If anything, it seems to me that the coronavirus has made running on health — in this case specifically on the value of the lockdown measures — an even more dangerous gambit. Regardless of what one thinks of their efficacy, it is undeniable that months from now when unemployment is in the double digits and everyone knows someone who lost a house or a business or a retirement portfolio during the lockdown, very few people will say to themselves, “Well, at least I didn’t die from a thing almost no one died from!” This would be true even if it were the case that “social distancing” had saved millions from certain death. It’s just human nature.
Trump is in a very good position here, rhetorically speaking. The president will try to argue that his prudent leadership saved millions of Americans from the threat of a deadly virus and that a corrupt expert class and their allies in the media and the Democratic Party bankrupted the country over something slightly less bad than the 2018 flu season. How can he possibly say both, you ask? Pshaw. This is what Trump always does. He was impeached, you might recall, for attempting to use millions of dollars in leverage available to him to investigate the activities of the Bidens in Ukraine, which is totally within the purview of his authority as president — and for demanding absolutely nothing during a “perfect phone call.”