We don’t have to imagine too hard.
Blink and you can recall to mind the insane coverage of Katrina and Puerto Rico where it became an article of faith that Bush or Trump were somehow to blame for a natural disaster and that they had perpetrated the disaster because they were racists who hated minorities.
A natural disaster is entirely attributable to global warming when a Democrat is in the White House (sorry, I know the current UN-approved term is ‘Global Boiling’) and entirely attributable to a Republican when he’s in the White House.
There are no screaming local politicos or hip-hop stars on cable news accusing Biden of not caring about Hawaiian people or warning that everyone is dying because the ice cream man doesn’t care.
Even the usual official statement that Biden isn’t going to Hawaii because he might “distract from relief efforts” meets with a tolerant shrug.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will not travel to Maui in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires because they “don’t want to distract” from the ongoing rescue efforts, the VP said today – while at least 1,000 people remain unaccounted for.
“We don’t want to distract from the resources that need to go in to the victims of this tragedy, and of course the needs of the first responders have to be able to focus on that issue and not worry about focusing on us [because] we’re there,” Harris told reporters before boarding Air Force Two for Chicago Friday, CSPAN reported.
“We are coordinating federal resources to swiftly get there to support the work in terms of recovery, but to just support the folks on the ground. It is tragic,” Harris noted, adding that she and Biden are “deeply concerned” about the blaze that has left at least 55 people dead and decimated a beloved historic enclave.
After demanding that Trump go to Puerto Rico and attacking him for not doing it, you can guess the headlines when he did.
Trump’s Puerto Rico Visit Is a Political Disaster – The Atlantic
Trump Brings His Own Storm to Puerto Rico – New York Times
Something similar happened when George W. Bush tried to square a circle by flying over New Orleans, rather than landing, and so he was attacked for not caring enough to visit.
All of this is a cynical game. We know the rules and how it’s played, but plenty of apolitical people take it all in. And it does have a political impact. The coverage of Hurricane Katrina helped crush Bush’s approval ratings while the media’s fawning coverage of Obama’s contemptible hurricane tour helped cement a second term for the destroyer-in-chief.