It’s clear that the Democrats see the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity rather than an epidemic. Having failed to bring down President Trump with ridiculous conspiracy theories involving Russia and Ukraine, they are desperately attempting to convince the public that he is somehow exacerbating the COVID-19 crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, for example, issued a joint press release Sunday that included the following fiction: “President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.” Predictably, Pelosi and Schumer fail to provide any objective facts to support this claim.
This is just the latest in a series of irresponsible assertions by the Democrats. The purported front-runner for their party’s presidential nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden, falsely claimed during a debate in late February that the Trump administration had hampered the federal response to COVID-19 by cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH): “We [the Obama–Biden administration] increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget.… He’s wiped all that out.… He cut the funding for the entire effort.” This balderdash was too much for the fact checkers at AP, who were quick to debunk the falsehood. The AP report also undermines the “needless chaos” assertion made by Pelosi and Schumer:
The public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation regardless of who’s president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House.… Among the health authorities overseeing the work are Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director and a veteran of previous outbreaks, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH’s infectious disease chief who has advised six presidents.
If you go to the CDC Foundation website you will discover that Dr. Schuchat’s reputation is such that her work is the subject of a feature film, Contagion, in which she is played by Kate Winslet. It’s pretty difficult to visualize doctors Schuchat and Fauci presiding over “chaos” in response to coronavirus. It is far more likely that, by the time the election rolls around next November, the actual effect of the outbreak will be known and it will probably have been far less severe than predicted. The voters will by then be aware that the current Democratic rhetoric was a grotesquely cynical ploy to mislead and frighten the public for the usual tawdry political purposes. This will render Democrats clinging to House seats in “Trump districts” even more vulnerable than they are at present.
There are 31 Democratic representatives who occupy seats in districts that Trump won in 2016. Of the 18 districts the Republicans need to flip in order to regain their House majority, the president won 16 by five points or more. These Democrats are particularly vulnerable after the impeachment debacle because they explicitly promised their constituents during their 2018 midterm campaigns that they would eschew hyper-partisan politics and work with Republicans on issues that mattered to real people. Predictably, most of these “moderate” Democrats forgot that pledge immediately after they migrated to the swamp. Only two kept their word. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is targeting the majority who betrayed their constituents.
Among the most vulnerable is Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), who won her seat by a mere 1.4 percent in a district that Trump carried by nearly 14 points in 2016. Another probable goner is Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), who also won his seat by only 1.4 percent. Trump carried Cunningham’s district by 13 points in 2016. November will also be unpleasant for Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), who won her seat by 1.8 percent in a district Trump won by 10 points. Yet another probable casualty will be Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah), who won his seat by less than 1 percent. Trump won McAdams’ district by seven points in 2016. November will also be unkind to Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who won his seat by only 2 percent in a district Trump won by 15 points. And the beat goes on.
Knowing how vulnerable they already are pursuant to their impeachment perfidy, it cannot be comforting to these endangered “Trump district” Democrats to hear their leadership demagogue coronavirus. House Speaker Pelosi has already placed a target on their backs by forcing them to vote for impeachment after encouraging them to run for Congress as moderates. Her irresponsible rhetoric on coronavirus will have the effect of reminding already angry voters that the Democrats just can’t be trusted to play it straight on any issue, even something as important as public health. COVID-19 warrants serious attention, of course, but it’s not the Black Death. As U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday on CNN, most people are simply not in very much danger:
We now know more about who is at risk. Average age of death for people from coronavirus is 80. Average age of people who need medical attention is age 60. We want people who are older, people who have medical conditions, to take steps to protect themselves, including avoiding crowded spaces, including thinking very carefully about whether now is the time to get on that cruise ship, whether now is the time to take that long haul flight. For most people you’re going to be fine.
President Trump is right when he accuses the Democrats of working “to inflame the coronavirus situation.” They regard the outbreak as an opportunity for scoring political points. Moreover, they have behaved so irresponsibly during the past three years that what little credibility they enjoyed has evaporated. Gallup finds that Congress has a 23 percent approval rating. The reality is that the president, the CDC, and the NIH are doing as well as most reasonable voters would expect with the coronavirus outbreak. When it becomes obvious that the Democrats have cynically exploited this serious public health risk in one last attempt to damage Trump, the voters will react with revulsion. They will reelect Trump and return the leadership of the House to his party.