Can the Coronavirus Beat Trump?

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The day President Trump took office, one question weighed on many Americans’ minds: Who can beat him four years from now? As the Democratic Primary season began, a diverse group of candidates all seemed capable of the task. However, Democrats have chosen the moderate candidate labeled “the most electable” to be their nominee. Joe Biden began his winning streak in the South Carolina Primary and is currently the Democratic nominee. So now a new question rests on Americans’ minds: Can Biden really beat Trump in November? Some speculate, some definitively answer yes or no. However, it seems that a new candidate has arrived: COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus has rampaged across the globe, filling hospital beds, taking lives, and altering day-to-day life as we know it. The virus ruthlessly ends lives, but perhaps it can also end political careers. Trump and his supporters have often used the American economy and low unemployment rates as the ultimate example of his superb governance. The coronavirus, however, has now ravaged the economy. Unemployment claims have soared and the Dow plummeted before Congress passed its first relief package. If the President cannot manage to resuscitate our economy before the election, he and his supporters will have lost their crowning achievement. If voters do not lose faith in Trump’s economic capabilities, they still might denounce his initial response to the virus. The President has previously labeled the virus as the Democrats’ new “hoax” and stated that he wasn’t worried about the virus. Currently, the United States has the most cases of coronavirus in the world and lacks the resources and supplies to combat it. Maybe this virus will open America’s eyes to the inadequacy of our President. 

On the other hand, Trump has the clever ability to portray himself as the winner. As Congress attempts to revive the economy with stimulus bills and allocates proper funds to fight the virus, Trump gladly boasts about his achievements and about reopening the economy. Meanwhile, thousands of Americans continue to perish each week. If the U.S. continues on its downhill path, he will find scapegoats (most likely the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Party) and lambast them for their impotence. The American people still do not seem completely disillusioned by his administration’s handling of the pandemic. A recent Gallup poll found Trump’s approval ratings to be near forty-nine percent, the highest approval ratings of his presidency. The American people may choose to ignore how our president fails to lead and unite his people in a time of crisis, just as they have turned a blind eye to all of his other faults in his presidency. Although the virus has kept Biden from rallies and forced postponement of the Democratic National Convention, it has given Trump a public platform to voice his inane opinions about the virus which lacks scientific evidence. Regardless of what he says, the eyes of America are constantly on his press briefings. Unlike Biden, Trump continues to hold the nation’s attention.  

The coronavirus remains a viable threat to the President’s reelection. Our lives are changing; our hospitals are overflowing; our jobs are fleeting; our citizens are dying. If the President fails to approach the virus aggressively and treat it with the gravity it deserves, come November, Americans might elect a president who will.