Author: Chuck Malloy, idaho Politics Weekly

The deteriorating economy, and hysteria over the coronavirus pandemic, is not what a sitting president should like to see in an election year.

President Trump talked a lot about America “winning” four years ago when he ran for office. He was not thinking about what we’re seeing today – a stock market that is in a freefall, a sports world that is shut down and no Broadway shows. If all this lasts for months, as authorities speculate, we may have an economic situation that makes the Hoover years look like a time of prosperity by comparison. The Carter years could look like happy days are here again.

At some point, the political fallout from this pandemic may be hitting Trump, as it did for Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. For those old enough to remember, Republicans won the White House in 1980, talking about those long lines and the economic dire straits. Don’t be surprised at some point if Democrats talk about the Trump years, when people can’t buy toilet paper.

Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher, of course, will support Trump. But he sees a potential political fallout and, in his view, it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The impact is not on the disease, but the fear of it. This isn’t anywhere close to the standard flu, which kills (about 36,000) people a year. This is a time for precaution, but not a time for panic and not a time for fear. We’ve been through more difficult things than this,” he says.

“I want to be careful not to undersell it (the coronavirus), because there is a potentially large health threat. But it doesn’t mean we should stop living,” Fulcher said. “Yes, we need to be careful. Wash your hands, stay clean, use the sanitizer, and you don’t have to be in large groups. At the same time, this is America and let’s don’t let this thing take us out.”

Fulcher says the United States should not be compared to Italy and other countries that are having more severe problems with the coronavirus. As flawed as our health care system is, it’s still the best in the world, and there’s no shortage of running water and flushing toilets (only toilet paper).

So, as Fulcher sees it, there should be no reason for widespread panic and hoarding – people buying 10 times more than they need of various items.

What’s unique about this crisis is that Republicans are not ones who usually panic. Ronald Reagan calmly turned around the “malaise” of the Carter years, and made political optimism fashionable. After the “9-11” terrorist attack, it was George W. Bush who marched to the mound at Yankee Stadium during a World Series game and fired a perfect strike. Those guys had swagger.

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