How Trump Blew It. Will Ricketts Blow It?

Every other wealthy nation is reopening and has the virus contained, except for the U.S.

The U.S. has had the worst response to the corona virus among first world countries. While the rest of the world’s wealthy countries have largely recovered from the pandemic, the number of corona virus cases in the U.S. continue to soar out of control. More than 57,000 new corona virus cases were reported in the U.S. on July 3. This is nearly three times the number of cases as recently as three weeks ago.

At the same time, the U.S. is the only first world country that has suffered from mass unemployment. Currently, unemployment in the U.S. is 11% and there are signs it’s beginning to rise again as corona virus related layoffs began again in mid-June. In contrast, unemployment in Germany is 6% and 4.2% in New Zealand. The stark difference between those outcomes result from policy choices. While other wealthy countries chose to pay employers to keep people employed, the U.S. prioritized no strings attached, corporate bailouts.

This catastrophe in the U.S. didn’t have to happen. Instead, Trump’s incompetent response and general indifference to the pandemic made this horrendous outcome occur. As Trump said: “If you put the wrong person in office, you’ll see things that you would not have believed are possible.”

The first blunder by Trump was his refusal to do anything about the pandemic between early January and mid-March. During this crucial time frame, Trump agreed with Fox News that the corona virus was a “Democrat hoax” and believed Communist China that the pandemic was under control in that country.

The former TV reality star’s failure to act early this year had deadly consequences. According to a study by Columbia University, this country’s failure to lock down until mid-March caused 36,000 additional and needless deaths.

The lock down itself wasn’t as far reaching as the ones in the rest of the first world. Moreover, Trump wasted the period during the six week lock down by failing to come up with a national testing and tracing system. Instead, Trump left it up to the states to deal with the pandemic. The corona virus doesn’t obey state lines. Unfortunately, the American people suffered severe economic hardship for nothing.

Trump’s next failure — out of many — was that he grew tired of the shutdown by April and began to urge states to open up too early and too aggressively. As a result, Republican governors in Florida, Texas and Arizona opened up too early — which has led to disastrous results. After corona virus cases had largely stabilized in the U.S., they began to soar again after Memorial Day.

Due to this scary resurgence in corona virus cases, those same red state governors have essentially admitted error and have shutdown bars and restaurants again. Things are so bad in Texas that right wing Governor Greg Abbott has made the wearing of masks mandatory.

Here in Nebraska, corona virus cases peaked on May 7 and have slowly declined since then. “We’re in very good shape right now with cases being stable,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a press conference Thursday. “If we could stay like that until the end of the year, I would be ecstatic. But it only happens if we continue to do our social distancing.”

Unfortunately, Ricketts succumbed to Trump’s pressure and fully opened up the bars as of June 22. Health experts have pointed out that the bars are super spreaders and are largely responsible for the disturbing surge in corona virus cases in the south and west. Will Nebraska be able to maintain our progress or will we experience a big setback? We will know more in about two to three weeks.

The new message from the Trump Administration on the corona virus is: “We need to live with it.” According to the Washington Post: “White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day.”

In other words, Trump has simply given up. As Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted: “We can’t do any better than this” is a crap message that concedes that we cannot do what Canada, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and multiple other countries have accomplished. This marks a low point in our history, and should be rejected by all patriots who want us not to suck.”

The only way we’re going to end this crisis is to elect Joe Biden president and more Democrats to Congress. Vice President Biden has experience in handling crises. In 2009–10, he administered the Recovery Act — which ended the Bush recession. One of Biden’s senior advisers was President Obama’s Ebola Czar. The Obama-Biden Administration’s response to the Ebola pandemic was a huge success — only two Americans lost their lives.

We could be on the cusp of a new era of progressive reform in America. These eras usually follow a Republican crack up. Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama all presided over eras of progressive reform. If we elect Joe Biden president along with a Democratic Congress, great things will happen. We will get the change this country needs so badly. Now let’s get it done!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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