On Sunday, Germany (population 80.2 million) confirmed 159 new cases of the coronavirus; Florida (population 21.5 million) confirmed 15,300, noted The Washington Post’s conservative columnist George F. Will. “Under the most frivolous person ever to hold any great nation’s highest office, this nation is in a downward spiral,” he concluded.
In Western Europe, Trump’s ideological brethren have slumped. Far-right parties in Italy and Spain, two countries once at the epicenter of the pandemic, failed to make significant political gains as left-leaning governments struggled with the crisis. Their posturing on immigration or identity meant little to a public eager for calm, solidarity and scientific expertise to flatten the curve.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the consummate anti-populist, has emerged as one of the political heroes of the past few months. Though in the twilight of her career, Merkel has gained in popularity once again for her technocratic handling of the pandemic in Germany, which rolled out a swift, extensive testing and contact tracing system.
“Merkel was able to give a calm and clear explanation of the mathematics of infection rates and to act upon it; Trump complains that the U.S. is doing too many tests,” observed Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman.