outweighs the health concerns of the populace as a whole and the vulnerable in particular.

    2. Mike says:

      Looking at the original blog post, I count 13 stated facts and 10 opinions. Regardless of whether you agree with his opinions, Mr. Modesitt laid out facts which could reasonably support them.
      On the other hand, you offer no argument against any of his stated facts or conclusions. You also offer no evidence to support your claim that he arrived at his opinions be repeating someone else’s thoughts as opposed to drawing inferences based on evidence.
      Oh, and just a side note- telling someone you like their work and calling them “sir” doesn’t somehow make it acceptable to tell them “shut the hell up.”

  4. Ryan Jackson says:

    You also might consider Trump’s reaction to his small crowd supports what Mr. Modesitt says.

    It could just be that Trump is that narcissistic and upset because his huge crowd and overflow turned out to only be 6k people. But it could also point to just the type of plan Mr. Modesitt pointed out.

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