The Blame-Game Politics of COVID-19

Absent divine intervention, it will be difficult for President Trump to succeed in his goal of saving American lives and the U.S. economy from the ravages of COVID-19. Even if he does achieve a lot of success and deserves credit for it, it is no more obvious that President Trump will be reelected than it was that David would succeed in slaying Goliath.

The president is up against extraordinarily powerful and implacable foes who are not constrained by strict adherence to the facts. The Trump-hating media, the socialist Democrats and the deep state bureaucracy in Washington will turn the Chinese coronavirus crisis into a weapon in their longstanding effort to politically assassinate Donald Trump.

The raw and difficult politics of federal authority versus state law and authority will complicate both the health crisis and the economic crisis. A plethora of state and local lockdown orders, some seeming to border on martial law, may soon make it impossible to get Americans back to work in an economy where supply chains crisscross many state, county, and municipal lines to serve interdependent businesses.

Add to that the specter of ruinous class action liability suits under state law against any business that reopens and welcomes back employees and customers who might later claim that it was the cause of them being infected with COVID-19.

The commerce clause of the Constitution could permit the federal government to preempt states and localities from unreasonably complicating multi-state supply chains, but that would probably require a degree of cooperation by the Democrats in Congress that is unlikely to be forthcoming.

Despite the nearly existential crisis we may be facing, a “put politics aside” stance by the Democrats on anything other than spending vast amounts of money is hard to imagine.

There are too many Americans who do not at all fit the canonized pattern of God-country-merit-upward mobility American exceptionalism. They hate what does not seem to include them—and what they hate, they seek to destroy. Unfortunately, in the present post-rational age of mass-media mind control and “virtual” everything, the haters seem to have the upper hand.

The Chinese coronavirus invaded the United States on Trump’s watch and his foes will labor mightily to assure that he gets the blame. If the death rate in the United States is less than the scarily high projections shouted from the rooftops by the media, and if the per capita death rate in the United States is not as high as in other places, President Trump will be denied credit—the same way he was denied credit for both his record-setting jobs boom and the historic rise in the stock market over which he was presiding only a short time ago until all was brought low by the Great Panic of 2020.

The longer the media and an array of governors, mayors, and other local officials delay Americans from going back to work, the more will be the damage done to the economy, the more jobs and businesses will be destroyed and the more likely it is that Americans will become permanent dependent wards of the federal government.

Governors and local officials know that President Trump, not they, will get the blame for an economic crash. They also know that he will get most of the blame if their state or their city becomes a COVID-19 “hotspot,” but if they take draconian lockdown measures and if for some reason their jurisdiction does not become a hotspot, they know that they—not President Trump—will get the political credit.

The Democrats have nothing to lose from an economic crash. They know President Trump will get the blame and bear the political pain.

On the other hand, Democrats will benefit from an economic crash in several ways. First, it makes it more likely that President Trump will not be reelected and that they will gain power. Second, a prolonged economic crash that makes jobless Americans and damaged businesses more dependent on the government for survival aligns with their policy goal of establishing a government-run, command economy with extraordinary powers to dictate and control the conduct of all Americans.

The alternative to disaster is for President Trump—like David in the Book of Samuel—to succeed in slaying his own Goliath and for Americans to emerge from the Great Panic of 2020 with their economy and their freedoms intact.

President Trump’s success is America’s success and he should at long last—again like the biblical David—be given credit and rewarded.

About Ernest S. Christian

Ernest S. Christian, a lawyer, served as a tax policy official in the Treasury Department in the Ford Administration.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

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