“Mississippi’s never going to be China,” Mississippi’s grown-up Chucky ass governor Tate Reeves told his state’s residents on Monday, as he explained why he was refusing to issue a coronavirus lockdown. “Mississippi’s never going to be North Korea,” he added, presumably meaning South Korea, a country has famously succeeded at mitigating the effects of the illness on its population through rampant testing. (North Korea still claims it has no coronavirus patients to speak of.)
Contrasting yourself with countries that have largely succeeded in flattening the curve as you continue to “wait and see” whether or not enough people in your state will die in order for you to be dragged into taking action is certainly a choice, but it’s one that Republicans from the Trump administration on down to the states seem increasingly comfortable with making, not to mention our unelected financial overlords and New York Times columnists worried about how they’re going to meet deadline if it’s inadvisable to get in a cab for the time being.
The line is being drawn as we speak: Valuing human life over the market is for the communists. We’re only a matter of time before it’s also for the libs.
Things were already trending this way earlier this month, when two weeks ago (really) Matt Gaetz wore a gas mask on the floor of the House. Then Gaetz himself was forced to self-quarantine just a few days later, hilariously, on Air Force One of all places after coming into contact with a person at CPAC who tested positive. (Gaetz himself was negative.)
Now, as the economy has continued to tank, Trump has frantically begun to search for others to blame: other governments, the media, Democrats, etc. are all fair game. Meanwhile, dipshits like this guy are pledging to die for the economy and expecting everyone else to take the plunge with them, despite the fact that rushing everyone back to work will also tank the economy over a much longer period of time, not to mention bury the nation’s fragile healthcare infrastructure.
And dipshits like these guys are praying for the nation’s one public health expert who appears to have the president’s ear to publicly own him at one of their press conferences like he’s Jed freaking Bartlet:
As it stands, Trump wants social distancing to generally end by Easter (April 12) because it just seems nice and has a really good narrative arc. (No, that’s not a joke.) But if the stock market went back to tanking tomorrow and Trump ordered everyone back to work by Friday, he would have the full-throated support of the Dan Patricks and Tate Reeveses and Jesse Kellys of the world to do so. All he needs is his favorite Fox News and Newsmax guys to get on board, and he’s there.
Even with an explosion in deaths between now and April 12 (New York doesn’t expect its cases to peak until three to five weeks from now), it’s hard to see Trump extending his guidance much further. And as this turns into even more of a blue state vs. red state/federal government battle than it already is, it’s almost an inevitability that we’ll start seeing more and more Republicans just blatantly flouting social distancing measures. We’re going to find out what the coronavirus version of conservatives throwing their coffee makers out the window is, except this version will lead to lots of people dying.
These are the same people who waited roughly 45 minutes after the Parkland shooting to start attacking its survivors as gun-grabbing tyrants. Mocking the genre of activist that’s going to emerge over the coming year as people continue to lose loved ones and begin to view those losses as political in nature will be nothing to them. Before long, Trump and his base will view COVID-19 through the prism of “me vs. them,” patriots vs. libs. Is it ever anything else?
It’s hard to envision anything changing until the mass death comes to Trump’s own door, either via the virus affecting him or someone he cares about, his poll numbers dropping as people beg their government to step in and save them, or other governments stepping in and sanctioning Trump and his businesses.
In the absence of any of that happening, Benny Johnson will be on TikTok high-fiving seniors at a Trump rally in Mesa before you know it. That’s where we’re headed.