This quickening is most visible in the United States Senate. It was the youthful and heterodox members of the Republican conference who first recognized the severity of the challenges emanating from Wuhan, China. As Congress put together its economic relief bill, these lawmakers did not worry about violating free-market dogma. They recognized the extraordinary nature of the situation. Their primary concern was the fate of the unemployed. In so far as “Trumpism,” to the degree that it exists, describes a political tendency that is suspicious of overseas commitments, international trade, and unchecked immigration, and more worried about the rise of China than the revanchism of Russia, this pandemic does not spell the “end.” It may even serve as vindication.
The Republican senators most widely seen as preparing to run for president in 2024 have used the past few weeks to articulate a conservatism that is more heavily weighted toward security than freedom. Tom Cotton has a bill, cosponsored by Mike Gallagher in the House, to end U.S. dependence on the Chinese manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Josh Hawley introduced an “Emergency Family Relief Act” that was much more ambitious than the (for now) onetime payments included in the economic triage bill. Marco Rubio designed the small-business lending component that is essential to the CARES Act. They all criticized the Chinese government for lying about the coronavirus as it spread throughout the world.