Several US states are experiencing a COVID-19 spike in infections this summer. Republican strongholds like Texas and Arizona are reporting particularly high numbers, though the problem is widespread.
With infections and the death toll mounting, the federal government’s weak, scattered response to the pandemic is under more scrutiny than ever. The Republican Party leadership’s lack of decisive action has been evident. The unfortunate summer COVID-19 spike has weakened the GOP and boosted the liberal party.
Mixed messages from President Trump
President Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been inconsistent at best. At times he has acknowledged the enormous public health risk the virus presents. Other times he has downplayed its danger and made recommendations that conflicted with the recommendations of health professionals in his own administration.
As election season gets closer, Trump seems more eager to downplay the virus’s death toll and danger. He regularly claims that he has handled the pandemic response effectively and that America is winning the fight against the virus. Americans increasingly disagree with his assessment, and the data does not support his claims.
Biden’s campaign growing stronger
Former Vice President Joe Biden has benefitted from Trump’s missteps in handling the coronavirus outbreak.
Biden’s campaign has been relatively quiet since he won the Democratic Party’s nomination. This is partly because campaign travel is unsafe due to the pandemic. And it’s also partly because Trump is actively losing supporters who are disillusioned with his leadership (or lack thereof). Trump is saving Biden’s campaign the hard work of discrediting a sitting President.
Biden’s numbers are steadily increasing in reputable polls and he may well be able to coast until the November election.
Congress struggles to respond
The division between the congressional chambers has stymied pandemic response and recovery. Some stimulus bills were passed early in the crisis, but since then no bills have passed both chambers.
Representatives from both parties may not meet with their constituents’ approval as Americans face economic hardship and as the country grapples with difficult issues. But Republicans are taking more heat for Congress’s inaction because of their association with the President.
The Republican Party faces an uphill battle
Between the pandemic, a national inflection point over racism, and an inexperienced and controversial President, the GOP has a steep road ahead. The 2020 election may bring some fresh faces to Washington, which might be just what the party needs to stay relevant.