Four reasons coronavirus could cost Trump the 2020 election

This coronavirus diagnosis could plague Trump’s last month and be the winning prescription for his competitor.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland (photo credit: REUTERS)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis could cost him the 2020 election, according to at least one local US political and foreign policy analyst.
“Only 10% of registered voters, compared to 20% at this time back in the 2016 presidential elections, haven’t yet decided who to vote for,” said Prof. Eytan Gilboa, a senior research associate at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are fiercely campaigning to win some of those votes, especially in the swing states, and the coronavirus diagnosis could plague Trump’s final month of campaigning, delivering a winning prescription for his competitor.
Gilboa offered four reasons why:
1 - Trump’s illness highlights his failure to manage the pandemic
More than half (52%) of Americans believe the administration did a poor job in handling the pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center report published at the end of August.
“He ignored it,” Gilboa said of Trump’s first response to coronavirus. “He blamed China, the media, the Democrats – everybody else for the pandemic.”
Trump so went out of his way to avoid taking responsibility for handling the disease that he deliberately minimized its danger, something he admitted to journalist Bob Woodward: “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said.
The president spoke out against his own government’s health experts, contradicting them on multiple fronts, but especially on the importance of wearing masks. In June, he even told The Wall Street Journal that Americans who chose to wear masks were doing so just to show their disapproval of him.
Only a few days ago, during the first presidential debate, he ridiculed Biden for wearing a “big” face mask but now, Gilboa said, Trump’s sickness has exposed his mistake.. 

2 - It negates his criticism of governors and mayors who ordered lockdowns
Gilboa underlined that Trump opposed any lockdowns to help curb the spread of the pandemic because he felt that they would hurt the economy too much.
He tweeted against the heads of the states of Michigan, Los Angeles, Oregon and others, even urging his supporters to demonstrate against them.
In April, he tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
While America failed to lockdown, some 7.3 million Americans caught coronavirus - and now Trump is one of them.
3 - Coronavirus quarantine will rob the president of precious campaign time
The president is known as a good campaigner and rallies had just got back into full swing as he entered the home stretch of his reelection bid.
“He did very well at these gatherings,” Gilboa said, noting that it was at those events he most succeeded in “galvanizing and motivating his base.”
Now, the president’s hospitalization means that he won’t be able to hold those mass events for at least a week, if not more, and it is when he needs them most.
4 - He might get really sick and won’t be able to run at all
There is, of course, also a question of just how sick the president will become.
According to the World Health Organization, around one in five people infected with coronavirus develop difficulty in breathing and require hospital care, and some are at greater risk than others. Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.
Israel’s Health Ministry said people over 60 years old, and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or hypertension are at a greater risk of developing severe or even critical illness if they are infected with the virus.
Being obese also raises the chances of complications, even death, according to health experts and statistically, males are more likely to die.  Trump, 74, is 1.9 meters tall and reportedly weighs around 111 kilos, putting him just across the threshold in the clinically obese category, according to the BMI (body mass index).
Of course, every decent person wishes the president a speedy and full recovery but there is a chance that things could go differently.
“If he is hospitalized as a severe case, the Republican Party may have to select someone else – it’s an extreme scenario, but with coronavirus it is possible,” Gilboa said.