The Viral Election Math of Donald J. Trump
I am not going to peddle conspiracy theories, false statistics, or politics. This article will lay out some facts, that, when taken as a whole, may reveal something interesting about what is motivating the Federal Government response to CV19.
I write this not only to help the cities where this virus is most destructive and deadly, but for our friends, family, and loved ones who live in places where it seems like the virus is not that big a deal. It is a very big deal, and it happens to be striking in the most deadly ways in the very states and cities that are the largest financial and cultural engine of our country.
In my real job as a creator of TV shows that help communicate science concepts to a general audience, I love the process of helping other people discover the same incredible wonder-inducing concepts that fascinate me. I don’t take the same pleasure in writing this article. While it shares the DNA of what I do for a living, the conclusion that I personally drew from this research is sobering and scary.
I’ll also explain why lowering the speed limit could be enormously helping in saving lives endangered by CV19.
Two questions have been bothering me, and some research has helped me understand the answers:
- Why is Trump comparing CV19 to car accidents, and saying we don’t shut down highways just because there are car crashes? It turns out that this comparison is actually extremely helpful, in exactly the opposite way he intended.
- Why has Trump not invoked the Defense Production Act to require American manufacturers to produce more masks, ventilators and other needed supplies? The DPA would eliminate the state-by-state haggling and delays, and get gear to where it is needed most, as fast as possible. His argument is that this is not a socialist country. If you accept that as an answer, than you would accept an able-bodied person who did nothing to rescue a drowning child saying “I’m not a lifeguard” as a reasonable excuse, which it is not. There’s more to the story.
The comparison of CV19 to car accidents is useful, because we have great data from our highways. In fact, over the last 30 years — while we have not shutdown our highways- we have done many things to make them safer and less fatal. For one, we know that for every 10mph increase in allowed speed, you’ll get a raw increase of around 35% fatal crashes. We also know that widespread use of seatbelts, airbags, and anti-lock brakes have helped bring that percentage down a bit.
Trump’s suggestion that everyone can probably go about their business pretty soon, while we isolate the most vulnerable among us, would have been the perfect answer in February, or once we see a significant and sustainable decline in new cases. It’s the equivalent of requiring a car safety for kids under normal circumstances. But these are not normal circumstances.
Right now, the car equivalent of CV19 is that we are in a blizzard, with a hailstorm, at night, and our headlights aren’t working, and we’re speeding to get a sick passenger to the hospital. No one should be on the road in those circumstances unless they have to.
Finally on this point, one of the best things Trump could do right now to help fight CV19 is to lower the maximum speed limit nationally to 45MPH. Over 5,000,000 hospital admissions a year are from car crashes (it is the leading cause of ER admissions) and lowering the max speed by an average of 20mph would vastly reduce the number, severity, and resource-drain of those accidents on our ER’s.
On to the second question.
Why has Trump not invoked the Defense Production Act to require manufacturers to get masks, ventilators, and other needed medical gear to cities and states that might run out in a week or two?
Here’s what I know, and these are all facts, verifiable by both the mainstream media and Fox News.
First, this is a man who once boasted, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”. You can take that statement in one of two ways — or both. Either meaning gives us insight into what might be going on.
He could mean that his base wouldn’t care if he killed someone, especially if it’s someone who lives on Fifth Avenue in New York City. He is probably right. Second, he could mean it literally — that no one on Fifth Avenue in New York City would be a Trump voter, so by killing them, he wouldn’t lose a voter. Statistically, as we’ll get to in a moment, he is almost definitely right.
There was a moment early on when this could have unfolded more like a traditionally managed pandemic or national health emergency (as most Presidents, Democrat and Republican, have done) — by releasing needed supplies from the CD, or invoking the DPA to ramp up production of badly needed medical gear, and by approaching the problem with science and gravity.
Trump chose a slightly different path, which is his right as President. He chose that moment to boast about his “numbers” — which indicated a brief stock market spike, and low (and totally false) CV19 numbers; and to declare that soon, the US would have zero cases.
He is, as we know, a “numbers guy”. He’s talked in recent days of how much money he’s lost already and how much more he’ll lose if the economy continues to rest. This is another good reason why Presidents usually place their assets in “blind trusts”, so they can make decisions without knowing how it affects them personally.
Now he is talking about potentially encouraging people to “get back to work” . He’s recommending the use of toxic drugs that no doctor has recommended or approved, and that have already sickened and killed several people. The fact is, as he knows — people have gone to jail for doing exactly that.
So what do we know about CV19 and Trump that could make him seem so frankly unworried about saving American lives? Well, the one thing we know is he is a numbers guy, and he’s always looking at the data.
So let’s take a look at some data we know he is probably looking at, but not speaking publicly about.
Here’s a breakdown of the top ten states with CV19 cases, as well as their voting records, in order. Collectively these top ten locations have over 75% of reported CV19 cases in the United States.
As I said at the beginning of this article, these are the facts, and they are numbers that we can safely assume are updated in the White House given Trump’s own obsession with voting outcomes and data.
I cannot say for sure why Trump isn’t forcing manufacturers to create more medical gear under the DPA, and why he is considering lifting restrictions that will result in a massive increase in cases and deaths. You may draw your own conclusions from the data below about what this means for how the hardest hit cities should think about help from the federal government.
CV19 data is current as of Monday March 23. Voting data is final and confirmed as of 2016.
New York — 20,875 cases. In the 2016 Presidential Election, the Democrat won. NYC has 12,305 of the cases. In the 2016 election, 2,100,000 New York City residents voted Democrat, 370,000 voted for Trump.
New Jersey — 2,844 cases. Democrat won the 2016 Presidential election.
California — 2,240 cases. Democrat won 2016 Presidential election.
Washington State— 2,101 cases. Democrat won 2016 Presidential election.
Michigan — 1,324 cases. 424 of the states 1,324 cases are in Detroit, where Clinton won 519,000 to Trump’s 228,000. Trump won the state by a few percentage points.
Illinois — 1,285 cases. Clinton won.
Florida — 1,222 cases. Yes, Trump won Florida. But the 5 counties in Florida with the most CV19 cases — making up a massive 753 of Florida’s 1,222 cases- are Orange, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Hillsborough — all of which voted for Clinton, some overwhelmingly so.
Louisiana — Yes, Trump won. But nearly 50% of the known cases in Louisiana — 567 total — are in New Orleans/Baton Rouge, which was a Clinton landslide — 75% to his 22%.
Georgia — almost identical to Louisiana. The state went for Trump, but the counties with the highest concentration of CV19 — making up 409 of the states 800 total cases — all went solidly for Clinton.
Massachusetts– 777 cases, solidly Clinton.
Jerry Kolber is the co-creator and Emmy Nominated Executive Producer of National Geographic’s BRAIN GAMES, and the co-creator and Executive Producer of Netflix’s BRAINCHILD. Atomic also publishes free science curriculum and activities for home school and classroom at www.BrainchildShow.com. He is the co-founder of Atomic Entertainment Group.