After the deaths of more than 740,000 Americans, you might think the receding of a deadly pandemic would be unalloyed good news for the country.
But apparently not for the Democrats.
That’s not my analysis, it’s the takeaway by Politico, which says “the political fallout may be severe, especially for Democrats.”
“It takes away a great issue,” Ben Tribbett, a Democratic strategist in Virginia, is quoted as saying.
It would be better for the Democrats if the coronavirus continued to ravage the country, driving up deaths and hospitalizations, so they don’t lose a political weapon? That sounds incredibly heartless.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington.
Now I’ll give Tribbett the benefit of the doubt and assume he was responding to a reporter’s question and doesn’t want more casualties just to boost his party. But let’s look at the political landscape.
And while Trump launched Operation Warp Speed, it was Biden who rolled it out–and reaped the political benefits as a vast swath of the country got the shots. That is, until 80 million Americans refused to be vaccinated, the president imposed mandates and the Delta variant surged. Those developments, along with the Afghanistan debacle and border crisis, fueled Biden’s slide in the polls.
President Donald Trump stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct.
With more media attention to inflation, supply shortages, Democratic infighting, and culture-war battles–as exemplified by the Toni Morrison book flap in the Virginia governor’s race–virus politics no longer dominates the news.
“As interest in Covid fades,” says Politico, “Democrats may lose one of their most compelling campaign planks a little more than a year before a critical midterm election in which the party is already facing headwinds.”
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 28: U.S. President Joe Biden walks into the U.S. Capitol building with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for a meeting with House Democrats on the continued negotiations over the domestic spending Bills before the President departs for Europe on October 28, 2021, in Washington, DC. President Biden is heading to Rome where he will meet with leaders from the G20 as well as the Pope in the Vatican as Democrats are continuing internal negotiations about his administration’s social policy spending bill.
There’s a certain irony here. If the virus keeps receding, Biden would deserve some of the credit. He’s taken plenty of heat for mandating vaccines and encouraging states and businesses to do the same, but the gradual rise in the vax rate–with some facing the loss of their jobs–has surely contributed to slowing the spread.