The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Will Trump’s Fumbling of Covid-19 Lead to His Exit in Weeks?


I’ve said a number of times now that my intuition is that Trump will be gone soon. My current intuition is within five weeks of today. But the more I look at the numbers, the more true it seems to me, and might be worth unpacking.

It seems clear that Trump is the figurehead for an informal oligarchy of CEO’s and finance heavy-hitters, and they are rapidly developing a ‘back to work’ consensus, to be delivered by Trump at some point in the immediate future, mostly to try and staunch the catastrophic market losses they are all suffering.

But, on the other hand, the US is just starting the steep ascent of its exponential infection curve, and therefore, its death rate. In certain places, mostly LA and New York, they might be able to implement lockdowns sufficiently strong to flatten their curves, but this will be far outweighed by a complete lack of distancing and quarantine in other regions, and the resulting backflow cases into areas with better protocols.

It appears right now that total deaths are doubling every three to four days. There are 780 deaths so far. Five weeks would be between eight and 12 more doublings. That’s, on the low side, around 200,000-400,000 deaths. And this is being very conservative, I think. Fortunate areas of the US will look like Italy at it’s worst, and quite a bit will look more like Iran. (As an aside, the parallels between the social/ideological forces in red states vs those in Iran are quite interesting to think about.)

Anyway. Let’s say half a million deaths in under two months from now. Nothing like that has happened in living memory. It will be completely undeniable. Unspinnable. And it will hit the Trump base hardest of all. And the market impacts will dwarf anything we’ve seen so far. It will, quite simply, blow any consensus currently keeping Trump in power to pieces. The money people will need him out, so they can try to restore some confidence and recoup losses, and his political base will be dragged under by a wave of ill or dead constituents. There will be no rallies–that would be abject insanity. No one will be listening anymore to his pronouncements, as they will be manifestly, grotesquely, false. There will probably not even be White House briefings at that point. He might try to start a war, but I simply do not believe the military would go along with that. There might even be a coup if he tried.

At that point, he will be in a vice: Either strengthen the lockdowns, in which case the money people will dispense with him, or release the lockdowns totally and risk mass insurrection on many levels.

His best bet, at that stage, to avoid removal and probably jail is to resign, blame whoever, and have Pence pardon him for everything. At that point, things will be so bad I doubt anyone will have a problem with it. He will just need to be out, so that professionals can tackle the crisis he created.

That’s it. I don’t really see any holes in the theory. You could adjust some of the numbers a bit, but exponential growth is exponential growth, and unless I’m drastically wrong in some respect, it would only change the timeline by a week or two.

The alternative to his removal is complete pandemonium and the collapse of the United States as a world power, and even I am not that pessimistic, or optimistic, depending on my mood.


Economic Consequences of the Pandemic


Morning Covid-19 USA Data


  1. Joe Schultz

    Interesting thought piece. The two holes I see are the analyses of Trump and his base. First, I cannot see Trump ever admitting defeat and stepping down no matter how bad it gets. His endless supply of narcissim isn\’t going to erode and let other powerful people force him out just because a few hundred thousand losers die. It\’s the just world hypothesis. They deserved to die. He will accept no responsibility.

    Secondly, his supporters, of whom I met many, will not abandon him. They too are mixture of narcissist and victim. Just world hypothesis believers too, unless it happens to them. Then they look to Trump to tell them who to blame and all is well. Getting people to admit they\’re wrong is far harder than getting them to accept the truth.

    One more thing. The oligarchs don\’t have that much to worry about as far as getting people back to work. They will go back to work when they run out of money. That won\’t take long for the bottom 50%.

  2. GlassHammer

    No, his best bet is to pin all of this on China and he is already doing that.

    To stay in power in a crisis all you need is a viable enemy.

  3. Dan

    I’m sorry, I don’t see any of that happening.

    Every DC and finance ghoul, even Democratic loyalists like Lloyd Blankfein and Thomas Friedman, are trying to butter Americans up to the prospect of just sucking it up, getting sick (or dying), and going back to work so that Wall Street doesn’t lose any more precious money. Throwing grandma and grandpa on the alter to Mammon is a bipartisan policy.

    I’m not even sure millions of dead Americans will shake his hardcore base. He’ll lie and spin, his media accomplices will parrot it, and his base will cognitive-dissonance themselves into believing it. But it might cost him the support of all the suburban and red state fiscal conservatives who held their noses and voted for him in 2016 (and lie about doing it).

    Starting a war wouldn’t help him and, despite his woofing, he’s shown very little interest in doing so in the past. Also, you know damn well the mil-industrial complex would never say no, unless it was against another nuclear power or something.

    He couldn’t launch a coup if he wanted to, because he has no real power base besides the red state petty bourgeois hogs who flock to his rallies.

    Normally, I would say that a recession coming this late in the game meant certain doom for Trump’s re-election prospects, but the Democrat response has been so bungled, and Joe Biden’s absences so conspicuous, that I’m not even certain of that anymore!

    Trump will still be in office until at least January 2021, if not beyond that.

  4. “The money people will need him out, so they can try to restore some confidence and recoup losses…”

    I dunno. The Democrats seem willing to accede to massive corporate bailouts. As long as the government will bail out the billionaires, they don’t care how much they lose.

    “his political base will be dragged under by a wave of ill or dead constituents.”

    Again, I’m unconvinced. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

    Trump has a viable strategy: blame, divert, deny, deflect until the election. Unless Trump literally drops dead, he will defeat Biden in the election, if only because Biden is such an incredibly bad candidate (far worse than Hillary Clinton) that he couldn’t defeat… well even Trump. Throw in voter suppression and outright fraud (and Trump knows the Democratic party does not have the will to confront him), and you have the election going only one way.

  5. Jace

    This requires Trump to surrender, in public, on the record, as a matter of history.

    I bet against him doing that. Otherwise, yes, it will get much worse and the priesthood and scribes of the dollar will still demand that we bake our flesh into their daily bread.

  6. Stormcrow

    It appears right now that total deaths are doubling every 3-4 days.

    Using the dataset from, from March 2 (9 fatalities) to March 25 (1027 fatalities), my math makes that a doubling time of about 3.2 days.

    There are 780 deaths so far. Five weeks would be between 8 and 12 more doublings. That’s, on the low side, around 200,000-400,000 deaths.

    The big open question is, what’ll happen inside those 5 weeks.

    If the epidemic doubling time starts to fall, as Italy’s started to do on or about Feb 25, that projection will be pessimistic.

    But Italy has been, officially, locked down since March 9.

    What really worries me is to what extent we can replicate the deceleration that’s been taking place in China, South Korea, and to a lesser extent, Italy and Iran. If we can manage that, we can deflect some of the lethality.

    But if we run on for another 35 days the way we are right now, my numbers give me a fatality estimate of about 1.8 million. I think if that happens, Trump will be out one way or another. But that’ll be no more than a footnote.

    The hospital infrastructures will collapse far sooner, and that means not merely inability to treat acute COVID-19, but a general collapse of ICU capability, surgical capability, and damned near everything else hospitals do. All they’ll be by that time is places to go die.

    If Trump and his death cult followers successfully sabotage deceleration, that’s probably what we’re going to see.

  7. Ché Pasa

    Wow. The power of narrative appears to be strong among Ian’s readers.

    The point of the piece is that Trump will be removed within weeks or months out of necessity, primarily the necessity of the Overclass which has openly or tacitly supported him until now. Trump was never a good spokesman for their interests, but he was adequate enough, and the plebs were kept sniping at each other rather than their rulers, so that was bonus that enabled the looting to continue unimpeded.

    Now there is a gross impediment, the Outbreak, that is disrupting their carefully plotted plans and their deepest interests (ie: More Money!). They don’t care about death tolls any more than Trump does — not at all — as long as the dead are confined to the Lower Orders, but that’s not what’s happening. The first and second waves of infected and ultimately dead are among their own class (think who lives in Manhattan — who can afford to, and why do they live there?) and what’s the Trump regime doing about it? Think. Get beyond the political and partisan narrative to what’s really going on.

    Trump and his regime are not performing. The multi-trillion dollar bailouts are not going to matter if the people who matter are left to die in NYC and all the other places the where they congregate.

    It may be too late for them to save themselves, but it’s plain as day that Trump and his dithering and lies are to blame, so he has got to go.

    And it’s more likely every day that he will be removed.

    How is the question. But you can bet the how is being worked out as we sit here either pondering it or denying it. I don’t expect a constitutional solution. Too late for that. I’ve long suspected a military intervention will be necessary, but it’s not a happy thought.

  8. anon

    I don’t see Trump being replaced before the November election, and I think there is still a very good chance he will win reelection. Biden is a bumbling fool who has largely been absent this month and the few times he has made media appearances have been disastrous. He looks weak and incoherent. In times of crisis, people tend not to want to bet on any changes unless there is an alternative that appears strong and willing to take charge. As of right now, the majority of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, choosing to ignore his failure to tackle the virus early on and accepting his narrative that China is mostly to blame.

    Trump is a narcissistic, incompetent, and racist fool, but the passage of this trillion dollar aid bill to corporations shows that he still has the power of the elite behind him. Another reminder as to why the Democratic establishment not too long ago hinted that they preferred another Trump term to a Bernie Sanders presidency. The rich are being taken care of accordingly. Millions of people dead will be sad to them (in a way you feel sorry when watching a tragic news story but forget about it five minutes later) but largely insignificant other than the fact that they’ll need to find new replacements at their companies.

    Due to the nature of this crisis, people won’t even be able to riot or protest in the streets. For the next 3 months, the average American will be largely confined to the home, worrying about their health and saving their home. The fallout will be huge but the major ramifications (an increase in violent crimes, hate crimes, suicides, foreclosures) may not be felt until next year after we see COVID-19 deaths reach its peak and people feel safe going outdoors again.

  9. Stormcrow said it best: it all depends on what’ll happen inside those 5 weeks.

    Right now even the real experts are just armchair quarterbacking. Yesterday I read a very plausible scenario that put the pandemic itself past us, the transmission in mid-November to early December, the herd immunity well on its way and those dying simply those who will not become immune. As plausible as any other I’ve read. Even the real experts are winging it.

    What may be good news, there’s a plot floating around with all the infected countries to date, all those are starting to flatten; just as we now seeing here in SF and Seattle as we saw in Wuhan that early isolation works. Yeah we could have done better, but SF, the first to implement restrictions, is today enjoying the rosiest of outlooks.

    None of which is say that beginning this week we can’t be a bit more confident in our prognistations. The next couple of days is going to tell us where this is really going to go.

  10. zac

    my reasoning (yes, that’s me that wrote it), a little more unpacked:

    The key to understanding Trump is that he’s basically a coward. At every turn, you know he will do the thing that allows him to evade tangible consequences for his mistakes. You can’t lay hundred of thousands of dead at his doorstep and expect him to just sit there and take it, and quite soon he won’t be able to avoid it. The other networks are already sneaking up on just cutting away from his bullshit tirades, as they are actively getting people killed. FOX itself is in new york city, primarily, and even sean hannity and fox & friends cannot fail to notice the death tolls that will rack up in manhattan. they will reach a breaking point sooner or later, or failing that, the Murdochs will, and failing all that, his audience will start to die or be inundated with death in a radically disproportionate way. At that point, there’s no escape from public accountability. Even if the virus did come from china, one cannot fail to notice that other countries aren’t suffering the way the united states are. It’s all about the response, and he is damned by his own words. his campaign is already suing to block simple ads with his words overlaid on a graph of confirmed cases. they know what it means when this stuff penetrates.

    the other key point is that this is not a linear process, but exponential one. up till now, we’ve been evaluating the stability of the regime in terms of his poll numbers, which shift in linear increments 1,2, maybe 10% in extraordinary cases. The virus isn’t like that. It doubles in a matter of days and its effects are profoundly nonlinear. How much did Trump’s situation deteriorate in the last week? In three days, double the damage. Then double it again. Then double it again. Then keep doing that until something breaks. The line is somewhere, and in a fundamentally divided country, that line is never *that* far away.

    the financial oligarchy has some finite tolerance for uncertainty about what happens to their wealth. Everything Trump is doing is oriented towards calming these people, and protecting their interests, and none of it is working. In fact, his bullshit is just creating more panic and uncertainty. they have to reach their limit at some point, and the conditions that will inform that are, again, proceeding in a nonlinear fashion. our intuitions about how long this deterioration would take under linear conditions simply no longer match the facts on the ground.

  11. Astrid

    I doubt it. The US national US government, as well as those in France, UK, and many European countries, is less accountable to their populace than even China. In China, Xi fudged and hid, his underlings tried to bury the bad news, but when reality hit them in the face they knew their positions were dependent on getting things under control. Otherwise the tiger that they’re riding on and all their external enemies will attack and hurt them.

    By contrast, the patrons for the Uni-party are billionaires, bankers, and CEOs of multinational corporations. They’re sociopaths, the populace is just livestock for them to manage, exploit, and anesthesize. They pit the lower classes against each other, distract them, and tell them TINA. They own the MSM, Faceborg, and all other forms of communication and thoughts. Google’s vacuuming of ad revenue ensure an enfeebled press where independence means financial death as the rest depend on the goodwill of their billionaire patrons, who as often as not literally resembles Bond villans.

    What I’m getting to is – if Trump was threatened in anyway from the left, the establishment will back Trump everytime. At best, they’ll dump Trump if he becomes too much of a liability and replace him with someone every bit as bad. Have you paid attention to what Cuomo did as NY governor? But MSM and DNC, who is somehow able to keep low energy zombie Joe Biden as the front runner, will have zero problems positioning Cuomo or Michelle Obama or some other horror in the top titular position.

    Bernie’s pathetic campaign and caving on this corporate giveaway just shows how exhausted the left is. He doesn’t think the likes of Joe Biden are the enemy and mass murderers. He thinks they’re reasonable differences. Meanwhile, the professional left are PMC class more occupied by attracking potential allies on Nth wave identity politics grounds than build any kind of coalition of solidarity and resistance.

    Any possibility for resistance to this structure will likely come from the right, in the form of a populist strongman who takes at least some stands against the billionaire class. In the long run, it may well be worse for all of us, but this is what we’re in for. We can hope and pray that we get lucky, and get what the Russians got. I have my doubts – the Soviet education system is actually pretty close to true meritocracy where the brightest can rise to the top. Speaking as a product of the system, the Ivies and elite schools are amongst the most corrupted institutions in the USA.

  12. Stirling S Newberry

    Some points:

    1. The rich are no longer suffer stock market losses. The bailout bill did what it was supposed to do.
    2. Fox News will think anything which supports low tax rates for millionaires.
    3. Trump is out, in any meaningful way.

  13. StewartM

    My biggest problems with the thesis of this posts are:

    1) Trump does not represent the oligarchs any more than Hitler did. Instead, like with Hitler and the 1930s fascists, the oligarchs are playing with fire thinking that they can control and benefit from Trumpism and use it for their benefit. The Repug party for decades has stoked the fires of racism, anti-immigration hysteria, anti-gay prejudice and religious bigotry, and the like because they know that the average Republican voter isn’t enthralled by corporate tax cuts, voucher schools, and destroying SS and Medicare. As they can’t get them to vote honestly for their real agenda, they stoke these fires because that’s the only way they can win elections.

    Trump’s election in 2016 proved this. Trump broke almost every tenant of Movement Conservative orthodoxy in his campaign and the Republican base cheered with delight. The fact that Trump, being lazy and stupid, doesn’t actually govern like his 2016 rhetoric (if he had actually done as promised, and more, stealing from Bernie’s agenda) then he’d cruise easily to re-election.

    Another thing that Trump’s 2016 nomination proves is that paradoxically, the Republican Party is more small-d ‘democratic’ than the Democratic Party. The Republican elite in 2016 also went apeshit about the prospect of Trump winning, but back early in the process when the anti-Trump vote was divided, there was no Barack Obama or Dem establishment equivalent on the Republican side with the power to manipulate the process, to get candidates to drop out and/or new candidates to come it to stop Trump. The very reason why the Dem establishment fears Sanders so much is that if nominated and elected, Sanders would delight the Dem base by truly representing them and take over the party just like Trump delights his MAGA people and has the Republican establishment trembling in fear.

    2) I don’t think Trump resigns voluntarily. Michael Cohen said he won’t, even if he loses the election, and believe Cohen. Trump being a narcissist can’t admit failure, no matter how badly he screws up he will never admit an error.

    3) Trump is not propping up the markets. He’s crashing them. While I am NOT someone who thinks the markets represent the wisdom of God, they aren’t stupid either. The markets are tanking largely because Trump’s response (or lack thereof) and his increasingly weird mumbo-jumbo talking the pandemic indicates no coherent policy and that he’s winging it through the crises by sound bite, just like the way he wings his campaign. Actually, if Trump had responded with a strong lockdown from the very start and put forth an intelligent, coherent, plan, while the markets probably would have gone down, they might have gone down far less than they did. The market’s reaction to Trump is in essence no different than that of them reacting to a CEO of a floundering company who is also talking utter bullshit as a response.

    I thus predict that if Trump in a few weeks announces that “everything’s fine now” and the US is open for business, the markets will tank further, not go up. While they certainly aren’t always wise, they can smell a turd just like everyone else. It is not business interests that are driving Trump on this but 1) conservative ideologues–most of whom have never produced anything but hot air in their lives–and 2) his narcissism, which admits no failure, and saying that we’re in deep shit now is in-essence admitting he bungled this crises.

    4) Trump’s base will largely stick by him, even when “the Chinese virus” ravages their communities. After all, haven’t 40 years of Reaganism ravaged their communities too and they still worship St. Ronnie? Blaming “the other” and kicking downwards as a response to any of their problems is so ingrained in their outlook I doubt that much can happen to change it. Nominating someone like a Bernie might peel a few voters peel off, and that’s about it. Against Biden, they’ll still support Trump–those that are still alive or aren’t hospitalized, at least.

    And even if Trump loses, there’s #2–just like Trump can never err, Trump can NEVER lose, so he’ll try to stay president. And I don’t think Biden (Senator Bipartisan and #1 Pal of Repugs everywhere) will do anything but meekly accept things the way Gore did.

  14. highrpm

    zach’s article neglects to mention the effects of co-morbidities on how the virus damages populations. very obvious is the over representation of old-aged (80+) males in italy’s virus deaths. and generally the msm’s virsus reports contain little analysis of the co-moribities. all this to say, pulmonary reserve (as measured by one’s mets level) plays a key role in the immune system’s ability to fight this virus. i.e., obese, diabetic, those on high blood pressure meds, be warned, “your are high-risk.” folks, like it or not, cold cruel nature rules easily over us “intelligent” humanoids. “as one sows, so he can expect to reap.” how “intelligent is the decision to burn down the village to save it?”

    the united states has shown in it’s overwhelming engendering and acceptance of the parasitic payday loans-driven student loan industry, that its adult population cares little about investing in its younger generations, in mentoring their raw material of creative imaginations and creatively, so that the nation’s GDP can reap future benefits of the developed and thriving and flourishibng of the younger generation’s wide varieties of talents. (how many steve jobs and thomas j. watsons and henry fords ad infinitums have not germinated or tap-rooted because of the killing fields of the payday student loan industry.) and now the oldster of hollywood and washington scream, “mommy gu’ment, please save us?!?” long live bernie. he’s consistenly warned of the killing fields of the forever wars and the payday student loans.

    healthy youngsters are not at all threatened by the virus. c’mon, zach. don’t scare us. look at the data. but the unhealthy one’s are. what are the stat’s for these two groups? wrt to the oldsters,
    1. write term limits laws to rid congress of the pelosies and feinsteins and bidens. these selfish sociopaths have long had they turns at the control panels of public policy formation. time for them to give the youngsters their turns.
    2. where’s the morality in spending $130K for open heart surgeries that give 1-2 more years to an 80″ year old? when that same $$$ could be invested in an 18 year old’s college education? long past time for the usa oldster class to accept and embrace their mortality.

  15. Watt4Bob

    Trump doesn’t like losing, he doesn’t have a ‘schtick’ for losing.

    He just doesn’t know how to lose, in a political sense.

    Up until now, Trumps losses have been within the business realm where he is free to spin them as strategic moves, in other words he has always won, when he looses.

    In the political realm, Trump is on unfamiliar ground, his base, the general public, and the media will not accept his efforts to spin hundreds of thousands of deaths, and further economic ruin as any flavor of winning.

    So, in my estimation, you can add Trump’s own discomfort to the list of forces that argue for his ‘retirement’ from office.

    IOW, Trump will leave office rather than be forced to admit defeat.

  16. gnokgnoh

    The actions of governors, county executives, and mayors across the country in most densely populated areas will save his ass. NY, SF, NOLA, even Pennington County, SD, have implemented aggressive stay-at-home or social distancing policies. Another great example is Atlanta, where the mayor has issued emergency orders, while the governor of GA dithers. I know the level of governmental response, because we are tracking the responses of justice systems across the country. It’s extremely widespread. 35 out of 50 states are under some type of emergency order, mostly for non-essential businesses and public gatherings. The rest of the states have extensive local emergency orders being issued by counties and municipalities. As an example, SD has no real statewide emergency order, but Pennington and Minnehaha Counties are shut down. These counties contain the two largest cities in the state, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls. This is a very, very conservative state. None of this originates from the federal government.

    The media likes to focus on the idiots in places like MS, but they are not the norm. Other examples include Liberty University in VA, but you can bet that they will cause a spike of 200+/- cases, and they will be shut down.

    The biggest numbers are coming out of NYC at the moment, mostly because they are doing aggressive testing. Their mortality rates (1.1%) are substantially less than the rest of the country (3.3%), because they have a much larger denominator (confirmed cases), due to testing. Places like NYC and SF, where the biggest numbers originate, will flatten the curve in the next month, totally due to their own initiatives and strengths.

    What happens to Trump is anyone’s guess, but I would not bet on him being asked to resign. I predict that he’ll make the election, in spite of his total lack of leadership.

  17. gnokgnoh

    My apologies. The mortality rate, nationally, as of 9 am, today, 3/26, per Johns Hopkins data, is 1.5%, not 3.3%. NYC is at 1.1%.

    Ultimately, the mortality rate is a function of confirmed cases, which is a function of testing, which NYC is doing more extensively. More important is the transmission rate, which overburdens the hospitals. The 24 hour doubling rate for transmission is 3.9 days today. It’s increasing quite rapidly, but, again, this may be due to increased testing.

  18. Ché Pasa, you make an excellent point. If (and only if) Trump allows members of the elite to die, then I can see him being replaced.

  19. It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future – you never know when something surprising might happen. Just the same – I don’t expect the death totals to keep doubling over the span that the original poster postulated – in the physical world exponential growth is limited by resource constraints. The bodies will pile up, yes, but the piles won’t be as high as that.

    As the Firesign Theatre said about the future, back in the 20th century, “THIS is the future – you got to LIVE it, or LIVE WITH it.” They left unstated the third alternative – get out of the way. As someone who is, approximately, a “useless eater” – over 70 and a pensioner [although I do the grocery shopping and cooking for my spouse, who has a job, so I am not COMPLETELY useless], I think the Owners are right – from an economic perspective, it may be better to reduce the surplus population – although those with sufficient purchasing power may be missed, of course.

    Who knows if it’s good or bad?

  20. Mallam

    Estimating death rates before the health care system is overwhelmed is a fool’s errand. We don’t know what the death rate will be and extrapolating from 1-2% when ICU’s have yet to be filled at capacity is likely a large underestimate. In a week, maybe mid-April, we will know what NYC is capable of. Right now their slope looks apocalyptic. Yet, the south and the rural areas will be overwhelmed if they don’t stop the spread. So while NYC looks bad and will be very bad, we just don’t know yet how it’ll affect the rest of the country and what the death rate looks like.

    Meanwhile, the senate just announced a month long recess. Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi are going to be ravaged. But I don’t think this will stop the cult. It’s called a death cult for a reason. These people would rather kill themselves than drop support for leader. The newest talking point is that it’s an outrage to be giving millions of dollars to Howard University (hmm, why are they focused on Howard🤔🤔🤔).

  21. Anon

    Trump will be removed from office the second he no longer generates revenue for the MSM, the second the sight of his pig face and name stop generating clicks for websites, and not a second sooner. And the fact that you don’t recognize that makes me question your whole thesis. “Five weeks from now.” What planet do you live on? 10 million Americans could die from this thing and he would still be re-elected. Do you not understand the hold he has on 60-80 million people in this country? It’s a cult, man. And he’s the leader. And leaders of cults don’t quit and voluntarily leave. I don’t care who they’re “working” for. No one gives up that amount of influence and power because they’re told to by the people bankrolling them. No one. And Trump is no different.

  22. Larster

    Interesting post. My feel is that this pandemic will bring the Trump Otg to its knees, with or without bailout money. It will take a year or more to develop an effective vaccine and to prove effectiveness. I also think that the last commercial enterprises to regain economic health will be overpriced playgrounds for the wealthy. Finally the golf course business is a bad business to begin with. Therefore, it is plausible to me that Trump negotiates an exit that relieves him of both criminal and financial liability. Remember that his only way to stay relevant after leaving office is to start a Trump network with a weekly “rally”. You cannot do this after both he and the nationcrash and burn, which is where we both are headed.

  23. Mark Pontin

    Thank you, gnokgnoh. That’s a good summary of the current situation.

    One thing gnokgnoh doesn’t mention, because nobody’s talking much about it yet, is that beyond merely the global fatality rates from COVID-19 over the next eighteen months, a sizable segment of those who recover will suffer long-term damage.

    Specifically, many survivors will have pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs). Also, (if I understand the couple of early studies I’ve seen) whatever portions of dead tissue from the fluid- or debris-filled sacs in the lungs that COVID-19 created as remain after the virus itself recedes. Lung fibrosis cannot be cured because the scarred changes in the lung tissue do not regress.

    Right now it looks like this will be true in about 25 percent of cases, though it’s too early for any firm conclusions. In these cases, lung function could decline 20-30 percent after recovery, making it hard for oxygen to get into the blood and causing shortness of breath, particularly during physical exertion.

    So in the longer term, many COVID-19 survivors will not be fit to return to work and will have reduced lifespans, etc.

    Even through the brutal lens of a merely economic analysis of the permanent damage in terms of a reduced global workforce, therefore, any Trump-style argument about ‘the cure is worse than the disease and let’s just let the bug rip through the proles and have them build up herd immunity’ is stupid.

    There _will be_ permanent damage to the global workforce — to an extent that any fantasies about robots and automation ameliorating all that damage are fatuous (before any fools start that line of argument). The only question is just how much damage.

  24. S Brennan

    “I’ve said a number of times now that my intuition is that Trump will be gone soon.”

    I shouldn’t have to point this out but…clearly the thinking on this site has deteriorated to the point where I feel I must…

    If you keep making the same declaration, over and over again…like a broken clock, you will be eventually be proven correct. Trump will leave office at some point, that much is true, but, as your initial statement unintentionally concedes, you’ve been wrong many times before.

    TDS continues to aid and abet evil. Did the [D] team even pretend to be serious about Convid-19 bill? No, no they did not, [D]’s took the crisis as an opportunity to shovel as many shekels as they could to their donors.

    It being a political year, the commentariat is bound to be in retrograde but…arguing that removal from office, the sole agenda of [D]’s for the last four years, is now suddenly relevant is a bit much. Indeed, during the build-up of this pandemic, much was obscured because [D]’s 1st priority was Trump’s removal from office.

    And now, the [D]’s 1st priority is Trump’s removal from office…I mean wtf, no wonder Trumps approval ratings are climbing upward, America’s elites one size fits all answer is the removal of Trump and the installation of Pence.


  25. Zachary Smith

    Will Trump’s Fumbling of Covid-19 Lead To His Exit In Weeks

    I’m not in the confidence of the Top .01%, so I can’t say if this prediction has any validity. What I DO know is that everybody in DC has greased the skids for him up till now. No matter what he has said or done, he has gotten away with it. The Democrats could have produced an Impeachment Indictment which would have curled you hair if they’d wanted to. They didn’t! They’ve arranged the weakest possible candidate to oppose Trump this fall. There is no point of even speaking of the far-worse Republicans. My Congressman no longer answers his phone, but invites a caller to speak to what is claimed to be a recorder. (even if it is, I doubt if anybody will ever listen) Neither he nor my two GOP Indiana Senators will even reply to my queries about Trump’s incompetence or corruption.

    I’ve just returned from the mailbox, and what I found there was a postcard from our Omniscient Stable Genius. It shows the degree even the CDC is sucking up to Trump.

    The Trumpies are desperately trying to shift the blame for their screwups to others. Pompeo stomped out of a European conference without an agreement because some of the Europeans would’t label the disease the “Wuhan Virus”. The flat slug howls about China not sharing information, probably to distract from the fact the Trumpies drastically slashed the CDC mission in China a few months before the pandemic started.

    So long as Trump continues to get away with everything he does, there is no reason at all for him to worry. If the rich b*stards start suffering, or even dying, Trump is a goner. Will that happen? As I said at the start, nobody has told me anything of what the Power Elites are really thinking about the Coronavirus epidemic.

    (A tin-foil hat reading of the tea leaves: the author name “ZACHARIUS BRACISZEWICZ” has a mighty skimpy presence on the Internet. Conceivably little essays like this are a preparation of the US peasants for the removal Trump. Who knows?)

  26. Stirling S Newberry

    Actually this is economically the result of keeping the lower class just barely above water. In good times the rich profit from it, in bad times the lower class goes under at a sinking shot. If one does out the economic basis of this economy you will see that objectively speaking, it is better to keep the lower classes happy rather than upset. Thus the 3.3 million applications for unemployment in a week.

    The problem is that our managers piled the debt up in the future, that is what change is, paying the bill after they are dead. The Coronavirus took advantage of this because the world is a great warmer than it was and so could spread more widely. Unfortunately, this is an e^x deal where a little more will make a large difference. SARS killed as many people as a bad weekend on the US roads. Corvid-19 is going to be a minor war.

    The net result is that the good times are better for the very very wealthy and that times bad times truly horrible. We need to go through this cycle because all of the people who lived through the last ones are gone.

    (Sidenote: The VP is not going to be put in charge of anything. They want to kill 2 the evangelical Christians, not have one in charge. Remember he is impeachment insurance.)

  27. Chico

    The hole that I see is martial law. As the deaths start piling up trump will see that as his obvious solution. His backers will support him, most of the police state also, and that will be that. He’s proven he’s perfectly capable of turning into another Mussolini or Stalin. Rounding up democrats/progressives/liberals would be the next step.

  28. Chiron

    “It seems clear that Trump is the figurehead for an informal oligarchy of CEO’s and finance heavy-hitters”

    Back in the distant 2016 I followed the blog of a woman who worked on some Washington think tanks, she said that Trump running for President was a war between the American elites, primarily because of the Iran deal and some of the elites who are against the deal went “nuclear” with Trump. The anti-immigration rethoric and trade confrontation with China was more about throwing red meat to working class white america and put them back on the Neocon train while promising no more wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.

  29. Willy

    Agree with Chiron. His campaign adviser Steve Bannon (such as he was), claims to be a populist and that Trump was just the candidate he was looking for who would be willing to give some support to the middle/working class, which Bannon claims that his own father was a proud member of.

    But Trump has every symptom of a classic NPD. If true, a guy like that will use populism for his own selfish ends though they do need the adoration of the masses, that narcissistic supply to sustain their pathology.

  30. James Wheeler

    I’m a supporter of Trump.

    I remain a 100% supporter of the Donald. Your prediction will be proven wrong. The base will NEVER desert him!

    MAGA 2020.

  31. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    (1) Benedict Donald is a stupid coward–not the sort of man who can manage to become a dictator.

    (2) After the shitty way Dirty Donnie has treated the military brass, I rather doubt they will support him.

  32. Zachary Smith

    I previously said I didn’t know what the Super-Rich were thinking, and that’s still true. However, a person can sniff around and see who their Media Mouthpieces have their kneepads pointed towards. Donald John Trump is the current target of one such piece. The link is to a blog which pointed out the horror story, and its internal link to the WSJ takes you to a “teaser” paragraph.

    “Stuff” as interesting as this tends to get cut/pasted somewhere, and the next link displays the text.

    You want an example of how bad the WSJ can be? Before they started locking everything down behind their paywalls, many of the opinion pieces were free for all. Once again, knowing the title of the piece in question, it was easy to find somebody who had reposted it. Again, the Hullabaloo site. Some of the younger folks may not know of the degree of Bush Worship which existed among their parents and grandparents. If you want to see a WSJ columnist drooling over Bush’s Crotch when he did his “perv strut” across the deck of the USS Lincoln, enjoy. (this is why I always refer to the little dip’ as “codpiece commander”) The Trump base is nuts, but that’s nothing new. So were the BushBots. The WSJ has always been happy to “service” rightwingnuts and the people they worship. (scroll down to Hey Flyboy – if you have the stomach for this excellent vintage example of WSJ “journalism”)

  33. Ché Pasa

    Depends on how quickly and where things go to shit. The failure of large portions of the health care infrastructure is going on now and is guaranteed to get much worse. As it does, the question is what the people do about it and how those in authority will respond. I doubt they would hesitate to call on whatever force they can marshal.

    But the health care deficiencies are only one aspect of an overall problem. We lack a healthy manufacturing sector, we lack flexible supply lines that can deal with a long term crisis, we lack political unity, and we lack a central government that wants to and coordinate an effective long term response to any crisis.

    While plans have long been formulated to deal with just such a crisis as this very little has been done beyond planning. That’s not unique to the present regime. It’s been typical through most of our history.

    It’s not at all clear that the people are uniting behind the regime in the face of this calamity. Nor is it clear that they will so long as Trump and his cronies hang on to power.

    The more the social/political/economic bonds fray, the likelier the ultimate implosion. As the virus is already in the resorts and bunkers of the rich and richer and spreading through the halls of power, they know they aren’t immune, nor are they somehow protected the way they thought they would be. Even all their money won’t protect them. There is no protection.

    All it will take is a trigger somewhere. It doesn’t even have to be in this country. The whole thing will blow sky high.

  34. jump

    Loved this. I may be slightly optimistic about the orange being juiced, but I do not like the reasons for it. The orange may be incompetent and threaten lives and so should go, but I do not relish and fear the lives that will go because of him.
    I think that is the premise of Zac’s argument. He (the orange) will go because the death count will get too high for the locals and the oligarchy. Something will break, either from above or below. And by Zac, the most peaceful is from above.
    Well the case case count for the US will exceed both Italy and China by tomorrow. The death count will follow by a week or two. That is the numbers because there is no isolation across the board. (heaven forbid our freedom is restricted).
    In Canada there are already restriction for non-essential travel across provincial boundaries. I can see California do the same for state boundaries.
    All that said, I fear that the US death toll will be at least 100,00 and maybe 400,000 by the end of April. That is my fear because so little is being done. And that will be a wake up call to the overlords and everyone else.
    Can the government change the course? Not without an ideological head shake.

    (as an aside, the parallels between the social/ideological forces in red states vs those in Iran are quite interesting to think about.) — made me howl Zac.

  35. StewartM

    James Wheeler

    I remain a 100% supporter of the Donald. Your prediction will be proven wrong. The base will NEVER desert him!

    Well, the US is now NUMBER ONE!! Just like Trump said it would be!!

    (In confirmed coronaviruses, that is).

    We had a lot of ground to make up on China’s, South Korea’s, and Italy’s head start, but with Trump’s steady hand and keen eye, we’ve outdone them! Now to go for the #1 Death rate!

    MAD (Make America Dead) 2020! /s

  36. Z

    Nothing quite illuminates the inhumanity of capitalism than the stock market rising along with the amount of people dying.

    We’re slaves. Fodder. Carbon shoveled into the flames.


  37. Phil in KC

    So I’m at a loss trying to picture this “back to work by Easter” idea being floated by the President’s surrogates (Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, for example). So the waiter and bartender would be compelled somehow to go back to the restaurant which laid them off this last week and wait around for someone to come in? Assuming the owner/manager are onboard with the plan. And who pays wages and salaries in the meantime? And of course the kids are back in school, because there’s no one home to watch them since Mom and Dad are back at work. And what of the hotel desk clerk, the ticket agent at the airport, the taxi driver, the librarian, and the teacher? Are we going to force yet other people to become their customers?

    I just don’t see this happening. The economy will come back when people feel it is safe to return to their normal routines. That will happen when there is a vaccine AND a successful treatment protocol, and we know who has the virus, who has had it, who is carrying it. That means testing everyone. If the president thinks its time for people to go back to work, let him go visit some hospitals and shake hands with folks there to prove how safe it is.

  38. Mark Pontin

    Ché Pasa wrote: ‘The more the social/political/economic bonds fray, the likelier the ultimate implosion.’

    Dmitri Orlov: ‘By the mid-1990s I started to see Soviet/American Superpowerdom as a sort of disease that strives for world dominance but in effect eviscerates its host country, eventually leaving behind an empty shell: an impoverished population, an economy in ruins, a legacy of social problems, and a tremendous burden of debt. The symmetries between the two global superpowers were then already too numerous to mention, and they have been growing more obvious ever since.’

    Because economically models like the GFC in 2008, the 1929 Crash, the 1919-19 Spanish Flu do not apply to what’s happening today with both supply and demand collapsing simultaneously, maybe the nearest model is the 1988-91 social collapse of the USSR. Except, of course, that wasn’t a global scenario.

    A talk Orlov gave for the Long Now Foundation in 2009, ‘Social Collapse, Best Practices’ —

    An Orlov piece from 2010, “Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century”-

  39. To Ian’s point: If I were a gambling man I’d put a dollar or two on physically removed. Couldn’t say when though like Che’ I’m thinking it all depends on how hot it gets this summer.

    I think he wants to die there. Be famous for it.

  40. Charlie

    The biggest hole in your theory is Pence. The apocalyptic evangelical Pence will lift any lockdowns and result in more deaths (quite possibly into the tens of millions) while saying praise the lord. At that point, a military dictatorship would at least be considered. And thus, the end of the US as even a semi-functional entity.

  41. Hugh

    Where have you gone, Joe Bye-Biden?
    Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
    Woo, woo, woo

    The Dead Vegetable Walking has decided that there should be no more debates because he needs to concentrate on the coronavirus. As far as I can tell, this involves issuing Americans canes so they can wave them at the coronavirus. As Joe says, “It works for me with most things.”

    Inertia says that both Trump and Biden will be around in November. But there is now a significant chance that neither will be. Events (and the number of deaths) could see both gone and Pence and Cuomo on the ballot in November. Stranger things have happened and not that I like either.

    Against this we have Trump’s narcissism and Joe Biden’s vacuity.

  42. Hugh

    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
    Joking Joe has left and gone away
    Hey, hey, hey
    Hey, hey, hey

  43. Willy

    So we’re behind in the coronavirus score? Time to cheer up Team Deplorables with a cheer:

    That’s okay. That’s alright. Comeon MAGAs, Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Come to think of it, do these people even know there’s a game going on?

  44. Mark Pontin

    Go, U.S.A!
    The country is now officially Number One! America the Exceptional!

    Total Cases – 85,268
    New Cases – +17,057
    Total Deaths – 1,293
    New Deaths – +266

  45. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Well, Benedict Donald did say we would get sick of all this winning… 😈

  46. Greg T

    Given the Congress is about to pass a ginormous corporate aid package, that will relieve elite pressure on Trump. If Trump tries to force the public back to work too soon, his approval rating will crash, and he will face general strikes. If he holds out,!and listens to the health professionals, he’ll stand a better chance. A longer lockdown will require additional financial relief for citizens. Probably a debt moratorium. It’s unlikely another massive aid package will pass the Congress.
    Trump may lose in the general election, but I doubt he’ll be pushed out. And given the Democrats are about to nominate a zombie to run against him, he’s 50-50 to win re-election. It depends on deaths, and whether Trump listens to health professionals . He can call for a debt moratorium for the next few months and the Fed can inject whatever money is needed to the banks .

  47. StewartM


    That’s okay. That’s alright. Comeon MAGAs, Fight! Fight! Fight!

    And moreover, all it takes to keep up the “fight! fight! fight!” is having more YUGE rallies of closely-packed rabid fanboys!

    I mean, what could go wrong?

  48. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    #1 in COVID-19 cases!

    OK, I gotta admit, Trump was right–when he said we’d get sick of winning if he were President. 😈

  49. Looks more and more everyday like an outright case of waging biological warfare on the American people, that this “pandemic” is no different than Christians handing out smallpox laced blankets to the natives. The Trump Virus because Trump brought it here and turned it loose to kill off a bunch of us.

    This goes beyond providing aid and comfort …

  50. Jace


    I have been (as you probably have, too) an American for a long time. I organized with the IWW, AIM and briefly with an aging and weary Fr. Berrigan. I want to say ‘I am with you’ on general strikes, but I don’t see the mechanism. The fight went out of us with Reaganism. The samizdat was broken. Solidarity, shattered. Americans are three generations into a social experiment born of permanent Emergency. We are always afraid. We have, now, a collective contamination revulsion that predicts fascism and a resurgent Christian nationalism. Not general strikes.

  51. Whether Trump will go is up to the billionaire class. The billionaire class doesn’t really care about markets, the size of the economy, or the health of the people. The billionaire class would not be directly harmed even if the DJIA or GDP drops by 50% or even if a lot of people die.

    The billionaire class wants to maintain its power. The billionaire class wants to ensure that working people come out of the crisis with depleted savings, increased debt, terrible credit, and, most importantly, no organization. Any other problems are just acceptable losses.

    The billionaire class fears the working class reaction to the crisis; the billionaire class wants to make sure that things don’t get so bad that the working class faces the choice between revolt and death. Anything short of a “revolution or death” choice can be met by armed force.

    I don’t really follow the ins and outs of politics. But when talking about whether Trump will last until November, and what will happen then, I think we should dismiss irrelevant questions and ask the relevant questions.

    How will markets react? Irrelevant. How many people will die? Irrelevant (at least right now; even if 5% of people die, that will not be big enough to push us into revolt or die mode). How many people will be unemployed? Irrelevant. How many will starve and die? Irrelevant.

    Is Trump effectively protecting the power and position of the billionaire class? That’s a good question. Uninformed as I am, it seems like he is. Whatever push-back there is against Republican policies seems like it’s at the margin: how much do we let billionaires profit from the crisis?

    Is Trump effectively preventing the working class from organizing, striking, preparing their torches and sharpening their pitchforks? Actually, the Democrats are doing that job right now, but Trump’s instincts for deflection and denial seem to be doing the trick.

    Note that Trump does not have to “round up”, arrest, imprison, or execute Liberals and progressives. Liberals and progressives worried about their own oppression are indulging in an infantile narcissistic fantasy that they are important or dangerous enough to be worth an armed response. They are not yet any threat to Trump or the billionaires; Liberals and progressives yammer on and conservatives will just paint them as weak, cowardly, ridiculous, treasonous, and sinister (contradictory attributes, but the strategy works cough Fox News cough).

    Trump and the billionaire class can show their power and cruelty against Black people and immigrants and a few other powerless minorities. The Democrats are completely on board with oppression, although they tend to shed a few more crocodile tears.

    There is no socialist leadership in this country. The DSA went all-in on Bernie. I expect them to dissolve into irrelevance once Sanders endorses Biden. There’s no organization to take the DSA’s place and no politician to take Bernie’s place. Warren might have done it, but she blinked (if she ever had sincere progressive values).

    Whether we get Trump or Biden in 2020 does not matter much; whether we have a Democratic or Republican congress and Senate in 2020 does not matter much. Will the cruelty be open (Trump/Republican) or a little more discreet (Biden/Democrat)? Will the billionaires get ten new Ferraris or just five?

    Will the billionaire class be preserved and maintained? Yes. Will the working class remain indebted, unorganized, and powerless? Yes.

    Expecting anything else is just wishful thinking. As the saying goes, “Wish in one hand…”

  52. James Wheeler

    John Michael Greer is forecasting a Trump victory in both the popular vote and electoral college this November.

    Will will see who is proven right…

  53. StewartM

    John Michael Greer is forecasting a Trump victory in both the popular vote and electoral college this November.

    James, a lot of people here, including myself, would tend to agree with you. You and your boy himself should personally thank the DNC plus the Obamacrat/Clintonista Dem primary voter zombies, for picking up and carrying the most unelectable Democratic candidate in the field across the finish line. Trump will wipe the floor with Biden during the debates (assuming Biden can remember what question he’s answering when he answers). Then there’s also voter suppression and those funny voting machines.

    But don’t worry. By all accounts, Biden is a lot like your boy–lazy, stupid, arrogant, and a control freak who is too lazy to do anything himself and too control-freakish to delegate. That, and the fact he believes even more than your boy in “working with Repugs”, even if your boy does lose*, then a Biden admin will be in essence Trump’s second term.

    *–with the possibility that if Trump loses, he’ll claim election fraud, and refuse to yield the office. Then Biden will likely pull a Gore and meekly shrug and walk away.

  54. Ché Pasa

    That’s assuming there will be an election, and I suspect there won’t be.

    Right now, the House of Representatives is almost inoperable due to the virus and rules that cannot be changed unless a quorum (219?) is present. Having a quorum present under current conditions — let alone the worse conditions to come — is possible but less and less likely day by day. What happens if the House cannot function to pass the recovery bill, and Senate cannot return from their recess either?

    Conditions are worsening everywhere in the US, not just in the greater Seattle region, LA and the Bay Area in California, and New York/New Jersey. Nowhere are they getting better. The idea that “reopening” is possible or preferable under these conditions is categorically absurd, but you can be sure it will take place because ideology, devotion and belief overwhelm fact and common sense, and guess what? The infection will spread even more widely and quickly than it would otherwise.

    Believers think that’s a good thing, of course, because after all is said and done (“Too bad about your granny”) there will be more stuff for them, right? Trump won’t force people back to work — he can’t do that — but the “opportunity” will be provided via supplicant states to get back to work and further spread the virus. It doesn’t matter what the experts say because believers don’t care, and when the hospitals are overwhelmed and the dead are piled like cordwood, they will justify and rationalize it as God’s Will or some such nonsense because it’s what believers do.

    But there is another side to all this. All those people opposed to the believers– a likely majority but it doesn’t have to be — won’t be inclined to go along with “reopening.” A general strike is possible, perhaps for the first time in decades. But the sight of so much suffering where the virus is rampant, and the realization that it’s impossible to control it or even treat it effectively cast the believers as the ghouls and cultists that they are and so diminish their numbers even more effectively than the virus will.

    The problem is that those parts of the real economy that are still working are liable to stop too. Then what?

    What happens when there’s no food in the stores, no deliveries except to the very rich, Amazon shuts down, hospitals can’t help the sick and injured and government is an empty shell, an expired idea?

    You think there will be an election? Why? And how?

    We’re in uncharted waters “like we’ve never seen before.” But other places have, and karma is a bitch.


  55. Jace


    The church-nationalist faithful will also ramp up the intensity, duration, number and violence of their attacks on marginalized communities.

  56. “Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure” by Pepe Escobar @

    French stocks of hydroxychloroquine have been stolen!

    On January 13, Agnes Buzyn, still France’s Health Minister, classifies chloroquine as a “poisonous substance,” from now on only available by prescription. An astonishing move, considering that it has been sold off the shelf in France for half a century.
    Because of Raoult’s research, a large-scale chloroquine test finally starts in France, under the – predictable – direction of INSERM, which wants to “remake the experiments in other independent medical centers.” This will take at least an extra six weeks – as the Elysee Palace’s scientific council now mulls the extension of France’s total lockdown to … six weeks.

    The only French company that still manufactures chloroquine is under judicial intervention. That puts the chloroquine hoarding and theft into full perspective. It will take time for these stocks to be replenished, thus allowing Big Pharma the leeway to have what it wants: a costly solution.

    As Bugault told me, “test kits – very few in number – were always available but mostly for a small group connected to the French government [ former officials of the Ministry of Finance, CEOs of large corporations, oligarchs, media and entertainment moguls]. Same for chloroquine, which this government did everything to make inaccessible for the population.

    They did not make life easy for Professor Raoult – he received death threats and was intimidated by ‘journalists.’

  57. Astrid

    John Michael Greer used to warn against people who have just one story. Nowadays he only has one story, that Trump is fine and the monolithic “left” is the problem. This is someone who is, by virtue of his autism, so isolate from the mainstream that he regularly misreads comments that are outside of his increasingly close minded lane. The regulars now sound more like cultists or Republican voters or Hillary dead-enders, than themselves from a few years back.

    He once had some interesting insights and a tolerance for dissenting voices. Nowadays it’s a predictable echo chamber with nothing to offer except a heavy air of self satisfaction.

  58. Buzzard

    Greer has been right much more often than he’s been wrong. He’s no fan of Trump — he just describes how mainstream Dems’ chronic political ineptitude and long-term abandonment of what used to be their working-class base laid the groundwork for Trump’s emergence. I seriously doubt he sees this as a good thing — he’s just not denying reality. (I do think he’s a bit optimistic about the pandemic’s impact on society, which he still says is going to be relatively minor.)

    As badly as Trump has handled this pandemic, as brutal as the next few weeks are going to be, I still think Trump sails to an easy re-election in November. There will be no need to cancel it; he’d be essentially running unopposed. I didn’t think even the Dems could select as weak and feckless a nominee as Joe Biden, but they were up to the task.

  59. jessica

    While Trump and his administration’s sheer bumbling incompetence, plus his narcissistic personality disorder, and his being utterly out of touch with reality that is characteristic of all people who have never had an actual job into middle age +, kills millions, I fully expect to continue to hear how the Dems are the more effective evil.

    But being effective, even if merely more effective than Trump, in battling a pandemic would kill less. Killing less is better than killing more.

    But instead of the insight that killing less is better than killing more, cue endless academic discussions of the term “effective”, while the body bags pile up. Both political parties are irrelevant to the times we live in, but even they are more relevant, than academic discussions about angels on the head of a pin and “effective” versus bumbling evil, which also seems to kill of millions (but not yet 6 million, am I right?). Evil is pretty banal these days.

  60. jessica

    “Nowadays he only has one story, that Trump is fine and the monolithic “left” is the problem.”

    The thing is I don’t think many critics of the “left” spend ANY time among anyone actually on the left. Do they go to actual DSA or other left activist meetings etc.? Ok this is not a huge group of people, but it is what exists of the left on this country. And unfortunately it’s not in person meetings at this point either as we are in a pandemic. But back before the pandemic, did they even spend any time with people who have canvased for Bernie Sanders, even if they don’t self-identify as socialist like the DSA? This is a much larger group of people, committed Sanders supporters. Because I suspect they are basing their definition of the left on the internet, and I don’t think it leads to an accurate assessment.

  61. nihil obstet

    I’m pretty sure Trump will be re-elected. I don’t think the Democrats will end up with Biden as the nominee. They’ll fence him around with handlers and screens until they can decide on an alternate candidate who won’t do a dementia walk-about on camera. It looks like they’re gearing up for Cuomo, since Bloomberg was a billionaire too far. Although the ordinary Dems (that is, the ones who are registered as Democrats but don’t follow politics very closely) have generally been herded into the pens that the DNC constructs, I think there may be mass defections if the convention nominates someone who wasn’t even a candidate during the primaries. At that point, the refusal to accept Sanders may well break the party. It’s about time!

    If he’s not the Democratic Party nominee, the obstacles to getting Sanders on enough ballots for him to win are sufficient to close that avenue. It would be interesting in a morbid sort of way to see if the Republicans rescued the Democratic Party the way Obama rescued the Republican Party after Bush had effectively destroyed it. I doubt it. Rather than recreating the game show type entertainment that Dems vs. Pubs has become, I think the Republicans would go far more for straight xenophobia.

    On the effect of coronavirus — I’m not in a hot spot, but it is a SMSA under lockdown. I don’t know anyone personally who has tested positive, much less suffered from it. While our inadequate health facilities are struggling, most people don’t have personal experience with the disease. It’s like gun violence — it’s all perfectly terrible, but not important enough to actually do anything about it. I’m afraid that’s how most people may react. And that, too, will help Trump.

  62. StewartM


    While Trump and his administration’s sheer bumbling incompetence, plus his narcissistic personality disorder, and his being utterly out of touch with reality that is characteristic of all people who have never had an actual job into middle age +, kills millions, I fully expect to continue to hear how the Dems are the more effective evi

    It depends on the time scale being talked about. The argument would be that while the Dems might be better at fighting the pandemic (although the “sensible, centrist Democrats” too would throw $4 at Wall Street to every $1 given to Main Street; instead of at least the reverse ratio), the presidency of someone like Biden would set into stone most of the awful things Trump has done (just like Clinton made Reagan the ‘new normal’ and Obama did the same for Bush) and plus his betrayals of the base, just like Clinton and Obama, would hand Congress back to the Repugs and pave the way for an even worse version of Trump.

    So, yeah, maybe short-term, Biden might be better, at least on this, marginally. But long term he’s possibly even a worse disaster than four more years of Trump. And as I myself have warned about Trump’s autocratic traits, I don’t say that lightly or flippantly. Seems there are no good choices in 2020.

  63. Feral Finster

    Trump is an utter incomp, incapable of managing a two car funeral. The establishment should thank their lucky stars that they got a boob, and not a disciplined, determined ruthless populist such as a Huey P. Long.

    That said, Trump has a fanatical base, one utterly immune to any contrary facts, logic or evidence. See this thread for one of the *more coherent* examples. Some of that base are military (an acquaintance on active duty confirms). A lot of Trump cultists own guns and are just itching for the chance to use them.

    The overall base (not the hardcore, but the overall base) amounts to around 30% of the country, give or take As to how many of that base are Kool Aid chugging true believer cult members, it is hard to say.

    Even forgetting the economic and other chaos that a short and quickly suppressed uprising would give rise to, a large and armed-up fraction of the population that no longer accepts the legitimacy of the central government following a Trump removal should give the establishment pause.

    Especially as leaving Trump in office as a figurehead still allows establishment goals to be accomplished, while continuing to observe the outward forms that have served the establishment so well in the past.

    After all, Trump has proven nothing if not weak and easily manipulated.

  64. different clue

    The Jonestown Trumpies are just as cult-follower worshipful of their Trump as the Jonestown Clinties are cult-follower worshipful of their Clinton. The pink pussy hat is the ” MAGA hat” of the Identy Librul Woketards, and the MAGA hat is the ” pink pussy hat” of the Storm Trumpers.

    The only way Trump will leave office is if he is assassinated, diseased, or Article 25ed. If he is still in office and healthy enough to run in 2020, he will win. If the Catfood Democrats are afraid they can’t lose the election “fair and square”, they will throw the election to assure themselves of a Trump victory. The Catfood Democrats’ ” Grand Strategery” is that another 4 years of Trump will make even the Deplorables so sick and miserable that they will beg any can of catfood the Catfood Democrats decide to nominate in 2024 to ” save them” and to “take them away from all this.”

    Guest author Zacharius Braciszewicz will be speechless with dismay at the depths of utterly disgustogenic depravity to which the bipartisan Depublicratic establishment will sink. The one good silver lining I see emerging will be a vast bonfire of the upper class fortunes. If America were to lose world influence and take that loss as an opportunity to restore a nearly sealed-off nearly autarkich political economy for itself, that would be a good outcome.

  65. different clue

    @Che Pasa,

    Your vision of all the Upper Classes dying of COVID is a beautiful vision. I hope it comes to pass.

  66. A few “donald watchers” said in 2017 that at some point he would get bored and tired of being President, and would fake a heart attack to get out of it all.

    If this poster is right, watch for a heart problem.

  67. Hugh Gusterson

    Don\’t let Trump\’s concern for his re-election campaign take precedence over our safety. Sign the petition:

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