Dotard Trump has spent the entire coronavirus emergency lying about its severity, claiming it’s going to disappear on its own, scapegoating progressives and believing his own lies. The virus is a perceived threat to his power, his fear being that reality will cause voters to turn on him. So instead of a competent response, he stupidly believes that if he acts like a spoiled child and covers his eyes (and most importantly convinces us to do the same) he can prevent the tide turning on him (and conservatives).
This strategy has worked so far — conservatives get voted into office on the power of lies, reality denial, easy answers, scapegoating, and hate. But they know deep down their power is precarious (hence the behind the scenes rewriting of laws, dismantling government agencies, court stacking, voter suppression, etc.).
Let us analyze a few of his virus tactics so far.
The virus would disappear like a miracle.
He said this because he convinced himself it would magically go away, hence eliminating the threat to his authority.
Warm weather would make it disappear.
This is an easy answer to try and keep us from realizing how inept conservatives/conservative ideology is.
End distancing by Easter.
Once he did take some action, the dotard wants to undo it. While real leaders are doing the hard work of listening to reality and fighting to save lives, he is still trying to make the problem disappear by enforced denial. He eventually realized a quick end to distancing is not going to happen.
Projecting their own fears onto progressives by claiming it is Democrats who want millions to die from the virus.
The point being to make themselves look benevolent and omnipotent.
Pivoting to it’s okay for millions to die for the greater good.
Notice how conservatives are the ones needlessly condemning humans to death. They projected this onto progressives, but conservatives are the ones actually arguing for it, originally by their many actions and now explicitly by their many apologists.
Destroying resources that were in place to deal with a pandemic.
Conservatives believe that government competence is evil, hence they always try to destroy any public agency, regulation, law or program designed to benefit voters.
Attempting to end the shutdown by manipulating conservative voters to protest
They believe that if they pretend there won’t be a resurgence then it won’t happen. Ditto for trying to get rid of their own medical expert because he tells the truth.
The conclusions we can draw from these examples is that they fear anything that can undermine their worldview or power.
They only take action when they realize not doing so would cause the public to turn on them. And if they can they take action that prevents solving the actual issue at all they will.
Reality is to be explained away and they only act once the lies no longer gain traction and are no longer tenable. They also move forward much slower then reality requires because they cling to their irrational coping mechanisms of trying to make reality bend to their will through reality denial/lies/scapegoating/invented justifications/believing their own lies.
In the context of climate change the same playbook is in use. Looking outside the US, the Australian wildfires were supercharged by climate change, and conservatives worked diligently to convince the public to deny it. Ditto for hurricane strength, droughts, extreme weather worldwide, melting of the ice caps and more.
The reason conservatives act this way is because they fear scary change to the order of things. They love easy answers, especially if they include undoing already achieved progress, but their real fear is that the world of tomorrow will get away from their comfort zone and control. Their need for power, control, discrimination, and sublimation of anxiety of change matters more to them than their own lives or the lives of their children, and then they just deny to themselves that this is what they are doing and attempt to gaslight the rest of us into falling for it.
In the end conservatives will likely (but not guaranteed) acknowledge and agree to fight climate change when we reach the tipping point, which may in fact be too late, because the denial train lags what they will admit and scaling up production and deployment of renewable energy takes several years. It’s not a flick-the-switch fix.
It is up to voters to realize we are all choosing to play with fire and runaway climate change. While solving climate change has been modeled, it needs lead time which we are currently choosing to fritter away. Democracy ensures we get the government we deserve. Conservatives will accept reality when the damage is on the cusp of happening or already done, but their leaders are chosen well before any general election. You can have climate realists even if you still want lies and hate, if you choose such leaders.
That said, the climate emergency is not going to wait for the coronavirus to go away, and coronavirus is not going to wait for the climate. If we had taken climate change seriously a generation ago we would not be here today. Conservatives are already using COVID-19 to achieve their goals. They never waste a crisis to get what they wanted all along.
Finally there is yet one more parallel between coronavirus and climate change. There is a great deal of the story still to be written. We get to choose what the future holds on both these fronts and whether the best or worst case scenarios come to pass.