Faced with dismal re-election prospects in a purple state, Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona decided to lie blatantly to her constituents during a telephone town hall last week – insisting that the state which has not seen a plateau of COVID-19 cases was going to start “ramping up” its daily testing, even though official numbers show the exact opposite is happening.
The number of tests being done is actually lower than it was back in March – and now the number of positive cases has gone up as well, suggesting it was hardly the appropriate time to reduce testing. It’s even riskier because the state’s stay at home orders expire at the end of the month, meaning they could end up with a whole other wave of the virus. You may have to wonder if this is to lure Arizonans into a false sense of security – that they avoided the worst of the virus and things can go back to normal before they should.
Arizona’s also a state where Donald Trump is polling poorly, roughly nine points behind Joe Biden, with McSally, who he endorsed in 2018, roughly about the same number of points behind her competitor, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Getting restless over having to stay in the White House, Trump has set his sights on going to Arizona next week as the state reopens and holding rallies again, hoping he can resurrect his floundering presidency.
The trouble is that if he’s actually foolish enough to travel to Arizona next week, in addition to putting his own health at risk, he will single-handedly be responsible for making the crisis worse, and his political opponents will all make that clear. In adopting Trump’s strategy of lying about testing and embracing his support, McSally could be sealing her fate.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making