As Democrats Make Course Correction, Symptoms of Desperation Become Evident

May 26, 2020 Updated: May 27, 2020


Already and after the briefest of resistance, the Democrats are abandoning the trenches of their latest line of defense and fleeing to the rear.

Just as they were settling in to advocacy of a prolonged shutdown to ensure they had a great economic depression to hang around the neck of the president on Election Day, and the inimitable Paul Krugman of The New York Times, the first winner of President Donald Trump’s coveted Fake News Prize, was on May 21 asking, “How many people have to die for the Dow?” the ground began to shift again.

Somewhere in the upper echelons of that formerly and long-great party, a vision occurred of what an impossible argument the Democrats were making. They were placing all their bets on a sharp upward spike in the coronavirus to disrupt the economic reopening, a solid lock-step alliance with the pandemic in their enthusiasm to promote a Great Depression that would produce such a public revulsion that Joe Biden would levitate from his Delaware basement to the great White House of the people.

In general, people should be commended for pursuing lofty ambitions, however improbable. But in this case, the delusional nature of the Democratic campaign strategy caused a sharp course correction before that party became indissolubly identified with the opportunistic political virtues of economic disintegration and scores of millions of government-designated unemployed (even as that prospect receded).

An Economic Boom

The third quarter of this year, ending conveniently on Sept. 30, barely a month before Election Day, will probably be the greatest quarter of economic growth and reduction of unemployment in the history of reliable U.S. economic statistics.

All indications to date, although they are preliminary, are that reopening the economy doesn’t produce any uptick in coronavirus fatalities. Since the great majority of those fatalities are in a senior and immunity-challenged echelon of the population that’s now been identified, and is being much more carefully safeguarded throughout the country than before its particular vulnerability was identified, there is no reason for even the Democrats in their present state of morbidity (political and otherwise), to expect that the reopening of the economy won’t proceed satisfactorily.

The president has prudently confined himself so far to relatively gentle encouragements to the governors to reopen their states. It can be expected that if this process isn’t disturbed by any more unpleasant public health surprises, he will apply his undoubted hortatory talents to resuming his status as a war leader—this time grappling not with the invisible enemy but with the goal of economic revival, which can largely be attained simply by having employers call furloughed employees back to work.

It will soon be the patriotic duty of all Americans to pursue their natural desire to return to their rightful occupations and enhance their income and security. That isn’t a hard sell.

Media Campaign

The next line of defense, which the retreat-weary Democrats are now fetching up, is likely to consist of a new campaign by their imperishably faithful media, that instead of focusing on the swift recovery from the economic consequences of the pandemic, the country should focus sharply on the current state of unemployment.

This will almost certainly be around 10 percent by Election Day, a three-quarters reduction from the present highest level of pandemic unemployment, although still triple the percentage that existed when the pandemic arrived. It would be hazardous to predict too confidently what sort of reception this latest effort at Democratic mythmaking might enjoy, especially given the almost waterproof barrage of partisanship that all of the networks, except Fox, will present to frustrate the president’s reelection.

But it seems more likely now that the country will credit the president with dealing with the public health crisis, dealing with the resulting economic crisis, and restoring the recovery of prosperity of which he was the principal author, than that the country will be discountenanced by a transitory rate of swiftly descending unemployment.

Since the probable Democratic candidate isn’t really presentable or even coherent, this campaign probably will continue to be between the president and the zealous Democratic media. The fecundity of the media’s animus against the president and its collective ability to assault and denigrate him without pause and often with little connection to demonstrable facts, and his propensity to respond usually with greater accuracy but often even less civility, seem to ensure that this embittered atmosphere will continue right up to election night.

Neither side wishes the continuation of this nasty state of public discourse, but neither is able to engage in unilateral disarmament. The condition of the U.S. political debate will only return to normalcy when the crusade that this president undertook four years ago to overthrow the ethos and depose the principal personalities of the post-Reagan bipartisan Washington establishment is either thoroughly triumphant or completely defeated.

While the power of the media can never be underestimated, it has been demonstrated that the president has largely countered that force by his domination of social media and of the major radio talk-shows. And throughout his political career (of only four years), the voters have been remarkably resistant to the concerted efforts of the national political media to poison the wells against the president.

This has been most recently demonstrated in individual congressional elections in California and Wisconsin to fill vacancies, and most recently in local elections in Virginia; in all of which the Democrats expected, and were expected by political observers, to do well, and in all of which they were roundly defeated.

Democratic Desperation

While this would have to be carefully researched to be opined upon confidently, it seems that there’s not only considerable public resistance to the almost wall-to-wall, anti-Trump animosity of the national political media, but also a measure of reactive response to its monotonous, clangorous predictability. If Lemon or Tapper, Cooper, Scarborough, Todd, Kimmel, or Maher could ever say anything positive about Trump, they might start to reconstruct media credibility.

In all of the circumstances, and taking account of the pattern of political opinion throughout this Trump term, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe (not that I have any ambition to believe it anyway), that the Democrats, having fallen steadily backward since their fits of laughter more than four years ago at the idea of a Trump candidacy, and then turned to the improvisation of successive feeble arguments to maintain the fraud of Democratic virtue and Trump corruption, will gain much public credence now by concentrating exclusively on post-pandemic unemployment numbers.

The Democrats will have to do better if they have any chance of ending what they relentlessly declaim is a ghastly usurpation by the president, than making relentless efforts to deny his successes, representing his stylistic misfortunes as the entirety of his record, and retreating from one set of false allegations of corruption or incompetence to the next.

The country may tire of Trump, but it’s likely to tire of his most fanatical enemies first. When Democratic strategist David Axelrod is accusing Trump of ruthlessness in wishing to reopen the country, and leftist filmmaker Michael Moore is accusing him of preparing to invoke the pandemic to defer the election date, the symptoms of desperation in the anti-Trump resistance are becoming too conspicuous to ignore.

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon and, most recently, “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.