Elections

The Changes to Come

In a few months, everything will be largely back to what it was within the United States. The big changes will be geopolitical.

The Democrats are taking their stand on the coronavirus crisis in an untenable position. It is like building a defensive redoubt in a valley surrounded by hills in the hands of the enemy (like the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1955, as President Eisenhower warned them). Whether this is tactical stupidity by the president’s enemies or strategic genius by the president or—more likely—a bit of both, is not clear except to insiders.

Readers will recall that the Democrats charged out of the gate on the issue of taking science seriously and reacting comprehensively; the president picked up the gauntlet, brought prominent scientists forward, and “flattened the curve.” The Democrats wallowed in glee at the almost instant increase (in a month in fact) of unemployment by almost 30 million.

The president and the Republican leaders in Congress brought forth very generous and relatively simple financial assistance packages and the Democrats jumped aboard, trying to lard the payments with concessions to organized labor and the green terrorists, which the Republicans generally resisted.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was confined to his basement in Delaware and all he had to do was put on a shirt and Skype into members of the Trump-hating media. The fact that even this proved a syntactical challenge to him indicates the level of embarrassment self-distancing spared him.

The national Democratic leadership locked arms and deployed their media acolytes in support of a prolonged shutdown where virtually everyone in the country would be tested and those who test positively identify everyone they have been in contact with in the last two weeks and those people are chased down and the hunt for the last bacillus of coronavirus is pursued throughout the country to every attic, basement, homeless shelter, and rustic cabin. The president, under this scenario, would, in the greater national and human interest, commit political suicide like a kamikaze in a good cause, and patiently explain to the next scores of millions of Americans thrown out of work by the Pelosi-Biden-Schumer counter-virus strategy, that their sacrifice is noble and inevitable.

What a godsend the coronavirus crisis was supposed to be to a political party that struck out corrupting the upper ranks of the Justice Department and the intelligence services with a fraudulent narrative about illegal election-rigging with Russia, and struck out again with a fatuous presidential impeachment for unimpeachable acts with no serious evidence that the president committed the accused acts anyway.

On the heels of the total failure of their own skulduggery, the force majeure of nature, with the assistance of China’s duplicitous and irresponsible government, rushed to the rescue of Trump’s enemies. The celebratory pleasure of Speaker Pelosi as she shows the nation her well-stocked freezer, and of presumptive presidential candidate Biden as he shambled through banal softball sessions with the likes of Joy Behar (a woman lumbered with America’s most unsuitable first name), was palpable.

The NeverTrumpers have fallen in with this nonsense, more subtly, by calling for putting “safe ahead of soon.” This is all piffle and the Democrats have turned the heat on under the frying pan and then jumped into it.

Despite all the unctuous asseverations that nothing will be the same again and that this is a human crisis that must unite the country, it is mainly political and rather tawdry politics at that. The anti-Trump media whipped up a state of frenzy and panic with no real evidence of the medical danger, initially to set the president up for responding inadequately. When he instead responded very effectively, they shifted course and without commending him on the lockdown, said that because he hadn’t developed testing capabilities quickly enough, the lockdown must be long enough to give the Democrats a chance of winning the election. (An economic depression on the scale of some plague from the Old Testament is all that could put Joe Biden into the White House.)

In fact, testing only establishes whether a person has, or has had, the coronavirus up to the time of testing. It is no magic bullet, but it has enabled extensive research that permits us to estimate the scale of this problem. Extensive recent testing indicates that in the “hot spot” of New York, more than 20 percent of New Yorkers have had the coronavirus, but fewer than half of those realized it.

Since testing has been so uneven among the 40 or so Northern Hemisphere countries that provide reliable statistics, the ultimate relevant issue is deaths per million (or another unit) of population.

Sweden, which has not had a shutdown but has taken some measures of protection for vulnerable groups, has had 211 deaths from this cause per million people in the country. That is one for every 4,900 Swedes. The United States, with all its precautions and protections, has 156 per million, or 1 in 6,400 people.

For various reasons of circumstance and swiftness and thoroughness of response, Japan, Germany, Canada, and some smaller states have better results, but the British (1 in 3,300 people), French (1 in 3,000), Italians (1 in 2,450 people), and Spanish (1 in 2,100 people), have fared worse than Sweden. Since about 80 percent of fatalities in all these countries are people over 60 with additionally compromised immune systems, much depends on the effectiveness of protection of vulnerable categories of people, and not on shutting down everything.

The agreed facts deduced to date entitle policymakers to come to a number of reasonable conclusions. Even more elaborate measures should be taken for people with reduced immunity. (The Canadian measure this past weekend of dispatching the armed forces to some homes for the elderly is better public relations than epidemiology.) The rest of the shutdowns should be ended fairly quickly.

Here again, President Trump has acted wisely in leaving these decisions with the governors and creating conditions where Democratic governors like Gavin Newsom in California and even Andrew Cuomo in New York will have to break ranks with the national Democratic leaders. They are working now on their last plausible scenario for salvaging the presidential election, while the governors have their own voters’ welfare to serve. Trump has got his eminent scientific cohort on his side, and lined up scores of eminent people in every conceivable activity to support his normalization plans, and respected the requirements of federalism in leaving precise decisions to local authorities.

There is no reason whatever to imagine the result of reopening the United States (with some precautions) would raise American fatality rates above Swedish levels, and there is every reason to believe, given the steps taken, that American fatalities will not be as high as 1 in 5,000 people when the crisis has subsided.

Every death is a sadness, but this is not a demographic threat or a public health assault that justifies pushing up to 1 million people a day into unemployment and the loss of trillions of dollars of value on the stock exchanges. It has been a severe crisis, but most of its severity has been the consequence of the panic generated by the irresponsible media, who thought they might destroy the Trump presidency at last.

They have failed again, and this is not such a watershed moment. In a few months, everything will be largely back to what it was within the United States. The big changes will be geopolitical: the mystique of the inexorable rise of China will be very faded, and the remaining credibility of the concept of the European Union will be in tatters.

Trump wins the political chess game at home in a clean sweep: the medical crisis, the financial rescue, the rebound of the economy, and at the voting places of the nation. And he will be the winner in the world. China and Europe have long been billed as rivals to the United States as the world’s most powerful government and population. We will hear less of that.

Elections

The Incompetence Smear

The First Amendment gives everyone the right to call any president any name in the book, including “incompetent.” But just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true.

If Donald Trump’s critics are to be believed, the president’s middle name isn’t John, it’s Incompetent.

Longtime Trump critic S. E. Cupp wrote in her April 15 syndicated column, “We’ve grown complacent about Trump’s obvious incompetence and unmanageable mania, numbed by the inundation of idiocy over the past three years. But now it’s costing American lives, and we are all still in the crosshairs of his ineptitude.”

David Frum had shared a similar sentiment in The Atlantic a week earlier, when he insisted that while the COVID-19 pandemic is “not Trump’s fault,” the “utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault.” Frum concluded his lengthy article in the same disrespectful terms that Cupp had employed in her column: “No matter how much he deflects and insults and snivels and whines, this American catastrophe is on his hands and on his head.”

MSNBC commentator Richard Wolffe was equally harsh in a March 13 op-ed for England’s Guardian newspaper: “The coronavirus outbreak has revealed the full stupidity, incompetence and selfishness of the president to deadly effect.”

President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic does not mark the first time his critics have accused him of incompetence. The New York Times editorial board has shouted it repeatedly from its Eighth Avenue mountaintop.

For example, in a February 17, 2017 editorial, the Times proclaimed, after quoting presidential historian Douglas Brinkley’s nonhistorical observation that President Trump was “just releasing comments, tweets and policies willy-nilly,” that, “If there is any upside here, it is that the administration’s ineptitude has so far spared the nation from a wholesale dismantling of major laws.”

Trump had been president of the United States for less than a month when that editorial was published. How could he possibly repeal innumerable “major laws” that quickly, if—and it’s a big if—that’s what he wanted to do?

In a January 12, 2018 editorial condemning President Trump’s immigration policy, the Times called the president a “racist,” “ignorant,” “incompetent,” “undignified,” and a “liar.”

No wonder the American people have so little faith in the media today. It is possible to disagree with the president without resorting to such invective. It’s also worth remembering that President Trump’s immigration policy has been upheld on multiple occasions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sadly, the incompetence smear is nothing new. George W. Bush was savaged in similarly disreputable terms by the left-leaning media and Ronald Reagan was, too.

With respect to Bush, Harold Meyerson titled a 2006 Washington Post column about the president, “Bush the Incompetent.” Meyerson began by asserting, “Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it’s hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president’s defining attribute.” Meyerson continued to insult Bush for an additional 750 words after firing those opening salvos.

Meyerson was not alone in his unfavorable assessment of President Bush. After polling a series of historians at the close of Bush’s presidency, CNN declared in a 2008 report that “the word most used to label George W. Bush’s presidency will be ‘incompetent.’”

Ronald Reagan fared no better with many political pundits. New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis accused Reagan of being “incompetent” less than a year into Reagan’s presidency. Presidential historian Barbara W. Tuchman penned a 4,000-word article in the same newspaper— “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” as the motto goes—dedicated to “proving” that Reagan’s “incompetence” was largely responsible for “a nation in decline.”

The American people know the naysayer’s game: Reagan, the movie star, was all style and no substance. “The problem is serious,” Tuchman thundered. Voters have “put in the Presidency a person who appears likable and avuncular on the screen but is not otherwise equipped for the White House.” Electing Reagan president once was bad enough, Tuchman insisted, but re-electing him was “disastrous.”

Was George W. Bush “incompetent”? Of course not. He guided America through the 9/11 terrorist attacks in heroic fashion.

Was Ronald Reagan “incompetent”? Obviously not. He presided over the end of the Cold War and he returned the United States to its rightful place as the greatest nation on earth.

Is Donald Trump “incompetent”? Same answer. No. Before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world, Trump had secured one of the largest tax cuts and reforms in American history, destroyed ISIS, rebuilt the military, maintained America’s status as the top energy producer in the world, fostered an economic boom that created more than 7 million jobs, and constructed more than 100 miles of wall (and counting) on the southern U.S. border, among other accomplishments.

Trump also got elected president. No one—absolutely no one—can do that who is incompetent. Indeed, many very bright people have failed to win the White House, including most recently, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

In short, the First Amendment gives everyone the right to call any president any name in the book, including “incompetent.” But as my grandmother used to say, just because someone says it doesn’t make it true.

Elections

Could 2020 Be the Year of the ‘China Election’?

President Trump’s forceful condemnation of China’s mishandling of the coronavirus, coupled with the Democrats’ reputation as proxies for Chinese interests and defenders of Beijing, give Trump and Republicans a key opportunity.

These days, consumers of the news easily could be forgiven for experiencing “pandemic fatigue.” The body count, the travails of the first responders, the massive disruptions to daily life—these narratives have become not just the lead story, but the only story, both in broadcast and in online media.

The truth, much as it may be obscured by our current obsession with all things corona, is that one day relatively soon, public attention will begin to shift away from the pandemic and towards other important themes. One of these, of course, will be the pitched battle between Republicans and Democrats, between President Trump and adult daycare escapee Joe Biden. When that battle is joined, however, it’s still unclear on what ground the two sides will fight.

While it may be tempting to imagine that President Trump’s reelection hinges on the public’s assessment of his pandemic leadership and on the degree to which the country has recovered from the virus-related recession, I would like to propose another critical theme that could tip the scales: China.

Everyone knows that President Trump places much of the blame for the global pandemic on China, and more specifically on its slow response to the initial outbreak and its failure to share information about the disease with the rest of the world. China tried to project a “business as usual” image to the world, to the great cost of the hundreds of thousands of people who will be killed by COVID-19, even in the most optimistic scenarios.

Those hundreds of thousands might easily have become millions, had Western leaders, including President Trump, not acted so decisively to cut off travel to and from China back in January and February. China, meanwhile, has deflected blame, even nurturing bizarre conspiracy theories that describe the virus as an American bioweapon.

In the United States, opinion leaders’ receptiveness to the China-is-to-blame narrative has largely tracked with their partisan leanings. Republicans and Trump fans have no hesitation in pointing the finger at China and its allies in the World Health Organization, whereas Democrats and Trump haters often make excuses for China and vilify Trump as the “contaminant-in-chief.”

At the level of public opinion as opposed to elite opinion, however, a recent Pew Research Center poll reveals that attitudes to China have grown dramatically more negative across the board. Even rank-and-file Democrats see China as a bad actor in the global tragedy of COVID-19. In short, 72 percent of Republicans view China negatively, as do fully 62 percent of Democrats. Since skepticism about the Chinese government is one of the few issues on which Republicans and Democrats can find any common ground, we might reasonably ask: could Sinophobia become an important theme in the presidential election?

Arguably, given President Trump’s bitter trade war with China, the Communist superpower was already fated to be a bone of contention between Trump and his eventual Democratic opponent. Since the Democrats and their media allies frequently criticize Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric and trade policies, and since Biden’s controversial connections to China through his wayward son Hunter loom as potential vulnerabilities, there was never any question but that China would be front and center in November. China’s role as the origin point of the current murderous pandemic merely raises the stakes, ensuring that China will be one of the top issues on voters’ minds.

President Trump’s forceful condemnation of China’s mishandling of the coronavirus, coupled with the Democrats’ reputation as proxies for Chinese interests and defenders of Beijing, give Trump and Republicans a key opportunity.

Instead of running in November to vindicate Trump’s leadership, which for all too many Americans is damaged goods, they can run against China and argue that the Democrats are beholden to the Chinese government and incapable of criticizing it. Democrats will counter, naturally, that Trump is a xenophobe. They say so constantly, and Trump’s recent decision to suspend immigration to the United States provides them with ammunition—not that they are above manufacturing their own.

The truth, though, is that nationalism, and nationally-specific solutions to containing and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, are the order of the day.

Borders are being closed, travel is being restricted, and national governments are charting their own independent courses almost everywhere. Even in Europe pan-European, transnational cooperation, which was always more rhetorical than actual, is looking more threadbare than ever.

In an age when the key decisions are made by national governments, therefore, based on a frank assessment of national—rather than global—interests, one can argue that Trump’s “America First” agenda is ideally suited to benefit from, and to embody, the new public mood.

Couple Trumpian nationalism with a clear and consistent message about China and the dangers it poses to the West—dangers to which the Democrats seem oblivious—and the president may have found an ideal formula to broaden his appeal to independents and even to some Democratic voters.

Just as some Bernie-minded Democrats voted for Trump in 2016 because of his strong stance on trade fairness, some non-GOP China skeptics may well vote for him this year, for similar reasons.

Thus, in 2020, the road to victory for Trump may pass right through China, just as it did before.

Elections

Trump Still Seems to Be Forgetting Politics 101

If the president does not lead soon, his people will find leadership elsewhere.

As Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced plans this week to let restaurants and other businesses reopen, President Trump told a national TV audience that he “strongly disagreed,” and as ordinary folks around the country were being vilified and arrested for protesting mayors’ and governors’ orders to stay indoors, the president remained silent.

On April 7, I noted that Trump, by subordinating his judgment to Dr. Anthony Fauci, et al. on when and how to reopen the country, had “placed himself on a path that the fundamentals suggest leads to political suicide.” The fundamental question of all politics was, is, and will always be: who is on whose side? Or, as Lenin put it, “who, whom?”

While any number of aspects of the current viral pandemic remain uncertain, the political side of the matter is crystal clear, shining, and flashing.

The political Left and the ruling class which it leads sees the pandemic as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break ordinary people’s resistance to its power. Accordingly, they—Democrats, all—have used their near monopoly of mass communications as well as the commanding heights of the professions, corporations, and government to frighten the people into obedience and dependency.

Having identified themselves as the saviors from the virus by right of “science,” they try to delegitimize opposition to their plans to consolidate their new powers. They want more money to distribute to favorites as well as to hire more people to enforce more restrictions.

The political equation could not be clearer: the ruling class is on the side of enduring and growing control of ordinary people’s lives, to design a “new normal,” while ordinary people yearn to recover their freedoms.

Hence, the basic political question is inescapable: Whose side are you on? Trump tried to escape it by striking what he thought was a good faith bargain with Fauci on a staged reopening of the country based on criteria that remained in Fauci’s power to define. Hence, he has condemned or declined to defend people on his side while hinting broadly that he is acting against his own better judgment. Not incidentally, Fauci et al. take every opportunity to discredit or to decline to defend him. Thus does he fulfill the dictionary definition of tragedy.

Fact is, trying to evade Politics 101 is a fool’s errand.

Who are the people who are getting arrested for walking in the park, or swimming in the sea, or playing with their kids, or for protesting outside the offices and homes of autocratic officials? For whom does anyone think that these people voted in the last election? 95 percent for Trump? More like 100 percent. And why does anyone suppose they voted for him? Could it be because they were hoping to elect someone who would protect them from having their livelihoods and freedoms taken away by power-hungry officials?

These people were not thinking that the ruling class would use the latest pandemic to come out of China, manipulate the numbers concerning it, and use it as a pretext. No. But they voted for Trump because they felt, in their bones, that the ruling class would use any pretext to do precisely something like this. That is why Trump is president of the United States: because these are his people.

Regardless of what Trump or anyone around him might think, these people don’t belong to Trump. It’s the other way around. Trump is the person for whom they voted because they expected that he would be on their side to protect them in situations like this. Now, the casus foederis having arisen, the wolves being at the door, they are on their own. Trump is not protecting them. His reasoning, any reasoning, is irrelevant. Trump’s voters are where they would be were Obama in charge, or maybe even Joe Biden.

By nature, Politics 101 (who is on whose side, whose side are you on?) is a tenuous, two-sided relationship. The ruling class’s power grab has left millions of Americans powerless. They hunger for political leaders to take up their cause, to lead a resistance against the powerful poltroons who presume to choke ordinary life in the name of science.

For more than a month, President Trump has basically played second fiddle to Fauci and Birx and their models. He has not challenged the ruling class’s incompetence, let alone its mendacity about the pandemic’s mortality, or even their most ridiculous assumptions (whoever heard of staying out of the fresh air and sunshine to counter a virus?).

Again, whatever Trump’s reasoning may be, it does not supply a powerless people’s demand for leadership. If he does not lead soon, they will find leadership elsewhere.

Elections

View of the Coronavirus from Abroad

At least the American national media have a plausible reason to dislike the president and to behave so unprofessionally. The disinterested antagonism of much foreign high-brow media is astonishing and has no such excuse.

Anti-Trump bias in the American media is profound and ultimately dangerous, because free media are essential to a functioning democracy, and the level of bias that has bedeviled this president is undermining the standing of the press and the public’s faith in the need for such untrustworthy media. In this sense, they are, as the president has asserted, to great approval from his followers, an “enemy of the people.”

That they are so regarded by millions of people is unhealthy, but not entirely unwarranted. While social media, talk radio, and the internet counterbalance the extreme hostility of most of the national political media, all the large networks except Fox, and almost all the metropolitan printed media except the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, are in lock-step in their constant propagation of hostile opinions about the president disguised as reporting.

The negative reaction of many is in fact reassuring; it would be worrisome if the U.S. public, whose intelligence has been amusingly mocked by such wits as P. T. Barnum and H. L. Mencken, were not disaffected by the failure of most of the media to report fairly on this president.

Nor is it surprising that many people are offended by the president’s self-centered view of events, by his exaggerations, untruthfulness, changes of position that are then denied or lamely rationalized, and other foibles that are unique in the history of his great office. Here too, it would be disquieting if he did not elicit that reaction from many people. That hostility is rational and not, in itself, excessive. It is, to some extent, balanced by the large number of people who find the president’s candor and unaffected informality refreshing.

Ceaseless Hysterics

The likeliest source of the irrational hostility to Trump in most of the media is that when he attacked the entire political class, he attacked the media in the first rank of his targets as an example of institutions that were crumbling, in their competence and their integrity. He did not, as is sometimes claimed, attack the political system.

During the 2016 election campaign and for some time after, it was suggested that Trump was a threat to the Constitution, that he was a dictator at heart, inexperienced in government, and a bulldozing financier, showman, and impresario of indifferent ethics with no acquired respect for the institutions and laws of the U.S. government.

This was the sort of attitude that incited outrageous illegalities perpetrated against him by his enemies in the Justice Department and the intelligence apparatus, and caused a large segment of opinion to imagine that he might actually have corruptly colluded with a foreign power to alter the result of a presidential election, an act so monstrous that no one ever nominated for president by a serious American political party would ever have considered it. It also was part of the explanation for the unfounded impeachment of the president.

Trump started his presidential campaign as an almost universal joke to the media and it is clear that the joke, instead, was on the media.

Underlying the disposition to believe such nonsense is fear and anger at Trump’s attack on the entire political class—if that class could not preemptively destroy him, he would destroy them. An adequate number of people to elect him agreed that the whole political elite, including the national political media, but excepting only the armed forces, were at least intellectually corrupt, and largely incompetent.

This was a reasonable conclusion after the greatest economic debacle in the world since the Great Depression, created by the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations’ equity bubble, (and blamed by both Barack Obama and his 2008 opponent John McCain on the private sector); and following the 15 years of Middle Eastern war that handed much of Iraq to Iran and created a huge humanitarian refugee crisis; and after the admission of ten million illegal and unskilled immigrants keeping working-class wages low.

The fact that it alarmed those whom he accused is not surprising, but does not imply that he was mistaken. Between the second Bush and Trump presidencies, the United States was in a trough of flat-lined underachievement that in retrospect was rivaled as the least successful in its history only by the years between President James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln (1849-1861), and between Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1921-1933).

Putrid Reporting from the Foreign Press

One of the most irritating habits of the hacks who infest the national media is their facile imputation of motives; sophomoric mindreading of newsworthy people. Thus, nefarious motives are constantly attributed to Trump for everything he does. Without straying into that bad habit, I suspect that the main motivations for media hostility to Trump are precisely that he ran against the national political media, draws out public contempt and dislike for them at his large weekly political meetings all around the country, and has flourished despite their relentless collective effort to destroy him.

Trump started his presidential campaign as an almost universal joke to the media and it is clear that the joke, instead, was on the media. No president in the television era except, on occasion, Dwight Eisenhower, could pull large crowds as Trump routinely does. The fact that Trump exploits Twitter as a direct line to his huge following, while denouncing that company’s management for lawlessness, bias, and hypocrisy, is piquant.

At least the American national media have a plausible reason to dislike the president and to behave so unprofessionally. The disinterested antagonism of much foreign high-brow media is astonishing and has no such excuse. The American political coverage of the long-respected Economist magazine has putrefied, as has much of the relevant content of the Financial Times. The BBC has been almost unrelievedly anti-American since World War II, except for its amorous interlude with the Kennedys.

But the depths are plumbed, the bottom scraped, by the Sandersite Guardian (a newspaper that is the crowd-funded ward of the British Left).

On April 19, it ran a widely reposted news story that drew from the president’s claim that he had “total” authority to implement the National Emergencies Act (an argument that has never been constitutionally adjudicated), that he was behaving like George III, with whom Trump has “much in common, tyranny-wise. Trump is more instinctive dictator than democrat, in the style of his favorite potentate, South Arabia’s crown prince.” The Guardian cited Trump’s threat to “shut down congress, and his enthusiasm for suppressing minority voter turnout. It’s worth recalling that old King George became mentally ill, since Trumpism is clearly dangerous to your health.”

It is inconceivable that any publication in the United States could publish such tosh.

A Goebbelsesque Pastiche of Lies

The threat to Congress was not to pay it if they did not deal with emergency assistance to economic victims of the public health crisis, and the mistreatment of minorities was Trump’s opposition to fraudulent vote harvesting through the mail, both unexceptionable positions. Trumpism’s danger to health was the Guardian’s integral swallowing of the Democrats’ spurious charge that Trump didn’t magically transform the decrepit epidemiological response system bequeathed him by Obama to test millions of people (which would not appreciably have reduced the number of fatalities anyway).

The Guardian blamed Trump for most of the American coronavirus fatalities, (which are modest when compared, per capita, to most European countries). The Guardian backed the Chinese government’s explanation of its conduct entirely, sanctimoniously upheld the World Health Organization, and accused Trump of scapegoating China to disguise his own negligence. The suspension of direct flights from China on January 31, which the Democrats attacked but now acknowledge was wise, was not mentioned. Trump is blamed for a worsening of the official Chinese attitude, and for blundering into a new Cold War. American influence in the world is crumbling and China’s prestige is soaring, they assure us.

This almost completely dishonest screed reaches a fierce crescendo: “the world cannot afford another four years of the chaos and carnage personified by Trump. Voting him out in November is the best solution. But what if, fearful of losing amid continuing mayhem, he tries to delay the election?”

Not even an editorial committee composed of my errant friends Max Boot, David Brooks, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, and George Will, would come up with such a Goebbelsesque pastiche of lies and malicious fatuities. Americans should be grateful that CNN and MSNBC are not as nauseating as this.

The Guardian piece was a cry from the heart of those who lost in Brexit, feel deeply the collapse of globalism, and cannot abide American administrations that do not prostrate themselves to advance the defeatist, decrepit, delusions of what were known, when they possessed more significance, as the chancelleries of Europe.

Elections

The Sour Revolution of Bernie Sanders

The genuflection of Bernie Sanders to the establishment represents the ultimate defeat of his “revolution” and the possible collapse of the progressive movement for the foreseeable future.

Truly transformative social movements usually complete cycles. They start with a crisis, build momentum, organize, gain power, and then institutionalize. The French Revolution combined intellectuals, peasants, and convicts into a force that the mighty King Louis XVI and his professional army could not stop. Their effort culminated with the king’s execution on the guillotine in 1793.

After this, the various revolutionaries had to face the question of which vision of that revolution would be imposed. Many of them did not survive that stage of their revolution. Like their former king, many of them were guillotined and, eventually, all of the elements they detested about the monarchy were restored under Napoleon Bonaparte.

This cycle isn’t unique to the history of France and, indeed, it’s the template for most “revolutions.”

What American progressives have learned through their own bitter experience but seem to forget every time is that their revolutionary program is incompatible with the organizational interests of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, the 2020 version of  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dutifully endorsing the approved DNC candidate—predetermined as it was—may have sounded the death knell for his movement.

The legions of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youth who knocked on doors and phone banked for Sanders in 2016 will be eight years older in 2024, regardless of who wins this year. The candidate himself will be 82 years old during that coming election cycle, having already undergone heart surgery once during this past campaign. Worse yet, his strategy of appeasing his Democratic colleagues has prevented any viable alternative from developing and there is no figure capable of being his successor.

Radicalism: Farm to Table  

After withdrawing from the race in 2016, Bernie Sanders started a political action organization known as Our Revolution, based on the title of his book (also coincidentally a 1905 book collection of essays by future Bolshevik Leon Trotsky). This was supposed to be the foundation for supporting progressive organizing across the nation, headed initially by Bernie’s veteran adviser Jeff Weaver.

Bernie’s 2016 staffers objected to Weaver’s leadership on the grounds that his strategies for television-based publicity were outdated. By 2017 Weaver was booted out in favor of Nina Turner, a former state senator from Ohio. Turner was more popular among the Bernie base than Weaver due to her frontline appearance as his surrogate, but in substance the group was neither revolutionary nor populist in its structure.

The chairman of Our Revolution was Larry Cohen, a former union boss from the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Besides Turner, other Democratic ex-politicians on the board included Jim Hightower and Lucy Flores. In 2018 Flores and fellow Hispanic activist Catalina Velasquez departed Our Revolution over a rift with Turner and adviser Tezlyn Figaro over support for the DREAM Act. Flores would also later accuse Biden of touching and kissing her inappropriately during an appearance during her run for lieutenant governor in Nevada.

With total revenue each year from 2016 and 2017 approaching $3.4 million it would be expected that Our Revolution made a massive splash, but its 2017 federal 990 tax disclosure listed salaries and wages as accounting for $1 million in expenses, more than any other category. The only candidate who was a direct recipient of funds in 2017 was Justin Fairfax, who would be elected Lt. Governor of Virginia and is best known for being accused of sexual assault during Virginia’s political crisis in February 2019.

The charade of the Democratic primary season is over, and progressive activists and volunteers are waking up to the truth that Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Joe Biden has deflated their prospects as he runs away with the loot.

Our Revolution also made $100,000 in grants to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee—a PAC that, rather than support Sanders or his fellow progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in 2016, had decided to urge frontrunner Hillary Clinton to “adopt” Warren’s policies. Most of Our Revolution’s grants, however, went to branches of the organization in Texas, Wisconsin, and other states with almost $250,000 going to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Then in 2018, the year of its first midterm election, Our Revolution PAC had the chance to change the Democratic Party and nudge it to the left. Yet according to public records, their expenditures amounted to a paltry $10,254 on five candidates—all in red-state congressional districts, and all of whom were defeated—compared to the $100,000 paid to the PCCC and over $187,000 in total compensation for Turner. This is in contrast to the more well-known group, Justice Democrats, that cultivated successful Democratic challengers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Another often ignored node of the senator’s web of organizations is the Sanders Institute, a nonprofit think tank headed by his step-son David Driscoll, who earned $110,006 in salary in 2018. Yet this think tank publishes hardly any content at all, with much of the “Research and Reports” section occupied by Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs department reports from the late years of the Obama administration and archived documents from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

It has a booklist that functions as advertising space for books by Sanders and supporters like Cornel West and Bill McKibben as well as various mediocre Democratic politicians like Rep. Rosa DeLaura (D-Conn.). Like the CEPR and the Real News Network, the Sanders Institute has Hollywood actor Danny Glover on its board of directors.

Will the Ducklings Follow?

The 2020 primary cycle offered the full range of emotions for Sanders supporters—including the euphoric high following his Nevada victory, the anger at the irregularities and blatant tampering in Iowa, and the incredulity of watching a moderator flout his denial of a sexist remark to Elizabeth Warren to his face.

But with the onset of the coronavirus quarantines freezing the race after Joe Biden’s victories in Florida and Arizona, they were forced to face the inevitable prospect of their candidate withdrawing without the race running its course. The three-year quest to seize the Democratic Party from within was no longer feasible.

Many of the organizations that built their activist strategies for 2020 with the goal of booting retrograde candidates had counted on Sanders or a similarly radical candidate like Warren winning. Just one month ago the Sunrise Movement, an environmental radical group, was “mobilizing to stop Joe Biden.” Their sister movement IfNotNow blockaded Biden’s headquarters before the South Carolina primary. Most famously an activist for the pro-illegal alien group Cosecha was told by Biden to vote for Donald Trump after he demanded deportations end in November 2019.

These three organizations are members of the Momentum Community, a shadowy group of overlapping activist groups centered around the Ayni Institute in Boston. On April 9 a coalition of eight groups, among them IfNotNow and Sunrise, signed a letter to Biden giving a list of demands for their support. Complementing it was an op-ed by Waleed Shahid in The Nation, communications director of the Justice Democrats, the electoral group that had backed Ocasio-Cortez and other insurgent Democrats in 2018. The letter was distributed by NextGen Climate America, another major climate activism group led by billionaire and former Democratic candidate Tom Steyer.

But that very same day Steyer was endorsing Biden while talking about the need for the presumptive nominee to reach out to climate activists like those working for his organization. If NextGen was demanding new concessions from Biden in exchange for an endorsement, why were its president and director simultaneously delivering his? The mixed messages from progressive groups in responding to the Biden endorsement dilemma show a disconnect between the rank and file members and organizational leadership.

While Sunrise’s leader and co-founder Varshini Prakash has stated that it is already “engaging” with the Biden campaign, local chapters tweeted that they were not endorsing the former vice president. While Sanders’ endorsement of Biden is a full-on betrayal, one could argue that Prakash and Sunrise are no better given their past shaming and mockery of rival candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg for insufficient commitment to their agenda.

Like O’Rourke, Biden has received donations from the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $50,000. While there hasn’t been a total admission of defeat by the letter’s signatories, even Justice Democrats executive director Alexandra Rojas held back from declining to support Biden in an interview with The Hill, saying they were focused on Congress.

The Whinging Wallflowers

The above examples do not necessarily reflect the voting base that supported Sanders in 2020, and currently there appears to be a mutiny among voters and high-profile activists.

Sanders’s former press secretary Briahna Joy Gray has vocally rejected endorsing Biden. Similarly, political activist Shaun King released a five-point demand list for his endorsement that included ones like admitting that Biden is “the architect of mass incarceration.”

Many #NeverBiden voters have coalesced around former Young Turks commentator and comedian Jimmy Dore, who daily vents his disillusion with Bernie Sanders, and there has been a revival of the movement to support a progressive third party such as the Movement for a People’s Party headed by ex-Bernie staffer Nick Brana or the Green Party.

But the clock largely has run out for these efforts in the current election cycle. The hard work needed to create an alternative in the form of gaining ballot access, raising campaign funds, and increasing voter recognition has been neglected in order to focus on entryist campaigns to take control of the Democratic Party. While this has moved the party’s message to the left, the leadership remains completely unchanged.

Biden was first elected to public office in 1970, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) career began in 1976 as a DNC official), and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was first elected as a state assemblyman in 1975. Schumer and Pelosi are not threatened by grassroots revolt, because their positions largely are chosen by colleagues, not voters.

For those who consider themselves anti-war, Medicare for All progressives this year will be more than a repeat of past disappointments. The genuflection of Bernie Sanders to the establishment represents the ultimate defeat of his “revolution” and the possible collapse of the progressive movement for the foreseeable future.

The charade of the Democratic primary season is over, and progressive activists and volunteers are waking up to the truth that Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Joe Biden has deflated their prospects as he runs away with the loot. The years of following their Pied Piper of Vermont have left them with nothing. No accomplishments, no power, and no future.

Elections

Wisconsin Shows Why Mailing Everyone a Ballot is a Bad Idea

While there are no easy solutions to the challenges of voting during a pandemic, an all-mail program would jeopardize the integrity of any election and suppress the conservative vote.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, many leftists are proposing a voting “solution” to ensure they can beat President Trump this fall. Their solution is to mail a ballot to every name on the voter rolls. Wisconsin’s spring election and presidential primary should serve as a warning for states and the federal government to avoid universal mail elections.

In the Wisconsin election on April 7, a record number of registered voters requested absentee ballots, but even the process of mailing ballots to voters proved too much for the government to handle. The nation should learn the lessons from Wisconsin and oppose all-mail ballot elections this fall.

Mailing a ballot to every name on the voter rolls is straight out of the left-wing playbook to rig the election in their favor. On cue, the Democratic National Committee and many leftists pushed voting changes to help only their candidates. A closer look at how the process played out in Wisconsin is helpful to understand the Left’s political calculation.

For weeks, Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, insisted on not moving the Wisconsin April 7 election, which included many local races as well as the presidential primary. Behind Evers’ insistence on keeping the date the same were marching orders from the DNC.

On March 17, DNC Chairman Tom Perez begged states to not postpone their primary elections and then on March 22, Perez repeated that instruction saying, “[s]tates can provide easy access to voting while still taking necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

Was this a plan to keep the voters safe? No—it was the DNC’s attempt to ensure Joe Biden received enough committed delegates so they wouldn’t have to postpone the DNC Convention.

As soon as the DNC decided on April 2 to postpone the convention, Evers immediately flip-flopped and called to postpone Wisconsin’s April 7 election and mail a ballot to every registered name. His suggestion was dead on arrival in the state legislature, but that didn’t stop him.

In the final days leading up to April 7, Evers and a federal judge created more chaos for the election by trying to change the election date unilaterally. The Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court rejected these changes on the eve of the election. Evers also proposed abolishing voter ID and witness requirements, measures to ensure election integrity.

The common denominator in all of Evers’ proposals was that they were intended to help turnout for the Left. Conservatives are traditional by nature and prefer to vote in person on Election Day. The fact that Evers issued a “safer at home” order and still planned on having an election suppressed the conservative vote.

A record number of Wisconsin voters requested absentee ballots for the April 7 election, yet the U.S. Postal Service failed to deliver the ballots. Personally, I have several friends and family who requested absentee ballots that never showed up in their mailboxes. If the government can’t even manage to get ballots to those who request them, how can we count on them to mail ballots to every voter who is registered?

There invariably will be problems like these from Wisconsin: “three large tubs of missing absentee ballots found in mail processing center,” hundreds of ballots returned to the clerk as undeliverable, and questions about ballot postmark dates.

Another big problem with universal mailing of ballots is that the voter rolls in many states are filled with outdated addresses, and inactive or dead voters, which can lead to voter fraud. Voters do not have confidence that the rolls are accurate.

Wisconsin made national headlines over roughly 209,000 voter registrations, which were ordered to be purged from the rolls according to state law. A local judge had ruled in late 2019 that those Wisconsin registrants who did not answer a mailed notice from the election commission in October 2019 should be removed from the list. The local judge’s order was put on hold by an appeals court and is stuck in ongoing litigation.

So those 209,000 names would have been mailed ballots for the April 7 election, contrary to state law.

Drastic changes to the voting process would lead to even more chaos. The Left thrives on using Saul Alinsky-style chaos to bring about policies that work to their political advantage. They tried it in Wisconsin, but courts rejected their last-minute changes. While there are no easy solutions to the challenges of voting during a pandemic, an all-mail program would jeopardize the integrity of any election and suppress the conservative vote.

The rush to a completely new system would create more problems than it is addressing. The nation should learn from Wisconsin and reject the idea of mailing every registered voter an absentee ballot.

Elections

China Meddles in Our Election,
In Favor of Biden

Given this track record of complicity, obtuseness, and appeasement, it’s no wonder the commissars of the Chinese politburo prefer the ascension of their useful, timid toady Joe Biden to the presidency.

A hostile foreign power openly meddles in U.S. electoral politics, working to cast discord generally and specifically to smear one of the two remaining candidates for our highest office. If Democrats were consistent about the paranoia they fomented over the laughably small efforts of Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, they would now demand immediate action to counter this nefarious foreign threat.

Only, this time, the adversary is China, and the declared target of their open election interference is the incumbent President Donald J. Trump.

The editor of the Global Times of China on Thursday posted a public propaganda video attacking President Trump’s candidacy and the reporting of Fox News. Global Times serves as the explicit media mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, functioning today much as Pravda did for the Kremlin during the Cold War.

Global Times editor Hu Xijin proclaimed that “President Trump faces the huge risk of a domestic investigation” that will stymie his reelection efforts. The Chinese state media functionary also assailed Fox News’ investigation into the origins of the Wuhan Virus as an “unscrupulous manipulation.”

In reality, Bret Baier and Gregg Re’s piece merely built upon an earlier article in the Washington Post by Josh Rogin. Both articles cite U.S. intelligence sources and firsthand knowledge of American diplomatic cables from two years ago warning Washington that medical research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology into coronaviruses from bats lacked sufficient safety protocols, risking the deadly viruses leaking into the population of that city. Both Fox News and the Post validate the circumstantial, but nonetheless compelling, case that COVID-19 originated through an accident that was subsequently covered up by Chinese authorities, with disastrous consequences for the world.

In an attempt to divert attention, the Global Times’ “Hu Says” missive tried to conflate the rumor that the virus was developed as a bioweapon with the theory that the natural virus was present in their lab, and leaked. More ominously for America’s election decision, note the clear preference expressed by the de facto spokesman for the Chinese Community Party: they do not want Donald Trump reelected.

It’s really no mystery why, as the CCP at last faces an American president willing to stand up to the corrupt and exploitative regime of Beijing, in matters from trade to espionage. Still, it’s jarring for Americans to witness such bold, blatant declarations of electoral favor, in English and using U.S. social media platforms.

The natural question this Chinese meddling compels: what do they see in Biden that encourages them?

The stark reality of Biden’s near-half-century as a swamp dweller reveals a politician totally committed to multinational globalism that puts America’s interests last.

On China specifically, Beijing Biden has been appeasing and acquiescing to the Chinese Communist henchmen for decades. Starting back in 2001 during Biden’s Senate career, a bipartisan group of pro-labor liberals and anti-Communist conservative hawks opposed China’s candidacy for the World Trade Organization. But Biden vigorously supported China’s participation, commencing two decades of mercantilist manipulation that devastated America’s industrial core and eviscerated blue-collar manufacturing workers.

Fast forward to 2011, when Vice President Biden remained immune to the obvious carnage China’s exploitation and cheating wrought upon America’s heartland. In fact, Biden then penned a New York Times op-ed incredibly claiming, “I remain convinced that a successful China can make our country more prosperous, not less.” By that time, America had already lost a staggering 2.7 million manufacturing jobs to China since its WTO admission, per the Economic Policy Institute.

Then in 2013, Biden brought his son Hunter Biden along on an official visit to China aboard Air Force Two. Hunter met with top Chinese officials and 10 days later secured a license to do business in China. He then confirmed an investment from the state-controlled Bank of China, according to an NBC reporter on the trip. Peter Schweizer in Secret Empires reports how Hunter’s then-tiny firm reaped a windfall Chinese investment totaling $1.5 billion, making Hunter’s Burisma shenanigans in Ukraine seem like pocket change.

More recently, in an April 2019 campaign appearance in Iowa, presidential candidate Biden actually pontificated about China. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks,” he said. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.” Even one of his Democratic Party rivals, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, pilloried that remark as “stunningly out of touch.”

Despite the harsh realities of the present pandemic and concomitant economic crisis, Biden still refuses to acknowledge the risks the Communist Chinese pose to America. When President Trump presciently restricted travel from China in late January, well before other countries pursued similar policies, Biden defaulted to the tired leftist playbook of identity politics, calling Trump’s protective preclusion “hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering.”

Given this track record of complicity, obtuseness, and appeasement, it’s no wonder the commissars of the Chinese politburo prefer the ascension of their useful, timid toady Joe Biden to the presidency. With their open meddling via the Global Times, China’s overlords make their choice clear.

Beijing’s preference will, in turn, surely crystalize the decision for many American voters now suffering dire fallout from the incompetence and malfeasance of the Chinese Communist Party.

Elections

Democrats Underestimate Trump at Their Own Peril

The president’s enemies have not figured out how cunning he is, because he doesn’t seem cunning—at first.

It is almost unbelievable that the Democrats have allowed themselves to be so completely out-maneuvered by President Trump in the coronavirus and economic crises. They are all calling for an indefinite protraction of the economic hemorrhage, with unemployment increasing by hundreds of thousands every day, even as the incidence of the virus declines.

The Democrats started out with every advantage: the crisis came out of the blue and burst over the administration. As soon as there was any hint of how aggressive and dangerous the virus was, the anti-Trump press went wild—frightening the public with visions of a bubonic plague that threatened the life of everyone despite the fact that approximately 98 percent of people under 65 who get the coronavirus, survive it.

At first, Trump was a bit blasé about “the flu.” But then, as he noted the potential scope of the problem and stopped direct flights from China on January 31, he was accused of “racism” and “xenophobia” by those pendants of the Democratic weltanschauung, likely presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

As drastic forecasts of immense numbers of fatalities started tumbling out of ostensibly credible centers of epidemiology, the new refrain was that Trump was a moronic enemy of science. For a brief shining moment, his supposed complacency about the coronavirus was linked to his skepticism about the dire threat of climate change.

With the one as with the other, the advocates, as they build hysteria, reflexively referred to a solid phalanx of “97 percent of experts agree . . . ” etc. And with the one as with the other, this is bunk. As new data comes in, forecasts become less dire—or, to put it in computerese, garbage in, garbage out.

Trump appointed the soon-ubiquitous doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to his coronavirus task force and swaddled himself in scientific legitimacy. (Technically, it’s the vice president’s task force but you would not know it to watch the daily press briefings.) The Democrats shifted fire to demand a total economic shutdown—from six (New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio) to 18 months (Ezekiel Emanuel, Biden’s economic advisor and brother of the egregious former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel).

Smiling like canary-stuffed house-cats, all the leading Democrats and their media amplifiers repeated the lengthy shutdown mantra and unctuously declared this was the president’s responsibility because he hadn’t been able to test practically the entire country. It was Trump’s fault not to foresee the greatest pandemic scare in a century, and not to know that previous administrations had left him a public health system little prepared to deal with it.

Democrats Do What Democrats Always Do

Demonstrating the executive decisiveness that he displayed for 15 years pulling huge audiences on his television program, Trump prevailed on the private sector to produce impressive quantities of medical supplies and to devise and manufacture on only a few days’ notice, easily administered and quickly reporting coronavirus tests. (Great Britain, one of the world’s medically sophisticated countries, has to send all its test samples to Germany for evaluation.)

Trump made up for the shortcomings of his predecessors very quickly, sent giant hospital ships to Los Angeles and New York, and had the Army Corps of Engineers turn the Javits Center in New York into a 2,500-bed emergency hospital in less than a week.

Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, set up an emergency tent hospital, by invitation, in Central Park—and was accused by the mouthy Left (one faction for which, it really is “the city that never sleeps”) of trying to evangelize New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was calling for absurd numbers of ventilators, and Trump responded at once and generously—to him and everyone else—as all conceded, including normally strident critics among the Democratic governors.

The administration had produced an immense financial assistance package that the Democrats tried to encumber with unfeasible amounts of pork for their political constituents and then tried holding up the increased payroll assistance aid that is popular, much needed, and moving quickly.

Just as the national Democratic leaders were getting into a familiar chorus of a lengthy coming shutdown, throwing up huge numbers of grumpy potential Democratic voters, Trump arranged for his scientific task force and a host of leading figures in every conceivable field, from baseball players to religious leaders, to agree on a multi-stage normalization plan. Trump told a press briefing that the president’s authority in such matters was “total.” In fact, it is a constitutional grey zone when he acts under the National Emergencies Act; as the vice president diplomatically stated at one of the press meetings, the president’s authority is “plenary.”

But if it were tested, by state governments and, in some matters of individual liberties, by citizens themselves, it is not clear where the Supreme Court would come down. The fluttering Democrats swiftly ventilated back to life the theory that the country was in a “constitutional crisis.” They hadn’t tried this one since Carl Bernstein was exhumed from his Watergate waxworks about 18 months ago, to announce that Trump was mentally unfit to govern and the 25th amendment to the Constitution would have to be invoked to remove him. (Both “crises” swiftly evaporated.)

Setting the Stage for Restarting the Economy

Having thus set the stage with incitements for the Democratic governors to oppose him, Trump produced his normalization plan, and 22 states with adequately minor coronavirus occurrences are encouraged to start de-escalating the emergency, including some large states, such as Texas and Missouri.

The media was obliged to publicize the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, who ticketed people driving to their church parking lot and remaining in their cars, listening to an Easter Sunday service from within on a radio, and the dissidence of local police chiefs who declined, when called about neighbors having an extra car in their driveway, to raid the denounced home to root out an unauthorized visitor.

Every informed person has always known that there was no way of wiping the virus out until a vaccine is developed. There are about 600 coronavirus-related unemployed for every fatality to the disease. The economic consequences of the shutdown are unsustainable and already completely excessive in over 20 states. A partial return to work was bound to be necessary long before there was a vaccine and testing everyone is no answer—it isn’t possible in less than about six months and, in any event, a person could pass the test one day and be infected the next.

There has never been any option but to stop the virus’s momentum, shelter the immune-challenged as thoroughly as possible, and go cautiously back to work as generally as possible, while assuring access for those who need them most, to useful therapies. Hydroxychloroquine (which the anti-Trump media has ignored because it might be a useful antidote and the president mentions it), and injections of antibodies provided by the scores of thousands of known survivors of the virus are but two of these being developed.

But the president has flipped the table: he has met the public health challenge and is “flattening the curve.” And he has met the economic challenge with an imaginative economic package and now with a scientifically economic validated restart.

The Democrats—in a year when they can’t do anything right except sandbag Bernie Sanders, when they defended the infamous Chinese performance for a long time, and upheld the corrupt leadership of the World Health Organization—are still calling for Americans to hide like moles, whatever the financial hardship and the danger of starvation, severe economic loss, and public demoralization.

Probably because of his gaucheries (such as reading the media an extensive supportive excerpt from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday), Trump’s enemies have not figured out how cunning he is, because he doesn’t, at first, seem cunning. In 10 weeks, with the inadvertent collaboration of his enemies, he has turned the political aspect of this crisis almost completely around, and is tweeting Democratic governors calling for their states to be “liberated.”

Elections

Suppression of Expression Obscures the Truth About the Virus

What explained the paradox of near paranoia to some inquiries but magnanimous tolerance of other absurdities? Usually, one of three explanations suffice—and often all three together.

Americans are acquainted with predictable but ultimately failed progressive efforts to suppress free expression by preemptive invective and politically correct finger-pointing.

To believe that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers revealed too many contradictions, too many lacunae, too many episodes of timely amnesia, and too many unsubstantiated accusations in their testimonies was chauvinistically to attack/smear/silence all women’s voices—at least until the same sort of memory-repressed accusations focused on handsy Joe Biden.

To express skepticism that current global temperatures are uniformly rising almost entirely due to human carbon emissions, that this state of affairs poses catastrophic dangers that may end civilization as we know it, and that this emergency can only be addressed by the radical restructuring of global economies is to be rendered a denialist, a crank, a fool.

But these parameters of censorship have a logic and predictability, given their race/class/gender/environmental orthodoxy.

Shifting Pandemic Orthodoxy

What explains the current taboo on topics regarding the coronavirus?

It is now a truism that almost every influential model that has been advanced about the spread of the coronavirus was flawed. They almost all erred on the side of exaggerated morbidity. But to suggest that in public is deemed heresy.

Even when the Imperial College scarifying “2.2 million” dead in the United States was withdrawn, or when Gavin Newsom’s “25.5 million infected” by early May in California seemed hysterical, or today’s prognostications from the University of Washington modified older models that politicians used to set policy, there was more ridicule leveled at the original skeptics than at the promulgators of such myths—despite the fact that some disastrous public policies resulted from assurances that hundreds of thousands would likely die soon from the virus.

The same strange reaction met most who suggested that the virus might have reached the United States earlier than late January, or that it might already have infected far more than once thought, or that it was likely to be less lethal than assumed from the commonly used calculus to determine its toxicity.

Similarly taboo was questioning the notion that everyone who died with COVID-19 died because of it, even when the dying and the deceased were not tested for the virus and the methodology of ascertaining causes of death seemed too often reinvented or changed weekly.

We were not to question the weird formula of assessing a virus’s morbidity by dividing the number of deaths only by the actual number of those who had at any time had tested positive for an active infection. Yet nearly the entire scientific community had agreed that the real number of those infected by the virus could be 10 times or more than the misleadingly precise number of positive tests.

Nonetheless, daily referenced fatality rates were drawn from such a flawed equation. Certainly, if such a procedure were used in flu cases—of requiring only positive flu virus tests to ascertain the denominator—then the lethality to case rate of influenza might well appear as 10 percent and send the country into shock.

When some frontline physicians, or a rough sampling of patients, or preliminary studies suggested that in some pre-ventilator cases hydroxychloroquine seemed efficacious in treating the virus, even the use of a medicine prompted a weaponized debate.

Supposed pre-Enlightenment rubes were now to be corrected by the defenders of the scientific method. After all, there were all sorts of newer antivirals being used off-label around the world to treat patients in extremis, but none earned quite the opprobrium of the antimalarials, despite the latter’s tolerable side-effects having been chronicled for decades in a way not true of more expensive, new designer antiviral medicines.

More Taboo Questions

From the outset, the world noted the close proximity of a P4-level virology lab in the hills near Wuhan. Its staff was known to have studied coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Most in the West knew from the prior 2002-2003 SARS epidemic that the Chinese government had habitually covered up the origins and transmission of that virus.

So naturally, speculation immediately focused on the role of the nearby lab, even as the Chinese blanketed the global media with the official explanations of a natural viral birth amid the wet markets of Wuhan. We were variously told that pangolins, bats, and snakes were the petri dish culprits for the global epidemic. They may be, but then, again, the recombinant viruses from them might have escaped not from a butcher’s hook but a scientist’s vial.

Chinese government propagandists blasted any doubt of their narrative as illiberal. Its methodology was often embraced as useful by the American media. If one discussed the possibility of some role of the lab in global catastrophe, the question was almost deliberately obfuscated and recalibrated as a “conspiracy theory” accusation (the Chinese were adept in using such a loaded American expression) that the lab had made a bioweapon or that a natural virus had been let loose intentionally.

But few mainstream observers ever floated such theories. Usually, they instead questioned the safety practices of the lab—a concern echoed by U.S. embassy officials in China—and wanted assurances from China about its abilities to prevent accidental releases of a coronavirus under study.

Instead, they were stonewalled. Stories spread of data destroyed. Researchers disappeared. Official dates surrounding the origins and transmission of the virus were altered constantly.

Yet the more China in Orwellian fashion tried to modulate its own prior communications about the lab, the more American media also joined its chorus of demeaning legitimate inquiries, and the more it became clear that China was terrified of any scrutiny directed toward the top-secret facility.

After all, on January 23, in fear of the growing contagion, China forbade travel in and out of Wuhan, but not to European and American airports that, for a while, kept such routes open. When they finally closed, Americans were blasted by the Chinese (and Joe Biden) as racists for doing what Beijing had done earlier. Only the U.S. media would accept that the Chinese were not racists for allowing their own citizens, at a time of contagion, to travel abroad to the U.S. in a manner they could not fly freely at home—but yet the Americans were dubbed bigoted for allowing them to continue to do so as well for a critical week.

In contrast, far less vituperation met a series of contradictory, constantly changing, and often downright illogical declarations emanating from the best and brightest at the World Health Organization, the CDC, the FDA, NIH, and from the Surgeon General.

We were at different times told that the virus was not transmissible from human to human. Travel bans were expressions of illiberal panic not reflections of ancient scientific quarantine protocols.

The FDA’s monopoly over test kits was supposedly the best and most rapid way to ensure that millions got into the hands of doctors and hospitals.

Orthodoxy told us that masks for the general public were at first selfish, then useless, then of some value, then essential. Infectiousness came largely from touching facial orifices with fingers contaminated by surface viruses. Or was it more dangerous to breathe the contagion in as it spread from coughing, sneezing, or mere talking? And were the viruses hitchhiking on droplets or aerosolized mists?

What were we to make of ventilators? Was their availability tantamount to a litmus test of America’s ability to defeat the epidemic? Or was it that most patients on them usually never got off but delayed rather than avoided death?

The Patience or Paranoia Paradox

 The list of these “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” constant adaptations and corrections was met with public patience. A forgiving public shrugged that science is never absolute but on a constant learning curve and the domain of the most moral and learned among us—thus deserving a tolerance of error not extended to natural skeptics of other topics.

So, what explained the paradox of near paranoia to some inquiries but magnanimous tolerance of other absurdities? Usually, one of three explanations suffice—or sometimes all three together.

First, to the degree an issue involved Donald Trump, the media and political consensus were predictable. He was for the experimental use of hydroxychloroquine; therefore, the drug must be seen as analogous to early uses of mercury or arsenic. If the Chinese lab was at fault, then Trump was deemed less culpable. So the lab was not at fault.

Second, we were to worship at the altar of Lord Pessimism. The more the numerators of death increased at a rate not matched by the denominators of positives, the higher the virus’s lethality appeared, and the more the public would be willing to put up with Draconian lockdowns.

The problem with the Stanford researchers and other antibody researchers was that if they were correct, then quarantines might be loosened a bit and normality might return sooner. And so they were not correct.

As I have written earlier, the psychology of the pessimist is always win-win: when wrong, his terrifying models are still efficacious in scaring the public into doing the right thing (and thus are often deliberately exaggerated). When right, “he bravely warned us of Armageddon.”

The poor optimist is trapped in a lose-lose dilemma: if right in doubting the end of days, only the response to the pessimist made his own hopeful reservations prescient. If wrong about a return of the Black Plague, then he is a veritable murderer, in a way that the flawed pessimist’s modeling is never held culpable for destructive shutdowns and lockdowns.

Third and finally, the subtext to the entire array of virus issues soon became the November 2020 election. The exalted left-wing hopes in Robert Mueller and impeachment were crushed on the eve of the epidemic. The coronavirus was soon seen as the magic X-ray machine that finally might penetrate Trump’s lead shield and reveal to the clueless voter the diseased organs of incompetence, pathology, and narcissism beneath.

A wearied Joe Biden, exhausted from the campaign, was supposed to recuperate at home. Refreshed, he was to be courted in photo-ops by would-be diversity vice presidents. Biden would issue daily folksy fireside chat takedowns of Trump’s buffoonery, as only ol’ Joe from Scranton could.

But the more Biden rested at home, the more he appeared exhausted and enfeebled—and the more his impromptu and teleprompted lapses terrified the Democratic establishment that they had not chosen a soaring eagle to talon Trump, but an albatross now hanging around their collective neck.

As a result, a virus became the opposition candidate of sorts. The scarier COVID-19 became, the more the need to shut down the nation, the more likely the economy would tank, the more it became certain that Trump would face a lose-lose decision in late April, as his win-win critics would either damn him as a latter-day Herbert Hoover who wrecked a booming economy or some sort of odious Wall Street financier who put profit over lives.

Either way, the New York Times will soon have pictures of the dead, with captions insisting the infected died due to Trump’s premature return to normal, or committed suicide given his needlessly long lockdown that wiped out small businesses.

Lost in all this conundrum were legitimate questions of the virus’s genesis, spread, and innate nature, China’s responsibility for deceiving the world and its culpability for thousands of deaths, the chronic confusion of bureaucracies—and any sense that the coronavirus was a deadly collective enemy rather than a partisan wedge.

Elections

Rally ’Round the Flag, But Not Around Cuomo

Why New York’s governor seems to be benefitting from the flag effect more than President Trump isn’t too difficult to understand.

An apolitical friend reached out to me the other day with an honest question: Is Andrew Cuomo the best governor in the United States?

The answer to that question is a hard “no,” but my friend is not the only one thinking that way, especially among New Yorkers.

A new poll, under the headline “Cuomo Threatens Trump” shows Cuomo’s numbers skyrocketing during his handling of the coronavirus crisis and has him challenging Trump seriously in a head-to-head matchup. Polls show the president’s approval ratings moving upward during the crisis, too. Both of these politicians seem to be leveraging their nationally televised Corona briefings toward general approval of their handling of the situation.

The truth is both of these politicians seem to be benefiting from the “rally ’round the flag effect.” Seen most spectacularly during 9/11, the “rally ’round the flag effect” is a term coined by political scientists to describe how Americans tend to favor their leaders during times of national distress. During “the most spectacular of international crises,” government officials can expect “a public rally.” This is how we can understand President George Bush’s astounding approval rating of 90 percent during the intial outbreak of “the war on terrorism.” Or FDR’s 84 percent approval rating during the Great Depression, even though some economists have questioned if his actions actually prolonged our economic burdens, and didn’t help alleviate them.

It isn’t too difficult to see why Cuomo seems to be benefiting from the flag effect more than Trump is. While Cuomo has been getting the benefits of the televised briefings, his critiques and criticisms have come mostly from the local press. The national press, on the other hand, has been fawning over him. And thus there has been little mitigation to the theory’s effect.

Trump, while also effectively utilizing his press briefings, has been dealing with adversarial media coverage that has been trying to squash the president’s improving poll numbers. Most national outlets, apparently frustrated with Trump benefiting himself through increased government transparency, have stopped showing the press conferences in their entirety. A rather staggering politically motivated decision given it is the only way people can get unfiltered coverage of the pandemic they find themselves in.

Additionally, President Trump faces attacks from political adversaries, mainly Joe Biden, who he is expected to face in an election this year. Cuomo has no such nitpickers because he is not up for reelection. In fact, the New York State Republican Party has coalesced behind Cuomo in a show of unity during the crisis. So again, it is not all that surprising that Cuomo is profiting from the flag effect more than Trump is. For every few points Trump gains, he loses a little at the behest of his detractors. Every point Cuomo gains is his own to lose.

Parenthetically, if Cuomo did decide to hijack the Democratic nomination from Joe Biden, President Trump would be quick to highlight Cuomo’s weaknesses. Nobody has a knack for doing this quite like the president does, especially since the president has had a front-row seat to much of the governor’s career. Suddenly, I’d imagine, the Cuomo polling surge would slow.

Lastly, Cuomo is both politically and geographically adjacent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who can make anyone appear politically competent in comparison.

Something well worth remembering is that the coronavirus will pass, while our leaders will remain in office. And so it would be a mistake to elect leaders based on their handling of this crisis alone. Especially since social science indicates we are more likely, for emotional reasons, to appreciate our leaders during times like these. Crises do hurt, but they are temporary.

Instead, we should remember that once this is all said and done we are getting the same politicians and the same policies that we saw before the novel coronavirus stopped the world in its tracks.

So how did I answer my friend who asked me about Cuomo and his excellence? I answered that from a purely political standpoint, COVID-19 couldn’t have come at a better time for the Governor of New York.

Prior to this crisis, Cuomo was in the news for signing one of the worst criminal justice reform bills the state has ever seen. New York politicians “broke New York’s criminal-justice system,” and the negative effects were felt immediately. Even Democrats had seen the folly and the danger of the bill. This is in great contrast to President Trump’s criminal justice reform, which has received bipartisan praise.

Cuomo’s poll numbers, now ameliorated by the crisis, were not very strong as the cost of living in highly regulated New York continued to rise. In contrast, Trump was presiding over one of the strongest economies in U.S. history.

New York generally does not keep its governors for more than three terms. George Pataki and Mario Cuomo both left office after their third term. Despite Andrew Cuomo’s performance during the pandemic, New Yorkers would be wise to continue that trend.

The United States seems to like to keep its presidents for two terms. Since 1980, only one of our presidents was unable to secure a second term.

New Yorkers and Americans alike would be wise to maintain these two trends by keeping Trump and booting Cuomo during their respective elections. If we do, when this coronavirus crisis is but a painful memory—and that day will come—we will benefit from policies and politicians who work for us day-to-day, and not only when we are rallying around them.

Elections

Will the Republican Establishment Survive the Coronavirus?

There’s going to be less tolerance for the kind of Republican who would make things harder for working people by subsidizing the loss of their labor power to Central American migrants or wage slaves in China.

The big unresolved question of the Trump era is simple: What happens when Donald Trump’s presidency is over? Has the Republican Party really become more “populist,” or will the GOP revert to the neoliberal, neoconservative status quo?

The coronavirus has brought this question into focus like never before. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a supposed populist of the Left, dropped out in a humiliating and shameful surrender, right in the middle of an economic catastrophe that threatens to wipe out what is left of the working class he claims to champion. For his part, Donald Trump has not turned out to be, so far, as aggressive a populist as some might have expected.

President Trump will run whatever campaign he likes, but the playbook has practically been written for him: double down on the pro-worker, anti-globalization politics that won him his first term. Joe Biden, a barely conscious, Wall Street plutocrat—and a stooge for China, no less—is an obvious and easy foil.

Whatever happens this November, it is questionable whether the establishment politics that came before Trump will survive an unprecedented pandemic that is already testing the GOP’s commitment to “limited government.” The coronavirus has unleashed an enormous bi-partisan appetite for spending that is not likely to subside when the immediate health threat goes away.

The meltdown is only just getting started, but the signs of devastation are sobering.

Last week was Wall Street’s best since 1974, but that was cold comfort for 22 million Americans currently out of work. For perspective, that’s one-in-seven U.S. workers. Some predict the unemployment rate could swell to 30 percent, worse than the Great Depression.

When the full impact hits, will Americans tolerate austerity from their government? For the undeceived, the answer is obvious. Of course not. Especially when Wall Street is getting generous bailouts, how will admonitions to stick to “limited government” sound to millions of people living in destitution?

Republican Heterodoxy

The GOP has already signed on with a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest in history, and the national debt is reaching its highest level since World War II.  At the risk of reading too much into historical parallels, Republicans need to prepare for the possibility that the coronavirus really is a crisis on the scale of the Great Depression, one which, consequently, will force lawmakers to reimagine the role that national governments play in keeping the economy working for regular people.

The Great Depression gave life to the New Deal. As Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) looks for another quarter-trillion dollars to keep small businesses afloat, one Republican senator is looking far beyond that. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the cerebral freshman and a leading voice of populism, wants to protect “every single job” in the country by having the federal government “cover 80 percent of wages for workers at any U.S. business, up to the national median wage, until this emergency is over.” He also wants to give businesses a bonus for rehiring workers.

Hawley’s Republican colleagues will balk at this plan as an incontinent breach of party orthodoxy—a socialist scheme, even. But the truth is that the “fiscal conservatism” of the Republican Party has long been a myth, and not just because of their failure of nerve.

It was President Reagan who exploded the debt, after all, and Trump has been as happy a spender as any president since. Thrift is hardly a virtue in Washington. It’s about priority. There’s always somehow cash to spend on pointless wars and corporate bailouts, but somehow there never seems to be enough for working people whose lives have become materially worse over the last several decades.

Goodbye (and Good Riddance) to Libertarian Politics 

The coronavirus crisis may vindicate one of the central ideas of Hawley and like-minded populists: at some point, the state has some kind of responsibility to the public good, a responsibility on which it alone has the power to make good.

At any rate, it is hard to see this crisis making Republican voters, who are increasingly poor, more tolerant of the kind of libertarian establishment politics that had already fallen out of fashion in 2016.

It was a certain neglect, a “laissez-faire” disregard for the role of government in public stewardship, that helped create the inequities of the social order that voters then rejected by voting for an outsider, a figure who promised finally to enforce immigration laws and put government muscle behind protecting American workers from globalization. If the inequities of that order were intolerable then, the stresses of the new financial crisis may tip the Jenga Tower over.

There’s going to be less tolerance for the kind of Republican who would make things harder for working people by subsidizing the loss of their labor power to Central American migrants or wage slaves in China. Myths about the benevolence of investment bankers, the all-provisioning power of the free market, and the necessity of government staying on the sidelines while ordinary people suffer, will fail to resonate when this crisis has run its course.

When the emergency passes, Republicans may find that the coronavirus will have left the mark of populism that Trump unleashed—and which figures like Hawley champion—on the party for good, perhaps even in spite of Trump himself.

Until now, Trump’s campaign has focused a great deal on socialism, rather than the globalization that he campaigned against in 2016, thanks to the tenacity of an establishment that has ridden his coattails with superficial endorsements of the “America First” agenda. At some point, though, the buck stops with the president. It was only days ago that the DHS was planning to hand out thousands more H-2B visas to foreign workers, right in the middle of the worst economic meltdown in generations.

If Americans are really heading for a depression, then running on an establishment message would be untimely at best.

But there are signs of a pivot already in the Trump movement. Charlie Kirk, who enjoys a rapport with Trump and his family, to the chagrin of those on the Right who think he is a sellout for the donor class, called for the suspension of all workers’ visas until the pandemic passes. This was a 180-degree turn from the very recent past.

As for the party, while it would be foolish to read the GOP’s stimulus spending as some willful shift in principle, it is possible that circumstance will force Republican leaders to chart an unprecedented course. There aren’t many reasons at the moment to find the “return to normalcy” being offered by Joe Biden and the Democrats very plausible.

Elections

Political Elite Plays Its Last Card

Joe Biden is just a muddled amalgam of 40 years at the public trough, an arthritic wheelhorse in a machine that has broken down.

Every day, the battle lines are drawn more clearly for what promises to be a memorable election. The Democrats infamously lumbered the president with an investigation into his relations with Russia that they knew to be unfounded. Then they attempted a completely spurious impeachment proceeding (with no believable evidence that he had committed the alleged offenses which, in any case, were not impeachable).

And now, in response to a fortuitous virus pandemic, they purport to require President Trump to commit political suicide by shutting down the economy for so long that the soon-to-be 30 million unemployed will turn him out on election day.

It is another phantasmagorical expedition of a desperate political elite playing its last card, but it is an engrossing spectacle.

The Democrats’ war plan is emerging. It is the last stand of a party that has fought the most tenacious tooth-and-nail extension of a tight election in American political history.

It seemed darkest after the Russian investigation and impeachment had floundered to their pitiful ends, and their chosen candidate stumbled badly while they were in danger of nominating a raving, though democratic, Marxist. Michael Bloomberg could only buy five delegates in American Samoa in a five-month, $937 million campaign extravaganza. Yet, somehow, the Democratic Party elders resurrected their lost leader, former Vice President Joe Biden, and carried him to the finish line in an impressive display of professional organization and party discipline.

Whatever Sticks

Then the coronavirus epidemic miraculously appeared, just when all hope seemed lost. They lunged to seize their last, best, chance. They accused the president of responding to the virus frivolously, but he shaped up quickly and got ahead of the play by shutting down direct flights from China on January 31.

Then Democrats and their abettors in the press accused Trump of ignoring science, which was quickly aggregated up to an accusation of being an anti-science know-nothing. He dodged that one by setting up a task force, officially led by the vice president, and packed with unquestionable experts in the relevant fields of public health administration and infectious diseases. There was a general consensus for a drastic shutdown to break the momentum of the pandemic, to “flatten the curve.”

The Democrats and their media partisans whipped up a state of panic and conjured a virtual Old Testament plague that mortally threatened everyone. The media and public hysteria were such that the president had to put himself at the head of the scientists, allow the wild statistical modeling that forecast horrifying numbers of fatalities to grip the nation, shut the country down, and then as the virus responded to the draconian measures taken to slow it, take the credit for containing the illness.

The Democrats then demanded a prolonged shutdown to assure an economic depression that would destroy the president’s greatest reelection argument: prosperity, which his policies had generated. The rationale was that the president had failed to intuit that the medieval medical testing system he had inherited from the “OBiden-bama” Administration (Biden’s formulation), should have been dragged into readiness for this crisis before there was any sign of it, and before it was acknowledged that the coronavirus could be transmitted between people.

The official and media Democrats preemptively denounced any suggestion of reopening the country before the disease had been completely extirpated as inhuman disdain for the sanctity of life. Trump’s daily press briefings were turned by his media enemies into undignified efforts to taunt, trap, and debate with the president. He was effectively accused (by the party of 10th-month abortions and easy-access euthanasia) of monetizing life and putting filthy lucre ahead of people.

But the United States has 700 people unemployed by the response to the coronavirus for every fatality that it has caused, 18 million newly unemployed as of Wednesday. The average age of the deceased is almost 80 and the unemployed are people in their prime, many with young families.

Trump and his treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stole the Democrats’ thunder with a $6 trillion financial assistance and liquidity package, carrying benefits that will outlast the public health crisis, while beating back most of the absurd measures the Democrats tried to insert to enthrone organized labor and promulgate their Green Terror.

A Struggle Unlike Any Other

The Democrats have moved to the left to try to hang on to all of Senator Bernie Sanders’s voters. Former President BarackObama declared that the times and the country and he have all changed (i.e. lurched to the left). They have also claimed that the African-Americans are suffering unduly, because of the “systemic racism,” that afflicts the country. Most Americans know we are not a racist country and are tired of the Democratic lashings of guilt.

The Democrats have also launched their offensive to get mail-in ballots, which essentially is a way to circumvent the crackdown on voting by noncitizens who entered the country illegally, and to deliver herniating quantities of questionably authentic Democratic ballots where needed. It has become a broad-front war, after four years of unceasing political struggle unlike anything in the country’s history. It is a choice between traditional activist American government slightly right of center, in the Nixon-Reagan tradition, but with redoubled muscularity, and the angry, nasty Left, running against a president who is easy to attack and to defame, but who has a perceptive grasp of where the silent, patriotic, God-fearing American majority resides.

The Democrats are reduced to dilatory tactics—unctuous pleas for more testing, anything to prolong the shutdown. But their tactical weakness is that now that the virus is starting to recede, and the country is much more worried by the specter of economic disaster, the people know which party wants to get them back to work and which party does not; and which party is more identified with the campaign to induce false panic.

The Democrats’ argument about Trump not doing enough to advance testing is arcane and easily topped by reference to fierce Democratic opposition to his shutdown of direct flights from China, which the president’s senior scientists, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, acknowledge saved thousands of lives.

The president has assembled an immense number of prominent people to associate themselves with some sort of economic relaunch plan; and has announced that specific implementation will be left to the states, thus partially collegializing his decision and devolving part of the responsibility for implementation. He will make it the patriotic duty of everyone to restore prosperity, as it has been to self-isolate.

Desperation Time

The Democrats will be left hoping for a flare-up of the disease and advocating policies certain to prolong economic misery. They have been outmaneuvered, though that is not obvious because of the indignity of the president’s bear-baiting sessions with his media enemies.

Trump not only has the high ground and the burning cause of regaining prosperity, but he will also win the single combat war. The Democrats try to hide Joe Biden, and the lockdown has helped. But eventually, he will have to face Trump, and he is not remotely as forceful, accomplished, or formidable a chief. Trump has many infelicities and is an exhausting president, but he is quite effective and has been very successful, including in managing the greatest crisis the country has faced since the end of the Vietnam War.

Beyond that, whether this could be articulated by them or not, about half the country thinks the Democrats now are led and applauded by a media echo chamber of atheist elitists who want gays to dictate popular culture, regard abortion and childbirth as equivalent events, want to replace fossil fuels with wind and sun, eliminate defense spending and have a real dialogue with the world instead, mock and oppress all the churches except Islam (whose excesses assist in the forward march of paganism), and elevate barrio poseurs as guardians of a new intellectualism. It won’t fly.

The indestructible soul of America is not having it. The Bushes were unwitting enablers, the Clintons were corruptible opportunists, Obama was a fraud elevated because of the need to break the glass ceiling of color for the nation’s highest office. Biden is just a muddled amalgam of 40 years at the public trough, an arthritic wheelhorse in a machine that has broken down.

Elections

The Boris Conspiracy

It seems the nutters are suffering with a bout of Boris Derangement Syndrome—an affliction the relentless symptoms of which Americans will find all too familiar.

It’s a crying shame the pubs are closed here in Britain. One of my favorite pastimes is whiling away hours listening to the cider-sodden theories of affable, and perhaps mental, people.

Those who clot outside the pub as the morning breaks aren’t usual, or boring. You wouldn’t call them ordinary. Less discerning newspapers call them “problem drinkers.” Which, on the head of it, is true. They imbibe problems.

Their skin has that “borrowed” quality hewn through decades of service to the sauce, and the repeated iniquities their vocation bears. They’re far better company than anyone with LinkedIn Premium.

They have better names and better stories. Dai “The Milk.” Wayne “Brains.” Their problems are of interest. They might fix that leaking head gasket, only for their latest squeeze to have been caught working to supplement her welfare check. Their lives are dirty and real. Each day a vignette, and far deeper in substance than the contrived waffle passing for modern literature.

These problems lubricate their days. Solved only when another shuffles in sight ready to occupy the remarkable energies of its host.

I do wonder if these problems are contrived to enliven an otherwise dull life. Most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. We are hardwired for story. Perhaps, some like to live theirs out.

Here in Great Britain, we call these noble rogues “characters.” The character is the warp and weft of a fraying fabric sanitized by smoking bans and the LinkedIn guy’s sourdough.

The great British pub, “dying on its arse,” as the character would say, harbors fewer such characters with each shutter of the doors. The smoking ban did it. Guardian-types who don’t like pubs and lose their erections in worry that someone somewhere might be connected beyond the realms of missionary, deemed the character, and his pub, a curiosity.

A character is someone you like, despite his very human misgivings, his mild madness. One character of a pub I used to frequent told me that not only was the moon landing faked, he doubted there was a moon to land upon. “All bollocks, if you ask me.” He also, in the smoking area, made conversation with a pigeon named Stephen. One could sense Stephen understood the vague mutterings.

The character, by definition, is benign. The ying to this yang is that of the “nutter.” Nutters look like characters on the surface.

Both are broken. One is enlivened, enhanced by his scars. Like the Japanese art of kintsugi, in which broken ceramics are reformed, the cracks joined back together with liquid gold. Each piece of art is unique, its scars a quality to display, not regret.

The litmus test to discern a nutter comes with words like “Zionist.” My unofficial research finds that anyone uttering such a word has an 87 percent chance of being mental, souring—a nutter.

Conspiracy theories, this week, abound. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, beat his 50-50 chance of surviving the coronavirus.

This news is too much for some to bear. After hoping in public that the prime minister would not see his unborn child, those on the conspiracy Left now claim it was all a hoax.

Yes. A cranky “news” website, The Dorset Eye, published claims that two doctors treating Boris were forced to sign the Official Secrets Act after doubting he had COVID-19.

Twitter, being Twitter, detonated. That’s despite the doctors in question being named as “Shirley Knott” and “Ashleigh Pullin.” Someone is a pullin’ your leg. Surely, not?

That website, which waffles on about “Zionists” and other made-up maladies, later added a note claiming the post as satire. Not before “Official Secrets Act” trended on Twitter.

And not before Andi Fox, the chair of Labour’s powerful ruling body, the National Executive Committee, retweeted the quite obvious nonsense.

Fox, an ally of the now-defunct Jeremy Corbyn, later claimed she made the post by accident.

Perhaps, the sight of Boris thanking by name each of the doctors and nurses he accredits with saving his life, was too much to take for those convinced Tories are evil, and puppets of “Zionists.” By which, of course, they mean Jews.

The nuttery creeps across the cognitive spectrum. Marcus Ball, a professional attention seeker, and anti-Brexit campaigner, announced he’d submitted a Freedom of Information request to St. Thomas Hospital to unearth the “truth” of Boris’s recovery which he deems “too perfect.”

It seems the nutters are suffering with a bout of Boris Derangement Syndrome—an affliction the relentless symptoms of which you’ll be all too familiar in America.

Yes, the prime minister’s opponents, much like those of the president’s, allege themselves to be of the smart set. Brexit voters, Trump voters, are easily fooled and easily led.

Remember the Russia story? Yes, it did happen. Swaths of people were Salem-ed with the tale Vladimir Putin had helped President Trump hoodwink past Hillary Clinton and into the White House.

Once in place, President Trump’s agenda apparently involved boosting the best American economy for fifty years, raising the lot of the worst-off, and reasserting America’s position as world leader. This was all a Russian plot. Or something.

I guess if one believes that, (and many British and Americans did and do) then the fable of Boris faking his illness is entirely plausible. After all, they laughed at Brexit and scoffed at President Trump.

The problem for the nutters is manifest. The Conservatives, and Boris, are more popular than ever. A full 54 percent would vote Conservative tomorrow. After this settles, President Trump looks likely to enjoy another four years.

And the virus which almost killed one, and threatened to derail the presidency of another, is flattening. This week, Austria and Denmark announced a slow thawing of lockdown freeze. Spain, too.

The Swedish “experiment” in not house-arresting millions of people and shuttering the economy, might just be vindicated. They might show us how to live post-lockdown.

The Swedes have a nasty habit of getting things right. And theirs is the only place in Europe right now where one can enjoy a pint. I’d bet their characters have a few things to say about all this.

Elections

Leftist Oligarchs Use Pandemic to Attack Trump

These donors fund a Democratic Party that is creating the up-down coalition and destroying the middle class. While they try to make us blame the president, the mega businesses they invest in are using this crisis to break the will and the solvency of small independent business owners.

Democratic super PACs are exploiting pandemic panic to bash President Trump. Even if you don’t live in a battleground state, you’re probably seeing these ads, because they’re even running in deep-blue California.

Here is an example, a television ad produced by a super PAC called “Unite the Country.” The ad makes three assertions that are clearly false.

First, the spot claims that Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax.” This is a lie, based on an article published by Politico that misrepresented remarks Trump made at a South Carolina rally on February 24. The Daily Signal published an article on March 2 that debunks the Politico analysis. They write: “An examination of the video and transcript show Trump actually described Democratic complaints about his handling of the virus threat as ‘their new hoax.’”

It wasn’t the virus Trump called a “hoax,” it was the Democrats building yet another fraudulent case against Trump—this time based on his alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis. Trump was calling this a hoax similar to the Ukraine hoax, the Russian collusion hoax, and an assortment of other hoaxes, big and small, that have defined media coverage of Trump ever since he declared his candidacy.

Next, the “Unite the Country” super PAC ad claims that Trump “dissolved the pandemic response team.” This is another lie, spread by former Obama Administration officials, based on nothing more than a decision by Trump appointee John Bolton to reorganize the National Security Council.

As explained by Tim Morrison, a former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the NSC, “We consolidated three directorates into one. This eliminated layers in the reporting chain and in the accountability chain.”

So Trump didn’t “dissolve” the pandemic response team. If anything he improved it, by consolidating a few bureaucracies and streamlining the lines of communication.

Finally, this Trump-bashing ad claims the president “allowed the virus to spread across the country.” This too, is a lie, or at the least, a gross distortion, because it ignores the way so many other players were not only slower than Trump to respond to the pandemic but were critical of Trump’s decisive early actions to fight the pandemic.

Good examples of this, including video clips, can be found in a March 27 Tim Pool video in which he describes how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also delayed the lockdown—aggressively resisted imposing a lockdown, in fact—yet the media is propping him up as a savior while blaming Trump.

Another super PAC, “Priorities USA,” is airing television ads that use the virus crisis to attack Trump. One of the group’s ads, which can be viewed on the Priorities USA Twitter page, selectively quotes the president’s remarks where he allegedly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. But everyone downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, especially Democrats and their media allies. Examples abound.

On February 25, nearly a month after Trump enacted a ban on air travel from China, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a public appearance in San Francisco’s Chinatown and said, “there’s no reason tourists or locals should be staying away from the area because of coronavirus concerns.”

The initial response by the media was even worse. As reported in Real Clear Politics:

Much of the media response was to downplay this harbinger of the deadly global threat to come. “Don’t worry about the coronavirus,” BuzzFeed wrote on Jan. 29. “Worry about the flu.” On Jan. 31—the same day the Trump administration imposed a ban on incoming visitors from China—the “explainer” news site Vox was telling readers, “Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.” On Feb. 1, the Washington Post ran an article headlined, “Get a grippe, America. The flu is a much bigger threat than coronavirus, for now.” On Groundhog Day, the Post was saying, “Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake.”

As for online media, try to find anything on Google about how the media initially downplayed the danger of COVID-19. Apart from Fox News, targeted for its right-of-center programming, there’s almost nothing.

Who Funds the Trump-Bashing Super PACs?

This brings us to the question of who is paying for these ads. Who funds these super PACs? It appears that many of the donors come from Silicon Valley.

For example the million-dollar (or more) donors to Unite the Country super PAC include Californians Reid Hoffman, Richard Blum, and George Marcus. Among the million-dollar donors so far, only one non-Californian is represented: Yaron Minsky from New York.

Donors to the Priorities USA super PAC, somewhat more dispersed, include Donald Sussman from New York, Marsha Laufer from Florida, George Marcus from California, and Seth Klarman from Massachusetts.

It is important to highlight these super PACs and who funds them because they represent yet another outlet for the billions that are pouring into the 2020 election cycle to support Democratic candidates and causes. And that’s important because the financial power of the Democratic Party amplifies every aspect of the threat it presents to Americans.

Of course, politics is dirty and lies are commonplace in political campaigns. But Republicans don’t have a street army of paid union operatives, they don’t have the urban political machines run by and paid for by public-sector unions, and especially since Donald Trump offered voters an economic nationalist agenda, populist Republicans no longer have the backing of large corporations or the financial sector.

And, apart from libertarian super-donors who only back Republicans if they are indistinguishable from globalist Democrats, Republicans do not have the backing of individual billionaire super-donors.

But Democrats do. And perhaps these Democratic super-donors should reflect on what might happen if the populist movement and economic renaissance brewing in America isn’t contained and then broken by things like this most recent and apparently semi-permanent new state of emergency. Because when Democratic lobbyists and liberal think tanks successfully pushed for donor disclosure and transparency, they were making a simple and accurate calculation: conservative donors are more likely to be harassed than liberal donors.

This disparity has played out for years and is worse now more than ever.

If an individual super donor is audacious enough to contribute big bucks to a campaign or cause that threatens the interests of public-sector unions, or any other liberal power center from the plaintiff’s bar to the environmentalist lobby to the identity politics industry—much less the excommunicable sin of questioning “free trade” and “open borders”—they will become victims of relentless and professionally choreographed harassment. Their children will be harassed at school. Busloads of pumped-up activists will descend on their front lawns. Their businesses will be picketed and boycotted. Their vendors and their customers will be threatened. Sometimes this harassment will extend to vandalism and violence. This is a fact of life for conservative donors.

It is not a fact of life for liberal Democratic donors. But these billionaires are the ones who have decided to destroy Trump, not because of his pugnacious disposition, but because of his economic nationalism. Trump’s policies, not his disposition, are helping ordinary working families in America; but these same policies threaten the financial interests of these billionaires. Their business deals with China are threatened. Their insanely profitable climate change scams are threatened. Their ability to import cheap labor and export jobs is threatened.

President Trump, and the movement he’s catalyzed, is an existential threat to globalist billionaires who view this nation the way a Romneyesque corporate raider would view a target company: load it up with debt, replace the workers with cheap substitutes, sell off the assets, take out all the cash as dividends and management bonuses, then fire everyone, declare bankruptcy and walk away with wheelbarrows filled with loot.

Donors to Democratic super PACs should understand that an open secret is not a secret. Everyone knows who is paying for all of this. These Democratic super PAC donors are often the same individuals who own and control and dominate online and offline media, finance, and entertainment. These individuals are the source of money for these despicable ads. These Democratic super donors are the top of the pyramid, with the bottom being Antifa thugs, union bosses, and well-paid ballot-harvesting operatives.

These donors fund a Democratic Party that is creating the up-down coalition and destroying the middle class. While they try to make us blame the president, the mega businesses they invest in are using this crisis to break the will and the solvency of small, independent business owners. It is these American billionaires who implicitly collude with Chinese oligarchs, with whom they have more in common than ordinary Americans, to destroy this nation.

Elections

Are We Witnessing a Targeted Hit Against Trump Voters?

If you tried to design an attack against the president’s supporters, you couldn’t do better than what the experts have done in the name of public health.

The debate about “reopening the economy” is a phony debate.

It’s phony because “the economy” isn’t shut down. Far from it. Walmart is still open. Dollar General is open. Amazon is open. Alibaba is open.

It just so happens that the big-box mass merchandisers and online retailers responsible for flooding our country with crap from Communist China are open.

Meanwhile, other, very specific parts of the country are shut down.

Family-owned shops and workshops, the backbone of America, are closed. Fast-food franchises remain open—drive-through windows are operating at full tilt—but independently owned restaurants are shuttered or trying to survive at diminished capacity doing takeout only.

Conveniently, if not coincidentally, small-business owners make up an important segment of Trump’s base. Like the president, they have signed the front of a paycheck, experienced the brunt of the well-meaning administrative state, and endured the predations of giant corporations and subsidized Chinese competition. That’s why they love President Trump–he understands what they go through.

While these largely family-owned, small and medium-sized enterprises are laying off workers by the millions, Amazon and Walmart are hiring.

In the energy industry, the big guys can weather the storm while small, independent producers are getting crushed as oil prices fall off the cliff along with demand.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Zoom and other giant internet overlords are seeing more traffic than ever as people are locked in and white-collar professionals work from home.

These are the same people in Silicon Valley who tilt hard to the left and censor anyone who strays from the official “we are all going to die” pandemic narrative.

Twitter gives a soapbox to Chinese Communist Party propagandists suggesting the U.S. Army hatched the coronavirus but bans Laura Ingraham for daring to suggest an FDA-approved drug could offer hope to the stricken.

Who else isn’t shut down?

Government employees continue to draw paychecks, even those deemed “nonessential.”

Let us pause for a moment to consider just how ridiculous this is: Show me a private business that pays a “nonessential” employee even in the best of times. In the real world, outside of government, if you’re not essential you’re not on the payroll (unless you’re married to the boss’s daughter).

The “creative class” of the coastal elites, academics, media and the white-collar professionals of the urban centers remain employed—and paid—while blue-collar Americans are furloughed, laid off, and deemed “nonessential.”

There’s a certain symmetry to this.

Americans who work with their hands and live outside the big blue cities are considered “nonessential.” Families who own their businesses, or work for a family business rather than depend on the government or a global corporation for their livelihoods are considered “nonessential.” People who want to go to church rather than an abortion clinic are considered “nonessential.”

Before these Americans were called “nonessential” they were called “deplorable.”

The same people who called half of America deplorable now call half of America nonessential. They never really liked them anyway.

They feel a closer affinity to their classmates from Harvard and Yale, children of transnational global elites, than do for their fellow citizens without such credentials.

These “citizens of the world” refused to learn any lessons from Donald J. Trump’s victory in 2016. Now they’ve found the ultimate weapon to punish those they detest for electing the Bad Orange Man president: lock them at home, put them on the dole, and let them eat grass (since they can’t buy seeds for a vegetable garden).

Do this and maybe they will finally learn to place their faith in government, not God.

Or they can find solace in the bosom of the human resources department at Amazon or Walmart, now hiring.

As agriculture consolidated, family farmers became farmhands for agribusiness giants. Now those who once owned shops can become buyers for one of the remaining merchandisers or find a managerial position in the archipelago of Amazon warehouses.

We are watching the corporate consolidation of the economy taking place before our eyes.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tells us government economic development officials and Nurse Ratcheds from the Department of Public Health will be in charge of all economic activity in the northeast. How reassuring. I can’t wait for their five-year plan!

Banks are poised to exploit the recovery programs while everyone else waits for the check in the mail.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to give private equity firms money that was supposed to help small businesses. The Federal Reserve is taking on its balance sheet the junk bonds Wall Street players used to destroy the real economy companies where all those nonessential deplorables once worked.

These vulture capitalists are poised to snap up the distressed properties shuttered by the forced shutdown of the non-corporate sector.

When we awaken from the fever dream of pandemic hysteria, it will be clear who has suffered the most: the forgotten men and women of America.

If you tried to design an attack against Trump voters you couldn’t do better than what the experts have done in the name of public health.

We need to restore our way of life—and make America great again.

Elections

It’s Time for the President to Address Our Economic Relaunch

If the president acts carefully and puts the issues squarely, he will succeed, the economy will recover quickly, and he will be invincible in November.

It is clear that the time is approaching that will be absolutely decisive for this presidency and for the country’s near-term future. The president will have to decide on an economic relaunch plan, and this will make or break him and his opponents.

The vast amount of posturing and accusatory liberties that already surpass what is normal in even the most contentious of election years will be of no account, depending on the outcome of the president’s decision of when and how to conduct the United States back to normal life. The Democrats have advocated a lengthy shutdown, leaving plenty of room to impute to them political as well as public health motives.

Obviously, if the country strangles itself into a profound and lengthy recession, the Democrats’ electoral chances improve. The longer such a state of affairs continues, the harder and less relevant it will be to recall President Trump’s achievement in generating an immense economic boom and one that profoundly bettered the lot of the lower half of American income-earners, whose real income had stalled for over 15 years.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm), one of the senior medical advisers of apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has advised an 18-month shutdown to await a vaccine. Of course, this is nonsense. But Biden is calling for mass-testing and intensive and time-consuming research and consultation, obviously stretching for months, before even a very partial reopening of normal activity. And he has joined the inevitable Democratic chorus that this further extension of the present shutdown is necessitated by the administration’s complete failure to prepare for such a crisis.

This is a bit rich, even by pre-electoral standards, given that the previous administration had done absolutely nothing to develop a quick test or decentralize the evaluation of test results, and that Biden and almost all senior Democrats blasted the president’s suspension of direct flights from China on January 31 and from western Europe on March 11.

The president will announce this week the composition of a task force to recommend and monitor a reactivation strategy. It is clear that the official Democratic position, that the president’s negligence is the chief source of the problem and that he has blundered into a public health crisis that can only be successfully addressed by a more severe economic collapse than the country has ever had, is nonsense.

From the start, the Democrats have pounced like fire-breathing rabbits upon any suggestion of calculating when it would be possible to reopen the country as a cynical and dehumanized monetization of the value of life. The implication all along has been that any amount of economic hardship was bearable to spare even a single life. This is such an explosive issue that the administration and the Republican leadership in Congress have been very cautious about when the country could start going back to work and school and normal activity.

The United States has approximately a thousand newly unemployed people for every fatality from the coronavirus. The average age of the deceased is in the upper 70s. All lives are of equal moral value, but the demise at a fairly full age of a retired person is not economically or strategically equivalent to the ruination of the careers and lives of a thousand people in their prime, and everyone knows it. This is the case the president is going to have to make.

The waters are muddied because there will never be the time necessary to develop testing to a point of precision about how many people died from the coronavirus as opposed to dying with it, and with clarity about the principal cause of death. Nor will it be possible to discover on any practical basis how many people have had the coronavirus but survived it without it being identified as having afflicted them.

There may possibly be time in the balance of April to get some idea of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, which the president has emphasized and the Democratic media have ignored, except when they were able to disseminate the myth that someone had died from using it. (It turned out the man had actually self-administered a very different chemical that is used to clean aquarium fish-tanks). We may also be a little further ahead in being able to deliver a therapy of injected antibodies developed by the 97 percent of people who have successfully fought off the coronavirus.

The president has already slipped about three points in the polls, not a drastic fall, but it indicates that the country wants an economic relaunch plan and may be tiring of the president’s rambling and often self-serving performance in his daily press briefings (though they have become a good deal tighter in the last week).

President Trump has accepted that he must decide—Harry Truman’s famous assertion that the “buck stops here” with the president. President Trump said he would consult the senior experts in every relevant field, including governors of both parties, but that the decision would be his, and he volunteered that it would be “the most important decision of my life.” That is what presidents are elected and paid to do—make the most important decisions that vitally affect the national interest and the lives of everyone in the country.

He acted wisely in bringing in public health experts, to squash the Democratic argument that he was anti-science, and to gain public support for “flattening the curve.” He has rightly received credit for the coronavirus fatality estimates having been scaled down by over 95 percent from the original dire predictions. He handled the financial assistance issues well, and now comes the biggest decision of all.

There is not the slightest chance to conduct testing on the scale Biden is calling for in an acceptable time before reopening the economy, even with the Abbott Laboratories’ simple test, and Biden and his advisors know that testing on the scale he is calling for is impractical. As we have known all along, we are going to have to live with this disease until the vaccine is developed and distributed. In the meantime, we must reinforce the segregation of immuno-compromised people and continue some restrictions on crowds and the proximity of strangers to each other. The therapies, if they really are helpful, as seems likely, must be generously distributed.

The president must remind the country that though it is often a very nasty affliction, something like 99 percent of people with ordinarily robust immune systems survive the coronavirus. The anti-Trump media cannot be allowed to get away with headlining every single future fatality as tantamount to an act of manslaughter by the president. And he should take a leaf from President Nixon’s “Silent Majority” address of November 3, 1969, when, after outlining his plan to withdraw American forces while maintaining a non-communist government in Saigon and saying that he believed it would succeed, he added: “If it does succeed, what the critics say now won’t matter. If it does not succeed, what I say then won’t matter.”

The country will hope for President Trump’s success—the Democratic leaders may want the pandemic to flare up again, but can’t say so, and the people don’t. If necessary, tighter controls may be reimposed locally from time to time, but the country must get over the cold terror that has been instilled in it.

If the president acts carefully and puts the issues squarely, he will succeed, the economy will recover quickly, and he will be invincible in November. He knows the gravity of what he must do. If he does it right, the exaggerated fears of disaster that will be expressed by his opponents, one more time and for the greatest stakes of all, will not occur.

Elections

The Tolerant Left Gets a Viral Surprise

As thousands, and their families, have found out, the virus doesn’t care who you are, or who you voted for.

It appears those who peacock their open-mindedness and compassion also wish death on those with whom they disagree.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a few challenging days in intensive care while his unborn baby lays in the womb. His chances of seeing that child were only 50-50 on Sunday. The “tolerant” among us hoped he would die.

Those who mock “thoughts and prayers” in quieter times offer “good vibes” and the mystical power of “healing crystals” which are proven to conjure cash from the credulous.

The same people insist with maniacal rictus that The Universe guides their lives, yet religion is “fairy tales.”

Yes, The Universe (which is not God—the tolerant are too advanced for such fancy) confides in their daily marginalia, grants them their wishes. It’s all about “vibes” if you’re prone to such piffle.

Their compassion casts a brilliant light. “I hope Boris dies” is the gist.

Now, I’m not a linguistic anthropologist, nor am I designated an Orisha in Santeria, but to hope someone dies, I’d imagine, bleeds on the negative edges of the spiritual plane.

Perhaps, my narrow mind craves a warping dose of ibogaine. Or at least a copy of The Secret.

Yes, the tolerant and compassionate heap hatred on someone with whom they disagree, yet the benevolent Universe admires their downward dog. Good vibes. Or something.

Still following? If any of this makes sense to you, please be assured it does not. Although, my third eye chakra is blocked.

A psychiatrist once told me you could tell a lot about someone by what they tell themselves in public. I’ve noticed a trend. Those sending good vibes and compassion tend to spew an impressive nastiness when the moment looms.

I’ve always thought the Left were the good guys. And one such good guy couldn’t contain his compassion.

Tim Owen, a Bristol restaurateur, graced his Facebook page with a life-revealing candor akin to the clarity one is said to enjoy upon the moment of death.

As Boris rushed into intensive care on Sunday night, Owen posted:

“I hope the cunt dies. Evil piece of shit. As are all Tories.”

His Facebook bio says he “prefers love over hate.”

Owen’s restaurant—the bougie kind serving sourdough for $20 and calling it a “taste experience”—he concedes, is “finished.”

Joining him, a Labour mayor who said Boris “completely deserved” his peril later got kicked out of the Labour Party and sacked by her law firm.

I hope it’s not too narrow-minded to call that “karma.”

The bad news for Owen and his ilk is that Boris Johnson is “responding to treatment” and is “sitting up and chatting” with nurses and doctors. He should pull through. Yet at the time the tolerant touted their twaddle on Twitter, his chances were touch and go.

Perhaps this is not new. When Margaret Thatcher died, many celebrated in the streets, and on social media.

Now, I’m no fan of Thatcher or of Thatcherism. Her tenure trampled many souls, staining them with dirty needles and the dole.

Yet to disagree is one thing. To celebrate, or wish death, is another.

Boris, like Thatcher, invites such bile from some quarters, because, like her, he’s rendered the Left irrelevant.

Almost prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, demigod of the Woke, is now consigned to the backbenches. His replacement, Keir Starmer, is wet-fish.

The “Nasty Party” that Corbyn spent 30 years fighting now pays 80 percent of furloughed workers’ wages. Their rescue package put plumbers before pinstripes.

That same party is now the party of the National Health Service, long a psychological cosh employed by Labour to brain the skulls of their weary voters.

Perhaps, the sight of a Tory prime minister clapping outside Number 10 in honor of NHS workers was too much for the compassionate to bear.

These last few weeks, many have taken Thursday evening to their doorsteps to “Clap for Our Carers.” Last night, they did the same for Boris.

And Labour has noticed. Fifty-four percent (the highest ever) would vote Conservative tomorrow.  Near three-quarters approve of Boris Johnson.

Perhaps the trolls realize those making society hum are the real influencers. And most of them voted for Boris. Nobody cares about Millennial Seb’s artisan mustache wax “journey” in the rolling of the ’Rona.

As Boris battles back, the nation, at least its sentient portion, has got behind him. Nurses display well-wishes. Children pen letters of goodwill.

Even my liberal friends, though they will not admit it, waited for Boris’s evening broadcasts much like they would “Love Island.”

Perhaps the reality had finally settled in. Few now disagree that Sunday night’s news didn’t rattle their nerves. If this disease can wipe out the most powerful figure in the country, then it can lay waste to any one of us. It became all a little too real.

As thousands, and their families, have found out, the virus doesn’t care who you are, or who you voted for.

Elections

What Democratic Party Rule Will Do to America

Just like COVID-19, the governing philosophy of the Democrats is rolling out of the coastal Democratic strongholds to infect the entire nation. And just as with COVID-19, if and when it does, nothing will ever be the same again.

Recent and ongoing events, historic by any standard, have emphatically refuted anyone who thought a black swan event could not possibly disrupt America’s 2020 election. Recent events might also suffice to remind us that yet another Black Swan event could transpire before the November election, creating additional political disruption.

Regardless of how America’s public health and economic fortunes withstand this current ordeal, most establishment media along with the social media monopolies are firmly in the camp of the Democrats. They will present everything that happens between now and November in a manner to favor Democratic candidates and harm Republicans.

It’s hard to win when nearly every special interest group in the nation is getting its pockets greased by policies supported by Democrats, and every one of them is using every financial resource they’ve got to elect more Democrats.

What’s astonishing isn’t that Republicans still cling to a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, it’s that there are any Republicans left, anywhere.

With billions of dollars pouring in from leftist billionaires, multinational corporations, and public-sector unions, the Democrats have set ambitious goals. The liberal website Vox identifies no fewer than 11 U.S. Senate races they claim Democrats could take and unseat incumbent Republicans. The politically neutral Cook Political Report ranks four races for the U.S. Senate, in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina, as “toss-ups.” As reported in The Hill, “changing demographics” (along with a stupefying amount of out-of-state money) have put North Carolina in play.

And what about Montana, one of four additional states ranked by Cook as “lean Republican”? To the delight of the Washington Post and the New York Times, popular Democrat governor Steve Bullock recently decided to run against Montana’s incumbent freshman Republican Steve Daines. Can he win? With or without additional black swan events, he’s got the entire weight of America’s Democratic establishment behind him. But Montana voters need to think carefully about the choice they make in November.

California Illustrates the Consequences of Democratic Party Rule

Montana may have harsh winters, but these residents of the frozen north are spared the inclement consequences of Democratic rule. They are, along with residents of states like Oregon (except in Portland) and Vermont, living in societies that don’t have to shoulder the economic deadweight and social disruption created by Democratic Party policies.

They need to come to California, where Democrats wield absolute political power. Then they need to visualize these conditions in every city and town and county and school district in their own beautiful state.

The first thing to understand about California is that it is run by leftist billionaires in partnership with government unions. In exchange for pension benefits that were breaking the budgets of California’s state and local governments prior to the COVID-19 sparked economic crash, public-sector employees have become a Praetorian Guard for the super-rich in California. Their tactics are brilliantly deceptive.

The premise of California’s Democrats is that they are saving the planet from wealthy corporations and saving the people from racists and sexists. Both of these premises are wielded like bludgeons to silence anyone who tries to question their policies. But the policies they’ve enacted have ruined everything. The poor are trapped in poverty, the rich get richer, and the middle class is leaving.

A quick look at various aspects of life in California ought to make obvious the failure of Democratic rule. The teachers’ unions in California have negotiated work rules that make it nearly impossible to fire incompetent instructors. They’ve made it necessary during layoffs to retain teachers based on seniority instead of based on teaching performance. They’ve set it up so a public school teacher has a job for life after less than two years of classroom observation. Their war on charter schools has denied the vast majority of students access to innovative and promising educational alternatives.

Even worse, instead of focusing on fundamentals such as math and reading, California’s legislature, controlled by the teachers’ unions, now requires high school and college students to complete an “ethnic studies” course as a graduation requirement. Review the syllabus for these courses to get an idea of the world view of Democrats. California’s ethnic studies courses indoctrinate California’s straight white male students, who now constitute barely 10 percent of Californians under the age of 18, that they are privileged scions of the most hideous oppressors in the history of the world. At the same time, these courses indoctrinate the rest of California’s youth to believe they are disadvantaged victims, who deserve special treatment for the rest of their lives.

And to mitigate this historical injustice, every major institution in California enforces race and gender hiring quotas. College professors have to sign pledges to document their commitment to diversity. SAT scores are ignored in college admissions and are on the verge of being dispensed with entirely.

The destructive impact of divisive indoctrination and racial and gender quotas are impossible to overstate. At what point does a commitment to proportional representation in all institutions become intolerably destructive, when this commitment is heedless of massive and verifiable disparities in aptitude? At what point does it render these institutions irreparably compromised?

Fighting Racism, Protecting the Planet

If California’s institutionalized racist anti-racism and sexist anti-sexism weren’t bad enough, equally unsustainable is its commitment to “sustainability.” California’s environmentalist overregulation is the reason housing is unaffordable. State officials have declared vast swaths of land off-limits to development, supposedly because suburban sprawl causes excessive “greenhouse gas” emissions, with the consequence being skyrocketing prices for what remains of available land that isn’t restricted. They have enacted escalating mandates for energy efficiency now culminating in a requirement for homes to be “energy neutral,” producing as much energy as they consume; all of this greatly increases costs at the same time as it makes these homes uncomfortable to live in.

And hiding behind the pretext of environmentalism, cities and counties that are financial slaves to the insatiable, ever-increasing demands of the pension systems, no longer have budgets to pay for infrastructure.

It used to be that cities built the roads, developers built the homes, and homebuyers became a new source of tax revenue. No more. Now developers in California pay for everything, passing all the costs into the price of new homes. Making it much worse, where it takes weeks to get permits in places like Montana, it takes years to get construction permits in California; dozens if not hundreds of different permits, and just one denial will stop everything in its tracks.

And then there’s litigation by California’s robust ecosystem of environmentalist plaintiff attorneys, using the California Environmental Quality Act to tie development proposals up in court for years.

This is the way of life that Democrats are going to bring to the entire nation if they ever get control of the White House and the U.S. Congress. Buckle up.

Lockdown the Law-Abiding, No Laws for Homeless

The COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed thousands and crippled the economy shines further light onto California’s dysfunction.

Governor Newsom refuses to suspend AB 5, a hideous new law that prohibits independent contractors from working unless their employers formally hire them. This despicable power grab by unions had already put hundreds of thousands either out of work or into legal uncertainty regarding their future. Now it’s preventing hospitals from hiring part-time freelance nurses, among other things.

And in Los Angeles, where Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti has just advised residents to wear masks when leaving their homes to perform “essential activities,” the homeless population, numbering in the tens of thousands, has been subject to almost no restrictions.

The irony is spectacular. This health emergency has enabled a suspension of individual rights amounting to de-facto martial law, and yet Garcetti is still unwilling to remove the homeless encampments.

The entire homeless epidemic in California is a result of Democratic policies. It was Democrats who pushed for policies to empty the jails and prisons of “nonviolent” offenders, and then it was Democrats who successfully pushed for laws that downgraded property and drug crimes. It was Democrats who successfully pushed for laws that made housing prohibitively expensive to those who were marginally employed. It was Democrats who built “shelters” at a staggering cost in the middle of stable neighborhoods, putting zero behavioral requirements on those being sheltered (no sobriety requirement, no curfew, no background checks).

What did they think was going to happen?

And if California’s remaining voices of common sense suggested that instead of building “supportive housing” at an average cost to taxpayers of $500,000 per unit, that maybe there was some more cost-effective, feasible way to get the homeless into tent cities on less expensive land, they were branded as lacking “compassion.” Meanwhile, the stakeholders in the Homeless Industrial Complex—“nonprofit” developers with for-profit vendors, public bureaucrats and their expanding bureaucracies, attorneys, and consultants—all got to wet their beaks, while only a small fraction of homeless got a roof over their heads.

What COVID-19 and the economic misery that follows will enable is further industry consolidation. For the wealthiest Americans and for multinational corporations, this is a rare opportunity to expand and consolidate their positions.

California, with regulations atop regulations—ostensibly implemented to curb the power of big business—is the epicenter of big business. The big lie—alongside the lie that Democrats are the party of ordinary workers—is that regulations curb big business. The truth is regulations empower big business because small businesses don’t have the financial resilience to comply.

Come this November, in states like California, legalized election rigging such as ballot harvesting, absentee ballots, vote by mail, early voting, and same-day voter registration will all be enforced, with billionaire-funded operations to exploit them to the fullest. Expect a push to lower the voting age to 16, and continued efforts to expand the rights of noncitizens to vote. Let nothing surprise you.

And just like COVID-19, this is rolling out of the coastal Democratic strongholds to infect the entire nation. And just like COVID-19, if and when it does, nothing will ever be the same again.

This is life in California. One could go on, and on, and on, and on. It’s true, the Republicans aren’t perfect. Indeed, they are far from it. But Republicans are not Democrats, and that makes all the difference in the world. Wake up.

Elections

Trump’s Leadership in Pandemic Paves Way to Reelection

The president has admirably mobilized the natural desire of Americans to rise to a national challenge, part of which is generally a rallying behind the leader, as long as the leader knows how to lead.

One of the characteristics of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is its unique political explosiveness. In order to deal effectively with it, President Trump has had to show a good deal of dexterity, which his always numerous and vocal critics have assailed as incoherence, or insincerity.

He has had to be at the head of public opinion, failing which his political capital would erode overnight and he would have no capacity for moral leadership in a crisis where the head of the government must retain it to be effective. He is slightly like the French Second Republic populist leader Alexandre A. Ledru-Rollin, who famously is alleged to have said: “I must follow the people because I am their leader.”

At the outset, the president was roasted for being anti-science, for ignoring scientists and experts, epidemiologists, and just winging it on his own intuition. He dealt with that by effectively taking over the public relations part of what is officially Vice President Pence’s task force, and becoming virtually joined at the hip to its two leading and uniformly respected specialists, Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.

Both have praised the president’s executive decisions and have assured the press that President Trump listens to them and follows their advice.

The president has done an excellent job of mobilizing the private sector, kicking around companies that he thought were being sluggish (General Motors) or were profiteering abroad at the expense of the safety of Americans (3M), and he invoked the National Emergencies Act and ignored silly tweets from the Democratic hecklers on the sidelines such as Hillary Clinton, and explained the law generally only needed to be referred to for targeted companies to comply; not to be specifically enforced. Again, he left his critics talking to themselves.

It is generally recognized that his experience as a businessman (the first serious businessman ever to hold that office) has been of great value in marshaling private sector collaboration—something that was especially helpful in getting Abbott Laboratories to move swiftly in developing a test that could be administered anywhere by almost anyone and produce results in 15 minutes. This shut down the next wave of criticism that had become audible: that the president should carry the can for the backward testing facilities and antiquarian methods the country possessed.

Well into March, all tests had to be sent to Atlanta for evaluation and could only be made in hospitals by appointment. This was obviously completely unacceptable for a pandemic and Abbott Laboratories rendered a great service as well as producing a valuable product that the president could take some credit for and in any case enabled him to dodge this bullet.

Fauci and others have been at pains to emphasize that the president’s suspension of direct flights from China on January 31 and from Europe on March 11 has saved a large number of American lives, and a cautionary shot has been discharged across the bow of the Democrats with recollections of putative presidential candidate Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling the suspension of flights from China “hysterical and xenophobic,” and “racist.”

Trump has admirably mobilized the natural desire of Americans to rise to a national challenge, part of which is generally a rallying behind the leader, as long as the leader knows how to lead.

After a slightly discordant start, and a March 11 address from the Oval Office that drew mixed reviews, Trump has done well. He has conjured up the “invisible enemy,” called himself a “war president” and he has risen in the polls. He has evidently exuded the aura of an energetic, highly focused chief executive and has buried the hatchet with political enemies in the states and some cities and exchanged generous laudations with California Governor Gavin Newsom, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, and even New York City’s unfeasible mayor Bill de Blasio.

(His Honor won the prize for the dumbest comment by an American official on pandemical matters in the last week with a threat to close “permanently” any church that dared to hold a public service—would he turn the mighty cathedrals of St. Patrick and St. John the Divine, and the comparably grandiose Riverside Baptist Church and Temple Emanu-El, into bowling alleys when the crisis passes?)

In the last 10 days, there has arisen the concerns that the president signaled from the beginning about economic damage, but which he subordinated to the experts’ call for a total shutdown and through the original period of mobilizing public sentiment and proclaiming, as is the American habit, “war,” (drugs and poverty have had their wars too). But the president has warned not to make the cure worse than the disease and absorbed the initial clangor from Democrats and the Left generally for a prolonged shutdown, doubtless relishing the unpopularity they assume would accrue to the president for the horrible economic depression this self-strangulation would generate.

The basic problems are that as of Monday morning the country has more than 1,000 newly unemployed people for every coronavirus-related fatality (whose average age is still almost 80). The Left have fired their opening javelins about the inability to cost out life, and all lives are infinitely valuable and so forth. But this raises the second problem, that whenever the shutdown ends, the virus will not have been eradicated or have ceased to exist and there inevitably will be some instances of its recurrence.

Unless the malaria treatment being tested in New York (hydroxychloroquine) is effective and is successfully distributed throughout the country, or there is a crash program to inoculate tens of millions of people with some antibodies from those who have had and survived the illness, the population will not be markedly less vulnerable than it was when everyone was locked down in March.

At some point, the country is going to have to redouble the protective segregation of the immune-challenged population and everyone else will have to take their chances with the coronavirus to some extent. On what we have seen, the survival rate, among the whole population, if the vulnerable elderly and infirm groups are exempted, is over 99.5 percent.

The president undoubtedly judged public opinion correctly in accepting the advice of his professional experts in approving a continued closing of the country to April 30, by which time testing of hydroxychloroquine (it has been effective in some cases against the coronavirus) and possibly the dissemination of antibody vaccinations and elemental medical supplies such as face masks will have occurred. But it is likely that then or two weeks later, the president will have ridden the wave to a new crest where public impatience to get back toward normal and the recognition that America will have to face this virus someday and not hide from it like (self-impoverished) moles.

The economic argument will be irresistible and he will have to start the normalization period, perhaps in stages and preferably with the agreement of his scientific and epidemiologic panel. Since the Democrats want a shutdown for months, for evidently discernible motives, they will have difficulty claiming Trump should never have shut the country down to begin with. There is no reason to believe that the death rate will skyrocket, even though it will not be possible to contain the number of infections as they are now. The Fauci-Birx formula of flattening the curve will have been followed and achieved and will have reached the point of diminishing returns.

In the meantime, the president may be able to get his infrastructure bill through, keeping the last of his main campaign promises. (These were building a southern border, lowering taxes, deregulation, new trade agreements, a constitutionalist judiciary, building up the military and pushing the NATO allies into paying their way, reducing poverty and violent crime, eliminating unemployment and oil imports, and delivering the country from the oppressive inanities of the Green Terror.) It will be a considerable record if the economy comes back quickly, and with the antiviral stimulus package, it will be on steroids.

If Trump can also believably present himself as the man who balanced boldness with economic realism and extracted the best possible result from this very difficult public health crisis, the Democrats will be storming his barricades very forcefully. Joe Biden’s task then, will not really be getting to the White House, it will be internal Democratic damage control.