New Deals, Old Arguments

Hello future contact-tracing data points,

Elsewhere at The Dispatch, I offer some speculation that the most foreseeable way we get a “new New Deal” is by accident. But first let me pick up where I left off. 

For those who want the TL;DR—“too long, didn’t read”—summary: I think if we open the economy too soon and COVID-19 comes back with a vengeance, requiring yet another economic shutdown, but even rougher and deeper, President Trump will lose by historic margins. Politically, Trump is not to blame for the pandemic. But if he were to take complete ownership of the all-clear and back-to-work signals, he would own what happened next. Again, if that went horribly, it’d be hard to see how Democrats wouldn’t win by massive margins. They would do to him what Democrats did to Herbert Hoover, blaming him for not doing enough and for being indifferent to mass suffering. (Before you get your MAGA knickers in a twist, the whole point of the Hoover comparison is that the Hoover myth isn’t true.)

If they were elected in a landslide, it’s easy to imagine Democrats pursuing a new New Deal, precisely because that has been their go-to policy agenda since, uh, the New Deal.   

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