An increasing number of Democrats are playing an increasingly dangerous game. They’re starting to blame Donald Trump for the economic downturn. This is quick revisionism that ignores both the global pandemic and a consensus led by Democrats that the President and Republicans did not shutter the economy quick enough.
We need not dwell on how irresponsible it is to go straight to the bottom line: by politicizing the economic shutdown and blaming the President for it instead of China or a virus, the Democrats risk a large segment of the population deciding it was always a political ploy and further undermining any trust in institutions that have advocated for closing down the economy to stop the spread of the virus.
Democrats are helped, of course, by a vocal minority on the right who have long been screaming that a lock down was never necessary.
Though most of the voices on the left now blaming Trump are, like those on the right, in the minority, they are increasingly loud. The major difference is that on the right there has been sustained pushback from conservatives and even Republican politicians against those who deny reality.
On the left, there will be no such pushback. The Democrats nationally have been talking down the economy for three years as Donald Trump’s weakness. They now have economic devastation because of a Chinese virus that spread globally. They do not want to let the crisis go to waste. So many of the prominent Democrats who know better will keep their mouths shut instead of calling out their own side. They need to loud, angry voices of progressive activists to try to set a narrative.
The result will be more people willing to go back to normal in ways they might should reconsider. But, as polling shows the public thinks the President will be better at rebooting the economy than Biden, this also gives the President an opening.
If President Trump can steer an economic rebound while working with Republican governors to keep the virus at bay, he will get credit and that will help him in the run up to November. Republicans, however, will need to forcefully push back against Democrats who would rather blame Trump than China for the economic chaos.