After mocking the coronavirus for months, it’s no wonder Donald Trump is caught up with reality.
One can only wish that Trump, his wife and their loved ones do well, but given the age and physical condition of the president, one can fear the worst.
The event also turns upside down an already fairly chaotic election campaign.
A very risky bet
Donald Trump’s strategy was to make people forget the monumental failure of his administration to contain the pandemic, among other things by disregarding health rules and making fun of the precautions taken by Joe Biden.
In the reality TV storyline that was to lead Trump to victory, the illusion of invulnerability he projected was to make people forget the tragedy of more than 205,000 deaths and millions of infections.
The death of former Republican nomination contestant Herman Caine following the Tulsa rally in June should have sounded alarm bells, but Trump was adamant about large gatherings.
Reality has caught up with him. At the rate at which infections multiply among his close collaborators and his political allies, more deaths seem inevitable.
Will this affect the outcome of the election? Probably not. This is not the first twist of this campaign and none has yet had a measurable impact on voting intentions.
Trump’s campaign may rely on sympathy for him or on the fact that the allegations of tax fraud or sexual abuse against him will be momentarily forgotten. For a campaign that was determined to make people forget the pandemic, however, things are pretty bad.
His opponents will see in this episode a symbol of his irresponsibility in the face of the pandemic. How to trust Trump to protect the country, one will think, if he did not know how to protect himself?
Donald Trump is headed for an electoral defeat again and possibly a lot worse. The one who led his political career as a show reality TV has been overtaken by reality.