Cesar Chelala
A physician and writer

The Final Stretch

As November 3, the date of the United States elections approaches, the anxiety level of the country has increased to the point that the name of the United States of America could well be changed to the United States of Anxiety. Except for President Donald Trump and his acolytes, who trust in the re-election of their leader.

This, despite the fact that current polls predict Joe Biden the winner by almost 10 points. Is it possible that they know something that the rest of the world does not know, or is it that they hope to use some illicit subterfuge to win this election, handing Trump the presidency? The extent of the influence Russia used to achieve this result in the past election is unknown, but Russia’s election meddling has been endorsed by the US intelligence agencies.

Although there is an overarching belief in the US and overseas that Trump is a fool, I do not subscribe to this opinion. Trump is smart, but he has a perverse intelligence, the result of his narcissism with sociopathic traits. Anyone who thinks this is an exaggeration should read the book written by Mary Trump, his niece and a clinical psychologist, “Too Much and Never Enough.” It sold close to a million copies on the first day of sale.

In the book, Mary Trump makes a stark analysis of her uncle, whom she considers a fraud and a huge danger to the country and the world. In her most devastating comment of the president, her niece writes, “Donald, following my grandfather’s example and with the complicity, silence, and inaction of his siblings, destroyed my father. I cannot let him destroy my country.”

Her assessment is born, in part, to Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic which she calls a “mass murder”. Trump’s ignorance, his refutation of the opinion of his own scientific advisers, and dishonest and irresponsible actions have resulted in more than 8.35 million cases of COVID-19 and over 228,000 deaths to date in the U.S.

If the recommendations of infectious disease experts had been followed, the death rate could have been tens of thousands lower. They were not, as was the case of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s most prestigious infectious disease expert – and a member of the commission appointed by the White House to combat the pandemic – whom Trump recently described as a “disaster” and the other components like “idiots”.

Despite the evidence of the unstoppable advance of the pandemic, 38 states have alarming numbers. In a dismissive tone Trump mocked Biden during the first debate, “You have the biggest mask I have ever seen”. Days later, Trump, his wife, and their son were infected with the coronavirus. Trump recovered quickly due to the extraordinary care he received as head of state, having been treated with drugs that ordinary citizens do not have access to.

All this sets up an extremely complicated electoral landscape, where it is impossible to predict the final result, given the actions that Trump and his followers have planned. Trump has sent unequivocal messages to his supporters to monitor polling places and, when possible, pressure voters. Firearms sales have also seen a significant increase in recent weeks.

Additionally, there is widespread fear that Republicans will create an atmosphere of chaos that will allow Trump to discredit the election results.

The United States, and the world, are at a critical moment. If Trump is re-elected, this can lead to a tightening of his policies, which have caused so much damage. We can only hope that reason prevails, and that the stratagems that the Republican Party has planned are not enough for the triumph of its candidate. For his part, Donald Trump risks not only the presidency but, if the trials against him are effective, also his own freedom.

About the Author
César Chelala is a physician and writer born in Argentina and living in the U.S. He wrote for leading newspapers all over the world and for the main medical journals, among them The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, The China Daily, The Moscow Times, The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde Diplomatique, Harvard International Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and The British Medical Journal. He is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award and two national journalism awards from Argentina.
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