Political Observation - Trump’s Electoral Stunt

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Political Observation - Trump’s Electoral Stunt

In a coordinated filming and a Hollywood-like mise-en-scène, Donald Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed military hospital by helicopter, looking triumphant and claiming that contracting Covid-19 was a “blessing from God”. He then stood on the balcony facing the south lawn of the White House like a film star, removed his mask, as if he wanted to send a message to his electoral powerbase claiming that he had won, and told the America people “don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Donald Trump made coronavirus his personal enemy after he had spent months denying its seriousness and belittling its dangers. It has become clear in the past few days, especially since Trump was admitted to hospital for treatment, that a host of leading Republican figures have started to distance themselves from Trump lest the American electorate should associate them with his administration, especially as the economy or coronavirus and its fallouts are their only options. The most liberal media outlets reported the dissatisfaction of several Republican Senators with Donald Trump and his leadership. Senator Ted Cruz said the Grand Old Party (GOP) was facing a “bloodbath of Watergate proportions” in November. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitchell said he had stopped visiting the White House since August 6th. “My impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing," he said. However, the most sensational statement was perhaps that of Senator Tom Tillis who is facing a fierce battle in North-Carolina. Tillis told Politico website in an interview that “the best check on a Biden Presidency” is for “Republicans to have a majority in the Senate.” Senator Martha Elizabeth McSally for her part repeatedly refused to answer when quizzed about her support for president Donald Trump during a Senate debate. The debate moderator pointed out to Ms McSally that she had supported the Trump administration on a number of key policy issues, before asking her: "Are you proud of your support for president Trump?" As for Senator John Cornyn, who is facing a surprise competition in Texas, which has always been a Republican stronghold, he told Houston Chronicle that “Trump let his guard down” on the coronavirus. The president’s rhetoric at times “creates confusion” he added. As for South Carolina’s Senators Lindsey Graham and Maine’s Senator Susan Collins and New York’s Congressman John Katko, they denounced and expressed their aversion to Donald Trump’s second statement since returning to the White House, namely his decision to halt the negotiations on the stimulus relief bill.

All the statements of Republican leaders could be read in the context of the attempts by the Senators facing an election to distance themselves from Donald Trump, lure the local voters in order to maintain the majority of the Republican party in the Senate elections, and take precautions against Trump’s failure to win the elections.

Such standpoints by several Republican leading figures indicate strongly that Donald Trump and the Republican party have failed in their bid to divert the debate away from the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice, and to steer the electorate towards Trump’s economic, fiscal and foreign-policy achievements. They also indicate that the elections have turned into a referendum on Trump, his governing style and his leadership abilities amidst the intense issues of the pandemic and racism, and the dissipation of the confidence in his ability to maintain the Republican majority in the Senate, keep the nominations in the judicial system and the federal institutions under control, and thwart Joe Biden’s political plans to reinstate the environmental health and consumer-protection legislations that Trump has overturned in favour of capitalist companies and business tycoons.

However, despite the heavy blows he has received, which would have destroyed any other candidate, Donald Trump still enjoys the support of over 42% of the electorate; and a repeat of the last gasp surge that toppled Hilary Clinton in the last presidential election cannot be ruled out. Clinton had been ahead before she lost the elections by 104,000 votes out of 14 million votes in 3 states, which led Trump to win the electoral college. Trump’s strategy is based on inciting the electorate and generating a political environment through a host of tweets and statements to divert the electorate away from his opponent, such as his tweet suggesting that voting for Biden is in fact voting for Kamala Harris to become president, as well as his repeated statements on China and Iran with the aim of diverting attention away from domestic issues pertinent to the economy, the coronavirus pandemic and racism, and at the same time drawing attention to his foreign policy exploits such as the Middle East peace agreements in the hope of attracting the evangelist and Jewish votes.

What is most important is returning to the main question: has the deep state contented itself with Trump’s achievements and in the importance of rallying the troops in the forthcoming phase so that it may continue to delude the masses and deepen their confidence in the capitalist system?

It seems that the decision of US billionaire Michael Bloomberg to throw his hat into the elections ring was designed to shore up Biden’s campaign. Bernie Sanders had been ahead in the primary elections before Bloomberg, a leading financial and political figure in the deep state, decided to spend hundreds of millions according to US media outlets within weeks, which led to Biden’s victory in the primary phase, a move that Trump described as silly and stupid.

On the other hand, Trump’s style is based on confrontation and a dislike of the containment policy; and this would not generate any solutions to the domestic social issues which require an intervention and leadership by both parties, something which Biden has always reiterated by pointing out to his work as Senator with both parties to generate common ground.

Therefore, the deep state itself is divided; and despite its attempts at steering the stormy domestic events, it is however facing unprecedented electoral atmospheres.

26/صفر/1442هـ
13/10/2020م