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Assault on America, Day 503: Full recovery is possible in politics. The economy? We’ll see

President Trump
What would the political world look like if the CCP virus had never existed?


Everyone knows you can’t go back in time. In 1985, many folks got excited when the Robert Zemeckis-directed classic “Back to the Future” premiered, featuring a very young looking Michael J. Fox playing the lead character (Marty McFly) -- a high schooler who used a time machine (ingeniously implanted into a DeLorean sports car) to travel back to 1955, where he meets his parents and helps them fall in love, before shrewdly engineering his return home.

No such similar power exists in the real world, however, as no one’s ever traveled to the past (that we know of, at least) and we’re indelibly mired in the present through no fault of our own. Today’s reality primarily converges on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or Wuhan virus, which has infected millions, killed hundreds of thousands and succeeded in all-but destroying the world economy in less than half a year’s time.

The threat is severe -- and real -- and people are taking it seriously. Much has been written about the partisan divide between the reopening-favoring Republicans and the keep-it-shut-down-indefinitely Democrats, the latter group suggesting that months’ more home-confinement and stringent quarantine rules are necessary to preserve all human life on planet earth. Speaker and de facto national Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi said last week that she supports a proposal to keep Los Angeles shuttered for three more months -- no joke.

So far, data indicates the Republicans’ freedom-based (with responsible distancing) approach seems to be working better, as cases and deaths continue to rise but widespread suffering has been avoided in the newly opened local environs where citizens are “permitted” to congregate. Simply stated, the doomsayers’ models were wrong… again.

Statistics amply demonstrate the virus is deadliest to the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, something even the rankest amateur dime-store doctor could’ve told you would occur based on years of flu season observations. As would be expected, the pandemic has ravaged senior care facilities, particularly in large blue state cities where the governing authorities implemented very unwise mandatory-admission policies at the height of the outbreak.

It all makes you wonder… what would it be like today if the novel coronavirus (CCP/Wuhan) hadn’t ever existed? Can we go “Back to the Future” and change the present like Marty McFly did in the mid 80’s?

It’s always fun to speculate, but for now, enthusiasm for the upcoming election isn’t where it would normally be. Madison Dibble reported at The Washington Examiner, “A poll from Gallup … revealed that interest in November's contest has slipped to pre-primary interest levels. The data showed that 59% of adults are closely following the election, the same level of interest recorded from Aug. 15, 2019, to Aug. 30, 2019.

“The interest level dropped 8 percentage points from the last time the question was asked between Feb. 17-28. Since then, Joe Biden has become the last candidate standing for the Democratic Party, and the coronavirus pandemic has flooded the news cycle. Campaigns have also been grounded as social distancing and stay-at-home orders took effect.

“Members of both parties have shifted their attention away from the election, according to the poll. Republican interest in the election slipped from 66% who were closely following the election in February to 59% in the latest recording. Democratic interest dropped from 72% to 63% keeping a close eye on the election.”

With news cycles like we’ve endured recently, enthusiasm also slowed from pre-virus levels. It’s kind of hard to get excited about November when some of us (trapped in blue state hades, at least) aren’t exactly sure if we’ll make it to the election while confined to our mask-wearing, mandatory shuttered, socially-distanced hometowns. Whereas citizens would normally be ramping up to watch or attend the party conventions in a couple months, instead we’re fed a steady diet of cable news debate over whether Dr. Anthony Fauci was correct or full of horse-pucky in his outlandish, unsupported prognostications.

If there wasn’t a pandemic playing on Americans’ minds, here’s thinking politics would be a hot topic, just as it was prior to two months ago. After all, the normally sleepy month of February was red-hot with intrigue, starting with the Pelosi/Schiff/Nadler impeachment witch-hunt coming to its logical conclusion (NOT GUILTY!), Senator Mitt Romney’s latest wobble (“In good conscience, I cannot tell my grandchildren that the president didn’t do it” -- what a bunch of baloney!), the Speaker’s infamous speech-text ripping grandstanding stunt at Trump’s stunningly effective State-of-the-Union address, and, last but not least, the beginning of the Democrat primary voting season.

Has it really been only three months since those things? Feels like a lifetime.

Thanks to COVID-19, it seems long ago that medium-sized midwestern city “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg rocked the Washington political establishment by finishing first in Iowa (assuming Democrats actually got the count right) and second in New Hampshire, with avowed unapologetic socialist Bernie Sanders prevailing in the Granite State and then overwhelming his competitors in next-to-vote Nevada. The political panic “The Bern” subsequently fostered among the liberal elites inspired a wave of desperation that vaulted doddering Joe Biden into the catbird seat atop the Democrat party.

The problem is Joe’s so unstable and out-of-it that he might not be able to stay there. What a loser.

South Carolina, Super Tuesday and the results of the multitude of primaries the following week secured Biden’s preeminent position, so the coronavirus pandemic didn’t alter that particular course of history. What would be different, but for the nation’s current singular focus on health issues, is Grampa Joe would’ve received a lot more scrutiny of his visibly deteriorating mental condition as well as his untenable policies in the interim. With his intra-party rivals dropping out of the race, the spotlight would be his alone. And he couldn’t handle it.

As presumptive nominee, Biden would be traveling the country holding fundraisers, probably conducting tightly scripted town hall events, presiding over rallies (if the local parties could find enough bodies to fill a reasonable portion of the seats, that is) and basking in the glory he’s waited thirty-three years to enjoy, since his first presidential run flamed out in 1987. Joe was forced to withdraw over plagiarism accusations, remember? If the former Obama veep borrowed a little too liberally from someone else’s speeches these days, his handlers -- and the media -- would just hand him a cookie and ask him to sit down.

Grampa Joe would still likely be facing the #MeToo Tara Reade problem, but he wouldn’t be able to use Trump’s coronavirus response to divert attention from it. The bored media would do its best to portray Biden as both a victim and a hero, but it wouldn’t work. Now Democrats are stuck with him, and as of last week, he indicated he wasn’t about to emerge from his bunker anytime soon to go out and meet people.

The ‘ol back slappin’, hair sniffin’, child repellin’, shoulders massagin’, nude swimmin’ and sexual assault denyin’ Grampa Joe said he’s indefinitely postponing a return to the campaign trail because of health concerns. He’s worried about spreading the virus among the throngs of followers who would come to see him. Talk about unfounded worries. If his pre-Iowa events were any indication, Joe’s rally attendees should have no problem social-distancing. If it’s a nighttime event you could probably hear crickets chirping.

Donald Trump’s reelection effort also was restrained by the coronavirus panic

Biden’s campaign isn’t the only one impacted by the virtual lockdown. President Donald Trump was drawing crowds by the tens of thousands as well as record cable TV ratings until the Chinese plague halted everything. It’s challenging to recall now, but Trump’s staff was logging loads of valuable information from people who’d never voted before, former Democrats and independents at these events. Enthusiasm was through the roof for the outsider president who’d dared to come to Washington and… keep his promises. #NeverTrumpers and the GOP establishment still held Trump at arm’s length, but there was never any doubt the grassroots loved him.

Those feelings still exist and Trump’s fundraising engine is humming along, which are good things. But the president is best when he’s out among the people. If COVID-19 hadn’t kept him virtually locked-up in the White House (as a member of a high-risk category), he’d have been traveling the country and world. One can only hope he’s able to hit the road sometime soon and regularly speak to the people again.

Needless to say, the party nominating process for down-ticket offices has been wholly disrupted if not completely thrown off course. This is likely a win for the status-quo loving state and local party entities who have the inside track on picking candidates closer to their liking. Bomb-throwers and boat-rockers must be experiencing difficulty raising money and attracting the type of attention that would allow them to prevail against more well-known incumbent opponents. I only hope I’m wrong as we’ll need principled hardcore liberty-loving, Trump-backing, limited government conservatives to serve, now more than ever. No more RINOs, please.

Both parties are suffering from a slowdown in new blood. Will primary races heat-up once the economy re-opens, or will it be more of the same 24/7 coronavirus news? Time will tell. Of course, we’ll never know what a 2020 campaign season would’ve been like sans-coronavirus. But it probably would’ve been more entertaining.

Politics will recover from the coronavirus episode; but some industries won’t be the same

While it’s possible to go “back to the future” and surmise what American politics would’ve been like if COVID-19 had never entered the national vernacular, some things will never be the same from here on out. Political campaigns always invariably boil down to personality contests and to some extent (at least on the Republican side) what the candidates stand for. But the economy won’t be nearly as capable of bouncing back without some major strokes of fortune.

Some jobs are gone for good. Dave Boyer reported at The Washington Times, “The manufacturing, hospitality and restaurant sectors are among the industries with a high percentage of businesses that aren’t expected to survive the pandemic, economists say. Eight weeks into the emergency, some companies without customers are shifting from furloughs to closures.

“A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research predicted that more than 11.6 million of the layoffs during the pandemic, or 42%, will become permanent job losses.

“The shutdowns in various states also have accelerated the dire condition of brick-and-mortar retail chains such as J.Crew and Neiman Marcus, both of which have filed for bankruptcy protection. The outlook is grim for retailers such as Sears, Lord & Taylor, Kmart and JCPenney.”

All of this was easily foreseeable. Boyer’s article also reported that Boeing hasn’t sold a new airplane in more than two months and over a hundred existing orders were canceled. The airline travel industry is down over 90 percent from the same time period last year. Large department stores aren’t likely to recover from diminished customer capacities and people still too frightened to go out in public without a vaccine.

It’s not as though the world was completely risk-free prior to coronavirus, but the fear level has jumped into the stratosphere now. With Democrats (think Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi) talking about “irresponsible” business openings, one half of the political class seems content to see a devastating depression develop.

Last time I checked, the government was already running trillion-dollar deficits, even before the pandemic overwhelmed the world’s mindset. Common sense says you save in good times and borrow to temporarily fill gaps when emergencies strike. That’s just not possible here. The holes are too large and the money isn’t backed by anything.

We sure as heck wish we could go back to February, don’t we?

Surveys confirm politics is taking a backseat to worries over the coronavirus pandemic, but sooner or later people will need to pay attention to the statistics and hedge bets that things will be okay. Since going “Back to the Future” isn’t an option in the real world, Americans must rely on the good sense and work ethic that brought them to 2020 in the first place.

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