Much has already been said about how the coronavirus is a crisis that seems tailor-made for the critics of globalization and free trade. But a similar point is also worth making: almost any policy priority that nationalists had hopes of seeing realized in a Trump administration, from infrastructure to returning manufacturing to immigration restriction, would have left our country better prepared for the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in.
It’s true that Trump is being unfairly blamed for a lot of things related to the pandemic. His administration is accused of disbanding the NSC’s pandemic response team, but in fact only one person with no pandemic experience was fired. And to be sure most of his current critics have no interest in these kinds of nationalist policies. But it’s also true that the Trump administration’s focus on more conventional Republican priorities like corporate tax cuts and endless war in the Middle East seem even more mistaken in light of the current pandemic. Ordinary Americans are now paying the price for those compromises.