The coronavirus pandemic has aroused a new fear among some Democrats. That fear is not that hundreds of thousands or even millions will die. That fear is not even that the measures being taken to restrain the spread of the disease will throw the United States into a second Great Depression.
Some movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are afraid that the coronavirus pandemic will ensure the reelection of President Donald Trump. For the left, the -prospect of four more years of Trump is a greater disaster than any plague or economic calamity could wrought.
The Washington Times noted that former Obama consigliere David Axelrod let the cat out of the bag.
“CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod said Tuesday night that the coronavirus pandemic could boost President Trump’s chances of winning reelection in November because Americans tend to rally behind the leader during a crisis. Mr. Axelrod, a chief architect of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, said that even though Mr. Trump has canceled his political rallies to avoid spreading the virus, he still has a national platform to speak to Americans regularly, which will make it hard for a Democratic candidate such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden to beat.”
Axelrod went on to say that the presumed nominee former Vice President Joe Biden has a problem. While Trump is busily directing efforts to fight off the coronavirus, talking to the American people about the crisis on television every day, Biden doesn’t have any platform with which to offer a case for electing him as president.
While some in the media have been sniping at Trump’s handling the virus, the president is getting support from some unexpected quarters. RealClearPolitics notes that none other than Dana Bash, who works for the anti-Trump CNN, had some praise for the president.
“But if you look at the big picture, this was remarkable from the president of the United States. This is a non-partisan — this is an important thing to note, and to applaud from an American standpoint — from a human standpoint. He is being the kind of leader that people need, at least in tone, today, and yesterday, in a tone that people need and want and yearn for in times of crisis and uncertainty.”
Add to those Democratic governors such as California’s Gavin Newsom and New York’s Andrew Cuomo thanking President Trump for his efforts to confront the coronavirus, and one might see the quandary the Democrats who yet hope to replace him are facing.
Not even a bad economy may be sufficient to sink President Trump. It has always been a truism in politics that the economy is determinate for whether or not a president gets reelected. “It’s the economy, stupid,” James Carville once said.
However, some pundits suggest that even if the economy is still struggling in November, Trump may not get the blame. A bad economy due to bad policy is one thing. A bad economy due to a virus is quite another. Besides, Biden has found himself taking positions, such as going to war with the oil and gas industry, that are quite problematic for making an economic argument for replacing Trump.
Democrats know that Trump also has some history behind him. When President George W. Bush became president, it was the result of an election in which he won the electoral college but not the popular vote, Democrats were bitter because of the Florida recount and the fact that the Supreme Court put a stop to the endless delays in declaring a winner. “Selected, not elected,” was the mantra.
Then 9/11 happened and President Bush stop upon the rubble of Ground Zero in New York City and shouted defiance at the terrorists. His popularity soared to unprecedented heights. While the inevitable letdown occurred, Bush was able to win his reelection fight against Senator John Kerry easily.
Thus, the conventional wisdom is, “It’s the virus, stupid.” If Trump is still seen as an effective leader against the pandemic and its economic fallout in November, he will win reelection, the theory goes. Biden, who has a boatload of problems due to his declining mental faculties, will not be equipped to topple the “wartime president” as Trump calls himself. FDR was successful in being reelected during World War II by arguing that no one should change horses in midstream. Trump may be about to make the same argument.