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Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with healthcare executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images
President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with healthcare executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis the word suppression in various contexts is one of the words which has been plaguing the American people. Most importantly it is the word that the medical experts have been using to explain how they are working to control the spread of the coronavirus. As the contagion has widened, authorities have worked aggressively with the public to try to mitigate its intensity. The effort to suppress the propagation of Covid-19 and thus mitigate its reach—following its primary goal of caring for those already afflicted with the virus—has been the singular goal of the medical authorities advising the President.

The success of the medical professionals is being strictly measured by how effectively the public is responding to the urgings of the medical professionals as they try to flatten the curve. Suppressing the spread becomes the immediate first goal as the country fights this pandemic. From the perspective of the doctors, economic considerations need to be considered against the distinct possibility that premature cessation of this suppression could ultimately decimate the very work force and economy that political leaders are hoping to reignite.

Suppression is also what the Trump Administration is continuing to perform as it persists in denying the truth about its own failures in combatting the virus as vigorously and as promptly as it should have done. The White House continues to blame America’s lack of preparedness on other people, other nations, previous Administrations, and the “fake” media. President Trump has made transparent use of his daily press conferences to rewrite the facts and suppress the truth.  The President has used these never-ending appearances in lieu of his political rallies. Beginning yesterday, the President’s ignorance about constitutional power reached its nadir; but he also scared many people into contemplating what the possibilities might be if Trump does not emerge from this pandemic as the political winner.

It is becoming readily apparent as well that President Trump and the Republican Party also are interested in suppressing the votes of the American people in the forthcoming election. The political and judicial decisions which occurred in Wisconsin—despite the progressive result in the crucial State Supreme Court election announced last night—demonstrated the most callous attitude by public officials toward citizens trapped in the midst of a pandemic. It is impossible to comprehend that the Republican controlled state legislature in Wisconsin and the highest courts in the State as well as the U.S. Supreme Court could actually consider it appropriate to hold in-person elections when the coronavirus reduced the number of polling places open in Milwaukee from 180 to five and in Green Bay from 31 to two.

Trump’s success in suppressing the vote may well determine the outcome of the November election. This fall’s election will determine whether the United States will be governed for the next four years by a President and an administration that understands that the value of protecting all human lives—not only some. This must be the first priority of a President, who swears in his oath of office “…to preserve, defend, and protect the United States of America….”



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