“For liberals, a dominant view is that, thanks to Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it unleashed, Republican and Trump-leaning independent voters are coming to their senses,” wrote Eric Posner, a University of Chicago law professor.
There are three problems with that analysis. First, it’s not obvious that anyone else would have responded to the virus better — deaths per million in the United States are well below those in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. Second, Trump continues to enjoy an edge on economic issues. Evidently, voters don’t seem to believe the COVID-19 shutdowns discredit Trump’s previous policies, which produced above-average gains for low-wage workers for the first time in decades and the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment ever recorded.
Third, that static analysis doesn’t account for Trump’s executive orders last weekend suspending the payroll tax and extending extra unemployment payments. Many critics, including conservatives, argue that these measures, especially the unemployment payments, aren’t authorized by legislation and that these orders go beyond the president’s powers.