Friday, April 10, 2020


This item at Axios has me reading between the lines:
Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."
I don't think Moore is bringing this up primarily because he's worried about Trump's reelection. I think his main reason for bringing it up is that, like so many cheerleaders for American capitalism, he just wants the money to keep flowing to people who already have plenty of it, regardless of who dies as a result, and he knows that the president is more likely to demand the reopening of the economy soon -- risking tens of thousands of lives -- if he's told that a poor economy is threatening his chances of being reelected, which Moore knows is what Trump cares about most, even now.

In the midst of the pandemic, Trump's #1 concern is winning reelection -- but Moore's #1 concern is keeping the gravy train rolling, and the same is true for these folks:
Other conservative leaders — including former Congressman and Club for Growth President David McIntosh, a Pence ally who served in the same Indiana district immediately before the Vice President — said they worry that there isn't enough attention being placed on the longer-term, post-coronavirus economic strategy.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been singled out for some of the sharpest criticism.

"I don't think [Mnuchin] has yet started thinking about that long-term, how do we incentivize the rapid recovery or the V-shape bounce back?" McIntosh told Axios.

"I understand their planning process, to deal with emergency,” he said. “But now it's time to start thinking of the exit strategy.”

“Red flags are going up. We understand that there is this sort of survival phase, but there's a concern that Mnuchin is overplaying that and not looking ahead," a conservative strategist told Axios. "The emerging consensus is the next phase needs to be about economic growth, not about making government bigger through massive spending and increased regulation that stifles the economic recovery."
If they've got Trump believing that getting the economy restarted is the key to his reelection chances, I'm not sure that jibes with reality. Yes, there have been a couple of bad polls for Trump recently, including a CNN poll showing him losing to Joe Biden by 11 points, and a new survey from Rasmussen -- Rasmussen! -- showing him with a -13 job approval rating (43% approval, 56% disapproval). But Trump has also had a few good polls -- for instance, a new Fox poll has Trump tied with Biden, 42%-42%. (In the last Fox poll, Biden was beating Trump 49%-40%.) Trump's poll averages are comparable to his numbers as this crisis began: On February 29, the day of the first U.S. covid-19 death, Trump's disapproval, according to the Real Clear Politics average, was 5.4 points higher than his approval; now it's 5.9. Biden was beating Trump by 5.4 points; now it's 5.9. Those aren't big changes.

Trump still has a good shot at reelection, particularly because Republicans in swing states clearly intend to block vote-by-mail, and will undoubtedly close many polling places in Democratic areas, thus making in-person voting a potentially deadly act. If people are whispering in Trump's ear that he'll lose without a roaring economy, that's their sociopathy as much as his.

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