Early signs are not encouraging. The messaging early this week was childish—everything’s under control, everything’s fine. The president’s news conference Wednesday night was not reassuring. Stock market down? “I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democratic candidates standing on that stage making fools out of themselves.” “The risk to the American people remains very low.” “Whatever happens we’re totally prepared.” “There’s no reason to panic, because we have done so good.”

It was inadequate to the task.

I wonder if the president understands what jeopardy he’s in, how delicate even strong economies are, and how provisional good fortune is.

If you want to talk about what could make a progressive win the presidency it couldn’t be a better constellation than this: an epidemic, an economic downturn, a broad sense of public anxiety, and an incumbent looking small. Especially if the progressive says he stands for one big thing, health care for everyone.