As the novel coronavirus overtakes the Trump administration’s final year, a recap is needed on what his re-election chances look like in response to his handling of the virus


COVID-19 seems to be all anyone can talk about these days — rightly so, but there are many implications this virus has on the American future that also need to be discussed. One of the most important implications seems to be the effect it is having on President Donald Trump’s approval ratings. 

Before continuing a report on what this virus has done to politics as a whole, a recap of dates might help clear some things up. 

Before the pandemic – Due to the H1N1 virus, the US stockpile of masks and ventilators had been depleted and left unreplenished by both the Obama and Trump administrations.  

Late Dec. – The coronavirus first appears in Wuhan, China. 

Jan. 11 – China reports its first death. 

Jan. 14 – The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that there is no human-to-human contact transmission, as China has told them. 

Jan. 30 – The CDC confirmed that the virus can be transmitted from human-to-human contact after having initially denied that is how the virus can be spread. The WHO instituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 

Jan. 31 – The president signs a travel ban on those entering the US from China. 

Mar. 11 – The WHO declares COVID-19 a global pandemic. Trump bans travel from all 26 European countries.  

Mar. 13 – U.S. declares a national emergency in response. 

Mar. 27 – Trump signs largest stimulus bill in US history for $2 trillion.

Reports throughout the end of January and the beginning of February continued to warn people not to overreact or be worried about COVID-19, claiming it was no worse than the flu. 

With these sparse dates, the political parties of the U.S. have attempted to place blame on the president’s slow reaction to the pandemic. On March 29, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said that, “as the President fiddles, people are dying.”

Contrary to the usual of politics, however, the president’s strongest critics have been coming out in support of him. 

Rep. Illhan Omar, has been highly critical of Trump in the past, but praised his use of the Defense Protection Act on Twitter on March 18. Furthermore, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that “the president is doing the right thing in offering to step up with New York and I appreciate it, and New York will do the right thing in return.”

Recent Gallup polls also show that Trump’s approval ratings are up to 49 percent overall and on the increase among both independents and democrats, something very unusual for this president. 

According to Politico, Trump’s handling of the virus has increased his approval rating to 54 percent. These polls came in after Trump declared a national emergency, enacted the European travel ban, encouraged Americans to stop meeting in groups of 10 or more, invoked the Defense Protection Act and expressed his support of sending stimulus checks to American citizens. 

Political analysts believe these actions will help in Trump’s reelection campaign. Many presidents, from FDR to George Bush, have seen spikes in approval ratings after national tragedies strike, leading some to question whether the same will be true for Trump.

If this trend continues for the president, it seems almost guaranteed that he will win reelection in November. Americans are no fan of change, especially while we are in the midst of a global pandemic. While presidential candidates are not able to hold rallies, Trump has been on television daily, giving briefings in an attempt to soothe the mind of the public on this virus. 

That said, there are plenty who believe that Trump’s mishandeling of this virus could be the very reason we are in this position today. The COVID-19 reactions could very well also cost the president his chances. 

Regardless of political standings, one thing is clear: the coronavirus will have a tremendous effect on who people vote for in November.