Writing in The Week this Thursday, Ryan Cooper says that as the coronavirus continues to spike across the country, Republicans have essentially abandoned efforts to stem the spread. “Instead they are feeding the American people into the coronavirus meatgrinder,” he writes.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focused on protecting companies from liability if they infect their employees or customers, while President Trump threatens to cut off funding from schools that don’t open in the fall.
“For months now Republicans have been positing a tradeoff between pandemic containment and the economy, as if we just cancel the lockdowns then everything can go back to normal,” Cooper writes. “What they stubbornly refuse to understand is that the virus is the problem. As we are seeing, even in this benighted country a critical mass of people will not go about their normal activities if they are afraid of catching a dangerous disease. Similarly, Sweden did not officially lock down, and as a result it has suffered six-12 times as many deaths as its Scandinavian neighbors — yet its economy took just as bad a hit as theirs. Now that Norway, Denmark, and Finland have contained the virus and are reopening safely but many Swedes are still staying home, the economic damage will be even worse in relative terms.”
According to Cooper, it was obvious that Trump wasn’t going to take coronavirus seriously from the beginning. “He has never before faced a problem he could not squirm out of by lying, BSing, whining, or blaming others.” What matters to Trump is appearances, Coopers writes. “Thus his constant chatter about slowing down the rate of testing so that he won’t look bad. And the rest of the Republican Party, because it has become a cult of personality atop an oligarchy, has no choice but to defend whatever he happens to say.”
Read his full op-ed over at The Week.