President Donald Trump and his administration deserve blame for taking their eyes off the ball and leaving Americans vulnerable to the worst pandemic since 1918. Governor Ron DeSantis similarly has been slow and excessively ideological in his approach to the crisis.
But does that means Democrats have been benevolent actors championing public safety? Does that mean the cable news media was all over this pandemic and its potential ramifications for the US when it should have been? No.
This is a crisis of epic proportions and I believe all Americans should unite in World War II-esqe fashion to defeat COVID-19. But the last few weeks I have seen more and more Democrats and many media members try and politicize this pandemic. It’s unfortunate we cannot put our differences aside for this the greatest challenge of our lives. Sure Trump has been nothing but immature and nasty in much of his public commentary – but why must Democrats react or behave the same way?
I admit I have the advantage of covering and working in soccer for my living and therefore was well aware of COVID-19’s ramifications in Europe and Asia at an earlier stage than most Americans.
I also tend to get much of my news from UK-based outlets who have a built-in bias toward what happens in Singapore and Hong Kong, so yes I was ahead of the curve. In that respect, I deserve my own share of blame for not shouting from the rooftops what this could be, but it’s unlikely most would have listened to me anyhow. Still I accept my own share of the blame for not warning people focused on impeachment and the primaries about what was going on with COVID-19.
I think of establishment Democrats, only Joe Biden comes out of this period with credit in the bank from where I sit, and he might be slowly squandering it as time goes on. The rest of the Democratic establishment, cable news media and many local elected Democratic officials all have been negligent. I explain all of this below.
Blinded by Primary Season: What did CNN & MSNBC talk about in February?
Since Coronavirus was per the narrative all Trump’s fault and that of his fellow Republicans, the Democratic-aligned cable networks must have been beating the drum on Coronavirus throughout February. Right? WRONG.
During the month of February, cable news was wholly in political mode- first focused on Impeachment then on the Democratic primaries. Some networks like MSNBC even seemed determined to tip the scales on the Democratic nominating process so they went into overdrive in coverage and masking political commentary as news.
Meanwhile many Democratic elected officials were too busy politicking to notice the virus’ ominous spread to points outside the Far East. Stopping Bernie Sanders and “Socialism” it seems for many Democrats and media allies was far more important than public safety during the month of February and early March. The irony then that just a month later Socialism or at least an American-form including classic crony capitalism is now the law of the land.
For CNN viewers, Coronavirus was about cruise ship passengers and if economic impacts would be similar to SARS in 2002-03. The idea of it being some sort of pandemic that would shut down the US completely wasn’t a consideration and the coverage of the virus were largely throwaway segments in-between discussions of domestic politics.
It’s worth noting that during January and February, I began to notice more than ever the amount of ads run by pharmaceutical drug companies during cable news programs. It takes a suspension of disbelief to think this did not impact editorial coverage of Medicare for All during the primaries, but we can save that discussion for another time.
But what we cannot ignore is with millions of Americans losing their employer-based insurance as this crisis deepens, that insurance and drug companies continues to run ads on news channels and programs.
Biden speaks the truth in February but no one listens
I will note Joe Biden, the almost-certain Democratic nominee for President in April, was the single notable exception outside the Seattle area to Democrats ignorance of this topic. But Biden wasn’t the establishment choice when he began sounding the drum about COVID-19 – in fact he was on the verge of being irrelevant in the race. The media didn’t care what he said at the time.
The establishment candidates, Mayor Pete, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg didn’t talk about it. Nor did the Democrats House or Senate leadership. Biden’s comments which were ahead of the curve SHOULD NOT get other Democrats off the hook on this. He spoke, they didn’t listen. Period. Same for the cable news channels aligned with the party.
Biden gets foreign affairs the way 99.9% of Democratic establishment types don’t. So he seeing this and them not even paying attention isn’t shocking. It also as stated above cannot be substituted for their negligence. But Biden now needs to be more aggressive in talking long-term remedies so this doesn’t happen again. So far he’s not done that effectively.
Democratic Primaries held on March 17 thanks to DNC
Even after the pandemic’s scope was clear, Democrats led by DNC Chairman Tom Perez felt it was safe to hold primary elections – because to them choosing a nominee was more important than protecting the lives of voters and poll workers- this is within the post-2016 character for a party whose obsession with anything Trump-related has made it impossible for them to be consistent in messaging or values.
As we now know, several poll workers in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19. We can blame Governor DeSantis lame use of 1864 as a precedent for that (the 1864 precedent is something I can easily debunk but like so much else in this piece it is a conversation for another time) but also must blame Perez and DNC who openly advocated all primaries move forward on March 17.
States with Democratic Governors like Illinois held primaries and touted Democracy continuing during a crisis. Pathetic really.
Florida Reaction – DeSantis rightly vilified but a complete bipartisan failure
Locally, here in Florida we saw elected officials in both parties fall down on the job and react late. Broward County, a bastion of Democratic elected officials didn’t bother imposing serious restrictions until well after VP Mike Pence visited the county on March 7 to discuss the area’s first COVID-19 case. Miami-Dade led by a Republican Carlos Gimenez reacted much more quickly, cancelling events even before that county had its first COVID-19 case.
Democrats and Republicans in counties outside southeast Florida were reluctant to shut down. I understand the economic implications and have discussed how I fear Florida cannot bounce back from a shutdown as easily as most parts of the US due to our lack of economic diversity – but I am discussing here why it seems unfair one political party is being blamed and the other not being blamed.
Former RPOF Chairman and current Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry stood out for his aggressive actions early in the crisis but then fell into the Trump-DeSantis stupor later on.
Cruise ships with sick passengers not allowed to dock in Democratic Broward County
The aforementioned Mayor Gimenez, a Republican has previously quietly let ships dock at the Port of Miami and those passengers needing assistance to get help. But meanwhile Broward County, the most Democratic urban county in the southeastern US has left a cruise ship off shore hoping to dock with sick and dying passengers (and some dead ones already). The compassion and public health concern many Democrats in Broward are showing when they can take shots at Trump and DeSantis have not been repeated in this instance – in fact they are committing an absolutely inhumane act from where I sit.
Tomorrow, April 2, Broward is likely to reverse itself and let the ship dock. But why did it take so long, and why was the initial instinct to let sick people fend for themselves? How does that make Broward’s Democrats any different than what they accuse Trump and DeSantis of being?
America unprepared – Trump didn’t help but didn’t cause this
The USA’s lack of preparation for such a crisis is no surprise to those of us who recall the response to Hurricane Katrina and compare it to similar natural disasters in other parts of the world.
We hide behind American exceptionalism and the isolation two great oceans give us – but now we have been found out. Katrina damaged the image of the USA throughout the world for it showed even those who disliked us but thought we cared and protected our own citizens that we do not. Now the USA is about to look worse than ever.
Trump is among the worst President’s we’ve seen in this nation’s history. He needs to be voted out in November, but is he to blame for the condition this country is in? Partly yes, but mostly no.
Is Trump the primary reason we don’t have masks, tests, medical supplies, etc ready for this pandemic?
Is he the sole reason states have to “bid” for medical supplies?
Is he the primary reason we have a lack of hospital beds in Florida and the US?
Is he the reason that celebrities and sports stars with no symptoms are getting tests while violently ill people aren’t (which by the way included me at one point last week, but then again I wasn’t about to venture out and seek a test)?
It Trump the reason for-profit healthcare system that we have in the US that makes this possible. Democrats rarely look at themselves and try to understand “why” something is happening unless it involves blaming Trump or the GOP. Yet somehow the Democrats now have adopted socialism as a solution…except when it comes to Health Care thanks no doubt to the amount of insurance and pharmaceutical dollars rolling into the coffers of establishment types.
An unhealthy culture of excessive political polarization, individualism and liberty have put America on the brink. We all have shirked in some manner our responsibilities to this society’s greater good. Politicians of all ideologies and political parties have made mistakes then tried to pass the buck. This must stop.
We all have been negligent, we all have some blame. Time to cut it out, come together and support one another. Keep dissent respectful and get through this together, working as one American family. For if we continue to not only cast blame on Trump, DeSantis, but look to humiliate them publicly, this crisis will only deepen.