As the Trump Administration will leave office in January 2021 and President-Elect Biden has announced that his Administration will aggressively attempt to control the coronavirus pandemic, the below suggestion is no longer relevant.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D
America is incapable of implementing a national policy to address the coronavirus pandemic. One solution would be for the Governors of the Blue States to jointly create the office of Blue State Domestic Ambassador for the Coronavirus Pandemic and task this person to implement an action plan to address the coronavirus pandemic.
America’s national political structure is in tatters as a result of the Trump Administration and the devolution of America into separate Red and Blue political tribes, a process initiated by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1995.
Trump lit a flame to the fire created by Congressman Gingrich so as to advance his interests. In doing so, Trump has actively undermined scientists, experts, and America’s long history of using rational public dialog to best determine America’s course of action. As a result, Trump’s Executive Branch is manifestly incapable and unwilling to formulate a rational plan to deal with our three most extant crises: COVID-19, systemic racism/inequity, and our failed national economy.
America has now devolved into two distinct political entities. The Blue USA generally bases its political decisions on science, a humanistic morality, and the belief that it takes a village to raise a child; the Blue-State ethos. The Red USA generally bases its political decisions on religion, white supremacy, and the belief an individual’s freedom should take priority over the interest of society. As these two political philosophies are mutually exclusive, there is little/no middle political ground to allow Red and Blue politicians to enact mutually agreeable federal legislation.
Expert opinion estimates that 90% of Americans who have died from COVID-19 would still be alive if Trump had followed the advice of America’s scientists and physicians. As of today, 117,000 Americans would still be alive if not for Trump’s abject incompetence and malice.
The first role of a government is to protect the health and welfare of the public. Unfortunately, the bifurcation of America into two philosophically incompatible camps, and a President who is unwilling to address America’s political crises, requires blue state Americans to think creatively as the status-quo is not an option.
One solution is to dissolve America into the United Blue States of America and the United Red States of America. However, this solution could not be implemented promptly and our crises necessitate expeditious solutions.
A more viable solution would be for the Governors of the Blue States to create a super-executive position entitled the Blue State Domestic Ambassador for the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Domestic Ambassador would be charged with creating a mutually agreeable, multi-year, Blue State Coronavirus Mitigation Plan predicated on the Blue-State ethos. By combining the resources of the Blue States, the Domestic Ambassador would have sufficient political and fiscal capital to ensure that all Blue States have sufficient PPE, therapies, testing, and a sufficient number of healthcare professionals to address the crisis.
The person chosen to be the Blue State Domestic Ambassador for the Coronavirus Pandemic would immediately command the bully pulpit and would be able to correct the fictions, in real-time, which are routinely espoused by President Trump. In the process, the President’s lies and fictions will have less of an impact on America.
The Governors of Red States would be invited to join this coalition but they would be prohibited from having veto power over the decision-making process unless they publicly agree to adopt the Blue-State ethos as the philosophy which drives their decision-making process.
If the Office of the Blue State Domestic Ambassador turns out to be effective, then the model could be reimagined for other national crises and implemented whenever the federal government abdicates its responsibilities or fails to adopt the Blue-State ethos as the philosophy to drive its decision-making process.
And should the unimaginable happen in November 2020 and Trump is reelected, it would create a model to allow the Blue-States to bypass the madness and fictions which will surely flow from a second Trump administration.
Many people have the intellect, moral integrity, political insights, and a proven track record to fulfill the role of the Blue State Domestic Ambassador for the Coronavirus Pandemic. My first choice would be Andy Slavitt.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D.
7/19/2020 Addendum 1
Some will reject this proposal because it has some obvious flaws. Specifically, the potential benefits would mostly flow to citizens living in Blue states and exclude those living in Red states. Public health policy is always about making compromises. There is rarely a public health policy which benefits an entire population with no adverse consequences. Clearly, the status quo is the least acceptable public policy solution as it has resulted in the death of ~130,000 Americans over the last 4 months and there is no end in sight.
We need to try a different solution, now.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D.
8/4/2020 Update from Washington Post
Excerpt: In the absence of a national testing strategy for the novel coronavirus pandemic, six governors have formed a first-of-its-kind purchasing compact they hope will pressure companies that make rapid-detection tests to quickly ramp up production…
8/4/2020 Addendum 2
Hopefully, the six Governors will soon recognize the importance of jointly creating the office of Blue State Domestic Ambassador for the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D.