Much of economically vulnerable America has been insulated from economic reality. A recent Washington Post poll shows that 77% of those who lost their jobs believe they will be heading back to the same jobs following the health crisis. Pew Research reports that 68% of Americans who lost their jobs are concerned about reopening the economy too early, rather than too late.
In short, if your family hasn’t lost a loved one to Covid-19, your bank account probably looks basically the same, and you believe your job is awaiting your return, the past 10 weeks have been an extended inconvenience. Your political views are still informed by the same economic inputs that formed them in February.
That won’t hold for long. The direct payments won’t go on forever. The jobs may not come back soon. Businesses aren’t guaranteed to reopen, and the political bubble formed by this alternate reality could portend large political realignments.
The people who have lost their jobs but come to grips with a radically changed economy haven’t been silent. These are the people lining up at state capitols across the country demanding the economy reopen. So far this group has been marginalized and dismissed as kooks or reckless deniers of a deadly pandemic. But millions more may join them before the year’s end.