COVID-19 Upends Political Landscape and Global Economy

We knew the Democratic primary campaign was going to be exciting and sure enough, it is. Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner and, despite all efforts by the establishment Democrats to derail his campaign, he crushed the competition in the Nevada primary and shows no sign of slowing down as Super Tuesday approaches with enough delegates for Sanders to be “unstoppable.”

But what has overshadowed all the political campaigns at the state and national level is the outbreak of coronavirus, the highly contagious virus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms, can be fatal, and is running rampant across the globe.

While the disease itself is serious, the effects from quarantines, lock-downs and avoidance of highly populated areas is significantly impacting both the domestic and global economy. Here in the U.S., the stock market has lost all gains from this year and continues to plunge as the outbreak, which could become a global pandemic, impacts vital global transportation and supply chains.

It’s estimated that 80% of what Walmart sells is made in China, for instance. Or the fact that a huge number of U.S. manufacturers use parts made in China. Chinese tourism has plummeted already, with predictions it may not recover for years.

In the meantime, we have Donald Trump, the guy who has told more than 16,000 lies in his time in office, as our so-called “leader” in this crisis. He’s already tried the usual ploy of blaming someone else for the problems — including saying the Democrats and media are in cahoots to crash the economy to prevent his re-election. And boy, those Democrats must have been really busy spreading the mischief Trump wants us to believe, since coronavirus now exists in 60 nations.

But don’t worry, germaphobe Trump has passed off responsibility for the most serious health and economic crisis in recent times to science-denier Mike Pence. Feeling better now? Assured that our future is in good hands? Or even that you’re going to get a shred of the truth?

The Centers for Disease Control says the spread of contagion is “inevitable” and the World Health Organization just raised the threat assessment to its highest level. Trump and Pence, meanwhile, continue to blather that it’s totally “under control” while research scientists say a vaccine is still a year away.

Of course, Trump is correct that the estimated $3.5 trillion that has been wiped away in the last week is going to significantly harm his chances of re-election. I mean, other than the booming economy he inherited from Barack Obama, what else does he have to crow about? Certainly not the trillions in new debt he added to the nation’s deficit with tax breaks for the already wealthy. And guess what, the billions he diverted to build his wall won’t keep out a virus.

Here in Montana the silence from our supposed or wannabe leaders is deafening. What are the state’s plans for when it shows up here — or even to find out if it’s already here? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Suddenly, when we really need leadership, we have a vacuum. Given that the virus shows no preference for Republicans or Democrats, one might think they’d put away the partisan knives to deal with the threat and show a little unity. But that, at least so far, is simply not happening.

In the meantime, Bernie Sanders’ plan for universal health care is starting to look a lot better about now. Since the entire purpose of government is to take care of the populace it’s up to we, the people, to chose leaders who are dedicated to do just that.


More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers