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The End

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Yes the stock market isn’t the economy, but while half the money in it belongs to the 1%, the other half basically undergirds what’s left of America’s pension plans: either directly through 401(k)s, or indirectly through public employee plans that can only pay out their benefits if stocks keep rising, since that’s where the plans’ funds are largely invested.

Beyond this, the odds of a significant recession over the next few months are close to 100%, as supply chains get disrupted and ordinary commerce suffers the effects of the reaction to COVID-19.

Trump’s presidency (as well as the Republican party to which it is now symbiotically connected) has always been something of a Potemkin village. He remains extraordinarily unpopular, given background economic conditions. In an economic downturn, he and his party seem likely to suffer a historic defeat in November.

Is this enough? Truly, is this enough for the country that looked at itself after eight years of a competent presidency and decided to hand things over to a vulgar talking yam? Are the vacant airports and deserted subways enough? Will the empty arenas and ballparks be enough? Is the plunging stock market enough? When the ambulances start hauling away the old folks down the block, will that be enough? How in god’s name can anyone vote for four more years of this, four more years of a choleric fatburg of a man who calls a press conference about a global health emergency and asks a reporter for Fox News how the ratings were for his last town hall? How does that man carry a precinct, let alone a state, let alone the country? Christ, even Ted Cruz is doing the right thing here.

Instead, we have scientists standing around him at the CDC, nodding in unison at the president*’s idiocies. We have the surgeon general on television, telling an astonished George Stephanopoulos that the president* is in better shape than he is, despite the obvious fact that the president* is entering Mr. Creosote territory. There are rising calls now for the declaration of a national emergency. Which raises a terrifying question: do you want this president* and this executive branch declaring a national emergency, with all the special powers that entails? Hand sanitizer and fist-bumps seem a lot safer.

(In this singular case I’m suspending my general policy of condemning fat shaming, because Donald Trump).

I do think that there’s a significant risk that if Trump’s approval ratings are at 35% in September — this is probably the new 27% — and it looks as if the Democrats are going to take the Senate, the administration will be looking for ways to avoid holding the election. Only until the crisis passes, of course.

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