“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” President Donald Trump tweeted hours before he was discharged from the hospital on Oct. 5. “Don’t let it dominate your life.”
Trump was hospitalized for three days after being diagnosed with coronavirus—which has killed more than 1 million people worldwide. The nation’s Covid death has passed 210,000—more than any other nation and more than one-fifth of the global total, even though the United States accounts for only 4% of the world’s population.
Trump, 74 years old and overweight, is in the “high risk” category, according to public health experts. His devotees are attracted to what they see as Trump’s strength, and believe him when he compares COVID-19 to the flu. These supporters see a tough leader with a minor affliction, not a sick, old man.
A White House-themed online gift shop is offering $100 “Trump Beat COVID” commemorative coins. Very few of his supporters would change their personal approach to masks or distancing.
“I am very worried that people will take this to mean that ‘if he can beat COVID, I can beat COVID,’” Mangala Narasimhan, an intensive care physician in New York, told USA Today. “What he got was treatment that nobody gets,” she said. “Nobody.”
Nobody, especially lower-income Americans and people of color, who are most at risk for poor outcomes from the virus. Trump also got access to experimental drugs—one of only a handful of people outside clinical trials to undergo that type of treatment.
Now his campaign argues that Trump is better qualified than Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden because, “He has experience now fighting the coronavirus … Joe Biden doesn’t.”
There are Biden supporters, but they are not as passionate as Trump loyalists. Why does Trump inspire such fierce allegiance and uncompromising support? His die-hard fans think he can do no wrong.
It’s easy to brush off Trump’s base as racist and too dumb to know better. If you are one of the millions who can’t stand Trump, here’s how his base views you. You swallow all the “fake news” the media feeds you and you are blind to the media’s obvious bias. They may not like everything about Trump, but they say the media reports only bad things about him, never the good. They may dislike Trump, intensely, but they despise the other side way more.
It’s possible that a large part of Trump’s base likes him just because he’s a Republican, and has enacted conservative policies—cut taxes, cut regulations, appointed conservative judges. They may not like a lot of Trump’s behavior or rhetoric, but they like his results. Small business owners who are independent and don’t want the government around; business guys who like deregulation and can make as much money as they want with no interference.
The loyalty of Trump supporters could also be explained by America’s addiction with entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what The Donald actually says because he’s so amusing to watch.
If on Election Night 2020, Donald Trump claims victory on the basis of early returns, his fans will, no doubt, join him in crying foul if late mail ballots reverse the results.
Perhaps the question to all voters, Trump fans or not, should be, “Were you better off four years ago right before the 2016 election, or not?”