An experiment in alternate history

Play along with me here: picture this “alternate history” and describe, if you can, where you and the country would be today….

Recall that throughout the summer and early fall of 2020, President Donald Trump reminded voters that he was pushing for a vaccine to fight COVID-19, that American companies were working overtime to create and test this vaccine, and that it would be available before the end of the year—if possible, even by election day. This is not alternate history—President Trump repeatedly said such things during the campaign.

But imagine, now, that when the voters were counted, President Trump defeated Candidate Biden and won reelection. Complaints and challenges come, of course, from Biden’s supporters. Allegations are raised that, in half a dozen states, ballots were set aside as irregular and suspicious and were not counted. Voices call for investigations, and many Democrats refuse to concede the election (including Candidate Biden himself). But the election results are certified. On January 20, 2021, Donald Trump takes the oath of office and begins his second term.

Imagine now that the vaccine is distributed in exactly the same way as it was in our real history. The number of bad reactions to the vaccine is identical. The course of the disease and its variant strains is identical. But President Trump continues to claim credit for production of the vaccine, and many people even refer to it as “the Trump vaccine.”

Many Americans take the vaccine, just as they did with Biden in the White House. Many Americans refuse the vaccine, just as they did with Biden in the White House. Many Americans hope for victory over COVID through the Trump vaccine; many Americans warn of the risk of an insufficiently tested medication mass produced and grumble about the connection of big government with big business—in this case, the pharmaceutical industry.

Does America’s mass media report the news about the vaccine in the same way? If it is “Trump’s vaccine,” do they continue to minimize and ignore bad reactions to the vaccine. If it is “Trump’s vaccine,” do they still minimize and ignore the medical professionals who speak words of caution about the vaccine. As new strains of the virus appear, and as vaccinated people still get sick, does America’s mass media continue to support the vaccine? Does it continue to blame the unvaccinated people for preventing victory over the virus through production and distribution of the vaccine?

Do “blue states” still have higher vaccination rates than “red states,” or do red state citizens enthusiastically receive Trump’s vaccine? If some Biden supporters remain openly reluctant to receive Trump’s vaccine, are they accused of opposing science and of being selfish, hating their neighbors, and otherwise being terrible people? Do Facebook and Google go out of their way to support Trump’s vaccine and to undermine opinions, reports, and other information that questions Trump’s vaccine? Is the appearance of new virus strains still a reason to get the vaccine, or do the new strains become evidence for the mass media that “Trump’s vaccine” has failed to protect Americans?

What about you? If Donald Trump was still President, if he was claiming responsibility for getting the vaccine developed and distributed, if he was urging all Americans to be vaccinated against COVID, would your feelings about the vaccine be different? Would you be more likely or less likely to receive the vaccine if it were Trump’s vaccine?

Would politicians and the mass media continue to claim that 97 % of the people hospitalized for COVID did not receive the vaccine, or would they question the accuracy of that statistic if President Trump repeated it? Maybe, given Trump’s use of that statistic, people would question its reliability. Maybe they would want to know who determined that statistic and what measurements they used. Does it refer to people in the hospital today, or on some other day? Who asked the patients about their vaccination status? Why hasn’t the statistic been updated since it was first quoted? Could it be that it includes all people hospitalized for COVID since the disease was first recognized, including the many who were hospitalized before the vaccine was available?

I know these are a lot of questions. But I have changed only one fact, putting Donald Trump back in the White House instead of Joe Biden. How many news facts and scientific determinations are revised by that one political change? Tell me what you think. J.

17 thoughts on “An experiment in alternate history

  1. This is a good exercise! I think with the tool of youtube today we do see the Left publicly question the vaccine under Trump’s leadership…and now they are the ones saying one shouldn’t question it. Likewise the Left was talking about election fraud before November 6th…and now they say one shouldn’t question it…

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  2. This is a brilliant post! What a great perspective to think this issue through with. I would still be against getting the vaccine but I can say without a doubt that no one on the left would talking about vaccine passports. In fact their hair would be on fire and they’d be spouting Hitler comparisons if Trump even hinted at doing it.

    So interesting to think about Salvageable, thanks for posting this.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What would have happened if Trump had won? Not sure why you are belaboring the media in vaccine reporting. I dunno what/who you listen to, but the media I get my info from uses stats generally accredited to the CDC, NIH, some recognized organization/university think tank.. and corroborated by recognized medical professionals, if not the directors of the agencies themselves. Seems to me if the vaccine works then it works… who ever won the election. I can think of 50 reasons why I object to Trump.. and NONE of them are regarding his formal policies, which I assume is the reason you are implying that the media “just picked on Trump’s policy negatives”. That being said….
    If Trump had won…
    1. Absolutely no one would have questioned the election results, no claims of voter fraud, no whacky state re-counts, yada, yada. Just as the results of his first win were not questioned. Oddly, given the current lies and turmoil over the last count essentially challenging and threatening the essence of our democracy.. our votes.. and the Jan. 6th insurgency attempt to stop the Congressional vote acceptance process by the Trump mob… if Trump HAD won.. our faith in the voting process would still be intact. But that’s likely the only “good” result if Trump had won in 2020. If Trump had won we’d not be hearing about his illegal attempts through intimidation and lies to not leave the White House.. at least for another four years.

    2. There would have been no Jan. 6th.

    3. Absolutely Trump would replace everyone around him with completely incompetent-to-the-job loyalists… the Cabinet would be replaced by “acting” Cabinet Secretaries to get around Congressional oversight. Trump will also go after his “enemies” politically.. and more overtly simply because he doesn’t care. There will be no “secret” list of enemies. A second term would embolden him immensely and everything he does will essentially be the “so what, take it to court” and/or “so what, take me to court” doctrine… pretty much kicking cans down the road and in the meantime getting his way.

    4. He could have continued building his wall… kept the country out of the Paris Accords… out of the WHO…

    5. While his win in 2016 was a complete shock & awe to most… to folks like myself it was total disbelief. By and large.. we will call it 50% of the nation. Four years later that 50% is tires and weary and exhausted of all the chaos and crisis.. and lies across the land. Each day a new stunt calamity beyond any traditional norm of any president in the last hundred years (at least). If he had won in 2020 you’d see half the country in a demoralized funk.. and with the pandemic in full swing… well, stress works in strange ways, and releasing it can take on any number of ways. While the Trump supporting 50% might be thinking their boy is making America their Utopia… the rest us would be floundering in a growing apathy, reflective in the general mood of the country, in Congress, and within state governments. By and large, Trump could care less about that stuff.

    I am sure other folks have more thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be careful about relying on the CDC for accurate information as they have been wrong on just about every single issue with Covid. Sad because they once did a lot of good.

      There are thousands of doctors and scientists who don’t agree with the official government narrative but they are continually being censored or denigrated so it can be tough to get balancing views.

      This post by a doctor brings up some good points. Take them however you wish.

      https://peckford42.wordpress.com/2021/08/07/the-graveyard-of-covid19-missed-opportunity/

      Liked by 2 people

      • Whether any of those points are “good” or not is subjective as I have neither the time (which means a personal priority) or interest in culling through stats and data from links, to sift through people’s interpretations of same, to determine a validity that my own mind will accept on some level as “true”. I went to that link.. and from there I went to the doctor’s blog where, in turn, I checked out some of the links spread across her post. As usual in blogging, many posters cite a link that supposedly supports their viewpoint, yet when you go to that link there could be more than one interpretation. Which is pretty much why I stay on “my opinion” and explain my reasons… and I am certainly not out to try to prove the world is wrong and/or my opinion is correct. One thing I can do fairly well is pull out from the maze a level of a person’s objectivity (or bias) simply from how they write, the grammar nuances, blah, blah. In other words, “I consider the source” as part of my filter. When a person has a blog and proudly describes in their “About Me” that they have “strong opinions”…. well, what exactly does that mean? Your way or the highway? Actually that’s a written form of crossing your arms when conversing with another as a sign of personal protection (Trump does that a lot). I cannot possible research the world on every piece of data to prove a person’s true “culpable” agenda. In the end it’s all about not wearing the damn mask.

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      • Actually, I go to MSNBC, CBS, ABC as well. Thanks for providing those links given I was curious. I checked them both out.

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    • Thanks, Doug. Although most of your response is targeted toward my post scheduled for tomorrow, I do value your opinion and input. Frankly, I find good reasons to doubt many of the statistics that are being published about the virus, but the 97% strikes me as especially questionable. I need more information than that it came out of the CDC or some other national organization. Talk to you again after tomorrow’s post. J.

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  4. Welp, I would still be resistant to the vaccine! I adored having Trump in office, but I did not agree with his rush to get emergency use for an experimental mrna vaxx.

    I would also probably be trying to defend him from all the charges of murder that would be coming from the media and the court of public opinion. If Trump were in office, there is no way anyone would have died from this vaccine and the media just ignored it. Heck, last week I was praying for 3 young people I know, all hospitalized because of the vaxx. Two myocarditis, one anaphylaxis. God is good, they’ve now recovered, but for goodness sakes, this is happening all over the country and nobody is allowed to even speak of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to agree: Trump’s experimental vaccine would be blamed for every death associated with it (5,000 Americans have died within three days of receiving the vaccine) and also blamed for not eliminating the virus from the world by now. But do you think you would be a media hero for resisting the vaccine, or that you would be marginalized for that postion? J.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I got this off the CDC website… now, if you’re of the Conservative idea that all government is corrupt and not to be believed, well, I can’t help you there. You’re on your own. In any event, this suggests Covid vaccine deaths as reported to CDC, 6,490, represent 0.0019%.

        “Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 346 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 2, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,490 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”

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      • My choice to not get the experimental vax would be more supported under Trump. Mandatory vaccines as a condition of employment would not be happening. If he had advocated for such things, he would rightfully be criticized and called a totalitarian. The media and several civil rights orgs would be supporting me.

        Liked by 1 person

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