Your Life Is A Game To Jared Kushner
Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know how to play.
This story broke yesterday:
The response to it has largely been along the line of “They don’t care what happens to us.” The thinking is that Kushner et al only saw a point in helping others if doing so would do something to help them in return.
But this reading… it is entirely too charitable to Jared Kushner and his patron and father-in-law, Donald Trump.
It’s not that they don’t care whether people who live in blue states live or die.
They did care! They do care. They care a lot.
They want those states to suffer, suffer and die. They wanted to be able to juxtapose the grief and devastation of blue cities in blue states against happy, healthy red states in order to show that Democratic leadership kills and Republican leadership protects and elevates.
They wanted economic devastation in blue parts of the country while the red thrived. They wanted hospitals overrun in those cities with “inner cities” they’re always warning about while it was fun in the Sun Belt.
Any epidemiologist – or as Charlie Stross noted on Twitter, anybody who has ever played a plague sim – could have told them that the snapshot of the country they were looking at was just one moment in time, that they were thinking that because a tsunami happens far out at sea there’s no sense alerting the coasts.
Effectively, Kushner believed that if you wanted to get back at your roommate, you could set their bedroom on fire and then go to the living room and cheerfully play Xbox. Why not? It’s not your things on fire.
The bungled national response only existed in the first place so that there would be a national response. The reason it looked so much like busy work, people doing things to be seen doing things, is because that’s exactly what it would have been. The second part of the plan would have been for Trump, through the sheer existence of a national response, to take credit for the success of the Republican-led parts of the country, while blaming Democratic leadership for the plight of blue areas.
“I don’t know what to tell you, it must have been something they did,” he would have said. “Everywhere else is fine. Same response. Same national response. It worked in Florida, in Texas. Don’t know what they did in New York and California.”
But it gets worse.
Because the federal-level response wasn’t just make-work projects, was it?
We should remember that the main thing Jared Kushner did after he gave up his masterplan to contain the virus with testing was to go around the country, actively sabotaging supply lines.
This is why I compared his actions to arson. He wasn’t just content to let the fire burn as long as his stuff wasn’t on fire yet, he was going out there lighting fires and fanning flames.
The plan wasn’t to let us die.
The plan was to kill us.
For Donald Trump, it’s enough that people who don’t like him are suffering. He’ll take any electoral assistance that comes along with it, but he’s petty enough that he doesn’t need it.
For Kushner… I think we need to remember that Kushner’s data-driven approach to running Trump’s campaign had a lot to do with his narrow electoral victory in 2016. Kushner told Trump to go hard in states that had been perceived as lost causes for Republicans, and the small margins he eked out in those states put Trump over the top.
2020 isn’t offering the same electoral map. The country’s increased level of polarization means there aren’t the same opportunities to snipe a few key votes, and Trump’s available paths to victory look even narrower and dicier than they did before.
I suspect that Kushner, eager to repeat his miracle, sought to change the underlying data by remaking the landscape of the country. Shaking up the faith of blue states in their party leadership while reinforcing that of red states in theirs could have done it.
Bottom line: This is crueler and more ruthlessly expedient than letting blue states die. The cruelty is sometimes the whole point, and always a value add.
Sometimes, however, it’s also a means to an end.