Politics Through the Looking Glass: Virus Scrambles the Left-Right Lines

Republicans close to the White House argued that the party’s primary tenets were unshakable, even in this crisis.

For instance, where Mr. Trump has been hesitant in using the Defense Production Act to compel American factories to produce medical supplies, “Joe Biden and Democrats call for compulsion, which is markedly different,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director.

Mr. Trump has likened government mandates for manufacturers to nationalization of industry, a line his supporters presumably would not want him to cross. Parts of his political base are chafing at government moves to control social interactions and shutter businesses to fight the virus.

With that in mind, Mr. Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, described the huge aid package as restitution, not socialism.

“The conservative principle is when government takes your property and economic rights, they are obligated to come up with a financial settlement,” said Mr. Schlapp, whose wife, Mercedes Schlapp, is a Trump campaign adviser.

Conservatives, he said, are less deferential to government than their liberal counterparts and are not likely to put up with it for long, presaging a potentially intense election-year conflict between left and right over when to end social distancing measures.

“Eventually, we have to ask ourselves, what’s the appropriate level of risk to open it back up,” Mr. Schlapp said. “It will be a showdown, and I think that will tell us a lot about our country.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/us/politics/coronavirus-democrats-republicans-trump.html

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