A Sun Belt time bomb threatens Trump’s reelection

Source: Politico | June 29, 2020 | Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo

Rising Covid-19 caseloads in Florida, Arizona and Texas raise fresh doubts about the president’s reelection prospects.

The explosion of Covid-19 cases in Sun Belt states is becoming another albatross for President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes — and creating a new opening for Joe Biden and Democrats in November.

Republican governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas followed Trump’s lead by quickly reopening their states while taking a lax approach to social distancing and mask-wearing. Now each of them is seeing skyrocketing coronavirus caseloads and rising hospitalizations, and Republican leaders are in retreat.

It’s hard to overstate the gravity of the situation for Trump: Lose any one of the three states, and his reelection is all but doomed.

Liberal outside groups and the Biden campaign have launched digital and TV ads in Florida, Arizona and Texas hitting Trump for allowing a second wave of coronavirus. The developments have buttressed Biden’s main argument against Trump: that he’s incapable of bringing stability or healing in a time of crisis.

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Biden, said Trump’s actions have only exacerbated Republicans’ vulnerabilities in the three states. Polls indicate Florida is Biden’s best pick-up opportunity, followed by Arizona and then Texas, a bigger reach.

“The reality is, when it comes to this president’s handling of the pandemic and the subsequent economic disaster that’s befallen our country — which was totally predictable coming out of the pandemic and his handling of it — Trump’s failed leadership has been exposed in a profound way,” Dunn told POLITICO. She added that it “makes him abnormally vulnerable in states that have not traditionally been as competitive as they are now.”

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