The conventional wisdom is that the coronavirus pandemic has made President Donald Trump’s re-election effort more difficult.
It has shocked the once-mighty economy — previously Trump’s strongest argument — and has allowed his rival, Joe Biden, to hide out in his Wilmington, Delaware, basement, away from media scrutiny (assuming journalists would otherwise be willing to scrutinize the presumptive Democratic nominee at all).
But the opposite is true: Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has boosted his case for re-election.
It has shown that he is willing to work tirelessly for the national interest and to try everything that might help the American people. At the same time, Trump has resisted the urge of past presidents to build bigger government in a crisis. He has spent money on relief like FDR, while deregulating and decentralizing like Ronald Reagan.
Many elections come down to a choice between the lesser of two evils. Not this one.
Democrats are nominating a candidate who may not even be able to do the job, given his age and evident frailty. They are insulting their own voters by asking them to overlook Biden’s corruption and Tara Reade’s credible allegations of sexual misconduct.
The best they can offer is the promise Biden’s team will be Obama 3.0 — for whatever that’s worth.
In addition, Biden’s party has moved so far to the left that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may as well have won the nomination. Biden and the Democrats offer higher taxes; energy restrictions; more meddling with health insurance; taxpayer-funded abortions until birth; and a return to a foreign policy of appeasement.
As Americans wrestle with unprecedented change, Democrats promise to exploit the crisis to change things even more.
With Biden in a bunker, Trump is essentially running unopposed. Democrats will either swap Biden out for a more dynamic candidate; or, more likely, will focus all their energy on attacking Trump, hoping the anti-Trump vote is so enthusiastic that it will push Biden over the top.
Current polls, which show Trump trailing Biden in key battleground states, lend support to that strategy. And — who knows? — it may eventually work.
Democrats are hoping that the 2020 election will be a reprise of the 1932 election, when FDR defeated the incumbent Republican president, Herbert Hoover.
However, Hoover was seen as a passive president, who opposed most federal government interventions to rescue the economy from the Great Depression. Trump, in contrast, is active and visible — too visible, critics say — in directing the federal government’s response.
And that is the key: Trump has provided a clear chain of command for the federal agencies and the private companies involved in the coronavirus response, something past disasters have lacked.
If it can be said Trump downplayed the coronavirus threat initially — as almost everyone did — he acted decisively, once he changed his approach. He is a strong leader, whereas Biden leads nothing and directs nothing, even in his own campaign.
Few presidents have been re-elected in the midst of deep economic crisis. But Trump has an important example to follow: Barack Obama.
Unemployment soared to double digits as the Obama administration implemented a poorly-designed stimulus and slapped new regulations, including Obamacare, on the economy. But things were moving in the right direction by 2012. They will likely be moving in the right direction by November as well.
There is another crucial factor: Trump has delivered for his voters.
On every core promise — judges, tax cuts, a border wall, replacing NAFTA, confronting China, supporting Israel, backing manufacturing — the president has kept his promises. He faces no real opposition within his own party. That has allowed him to be creative about reaching out to new constituencies — as in his criminal justice reform initiatives, aimed at African Americans.
Democrats delivered nothing for their voters except a failed impeachment, which they undertook as the virus arrived. They blew opportunities to resolve immigration or spend on infrastructure, because that would have meant working with Trump.
Today, Democrats refuse to call the House back to Washington. They have abdicated, while Trump is leading. And as America recovers, the case for re-election grows stronger every day.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.