Just because the New York Times Opinion Section is a perennial object of ridicule by both the right and the left doesn’t mean its writers don’t occasionally make a good point.
And today, we’d like to draw our readers’ attention to a column published Tuesday by Ross Douthat, a member of the NYT’s editorial board.
As Douthat points out, the outbreak has put Democrats, and liberals more broadly, in a difficult position. Eager to jump at every opportunity to criticize President Trump, many are secretly hoping the outbreak gets worse in the US because it could hurt Trump’s chances of reelection. Many, including top Dems like Schumer, Pelosi etc., have already accused the administration of being unprepared and not doing enough.
But if the outbreak does get worse, it could deal another savage blow to the system of global frictionless exchange of people, goods, services and capital, by making countries more suspicious of allies and enemies alike.
This is why liberals are bashing Trump while arguing that pointing out China’s failures is “racist.”
Republicans also have an incentive to play down the outbreak, as Trump is doing: They need to keep the market buoyant and stave off a recession that could tilt the election in favor of the insurgent socialists backing Bernie Sanders.
In other words: The virus may not be a civilization-ender, as Douthat points out. But it could be the straw that breaks globalization’s back.
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Investors who figured this out last week are already cleaning up. But maybe there’s still something to be learned here:
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