Most everything we’ve run on BoomerCafé about life during the pandemic has come from readers in the U.S.A. But today, a departure from that norm. Today, in a Boomer Opinion piece from his own lockdown in London, writer Tom Curtin muses in contrarian amazement at events “across the pond.”
It’s an ill wind that blows no good. Right now, that thought must be high in the mind of Donald Trump as he watches the coronavirus pandemic unfold.
It is less than 200 days now until November 3, and for some time during the unfolding crisis, he rode high in the polls, despite hugely mixed and often contrary messaging, as well as skidding U-turns on his beloved Twitter.
But who in their right mind would vote for this man… a second time?
If you find yourself musing slowly about this question and beginning to agree with the spirit of it, watch out. The answer last time was, 63 million.
Having worked for almost 30 years in lobbying in London, I watch Trump and how he is dealing with the pandemic with a morbid fascination.
The key Trump tactic is to plug into tribalism. This is different from racism. We are all tribalistic. Sport is one of its greatest manifestations, when we all cheer for our country at the Olympics. Of course being Irish, I seldom get hoarse.
So when Mr Trump tried to label coronavirus as the “Chinese Disease,” this was to say, “Hey folks, this is not one of ours. It sure as hell is not American. It is alien. It is foreign. It is not of our tribe.”
And this is his key word: American, something to which all citizens can, indeed must, subscribe.
So the baseball cap with the slogan Make America Great Again resonates with a huge proportion of the population. Did I hear “all?” Who does not want to be a patriot and a member of the tribe?
So when Mr Trump diverted masks meant for Germany to the USA, a true member of the tribe could not criticize him. American lives come first, don’t they?
And this is not just the United States. All countries are tribes, and there are sub-tribes of which we are all members. Ask New York Yankee fans what they think of the Mets, or here in the U.K., ask Manchester United fans what they think of City. Don’t get me going on England against Ireland at rugby.
And tribes need leaders. Whatever you may say about Mr. Trump, he behaves like a leader. He fires anyone who slightly disagrees with him.
He behaves like a dictator too. Unfortunately, people like tough men and women, like Julius Caesar, Catherine the Great, Napoleon, Margaret Thatcher, Vladimir Putin, not to mention the less distasteful ones. What they don’t like are nice guys.
Speaking of which, I watch in amazement the system of presidential primaries in the U.S. where candidates beat the c*** out each other and leave the winner near-exhausted and unfit for the fray.
Remember, fewer than 200 days left, Joe, and you don’t even have a running mate. (Please don’t patronize women everywhere by saying it must be a woman.) You need to get out of that bunker in Delaware soon as you can, get your autocue fixed, and stop touching your face if you want to have a chance.
And if you want a woman to have a chance to succeed you.
God bless her and America.
Tom’s book is, Land of the Free: An Irish Odyssey in America.