HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Potential voters across the nation can’t help but wonder how President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis will impact the upcoming election.
With the general election less than a month away, some say the continued downplaying of the virus will hurt his campaign ― while others believe it is helping it.
“After going through it now, people can see that he had ‘skin in the game,’ so to speak,” said state Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who represents Ewa Beach.
McDermott says he believes the president’s infection has spurred momentum among his local supporters.
“These spontaneous Trump rallies that are popping up, out in Ewa Beach, we had over 150 cars last Saturday," McDermott said. "I’ve never seen that ever, and they’re spontaneous. So, he will do better here than he did last time.”
Roughly 30% of Hawaii voters who participated in the 2106 election backed Donald Trump. Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore doesn’t believe there will be much difference this year.
“You can’t confuse the intensity of the support of a relatively small number of people to the broad support you would need to win a presidential election,” said Moore.
Meanwhile, the list of top Washington officials and lawmakers who have tested positive for COVID-19 continues to grow.
That’s added fuel to an already growing fire about what members of both parties believe should or shouldn’t happen in Washington in the weeks leading up to the election.
The Supreme Court issue, for example, involves Republican members of the Senate who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, potentially putting other members at risk.
“They are risking exposing us to the virus,” US Sen. Mazie Hirono said. “I think it’s unconscionable. But they are hell-bent on doing this. Why? Because they fear they are going to lose this election.”
While they may disagree on who is to blame, politicians and analysts appear to agree that the coronavirus is worsening the partisan divide that’s become apparent across the country.
“To watch the folks on TV to debase and take it down to just a political level, how it’s going to affect Biden or Trump, and the commentators, they’re sometimes ruthless and heartless," McDermott said.
Added Moore: “We’re experiencing such intense political polarization that it’s almost impossible to change people’s minds about this election at this point."