What Donald Trump is really doing with his coronavirus vaccine bluff

Donald Trump and his administration are strongly hinting that they’re going to have a coronavirus vaccine ready before election day. If you’re thinking that this is a bluff and a con, you’re right – but it’s not the kind of bluff you’re thinking of.

Whenever Trump publicly hints that he’s going to do something, it’s nearly always a bluff. He knows he can’t just roll out an untested vaccine before the election and somehow magically make it work in his favor. Nearly every doctor and medical expert out there would be screaming bloody murder. The media would have a field day beating Trump up over it. Trump wouldn’t be able to find a pharmaceutical company willing to commit corporate suicide by participating in such a plot anyway. Even Dr. Fauci said on CNN this week that he has no fear that Trump would even try such a thing.

So what is Trump doing? It seems fairly clear that he’s planning to make an announcement shortly before the election that a vaccine is going be ready shortly after the election. It’s not just about baiting his gullible supporters into believing that he’s magically pulled a vaccine out of his backside. It’s about getting the rest of us to take the bait of panicking about whether Trump is indeed going to roll out an untested vaccine.

For all his erraticism, Donald Trump is remarkably consistent in one aspect: when he’s planning to do something corrupt or absurd or evil, he does it as quietly and secretly as possible, in the hope it’ll already be done before anyone finds out. When he loudly hints that he’s going to do something corrupt or absurd or evil – particularly something that’s not even realistically possible for him to pull off – it’s his way of trying to mess with us and get us to lose the plot.

Trump isn’t going to roll out an untested vaccine before the election. It’s not even within the realm of the possible. Even he knows that if he tried it, the whole thing would blow up so badly in his face that he’d end up losing by 20 points. His play here is to try to get us to think he’s going to do it, so we’ll sit around paralyzed in fear of it happening. Meanwhile, the key to winning this election still comes down to voter registration, turnout, phone banking, and volunteering.

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