The hand of God

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The devastating effects of the pandemic in the United States play against the re-election aspirations of Donald Trump

What goes wrong can be worse. We are checking that day by day. Collective life seems to darken at times. And sometimes a bloody incident complicates things even more. The fact is that the reporter dies his mobile phone. He has to go to a Best Buy chain store in downtown Miami to buy a new one (600 from the wing) and his mood turns dark. He doesn’t really know what to write down in his little election diary, he’s realizing that the rain of previous days was a blessing compared to the merciless heat of the sun in South Florida and, well, he thinks that what goes wrong can go worst.

While waiting for the employee to find a Samsung that is not pink, the reporter hears a couple arguing. Male and female, under forty, white, English-speaking. He wears a sticker on his shirt that says he has already voted. The tone they use suggests that they live together: only the spouse is dispensed such concentrated bad milk.

He tells her, quite angrily, that if it weren’t for the coronavirus, elections wouldn’t even be necessary because Donald rump would have been re-elected by acclamation. She, possibly favorable to Joe Biden and the Democrats, then utters a phrase of those that are noted in the notebook: “Then it was the hand of God, OK?” That so Maradonian of “the hand of God” leaves the reporter pondering.

In other circumstances, his would have been to approach and ask. In the circumstances, it is better to maintain social distance: meddling in a couple’s discussion never paid off.

The point is that the man who has already voted may be quite right. Whatever you think about Donald Trump (and it is sensible to think very bad things), the US economy was rocking until the damn covid-19 appeared. The polls reflected a high level of approval of the president’s discharge. Many citizens hated him, true, but their pockets were overflowing. It is obvious that the pandemic, coming from the hand of God or wherever, has complicated Trump’s plans a lot and has given oxygen to the Democrats. As proof, a presidential tweet from yesterday that, translated, says more or less: “The fake news media mount the covid, covid, covid all the time until the elections. Losers! ”.

With more than 225,000 dead and close to nine million infected in the United States, it makes a lot of sense that the media and people are talking about the pandemic. It also makes sense, within Trumpian logic, that the candidate for reelection tries to minimize the worst disaster suffered by humanity in the last 70 years, and his disastrous management since February. “Everything is going well, we are about to get over it,” he said during a rally last weekend. The data indicate otherwise. But what Trump and his people need to record in the minds of the electorate is the very low unemployment (3%) prior to the emergence of the covid. The less voters think about the disease and the more they think about the economy (the old one and, according to Trump, the one that will return soon), the more likely it is to stay in the White House.

It happens that it is very difficult to ignore the disaster. Even in Miami, a prosperous county characterized by optimism, the atmosphere is charged with sadness. And virus. In Florida, unemployment has risen to 6.8%. In the United States as a whole, up to 7.9%. Never since WWII, remember the Financial Times, a president has tried to win a second term with so many people out of work. That is why Trump, whom God or nature or a Chinese conspiracy (choose the option you prefer) has played a trick, makes an effort to talk about the past and the future. And it makes as if the pandemic were a trifle and the dark present did not exist.

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