Three Ways COVID-19 May Change U.S. Politics

1. Greater Distrust for Establishment Politicians

Americans already distrust their politicians. Case in point, according to the most recent data from Real Clear Politics shows that almost two-thirds of us distrusting our congress. Crises have the power to raise or lower the approval ratings of politicians. In this case, you have seen 60% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling on COVID-19 according to ABC News/Ipsos. This is slightly more than the 57% who disapprove of Trump’s overall performance as president.

2. Greater Appeal for Insurgent Candidates

The biggest implication of this is that insurgent candidates may end up winning more primaries. This will especially be true for the Democrats, who are not as loyal for Joe Biden as the Republicans are for Donald Trump. You have already seen this with progressive insurgent Charles Booker coming in only a few points behind previous longtime favorite and establishment-backed candidate Amy McGrath. Even though he lost the race to be the Democratic Party nominee for the Kentucky senate race, it was originally expected to be in the bag for Amy McGrath by most establishment pundits. Jamaal Bowman, another insurgent, defeated incumbent chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Eliot Engel in New York’s 16th congressional district in a primary race that has gained national attention. A trend started in the Democratic party by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 when she defeated Joe Crowley, primarying incumbents and establishment favorites has become a trend that has gained steam amongst Democrats this year as COVID-19 ravages the world. This trend has also occurred the opposite way when the Tea Party rose in 2010, when Republicans became disenchanted with their establishment at the end of the Great Recession.

3. Increased Public Awareness Towards Certain Issues

A crisis also has the ability to increase public support for certain issues. For example, after the events of September 11, many Americans became more aware of the issue of terrorist groups in the Middle East. Similarly, through the way that the money from stimulus bills passed by congress primarily went to large corporations meanwhile according to 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of closing according to a survey from Main Street America and unemployment has stayed at similar levels pre-crisis in some countries like Denmark and Germany, in the United States unemployment levels have skyrocketed to 13.3% under U-3 and 21.2% both numbers being about three times larger than pre-crisis levels. There has also been a 9 month high in support for universal healthcare according to a Morning Consult poll with 55% of registered voters supporting the plan, an uptick of 9 points between February and March. While I have a bias as a staunch medicare-for-all suporter, I think many Amricans are realizing that they are paying more than any other developed nation and in exchange they are the only one to see anyone die because they cannot afford to go to the hospital.