But it’s not insane to think a different public figure — crucially, not someone who feels the need to suck up to Trump — could take on an important leader role that could push us toward better outcomes in the current crisis.

In the abstract, a Democratic nominee could use his bully pulpit to urge a better response by hospitals, doctors, and drug companies. He could push governors of his own party to roll out their own testing regimens without CDC approval, if needed.

Any public figure, maybe a prominent and trusted senator, a businessman with a record of public spiritedness, or a former official who didn’t appear to be acting for some private client, could take the lead. Better yet, someone with clinical or research knowledge (such as Scott Gottlieb), could become something of a coronavirus czar without any White House sanction simply by working the media, working the hospitals, working the labs, and working the states and counties.