Coronavirus takes it personal.
Those who have tried to downplay it, it has bitten.
The US President, Donald Trump, had spent months propounding theories of how weak Covid-19 was.
Then, the virus struck him.
On the leaders of the United Kingdom and Brazil, COVID-19 proved its power.
Against the American leader, coronavirus met a reckless, stubborn and unyielding foe who continues to do unbelievable things, three weeks to a decision on his legacy.
Donald Trump is an unusual personality, if not abnormal.
As Americans decide who will be their president for the next four years, European countries are panicking.
Four years of Donald Trump has weakened the relationship with a staunch ally.
Under Trump, American has withdrawing from the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal, while threatening to defund WHO and pull out of NATO.
European diplomatic and military top brass have seen the leader of the free world metamorphose into a turncoat, openly working in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin against the interest of NATO.
They have seen him develop a closer relationship with dictators than democrats. And they want him out.
As US general elections draw near, hardly is anyone counting Trump out in spite of the tumultuous ride.
Everyone who bet against him in 2016 lived to regret it.
Trump is not bound by rules, decency or ethics. The Donald goes for what he wants, the consequences be damned.
Every word, every action is calculated for political benefit. Self-interest rules over common good.
He is a leader who is willing to risk the lives of supporters.
Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate and black businessman, did not live to regret being a Trump surrogate – he contracted Covid-19 at a mask-free Trump rally and died within days.
President Trump’s view of leadership is narrow.
He is a president only to those who support him. His policies favor one group or section of his country.
As he emerged from coronavirus isolation just 10 days after his infection – against his administration’s guidelines – his first shot was at American citizens in the states of New York and California.
He tweeted: “New York has gone to hell. Vote Trump!” “California has gone to hell. Vote Trump!”
The world’s only superpower is in the grip of a man who lacks the capacity to lead.
The behaviour of the US President makes it rather difficult to understand why he has the support of many Christians, some of whom can be fierce and fiery in their support of Donald Trump
Trump has been testing the resilience of American democratic structures, openly showing a disdain for the branches of government, the civil service, the military and the press.
Knowing how democracy thrives on the peaceful transition of power, the man watching over America has declared he would not accept the outcome of the November 2020 election if he loses.
As the world watches, Donald Trump is not just an open wound to the United States but has become a problem with potentially catastrophic consequences.
America used to be the model of excellence for democracy around the world.
At a time like this, the United States Information Service would be busy, showcasing the beauty of American democracy. As a journalist, I attended events at the Embassy in Nigeria where the US democratic culture was promoted.
But America under Trump is no longer a beacon of optimism. Incalculable damage has been done to the United States’ reputation under his presidency.
America is a laughing stock to all nations. And its president only provides a comic relief to a busy world.
Events that would make news in any Banana Republic have become acceptable in Trump’s America.
Trump entered the presidential race as a Washington outside who would “drain the swamp” of political misdeeds, but he has failed to put his businesses in a blind trust, turning them into a honeypot for those seeking favor from his administration.
Companies, lobbyists, politicians, foreigners have swarmed his properties, spending millions of dollars in order to have backroom access to the White House.
Statements that would, under normal circumstances, cause politicians to resign spill from Trump’s mouth daily.
At the last count, Washington Post had itemised more than 20,000 lies or falsehoods from the world’s most powerful man. The world cannot keep up with his lies and he knows.
Impeachment has not caused a change of attitude.
Instead, Trump continues his combative denigration of his opponents, using words that are beneath the office.
His campaign rallies have become arenas of hate and falsehood, rather than policies and manifestos.
He resorts to name calling, instead of engaging his opponents on issues.
There is hardly any foe he has not given a disparaging name.
Trump has nicknames to belittle foreign leaders, media houses, politicians and celebrities who have said something against him.
He never lets an opportunity pass to attack those he doesn’t like.
The behaviour of the US President makes it rather difficult to understand why he has the support of many Christians, some of whom can be fierce and fiery in their support of Donald Trump.
Among his ferocious supporters are Africans, including the well-read and educated.
Some are friends, family and classmates.
All very good people, mostly born-again Christians, who know about morality and the rules of decency.
In ignorance, they have fallen for the propaganda of American Evangelical Christians, who have spent years waging a political war in order to achieve some narrow objectives outside the core of the scriptures, such as judicial appointments.
It does not matter to these Christians that out of the 198 judges appointed by Trump over four years, not a single one is a black person. Racism is acceptable to them.
In addition to Evangelical Christians, Trump is also the friend of white supremacists – such as the KKK, the Proud Boys and QAnon – who have his pledge to bring back the old days of white privilege with the coded slogan, Make America Great Again.
What is different this time is that America is swinging blue than red
By keeping groups of die-hard followers, Trump has roughly 40 per cent of “deplorables” in his corner. These are the ones Trump boasted would support him, even if he shot an innocent man on the street. They are the cornerstone of his political existence.
It is the 40 per cent that most outsiders fail to see when discussing American politics. They are mostly composed of less-educated whites, supremacists and Evangelicals.
People ask if Donald Trump can win again, and the answer is yes. Of course, he can win again. When you have close to half of the voting population locked in, you can do anything.
The US presidency is not decided by popular votes, but by the weight attached to each of the 50 states.
The winner in each state takes all the electoral votes.
The result is that a presidential candidate can win the popular votes by millions and still lose the election.
This has only happened twice in America’s history – in 2000 in Al Gove vs George W. Bush; and in 2016 in Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump.
Hillary beat Trump by two million votes but did not win in enough electoral votes to become president.
You can predict which candidate will win in most US states ahead of the election.
Some states will certainly go for Trump, while others can be called for his opponent, Joe Biden, right now.
Trump will not win in New York or California. That is why he asked Americans in those states to go to hell.
Most of America is almost evenly divided between the right and the left.
Trump’s supporters are on the right, and the Democrats are on the left.
In most elections, at least 80 per cent of Americans are camped, to the left or the right.
The red (right) and blue (left) states do not decide who becomes the US president.
It is the independents in the swing states that are critical.
The swing states include Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Trump won in 2016 by just 80,000 votes in three swing states.
So, the election is really always about less than 20 per cent of the voting population.
The pitch is to the centre. And American is somewhere to the right of the center.
That explains why, in spite of the dwindling white population, Republicans can still spring surprises.
The centre that swings decides the winner. In the centre are independent and undecided voters, in those states that have no deep love for any political party.
At the last count, Washington Post had itemised more than 20,000 lies or falsehoods from the world’s most powerful man
What is different this time is that America is swinging blue than red.
Safe red states, including Georgia, Arizona, Texas and South Carolina, are leaning blue because of widespread unhappiness.
Four years ago, Trump had no political record. Today, he has a political record that is real.
People know the Mexico Wall is not built. They know many are dying from COVID-19 while the Trump administration continues to mislead.
They know millions of people have no jobs and one in five businesses have folded up.
They know that the President who boasted “I am very, very rich” in 2016 is a tax dodger.
It appears that punishment awaits Trump at the polls this time.
But the greatest fear is not that Biden can win.
It is that Trump may throw the US into an unprecedented political chaos by rigging and refusing to accept defeat.
The reason Trump would not want to leave power is not just the lure of office.
The ferocious government lawyers at the Southern District of New York who have been investigating Trump for criminal offences related to his taxes and other dealings are waiting to lay their hands on him and his children once out of the White House.
Besides, the New York Times reported that Trump will have about $500m in business debts that have become due.
The debtors will be bold with seizures once he becomes a private citizen.
Trump’s greatest fears for a peaceful transition of power are debt and criminal charges against him.
Before his election in 2016, Donald Trump remarked that other countries were laughing at America, and his mission was to stop them from laughing.
Four years into his presidency, other countries are now LOLROF – laughing out loud while rolling on the floor.
Donald Trump has just been a comic relief in an otherwise serious American story of democracy and greatness.