by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With a visibly aged Joe Biden duking it out with socialist Bernie Sanders, there are three very good reasons that President Trump’s greatest opponent in November could be the Coronavirus.
First, the ability to handle a possible medical crisis and the hard choices the triage of limited supplies would then force on us will leave a lasting impact with the American public. Second, the economic consequences spreading through U.S. cities and towns will force Republicans in government to choose between saying this is all partisan hype and executing a plan to protect the gains of the last three years. Third, the potential medical scare lends rhetorical energy to a number of Democrat talking points they’re guaranteed to use in the general election. …
… It’s reassuring to hear White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow say the government is communicating with the airlines, thinking of the “small businesses that might get hurt by this,” and of the “individuals who might lose paychecks because they had to stay home if they get the virus.” It is not, however, reassuring to hear Kudlow claim during the same interview that the virus “looks relatively contained” and that Americans should simply “avoid” Seattle.
The disease will threaten the existence of many small and medium businesses, and if Republicans are not drafting legislation to help them they are behind. Recession is fatal to reelection, with William McKinley the last president to win in the midst of one — 120 years ago.