From big tech censorship to big Wuhan, the unintended consequence of coronavirus is ending Donald Trump's most effective political strategy.
All things remaining constant, Trump very well may lose the election not because of fluctuating or sinking markets, not because of cities becoming inundated with state emergencies or illness, and not because of democrats politicizing the crisis. The fatal blade may be delivered by China, and the recipient will be Donald Trump's rallies.
Some on the imaginative end of the political spectrum may say that coronavirus is an orchestrated attack. Still, regardless of intention, there is a political attack underway that may sink the Trump presidency in a way big tech censorship could not fathom in their wildest fantasies. If weaponized, found to be deliberate, or merely being the byproduct of an unfortunate crisis, the coronavirus may be the most effective election interference to date, as it could cause the disruption of Trump's rallies.
Many of the major corporations nationwide in the United States have terminated or postponed high-profile conferences due to the rising threat of coronavirus, delivering an economic blow to the tune of 1 billion dollars, as reported by Business Insider. Although the economic loss is daunting, this may not be Donald Trump's greatest fear.
As a consequence of the 2016 Russian election interference, big tech changed its political ad campaign guidelines. Understanding that this digital ad tool was essential to Donald Trump's campaign, they have adopted a massive ground campaign that is so impressive that it has overcome some of the challenges posed by big tech’s new and restrictive guidelines. Before implementation, the Trump campaign's master use of social media allowed them to target voters, collecting massive amounts of data, and ultimately credited for paving the way to the White House.
Now that the utility of social media in political warfare is diminished, Trump's rallies are his only weapon in bypassing a hostile press, allowing for the collection of data on potential voters, and thereby, boosting his chances in his re-election bid.
As a result of his Make America Great Again (MAGA) rallies, the campaign has been able to identify a strikingly extensive 1.4 million potential voters, many of which are voters who have not participated in the democratic process in years. Brad Prascale, Trump's campaign manager, can be found consistently touting the numbers, flaunting nearly 10 percent of those identified "had not voted in at least three of the last four elections," and that up to a quarter are registered Democrats or disaffected voters. Consequently, this data set is unbelievably useful in identifying voters who have been largely forgotten by the political elites and metropolitan sophisticates.
"In the last campaign, we didn't have the ability to collect the data from people showing up at the events. It was just too hard, took too much time and we had to prioritize, with limited resources, what we could do," a senior campaign official told Politico. "Now, we are not only able to collect the data, we're able to have people phonebank, we're able to train people how to volunteer. These are people who want to engage."
These individuals have been dubbed as "hidden voters," due to the fact there is no other method for identification, not even from traditional voter lists. Understanding that campaigns have the same access to the publicly available government records, commonly known as voter files, this only highlights the significant advantage a crowd-drawing Trump has over his political opponents, who are seemingly only able to draw flies or lunging-vegan protesters. I'm not kidding, lunging-vegans do exist — hide your kids, hide your wives.
With that said, social media political operations have been seemingly replaced by these larger than life rallies with Donald Trump center staged, providing raucous and humorous acts as he runs down the typical offenders on his naughty list. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign silently conducts a digital ad campaign by collecting the data of every attendee and even those who were denied admission. This method of voter identification and volunteer recruitment is unmatched by any other campaign and would be devastating if Trump had to cancel these rallies.
Considering that the World Health Organization recently stated that the global fatality rate is 3.4 percent, Trump is "not concerned" even though cases of coronavirus are beginning to sprout throughout the Washington, D.C. area like lunging-vegans.
Furthermore, massive corporations are ending conferences to reduce exposure and spread; meanwhile, experts recommend that those in their later years should avoid large gatherings.
Interestingly, according to Pew Research, nearly 60 percent of Trump voters are 50 years or older, perhaps giving pause to those organizing these rallies with the inherent risk taken by those in attendance.
It seems to be an understatement that Trump is “not concerned" about the coronavirus effect. Moreover, understanding that Trump almost exclusively relies on his MAGA rallies for voter outreach and campaigning, it would be a massive blow if he had to terminate these events, maybe even costing him the election.
Surprisingly, it wouldn't be the left that sinks his presidency. It would be the “Wuhan virus.”
And, if you don’t like that term, go protest in solidarity in Wuhan, China.