President Trump’s triumphant return to the White House sent a strong message that he’s beaten Covid and is ready to move on to an even weaker and more overrated opponent in Joe Biden.
When he does, the president should make it a top priority to secure a second coronavirus relief package from Congress, with a second wave of checks sent directly to Americans. This will maximize both his reelection chances and the good he can do for the country in the last weeks of his first term.
The President intuitively understands this. Even as he was undergoing coronavirus treatment at Walter Reed hospital, he tweeted about the issue:
OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2020
But on Tuesday, under apparent pressure from the establishment Republican machine, the president stepped back from his sound instincts.
…request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business. I have asked…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
…also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Beyond any doubt, the usual cast of GOP swamp creatures lobbied hard for this ill-advised approach. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the move. Sources close to the matter told Revolver that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in particular played a decisive role. Trump should ignore him. Remember: this Johnny-come-lately GOP brain trust opposing a stimulus is composed of the very same people who said Trump could never win by criticizing Bush’s one sided trade deals or disastrous foreign policy. Trump rightly ignored them and won over the Rust Belt and the country.
Fortunately, it took just a few hours for the President to realize the blunder Meadows was pushing him into. By the evening, the he was taking back control of his administration, and once again began pushing for lockdown relief.
If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy? @MarkMeadows @senatemajldr @kevinomccarthy @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
The president should stay the course. Instead of listening to Republicans who don’t understand how to win, Trump should follow the political instincts that have brought him victory after victory since 2015, and force the rest of the Republican Party to follow behind him. And if Democrats don’t want to play ball, the president should consider issuing a stimulus by executive order.
It has been more than six months since Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in response to nationwide lockdowns. The bill included $1,200 checks for every American adult, $500 for every dependent child, and hundreds of billions to support small business.
That money was exhausted months ago. But the insanity over coronavirus hasn’t stopped. Churchgoers aren’t allowed to worship properly. Teachers refuse to return to the classroom, forcing parents to stay home. In New York, the borderline-criminal regime of Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced brand new lockdowns just this week.
The results have been catastrophic for ordinary people. The unemployment rate is still 8 percent. A third of Americans have raided their savings to stay afloat. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have gone under, with depression, suicides, drug overdoses, and domestic abuse in their wake.
Politically, the public’s desire is clear: They want someone to step in and help them, and they trust the president to do it.
If there is one area in which Mr. Trump retains at least a slight advantage over Mr. Biden, it is the economy. Even as the pandemic has shuttered businesses across the country, putting millions of Americans out of work, a majority of voters have continued to express approval of how Mr. Trump handles economic matters.
By a 12-point margin, respondents to the Times/Siena poll gave him positive marks on that front.
And in a sign of the country’s appetite for government relief, 72 percent of likely voters said they thought Congress should pass a new, $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the pandemic’s effects. [The New York Times]
The single best thing President Trump can do to boost his reelection odds is secure economic relief for Americans hurt by the Democratic Party’s suicidal lockdown obsession.
This isn’t just a guess, either. This approach has already worked spectacularly in Brazil.
Brazil’s coronavirus pandemic, per capita, has been even worse than America’s. President Jair Bolsonaro is a very Trump-like figure, and last April, his approval ratings were poor. Now, they are excellent, because Bolsonaro embraced monthly stimulus payments:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro received the best approval rating of his term Friday, boosted by his popularity among recipients of coronavirus stimulus payments despite the carnage the pandemic has caused in Brazil.
The far-right leader’s approval rating surged five points from June, to 37 percent, while his disapproval rating plunged 10 points to 34 percent, the leading polling firm Datafolha reported.
Datafolha found he was performing well among poor Brazilians who have been receiving monthly stimulus payments of 600 reals (about $110) to offset the economic pain of the pandemic.
The former army captain had an approval rating of 42 percent among stimulus payment recipients.
In Brazil’s poorest region, the northeast, typically a bastion for the left-wing opposition, his disapproval rating fell 17 points from June, to 35 percent. His approval rating there rose six points, to 33 percent. [AFP]
But a second stimulus isn’t just good politics. It’s morally correct, too. It’s a necessary step to counter-balance the hideous accumulation of wealth by oligarchs who have benefited handsomely from Democratic lockdowns.
For the oligarch class, the 2020 pandemic is the best thing to ever happen. Jeff Bezos’s fortune has doubled to $200 billion. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are both worth more than $100 billion. A recent New York Times article profiled the new reality, where a handful of mega-corporations are devouring everything:
The next six months could witness one of the biggest consolidations of corporate power in the United States in almost a century, yet a variety of legal and economic factors may leave the federal government unable to stop it.
The essence of the problem is that during the extended economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, many large companies — and especially their stock market values — have been growing rapidly while their small business competitors have faced something of an apocalypse. More than 400,000 small businesses have already closed and millions more are at risk. [The New York Times]
Billionaires are getting richer, because the government stepped in to knee-cap their rivals and impoverish the middle class. Direct payments to the middle class are the bare minimum of what must be done to start fixing the damage.
Securing coronavirus stimulus would revitalize the populist energy that won Donald Trump the presidency. Contrary to what some think, Trump didn’t just win because of his stance on immigration. He won because immigration fit into a bigger populist agenda. Open borders enrich globalists, oligarchs, and special interests while impoverishing the middle class. So do the one-sided trade deals of the Bush-Clinton era, which subsidized China at the expense of the abandoned American Rust Belt.
Against these corrupt policies, Trump promised to negotiate better trade deals for American workers, bring manufacturing back from China, and protect America’s remaining blue collar jobs from rapacious globalists and special interests determined to outsource them. It worked: Trump won more union voters than any Republican since Reagan, flipped the Rust Belt, and won the presidency.
Right now, the best way to boost the fortunes of the middle and working classes is to make direct payments to them.
This would also help President Trump draw a sharp contrast with Joe Biden. By highlighting the catastrophic harm of lockdowns, the president can remind people that Democrats are the lockdown party, and Joe Biden is the lockdown candidate.
If I'm elected, I won't wait to take action on COVID-19.
Minutes after the race is called, I’ll call Dr. Fauci and ask him to stay on.
During my transition, I’ll bring together experts and leaders from both parties to chart a path forward.
We will overcome this, together.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 26, 2020
Biden’s pro-lockdown posture is just more proof-positive that the Democratic party has mutated into the party of America’s oligarchs. They want outsourcing, open borders, tyrannical lockdowns (that don’t apply to them), and a serf class of ordinary Americans to serve them in perpetuity. When Trump campaigns against this, he is winning.
President Trump must re-establish his independence from the clueless wing of the Republican Party that still hasn’t learned the lessons of 2016. One of these clueless Republicans, White House outside economic advisor Stephen Moore, told The Washington Post that coronavirus relief is a bad idea because it “would have completely divided the Republican Party on the eve of the election.”
These people are hopeless. They are the same Republicans that lost to Obama twice, and would have lost badly to Hillary Clinton too if Trump had not intervened. They want to control the Trump campaign so they can get back to losing. Their hyper-libertarian, free-market-at-all-costs economic vision enriches the oligarchs at the expense of the forgotten American.
Fortunately, these Republicans are weak. They fear Trump. It’s time that Trump responded accordingly. With four weeks to go until Election Day, getting stimulus checks to Americans should be the president’s top goal and #1 campaign issue. If Republicans don’t like it, ignore them or attack them publicly, as needed.
If the American people wanted a President who would allow corrupt oligarchs like Bezos to thrive on Covid lockdowns, while refusing to fight for even $1,200 dollar checks for ordinary Americans, they would have voted for Paul Ryan. If Democrats don’t cooperate with Trump’s stimulus push, he must expose their fake concern for the well-being of Americans. And if the parties are simply too intractable to act on behalf of the American people, the president should consider issuing stimulus checks by executive order.
This is the critical moment for Donald Trump to prove once and for all that he is the populist America elected in 2016. The time to act is now.
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