Budowsky: Trump October surprise could devastate GOP
The odds are extremely high that the October surprise that will dominate and determine the results of the election will be a devastating new wave of COVID-19 infections, a catastrophic increase in COVID-19 deaths, and a disastrous increase in the jobless rate even more punishing and painful than what Americans endure today.
While President Trump seems to believe a miracle COVID-19 vaccine in October will save his presidency, and all normal people hope and pray this vaccine happens, the prospects for this before the election are as likely as Trump’s prediction that the virus will magically disappear — which he offered long before almost 150,000 Americans were dead and the jobless rate rose to horrifying levels.
Today, under the leadership of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Republicans, who are in grave danger of losing their majority, are being asked to fight for a puny continued emergency jobless benefit extension of only $200 which is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette offering her suffering people a little piece of cake while the rich get richer.
Do economic incompetence, moral indecency and political suicide ring a bell?
Meanwhile, today, the national ban on evictions is expiring. Every leader of every faith should demand action. There is a grave and imminent danger of potentially millions of Americans evicted and thrown onto the streets. Where will they go, when one major protection against the deadly virus is for them to stay at home, and they have no home?
Remember these words: If this happens, many of them will fall victim to COVID-19 and an alarming and immoral number of them will suffer preventable death. This will be the moral equivalent of manslaughter, because the danger is obvious and clear while Trump and Senate Republicans have failed to act on this or the $3 trillion economic and COVID-19 legislation that passed the House in May!
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) and House and Senate Democrats deserve a standing ovation from voters for passing in the House and championing in the Senate this urgently needed program that passed the House in May.
Let me repeat for emphasis: It passed in May! Trump and McConnell did nothing in May, June or July.
If the president in May was named Joe Biden, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole or John Kerry here is what they would have done:
They would have immediately invited House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to Camp David to hammer out a bill that would have been enacted by June 1. If Democrats favored a $3 trillion bill and Republicans favored a $1 trillion bill, they would have compromised in the middle — and enacted a strong jobless benefits bill, not the Marie Antoinette GOP version. They would have enacted an extension of the eviction ban to prevent homelessness and deaths that will happen if it is not immediately extended.
Trump, McConnell and Senate Republicans fail to understand the extreme danger, which leading medical authorities have warned about for months, of a powerful deadly COVID-19 wave that will happen during the flu season beginning in September and October.
There are reasons the flu season begins when it does, which happens every year at the same time. There are reasons the danger is extreme this year when the annual danger of the flu is compounded by the multiplied danger of COVID-19 escalating simultaneously in September, October and beyond.
The current wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths occur most often in states with Republican governors who toe the line behind Trump. The staggering disapproval of Trump’s handling of COVID-19 will worsen when this October surprise, which should not be a surprise, arrives.
Senate Republicans should break with Trump and provide enough votes to pass a major, effective and substantial jobs, economic and COVID-19 bill immediately. Millions of jobs, countless lives and Republican careers depend on it.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.