by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Prominent Republicans eyeing a 2024 White House bid have placed themselves at the epicenter of efforts to blunt the coronavirus pandemic, with some departing from President Trump by proposing an extended and more aggressive economic shutdown.
As Trump floats reopening a quarantined national economy by Easter, two Republican senators with presidential aspirations, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rick Scott of Florida, support tightening current restrictions and maintaining them for at least 30 days. Scott’s eight-point plan would suspend domestic airline travel and place a moratorium on people’s monthly financial obligations. Cotton advocates nationwide shelter-in-place rules and is urging the administration to heed the recommendations of Anthony Fauci and other experts.
“This is the stark truth: we have to arrest the spread of the China virus to get the economy back on its feet & get life back to something like normal,” Cotton tweeted Tuesday. The same day, Trump began discussing the need to balance public health concerns properly with the damage to a stunted economy could have on the public’s psyche. …
… With thousands of businesses endangered and millions poised to lose their jobs, some Republican strategists believe GOP primary voters will reward, or punish, 2024 contenders based on how they responded to the economic fallout.
At the very least, some political professionals expect the coronavirus pandemic to affect how Republicans campaign, even if it does not substantially alter what primary voters are looking for in a successor to Trump.