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It’s time for an American president

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Whether it will resonate with persuadable voters I have no idea, but subjectively I like this simultaneous positive/implicitly negative message:

As Jordan Weismann notes, however, in the context of Trump Biden’s focus on governing for all Americans isn’t just the usual pleasing but vacuous campaign promise:

But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that when Biden says he will be a “president for all Americans,” he is in effect also making a very specific public policy promise. Namely, voters won’t have to worry about being punished just because their state didn’t happen to vote for him.

That is of course not the case with Donald Trump, whose presidency has been defined in large part by his habit of politicizing things like disaster and pandemic responses—the kind of emergencies that previous presidents had used as opportunities to make conspicuous displays of bipartisanship (see: Barack Obama and Chris Christie on the tarmac after Hurricane Sandy). Trump has feuded with California’s leaders for years over wildfire aid, for instance, threatening to cut off funding relief funds repeatedly as he’s squabbled with local leaders about whether global warming or forest management issues are at fault (contra the president, almost every sane person on Earth thinks it’s both). On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Administration briefly rejected the state’s most recent bid for help, before reversing itself. After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017, meanwhile, Trump ended up in a bitter fight with officials there who dared to criticize his response (reminder: almost 3,000 people died due to the storm), and as a result spent years blocking more aid to the island.

In contrast, when deep-red Alabama was struck by tornadoes last year, Trump promised “A-plus treatment” for the state, like he was talking to a VIP who’d just rolled into one of his hotels.

Trump’s catastrophically inept response to the coronavirus has also been shaped by his disdain for places run by Democrats. Vanity Fair has reported that the administration decided against enacting a wide-scale national testing plan in part because it saw the pandemic largely as a blue-state problem. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” one source told the magazine. (Vanity Fair’s reporting suggests that the administration’s early refusal to help states get protective equipment was shaped by similar considerations.) As late as last month, Trump was saying much the same. “If you take the blue states out,” he said, talking about America’s COVID death count, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

There are countless reasons why getting Trump out of office is an urgent necessity, but this is certainly one of them.

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