A projection Friday by the CDC found that the COVID-19 pandemic death toll is expected climb to 229,000-240,000 people by Nov. 7. As a maskless president tramples through the nation unapologetically spewing anti-Semitic, white supremacist nonsense, there's a new angle on why no lives matter to Donald J. Trump.
White House Correspondent John Harwood wrote in his CNN article Sunday, "Instead of projecting newfound empathy and sobriety, Trump has flaunted his recklessness at packed, mostly maskless campaign rallies. That gleeful abandon, as he bleeds support from voters fearing he hasn't taken the pandemic seriously, makes no political sense. But it makes perfect emotional sense for a President who craves the applause of a zealous minority. His hunger for affirmation explains much about his conduct of the presidency -- and why it may soon come to an end."
As of October 12, national forecasts predict 3,400 to 7,100 new #COVID19 deaths will be reported during the week en… https://t.co/egPfoEXQSE— CDC (@CDC) 1602882062.0
Harwood wrote, "He [Trump] prefers the safety and comfort of audiences that already embrace him over the uncertainty and risk of encountering those who don't. As President, he has visited West Virginia, which he won in 2016 by 42 percentage points, eight times. By the tally of CBS White House Correspondent and real-time historian Mark Knoller, that's the same number of visits as he's made to California, which has a population 20 times larger but rejected him by 30 points."
While on the debate stage with Democratic candidate Joe Biden two weeks ago, "Trump ducked an invitation to condemn White supremacists who back him," Harwood said. "In his NBC town hall last week, Trump dared not even condemn the lunatic theories of QAnon adherents who have embraced his presidency from the deluded, extremist fringe. In theory, that might reflect a considered strategy of turbocharging turnout among existing supporters when persuading other voters is fruitless. But Trump's tactics have been so obviously self-defeating as to render that explanation insufficient. It also overlooks his propensity for impulsivity over planning."
"He doesn't think strategically," observed Tim O'Brien, one of Trump's biographers, who served as an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. "He's completely visceral and reactive."
If Trump chooses the proverbial safety and security of his rallies over the responses spurred by the real-life intricacies of a nation in shambles and crippling to the ground, he may ultimately fail anyway.
"If Trump stages a comeback in the dwindling days of the campaign, in-person rallies are unlikely to be the cause," Harwood said.
"Research shows that such events exert marginal, fleeting influence on the electorate. The preeminence of social media over local news coverage 'suggests the effect will be even smaller in this cycle,' noted Thomas Wood, an Ohio State University political scientist who has advised Republican candidates."