One measure of success in politics is the degree enemies imitate you, even if done insincerely and without flattery. Insincere imitation has become the preserve of a whole panoply of Donald Trump’s critics stretching from the money, corporate side of the Democrats to the sandalled warriors who believe in environmental eschatology. Most importantly for Joe Biden and fellow travellers of the Donkey Party, they remain incapable and uninterested in identifying and confronting their devastating loss in 2016. There is only one program in the works, the mission that matters: removal and elimination. Get Trump out, and all will heal.
This makes political conversation insensible and torturously imbecilic. Trump’s wand waving has had such an impact on his opponents that they mimic, unconsciously, his own tropes. They ape and bark to his beat. They speak of conspiracy, exclaim and splutter about fakery. They talk of the improbability of reality. Trump, for instance, could not have actually contracted the novel coronavirus.
Since October 2, Trump become the subject of eager medical experimentation. He has received an intravenous dose of the dual antibody REGN-COV2, a drug yet to satisfy all stages of approval. The combination features a B cell from a human who had recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection and yet another one of those heroic mice whose immune system was engineered to resemble the human immune system. “Experiments in both golden hamsters and rhesus macaques that were intentionally infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed the cocktail could reduce viral levels and disease pathology,” writes Jan Cohen in Science. Speculation (can it be anything else?) abounds as to whether Trump was also taking, as one of his physician’s claims, “zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and daily aspirin”.
Much of this is of less interest to Trump sceptics than the fact that it is even taking place. They share, with mild discomfort, similar ground to the QAnon group, who impute to Trump a strategy to outwit the Democrats, who they claim operate a global human trafficking empire. While QAnon insist that Trump is playing the Democrats in pretending to have COVID-19, some liberals have also taken of the same sauce. Jon Ehrens, a producer for WHYY radio in Philadelphia, claimed that “90% of listener emails/comments are very insistent that the diagnosis is a lie.” Common conspiracy theories included “finding an excuse for why he will lose the election” to proving “that the coronavirus is no big deal.”
The president’s illness,