Undoubtedly, the United States is the world’s worst COVID-19 affected country. How could this happen in the most powerful nation in the world?
There is a blame game going around, from the early testing failures to the numerous officials who failed to act quickly.
How voters assign the blame will be the key factor of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. President Donald Trump is trying to divert all blame from himself while taking credit for anything that goes right.
Research from the past decade shows party identity is an essential factor in how Americans put the blame for government failures. Typically, in a partisan environment, most voters simply blame the other side.
However, the election might get decided at the margins by people with no strong party identities who usually pay very less attention to politics.
Trump’s own shortcomings in the COVID-19 outbreak are well documented. Probably the most adverse effect came from the fact that Trump and his allies claimed early on the media that Democrats were deliberately exaggerating the virus to bring down the economy and his re-election chances.
This politicization of the virus had far-reaching effects on the behavior of both citizens and elected officials. Almost every country has had problems with people who haven’t taken COVID-19 seriously. But only in the United States did this become a principled political stance.
FRAMING COVID-19 AS A FOREIGN PROBLEM
Trump is staking his re-election on a different narrative. He is now placing blame for the pandemic outside the United States, on the Chinese government and the World Health Organization (WHO). He has announced he will stop U.S. funding to the WHO, which he accuses of mishandling the crisis and helping China’s cover-ups.