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Op-Ed

Dick Morris: Parties Come Together Over Coronavirus

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The Democratic debate between Biden and Sanders brought out one fundamental truth about the parties’ views on how to cope with the coronavirus: There is really no disagreement between them.

Trump gives more emphasis to steps to prevent the spread and reduce the lethality of the virus while the Democrats emphasize mitigating the economic hardship it brings in its wake.

Different emphases, but no real disagreement.

For the most part, Democrats do not begrudge Trump his broadband testing and travel and other restrictions to stop the virus’ spread and the Trump administration is willing to sign on to Democratic spending plans to compensate people for their economic losses. The 363-40 margin by which the package passed the House attests to the lack of controversy.

So now there is a unique opportunity for Trump and the Republicans to triangulate and win the election in a landslide!

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All Trump has to do is to say yes. He just has to sign the bill emerging from Congress and then loudly proclaim that “nobody who loses his or her job because of coronavirus will miss a paycheck” and “nobody will lose their home or fall behind if they cannot pay their mortgage due to the virus.”

And change the language. Stop talking in programmatic terms about extending paid medical leave, school nutrition programs and unemployment compensation. Go beyond the programs and speak to the frightened families that depend on them. They won’t miss a paycheck or lose their house and their kids won’t miss a meal.

Reassure them in simple terms.

Bring Pelosi to the White House for the bill signing. Shake her hand (or fist bump).

Whether or not Trump gets credit for the economic aid package, it will be he who enforces it. He who advertises to people to take advantage of it. He who can drill down and assure each man and woman that they will be protected against layoffs or loss of income.

He just needs to change his rhetoric. In addition to everything he is now saying about expanding testing and quarantine to stop the spread of the virus, he just has to step up and underscore that, for once, the government is on your side and will protect you economically against ruin.

Whether you are an assembly-line worker, a waitress or a baseball park hot dog vendor, you need not fear closures. The government will hold you harmless.

By putting all their advocacy in the economic basket on the virus, the Democrats run the risk that the president will say “yes” and strip them of their agenda.

Just as President Clinton did when he embraced welfare reform and the balanced budget, Trump can fast forward the Democratic agenda. And they will go home.

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Polls show that while about 45 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, about 53 percent disapprove. But there are also people who disapprove of the job Trump is doing and may not vote for him, but agree with many of his issue positions.

Triangulate on coronavirus and those votes are going to go with Trump.

There is no need to embrace the broader Democratic agenda on other points — health care reform, climate change and income inequality. There are no other issues now beyond coronavirus.

Sanders’ plea for a revolution in heath care falls flat in light of the current crisis. Give the Democrats what they want on coronavirus — and repeat it at every turn — and we will cut the ground out from under them.

Financially and fiscally, the federal government can afford such generosity for a few months.

But this crisis will last long enough, unfortunately, for the message to sink in and to reposition Trump as a bipartisan president acting for the good of the country regardless of ideology.

Triangulate!

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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