Will the dark clouds clear away if Donald Trump loses? Will the sun shine again if Joe Biden wins? Lots of people say so.
For instance, here’s Democratic operative James Carville, writing for The Bulwark, a Never Trump Republican portal — should we still call them Republicans? — saying just that: “I see a light ahead.” Carville was presuming, of course, that Biden will win on November 3. If so, he concluded, “America will go from its darkest hour to its finest hour.”
Biden himself is hip to this redemption drama: As he tweeted on the 15th, “President Obama and I left Donald Trump a booming economy — and he caused a recession. He squandered it just like he has everything else he’s inherited in his life.” And so, Biden avers, “We can, and we must, restore the soul of our nation.”
Of course, Exhibit A in this restoration scenario is the COVID-19 crisis, which is taken to prove Trump’s malevolent malfeasance. Biden regularly hammers Trump: “This crisis didn’t have to be this bad.” He adds that Trump’s “refusal to take strong, swift action” has caused many additional deaths.
Okay, so Biden is hitting Trump hard on the virus; it’s hardly unfamiliar that a challenger takes an incumbent to task for shortcomings in office.
Yet in the meantime, others in the Democratic coalition have gone much further, investing COVID with a religious dimension — literally. For instance, on October 7, actress-activist Jane Fonda cheered, “COVID is God’s gift to the left.”
To be sure, Fonda is way out there, and yet her words fit in with Carville’s: After the Trumpian darkness of today, the Bidenian light will shine tomorrow.
In the meantime, it seems fair to wonder if still others in the Democratic coalition are doing what they can to push this darkest-before-the-dawn dramaturgy. In particular, one must ask: Are the media and the public-health establishment, er, colluding to inflate the number of deaths attributable to COVID, with an eye toward making the problem seem even worse than it is?
Back in April, the chief medical examiner of Macomb County, Michigan, Daniel Spitz, said of COVID, “I think a lot of clinicians are putting that condition on death certificates when it might not be accurate because they died with coronavirus and not of coronavirus.” Continuing in that vein, Spitz added, “Are people dying of it? Absolutely. Are people dying of other things and coronavirus is maybe getting credit? Yeah, probably.”
In July, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took note of a man who had been in a motorcycle accident but whose death was attributed to Covid. And in September, the Heartland Institute’s Chris Talgo noted that 94 percent of those listed as having died of Covid had co-morbidities, ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s.
The point here is not to minimize the pandemic — and yet at the same time, it’s wrong to maximize the pandemic. The American people can handle the truth. (Interestingly, the same over-counting phenomenon has been observed in the United Kingdom, where the liberal media-medical complex similarly reviles that nation’s quasi-Trumpy prime minister, Boris Johnson.)
Further perspective on whether or not COVID has been weaponized against Trump comes from Sen. Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. As a recently released audiotape reveals, Sasse is no fan of the 45th president, and yet on that tape, he lays out some political dimensions of the controversy. As he said of Trump, “In his partial defense here, I think that lots of the news media has pretended that Covid is literally the first public health crisis ever. And somehow, it’s Donald Trump’s fault. That’s not true. They just wanted to use it against him.”
So maybe the media is devoting its bandwidth to COVID, as well as to other anti-Trump issues — so there’s no room for, say, the bombshell allegations against Hunter Biden.
Indeed, some on the right are going so far as to accuse the left of holding the country hostage: Things won’t get better till we get rid of Trump. That was the point made by the satiric Babylon Bee, in an item headlined, “Teachers Unions Promise School Will Resume As Soon As The Teachers Are Done Campaigning For Biden.” The story pretended to quote American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten: “We promise we’ll start teaching your dumb kids again as soon as the important work of defeating Donald Trump is completed.”
So will this strategy work? As of now, it seems to be working; a recent Pew Center poll found Biden enjoying a 17-point advantage over Trump on the Covid issue — and that edge is nearly double the margin he enjoys in presidential opinion polls. Which is to say, perhaps the virus is the biggest reason why Biden is ahead.
So what might happen if Biden wins? If, as Jane Fonda says, the virus is part of a divine plan to get rid of Trump, then what’s the plan for Biden? Will it be the case, as James Carville prophesies, that the light will come beaming out all over?
In the meantime, all we know for sure is that the darkness of the virus is still plenty dark, and not just in the U.S. A chart posted by Axios on October 15 shows that the current number of daily reported Covid cases in Europe is a full 62 percent higher than in North America, while the rate in Asia is 52 percent higher.
So maybe the virus is a problem larger than any one president. And maybe Biden isn’t a miracle worker. But maybe also, the Dem-media-medical plan is to keep Biden’s human limitations a secret until after the election.
James P. Pinkerton, a former White House domestic policy aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, has been a Fox News contributor since 1996.