5 Reasons Why Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis Helps Him
He’s the anti-politician, the man who rips up the playbook. He does the opposite of what’s supposed to work. He outrages millions and then wins anyway.
Could getting COVID-19 be Donald Trump’s most effective curveball yet?
Here are five reasons why being the highest-profile Coronavirus patient to date could work for Trump:
Here in the UK, Boris Johnson caught COVID-19 in the original peak. There was an immediate effect on how the British people perceived him. Suddenly the radio phone-ins switched from people wanting him to resign to people wishing him a speedy recovery.
Whatever their political loyalty, people would rather have a President they elected than a stand-in. In the UK, Johnson’s temporary replacement — Dominic Raab — didn’t cover himself with glory. As the old sports cliche goes:
“Sometimes you’re a better player when you don’t play”
People will feel sympathy for Trump. He is in his 70’s and overweight. We all know those are risk factors for COVID-19. On a human level, all reasonable-thinking people will want him to recover.
For many, that just changed their ‘Trump mindset’ from negative to positive.
The Relatability Factor
Politicians work extremely hard to appear relatable. The closer they can align themselves with the real lived experience of the majority of voters, the more votes they think they will get.
Millions of people in America have been affected by Coronavirus, either directly or via people they know. The news feeds talk of little else. Now, Trump himself is a patient. That puts him on a level with those same millions of people.
It also gives him authority.
Once Trump recovers, he can make the argument that he “gets” what those in America, affected by COVID-19, are going through.
Trump now seems relatable to a whole load of people who never felt they had anything in common with him.
Debates Are Off
Donald Trump cannot take part in another presidential debate while he has Coronavirus. It’s a good thing for his campaign.
The overall analysis of the first exchange — apart from it being a new low in standards of debate — seems to be that Biden did better than expected, Trump either as expected or slightly worse.
The next debate — if it takes place at all — will be delayed. It gives more time for Trump and his team to strategize and stops Biden’s momentum.
If the debate goes ahead with a stand-in for Trump, that’s a win-win.
The replacement goes well? Trump can ride that wave. The stand-in does badly? Trump can say it wasn’t him.
The whole debate scenario just got better for Trump.
Change The Story
It’s the oldest play in the political tactics manual. If the story is bad, change it. Nobody knows how the election is going to turn out for sure, but few are predicting a Trump landslide victory.
From the other side of the pond, it looks like Biden is chipping away slowly towards a very close result, perhaps a tight win.
Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis changes all that.
All the strategizing that Biden’s team did for the next few weeks of the campaign — that’s out the window. You can bet that ‘attack Trump relentlessly’ was part of the plan.
That’s not possible now — you can’t kick a man while he’s down, not when he’s down with COVID-19.
Once Trump recovers (hopefully, I wish illness on no-one,) it becomes a good-news story.
Trump can become the battle-hardened leader. A survivor, who has beaten COVID personally and can now lead the country — and the world — to overcome it too.
Communicate on His Terms
Now Trump has COVID-19, he’s the story again, worldwide. On the radio and TV here in the UK, it’s the lead. It’s right where Trump wants to be — in the spotlight. He thrives off attention.
His health has to be his priority.
But, the world is listening and watching, and now he gets to choose how he communicates. His Twitter account will be fired-up and ready to go. He can’t attend press briefings, be interviewed, or campaign.
It means the questions go away. Trump will make statements instead.
Donald Trump is an overweight man in his 70’s who has just been diagnosed with Coronavirus. As a fellow human, I hope he recovers fully and quickly.
He didn’t catch COVID-19 deliberately, but the fact he has could swing the US election his way.