‘Vote for your life’: Why 2020 might be the Covid-19 election

Washington, Nov 1 (AFP/APP):At the end of January, a little after the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the United States, the New York Stock Exchange hit an all-time high, and Donald Trump’s biggest concern was the impact of Boeing’s woes on the economy.

“The American Dream is back, bigger, better and stronger than ever before,” the US president declared in Davos, already in campaign mode.

Fast-forward nine months. More than nine million confirmed infected with the coronavirus and close to 230,000 have died from Covid-19 — making it the third leading cause of death for the year.

The numbers become even more grim when the hundred thousand or so additional deaths from misdiagnosed Covid-19 cases and indirect causes are added to the tally.

Despite an impressive rebound in the third quarter, millions of Americans lost their jobs, shattering the most reliable electoral argument of American presidents in search of a second term — that of economic strength.

Trump’s defeat at the polls next Tuesday is far from assured, and the Republican believes the electorate will punish his rival Joe Biden for failing to campaign extensively on the ground.

But his handling of the pandemic has certainly cost him votes.

Like that of Kimberly McLemore, a 56-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida who worked in jewelry before the pandemic hit.

McLemore, a lifelong Republican, said she thought Trump was doing a good job at the start, when he held daily briefings and seemed to listen to scientists, but she later realized he was not taking the crisis seriously.

“In good conscience, I cannot vote for this man,” she told AFP, adding that both her parents, who are in their eighties, also voted for Biden, the first time they had voted for any Democrat.

“Vote like your life depended on it” is also how a narrator closes out an ad for The Lincoln Project, a collective of high-profile former Republicans on a mission to defeat Trump.

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