Donald Trump has done something really, really stupid:
He has made, and then has doubled down on repeatedly, statements which have little in way of potential payoff to him and his 2020 campaign but which, on the other hand, could backfire tremendously.
He chose to downplay COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.
The instinct behind this is obvious: Thus far, the left has tried to paint everything about his time in office as being doom and gloom, so it's no wonder he interpreted their coverage of the coronavirus outbreak from this same angle.
To be fair, there is another practical reason for this: to prevent a stock market panic. But depending on how bad it gets that's eventually gonna happen either way, no matter what he says. If anything, a measured response of "We acknowledge the problem but we'll deal with it strongly" would be far more reassuring (to ordinary people, and certainly also to day traders) than a leader who metaphorically buries his head in the sand.
Of course, the Dems are gonna hammer him on that, and rightfully so. I'm sure some of them already have. But here's the thing: the full consequences of this are not yet clear. We've now gotten the first confirmed coronavirus death in the US, but we're nowhere near the level of mass pandemic just yet. It's still a relatively marginal issue, so far as the 2020 election goes. Railing about "Trump corruption" and climate change is still far more potent a message to their base than focusing on the coronavirus.
But it could get worse. A lot worse. This presents a window of opportunity, between the time of posting and when this finally happens: an opportunity for one of the lagging Democratic candidates.
If said person, preferably somebody who enjoys rapport with the medical profession, turns their campaign around right now and makes the coronavirus their hot button issue, early, and therefore "corners the market" on this talking point while demand for such is still low, then it *could* pay off big time in coming weeks. Maybe not, but it could.
If, as one prediction have put it, 40-70% of all people on earth will catch the coronavirus within the next year, and if the death rate amounts to 1 out of 30 infected, somewhere in the area of 4 to 7 MILLION Americans could die from this thing, easily the biggest national catastrophe since 9/11.
If you'll recall George W. Bush was a dull, maybe not too bright Republican governor, who probably got the nomination because daddy was president, and who in 2000 still lost the popular vote in spite of the 8 year rule, a much more right-leaning America and press compared to today, and a demographic map that was not as skewed by illegal immigration as it is now.
Come a certain terrorist attack and then the year 2004, he won the popular vote by 3 million.
At this point the common assumption has become that this is Bernie's game to lose. He's emerged as the obvious front-runner, and by a large margin. The only person he has to worry about is Trump. You know what that means? The rest of those guys have nothing to lose. They can either drop out now, continue to putter along until they run out of money, or make a wager on death.