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Commentary

Oh, the places I’m glad I don’t live!

Supporters of President Trump listened during his campaign rally at Eppley Airfield on Tuesday.
Supporters of President Trump listened during his campaign rally at Eppley Airfield on Tuesday.Evan Vucci/Associated Press

I’m so thankful I live in Massachusetts.

Not because the foliage is popping this fall, or because twilight at Good Harbor Beach is so beautiful, or even because of the proximity to the tax-free New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet.

I’m happy to reside in Massachusetts because it’s not Arizona or Florida or Michigan or North Carolina or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. As oppressive and crazy-making as the presidential election feels in the 413, 617, 508, 978, and 781 area codes, can you imagine how unbearable it must be in battleground states?

Big deal if the Red Sox were historically bad this season, at least we’re not having super-spreader events.

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Unfortunately, in the frantic final days before Nov. 3, it’s not only poor saps in swing states who are enduring this chaos.

Tuesday, President Trump held a rally in the heretofore red state of Nebraska, where health officials are reporting the highest number of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. Trump addressed thousands of supporters at an airfield in Omaha, and then flew away on Air Force One, leaving his followers, many of them elderly, waiting for hours in freezing temperatures to board buses. More than a half-dozen people were reportedly treated for hypothermia, and only time will tell if people also got infected with the coronavirus.

Can you imagine something like that happening at Westover Air Reserve Base? Amid a pandemic that’s claimed the lives of 226,000 Americans, do you really want grandma and grandpa trundling out to Chicopee to hear Trump jabber on about “the greatest economy in the history of our country” only to be stranded in a parking lot as the temperature plunges?

I’d be locking my door if I lived in, say, Wisconsin, where hospitals are struggling to contend with a huge surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Tuesday, just hours after state officials reported a record 5,262 new cases of COVID-19, and 64 deaths, Trump spoke to a crowd of supporters, many of whom weren’t wearing masks, at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.

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“We’re turning the corner. We’re rounding, like this racetrack,” he said.

The same day, in Lansing, Mich., another coronavirus hotspot, Trump tried to insist the deadly virus is no big deal.

“COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID cases — do you ever notice they use the word ‘cases’? Like Barron Trump has a case, sniffles, one Kleenex and he was better,” Trump said.

I’m sure that’s music to the ears of someone whose mother or father spent weeks on a ventilator, or maybe didn’t make it out of the hospital.

I know they’re called battleground states because they’ll determine the outcome of the election, but are there really any undecided voters left? Are these risky rallies, not to mention the ridiculous amounts of money being spent on TV ads, actually necessary? I don’t know too many voters who are ambivalent at this point. You either really like Trump or you really don’t.

My sister-in-law lives in Pittsburgh. It’s a wonderful place to visit — I loved the Andy Warhol Museum — but I sure wouldn’t want to live there right now.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at mark.shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan.