Geraldo: C’mon, let’s name the COVID vaccine after Trump

MAGA nemesis George Conway thinks naming the virus after the president would be more fitting.

“Trump mumps,” we could call COVID.

I think I know what Geraldo’s up to here. In his own eternally weird way, he means well. But it’s high comedy that he thinks it would help ease tensions in a “world so divided” to name the coronavirus vaccine after a president who’s despised by half the country and is at this very moment attempting to pull off a half-assed coup. We want people to get the vaccine, buddy. For millions of Americans, slapping the Trump label on it would be like branding it with a skull and crossbones.

I wouldn’t want to name the vaccine after Fauci either for the same reason. Any association that’s polarizing, whether for reasons meritorious or stupid, would be a deterrent to some people getting it. Name it after Mister Rogers if you’re hellbent on naming it after someone.

Besides, Trump can and will, deservedly, continue to claim credit for the vaccine for the rest of his life. His administration put together Operation Warp Speed, his FDA will end up approving the vaccine for emergency use, and his administration will hammer out a distribution plan that Team Biden will be more or less stuck with next year. There’s no need to formally brand the vaccine as a Trump production when Trump himself will spend the next year informally branding it that way to his millions of devotees.

Which is a good thing. Partisanship has reached a point of such suicidal nihilism that Republican support for the vaccine is destined to drop somewhat once Biden’s sworn in. Having Trump running around telling righties “that’s my vaccine!” will reassure them that it’s okay to get the shot.

I think Derek Thompson’s right about the game that Geraldo — and certain other Fox personalities — are playing:

Fox News hosts are keenly aware that the president himself watches the network religiously. Brian Kilmeade’s gentle admonition a few days ago about letting the formal transition begin was obviously aimed at his most powerful viewer. Tucker Carlson’s surprising skepticism of Sidney Powell last night was probably also designed to nudge to Trump to back away from the utterly humiliating hallucinatory nonsense about a vote-rigging plot involving Hugo Chavez. God knows Tucker didn’t do it because he thought the rest of his viewers would appreciate it:

Michael Brendan Dougherty did a nice job today explaining why people are losing their heads trying to rationalize, or rather irrationalize, Biden’s victory:

The attempt to bind conservatives to Trump after he has lost, by believing in a massive conspiratorial plot, is not so different from previous psychotic reactions on the political right when it faced a stifling and powerful consensus. In previous ages, it expressed itself in the demand to believe Dwight Eisenhower was a communist.

Allegiance to a plain insanity is a good test of loyalty, like being beat-in during a gang initiation. It marks you in a way that makes you less suitable as an object for the Left’s blandishments. It demonstrates “commitment” or heart. Shared insanity can make people loyal to each other, sure. But it does so by rendering them useless or repulsive to the normal and decent people who need champions.

That also illuminates why Fox’s anodyne and ultimately correct projection on election night that Biden had won Arizona caused such an intense reaction among viewers that it made Newsmax a player in cable TV almost literally overnight. Fox’s projection was rash, as it clearly wasn’t justified by the vote totals at the time, but viewers don’t normally desert a media outlet en masse for an error — especially an error that proved in the end not to have been erroneous. Fox’s great sin was being quick to acknowledge an intolerable reality, that Biden really might win and win legitimately, by getting the most votes. It was an act of supreme disloyalty to the belief that righty populism, especially led by the heroic Trump, is invincible. Forced to choose between believing that Biden won AZ and that Sidney Powell has evidence of the most sensational international plot against America in the history of the country but still hasn’t released it yet despite swing states getting ready to certify their results, the choice was obvious. Loyalty.

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