Denying Reality Is Finally Biting Republicans in the Ass

Shealah Craighead/White House/ZUMA

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Politico reporter Dan Diamond on President Trump’s listless attitude toward coronavirus testing:

My understanding is he did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.

Republicans have made a habit of denying reality over the past couple of decades. Climate change doesn’t exist. Tax cuts pay for themselves. The Great Recession was all because of reckless government loans to black people. Hillary Clinton was responsible for Benghazi.

Trump, of course has taken this to new heights. His inauguration had the biggest crowds in history. Five million people voted illegally in 2016. Russia had nothing to do with election meddling. Wind turbines cause cancer. China pays for his tariffs. Etc.

You can get away with this for a while, especially if you have Fox News and talk radio to back you up. And the longer you get away with it, the more convinced you become that it will always work, that everything in politics is marketing. So eventually you go too far: you try to deny the reality of an epidemic that even your most fervent supporters know is real. You double down by quoting obviously bogus testing numbers. But unlike your previous delusions, this one has real consequences: since testing and tracing are the backbone of infectious disease control, a lack of testing makes the epidemic even worse.

The United States was never likely to control the coronavirus as well as places like China and Singapore, which tolerate centralized control in a way we just don’t. At the same time, we’re also richer than these countries and could afford to spend far more money on things like free testing, income assistance so sick people would stay home, and subsidized medical care so people would seek help in the first place. But that would have made the coronavirus pandemic more visible, not less, and that’s something neither Trump nor his conservative allies were willing to abide. They’re so used to denying reality and getting away with it that they just couldn’t believe they were finally faced with a situation where it might not work.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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