The coronavirus news keeps getting worse, and it’s not likely to start getting better any time soon. Wichita has shut down the bars again, meaning we won’t be drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and play chess and grouse about President Donald Trump at Kirby’s Beer Store for a while, and the situation in Jacksonville, Florida, is dire enough that Trump won’t be able to have the big raucous Republican convention he wanted.
Cancelling the RNC except for some “virtual” gatherings on the coronavirus-free internet not only denies Trump the sort of spectacle he’s long counted on, but it’s yet another admission that his many boasts about containing the coronavirus were untrue. Meanwhile, the rare non-coronavirus stories aren’t much help.
Even coronavirus could stop the news that Trump pressured his ambassador to Britain to pressure the government to pressure the people who run the British Open to hold it a tournament at a money-losing golf course in Scotland owned by the Trump Organization. In more normal times a president using the power of his office no matter the diplomatic consequences to enrich himself would be a big deal, but these days most people won’t hear about it. Still, we thought it worth mentioning.
Trump had hoped to divert the nation’s attention with a vigorous “law and order” stance, but so that seems to have backfired. There have been peaceful protests across the country over the past hot months against racial injustice and police brutality, and they’re polling better than Trump. Racial justice is now more popular than ever, and Trump has responded with a defense of the heroes of the Confederacy. There have also been some violent riots, which do not poll well, but sending military-armed federal agents with no identification on their camouflage uniforms to cities who would rather handle their own affairs is also not popular. Trump’s response has unleashed videos of a 50-something Navy veteran being billy-club for approaching the officers, moms and dads and the Portland mayor being teargassed for no apparent reasons, seemingly random people in the vicinity of a protest being whisked off to undisclosed locations in unmarked vehicles, and to many Americans this isn’t what they mean by “law and order.”
At the moment the most talked-about non-coronavirus story in America is “Person woman man camera TV,” which has launched thousands of “viral” memes on the internet, and that’s not good for Trump. The president is quite touchy about his cognitive abilities, and frequently cites his perfect score on a test created to find if someone has dementia as proof his fitness for office. In a disastrous interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace last week Trump denied the test — which includes drawing certain times on clock and distinguishing a camel from a lion — is easy for anyone not suffering dementia. He took a lot of ridicule about it, so he’s more recently brought it up with another interviewer, boasting about how he could remember the words “person woman man camera TV” in order, and insisting most people couldn’t do it, and certainly not presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, which of course has invited more ridicule.
Elsewhere in the news there’s something about heightened tensions with China and Russia, and fights in Congress over what to about the Great Depression-like economic numbers, but none of that is likely help Trump. Despite Trump’s best efforts to prevent, early voting starts in less than three weeks, too.
— Bud Norman