Cruz wasn’t the only one making the prediction that COVID-19 would suddenly fade from view after the election. As Forbes reported back in May 2020, Eric Trump had already made the claim that “After November 3 coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.” Which almost makes it seem like Eric might have been miserable about predicting the virus, but pretty good in seeing how Nov. 3 was going to turn out.
And of course, himself also said “Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. A plane goes down. Five hundred people dead, they don’t talk about it. Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. By the way, on November 4, you won’t hear about it anymore,” Which almost makes it seem like TFG also knew what … but no, surely not.
That claim that the virus would magically vanish after the election was another way of downplaying the pandemic and passing the whole thing off as a kind of fraud. What the right was maintaining was that the whole reaction to COVID-19 was exaggerated simply to sway voters in the election. It wasn’t a theory that made sense—but it’s not as if anything on the right has to meet high standards. However, it was a prediction that cost lives.
As the Idaho Statesmen notes, some people were foolish enough to take Republicans seriously. “Before I came down with the virus, I was one of those jackasses who thought the virus would disappear the day after the election. I was one of those conspiracy theorists,” said a 63-year-old man from Boise. Instead, he now gets a lifetime of requiring supplemental oxygen after COVID-19 caused long-term damage.
What may be most amazing is that Republicans are still at it. Not only did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis laugh off a doctor who warned that COVID-19 was likely to make a comeback over the summer, he followed it up by claiming that cases would “just go down” without any need for masks, social distancing, or any action on his part.
But wait. Let’s go back to Cruz and see what else he had to say. “You won’t even have to wait for Biden to be sworn in, said Cruz. “All they’ll need is Election Day and suddenly their willingness to just destroy people’s lives and livelihoods, they will have accomplished their task.”
It’s true that people’s lives and livelihoods are being destroyed. Somewhere over 900,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic. Millions more have been made seriously ill, some with conditions that may last for the rest of their lives. That cost to the economy, and to society, is really immeasurable.
But the cost to Ted Cruz, or any other Republican, for downplaying the pandemic, sneering at attempts to save lives, and insisting that this was all just a political pandemic? Nothing at all.