The Platform

Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times

Donald Trump is gambling with the lives of Tulsa residents for the sake of his reelection strategy.

President Donald Trump announced last week that he would resume campaign rallies after taking a nearly three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump and company will fly to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a rally on the evening of Saturday, June 20. He had previously scheduled to host the rally on June 19, the anniversary of “Juneteenth.”

The news of Trump hosting campaign rallies comes several days after the total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. reached the two million mark. More than 18 states have noticed a significant increase in cases weeks after social distancing restrictions have been reduced or completely lifted. Oklahoma is not one of those states but currently has a total of a little more than 8,000 cases in a state that has 3.96 million residents. One out of five total cases in Tulsa County has been reported within the past week, which shows that the virus is still active throughout the rural neighborhood.

Trump’s Campaign Manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted Monday afternoon that more than one million people have requested tickets to the Tulsa rally. The BOK Center has a capacity of 19,199 seats. Claiming a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee entrance into the arena. It all depends upon how many people are inside the stadium.

Supporters who request tickets will notice a peculiar message when they are agreeing to the terms of attending the rally. The agreement states, “By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.” According to Parscale, masks and hand sanitizer will be handed out to supporters, but it is still unclear whether spectators will be required to wear masks.

While the coronavirus pandemic is a human health crisis, it has turned political with the various ways that Americans are protecting themselves and living their lives.

There are numerous risks involved with hosting these rallies during the pandemic. Still, it appears that the president believes he can organize these rallies because thousands of Americans packed the streets of major cities to protest racial injustice following the death of George Floyd. However, the difference between the rallies and protests is that most of the people at the demonstrations were wearing masks, and the group of people attending Trump’s rally will likely not be wearing masks while being seated next to strangers for probably four to six hours, based upon recent political stances.

Regardless, it is still a tad bit early to determine the detrimental effect of hosting protests in the streets in major “hot spots” for three straight weeks due to the lag of testing results from COVID-19 laboratories.

While the timing may not be the best for Trump to host these “sell-out” crowds, Trump is benefiting his campaign by having free airtime and having a significant presence on social media.

Many Americans of all political backgrounds were not fond of the strategy involved with containing COVID-19 by the Trump administration since early February. In a recent CNN poll, the general election will result in the Biden campaign being victorious by crushing Donald Trump 55% to 41%.

But where will this number go from here?

Let’s hypothetically say that President Trump follows through with his scheduled campaign rallies in Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Then, suddenly, the active COVID-19 cases blow up in Tulsa in three weeks. If this happens, not only will Trump look responsible, he is providing fuel for Joe Biden’s campaign.

Regardless, this is a recipe for disaster. The president doesn’t want to look weak by having declining poll numbers, and the only way to compete against the daily news headlines is by generating them for yourself by filling up arenas in hardcore Republican areas scattered around the country.

CNN released a poll two weeks ago that shows how readers view President Trump’s performance as commander-in-chief three and a half years into his first term, and only 38% approve the way President Trump is running the nation. Hosting a campaign rally with supporters whose closet contains “MAGA” hats is one way to skirmish recent approval and poll numbers.

Now with Trump’s campaign picking up steam by booking campaign rallies at least once a week, it will be quite interesting to see how Biden responds to the upcoming gatherings. Will Biden compete with Trump by going on the campaign trail, himself? Will Trump try to ‘one-up’ Biden by hosting campaign rallies in large outdoor football stadiums? Only time will tell.

Benjamin Schiller is a graduating high school senior in Boca Raton, Florida. Benjamin plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall with a major in broadcast and digital journalism.