Republican re-election path through COVID

I’m starting to see that the Republican pre-mature economic openings may be more than a desperation play to turn the economy around… in fact it may be setting up a pretext for easier voter suppression in November. Here’s how it works:

  1. Attempt to get the economy trending upward heading into the election by pushing for pre-mature end of lockdowns
  2. If the economy goes up, great, that helps a lot. If not, blame governors who didn’t play ball (Democrats)
  3. Either way, anyone with a brain understands that COVID cases are going to climb. Downplay the situation as much as possible until the election draws close. The public will buy it, we all have lockdown fatigue, those who haven’t contracted COVID will be desperate to believe that it’s all over.
  4. Throughout the summer, lean on Republican governor allies to throw up barriers against early voting and voting by mail. Drive everything toward requiring in-person voting as much as possible.
  5. Then, going into the election, announce that COVID has re-emerged to an alarming rate. Announce that it is affecting urban areas disproportionately (as one would expect). Use this as pretext to lean on Republican governors allies to decree shutdowns through election day in areas that happen to contain a lot of blue/purple precincts. (We’re just trying to protect you! Urban areas are more likely at risk, right? You Democrats love shutdowns right?)
  6. Of course it won’t be outright suppression… just a pretext to make in-person voting seem more risky, burdensome, and chaotic.

Thus, red states that might have been at risk of flipping are protected by a strategically engineered COVID resurgence that suppresses turnout in precincts that are not reliably red. This is how Republicans make an end-run around a disastrous November election that is impossible to delay or cancel.

I could see republican governors using COVID as an excuse to put up barriers to voting in urban areas, but letting rural areas vote freely. I know in New York, the infection rate in urban areas was 15-20% but only 4% in rural areas for example. However NYC has a very advanced public transit system, and a lot of other big cities do not have that despite a high population. I’m wondering what role public transit played in the virus spread in places like NYC.

I think the republicans are hoping there will be something akin to a V shaped recovery, and by the time the election happens we will be creating 500,000 jobs a month which trump will take credit for.

However I don’t know how many votes Trump will get. Supposedly college educated whites are leaving the GOP a little bit. Not by huge numbers, but maybe ~5-10% of college educated whites voted for Trump in 2016 but intend to vote Dem in 2020. Seeing how college educated whites make up nearly 40% of the entire electorate, that could have a huge impact on the outcome of the election.

Ideally, if hte GOP becomes the part of high school educated whites who score high on authoritarianism, bigotry and social dominance, it becomes hard for them to get more than 40% of the vote. The same way Bernie Sanders has a huge base of support, but that base has trouble getting more than 40% of the vote. I mean is there room for high school educated whites to move any further to the right? White men w/o college are already 75-25 for the GOP which is about the same level of political bias LGBTQ have for the democrats (3-1 voting for the dems). I don’t know if I see them becoming 90-10 like black people are for one party over another.

But who knows. The GOP will likely survive and thrive like they always do no matter how they act.

Good lord, I could see every word you said ultimately being their end-game. And I could see it playing out exactly like you’re saying.

The thought that we could go through an election year and lose 100,000 to 120,000 American lives to this pandemic AND Trump get re-elected? That thought was unconscionable to me until I read your post.

Trump said something back in March that made me wonder. He said this will go away, the virus, and then it will pop back bigger than before. Like he knew, somehow.

Well, numerous experts have warned of a second wave this autumn. There’s no way a President wouldn’t get told the same.

As I predicted, but ahead of schedule and doing his own legwork, Trump attempts to bribe Michigan and Nevada not to allow absentee voting. Trump admits this is driven to seek partisan advantage for Republicans.

In a characteristic case of “good for me but not for thee”, Trump voted by mail in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 elections. The 2017 New York mayoral election is of particular interest, as Melania and Ivanka invalidated their ballots by casting them incorrectly, while Donald invalidated his own by listing a false birthdate for himself (ibid).

About one-third of the way into this recent538 podcast, they address some of the OP’s points, e.g. how swing states with Democratic governors (Michigan, Wisconsin, perhaps Ohio…) could be “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” in terms of being perceived as holding back people unnecessarily from gathering in bars and restaurants, etc…but also blamed for continued deaths (or increases in them).

But, they also discuss how, in recent polls, these governors are actually doing well — even among independents and some moderate Republicans. So far, quite a few folks are resisting the polarized, politicized responses and counter-responses to the crisis, in favor of accepting (more or less) local directives.

Not sure how long this will last, though; young people, especially, are getting restless. But they don’t vote much, anyway.

That 538 podcast is far from rosy, though — at 14:00, they cite a March Wisconsin poll that shows how partisanship had indeed aligned with approval-of-COVID-response by then.

Ohio is “perhaps a swing state with a Democratic governor”?

Sorry…I meant that these states are seeing cross-party support (so far) for governor decisions. In Ohio, that means even Democrats are, generally, supporting the (Republican) governor’s policies and directives. The partisanship has been directed more at DeWine’s public health expert (rather like Fauci).

The most recent 538 podcast features an interview with a Europe expert and with a China one. I thought it was interesting that the European centrist parties are enjoying a resurgence, after years of decline to the farther-right and the farther-left. This is apparently due in part to the pet peeves of the left (climate change) and the right (immigration) being supplanted (temporarily? but for how long?) by the coronavirus epidemic and the practical issues of how best to respond.

Perhaps this bodes well for Biden and other Democrats, if they can stress mere competence, and not get pulled too far to an extreme (in this case, the extreme left).

(It was also interesting how in China, people trust their national government but not their local ones — the opposite as in the US, overall).

Step #4 right on schedule, as Trump cheers Texas court’s decision that COVID-19 fears are insufficient to justify voting by mail.

I imagined steps #5 and #6 as state governments forcing renewed lockdowns, rationalized by the expected rebound of COVID outbreaks, intentionally engineered by Trump encouraging governors to relax restrictions at a time when most pandemics outside of New York were unchanged or intensifying.

This has become more complex when observing cosplayer protests combined with a growing overall quarantine apathy. Quarantine skepticism is raging among conservatives who are flouting emergency orders and social distancing rules. But I also know a lot of liberals and moderates I know have entered the bargaining phase of grief, and have decided they can quietly make their own rules, as long as they’re not too reckless or overt about it. This is totally expected and understandable given that the executive branch has mostly abdicated its responsibility for coordinated response and messaging.

So I do expect a rebound in COVID to be a pretext to keep people home, but right now a more compelling pretext has emerged - the nationwide justice protests, which has governors putting the National Guard in the streets and keeping people in their homes. We have video of the Minnesota National Guard clearly firing on people on their own property and telling them to remain indoors, we have President Trump musing openly about invoking the Insurrection Act.

I don’t think it’s unreasonably paranoid to think that political operatives infiltrated peaceful protests to escalate the level of violence. My more paranoid side says the George Floyd murder itself may even have been engineered to incite protests, being that it looks so plainly premeditated. But I’m more focused on how the outcome will unfold.

We’re still 5 months out from the election. That seems very early to shoot the shot of military occupation as a pretext for anything. Given the short attention span of the modern news cycle, this may all be a hazy memory in 5 months. (Mental exercise - it may have slipped your mind, but we almost went to war with Iran 5 months ago and it was a very big deal).

So - setting aside the military occupation scenario for now, I still think I see a clear path to disrupting polling stations using COVID as a pretext, but current events definitely have started to normalize the sight of seeing troops on the street telling us to stay the fuck home.

Turns out he did no, just was lying to the american people about it. Because we just can’t handle to truth. The truth is that he has been trying to manipulate the virus the entire time but it proved to be smarter than he was because the virus follow the science of being a disease, not the politics. If only Trump had people available that knew about this science stuff he might be in a better position today. :crazy_face: