The Viral Center

Column: The coronavirus and the new American middle

Donald TrumpThe coronavirus struck America during an era of polarization. Politics was bitterly divided. The two sides did not just disagree. Partisans existed in separate realities, with different religious commitments, moral attitudes, policy priorities, and sources of information. The gaps between blue states and red states, and between the rural and urban areas within them, seemed unbridgeable. Some analysts spoke of a "cold civil war." Its resolution would decide the nation's fate.

Coronavirus and the Common Good

Column: The enduring relevance of a tricky concept

New York City Hospital Adds New Protocols And Triage To Address CoronavirusLong before the onset of the pandemic, some of the journalists and politicians on the American right began speaking of the "common good." Back in 2005, Rick Santorum titled one of his books It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. More recently, last October Sohrab Ahmari wrote that the common good should replace individual autonomy—i.e., freedom—as the touchstone of a new conservatism. The following month, Marco Rubio told an audience at Catholic University that a "common-good capitalism" would promote dignified work for all and incentivize businesses to reinvest "enough" of their profits to create jobs in the United States.

Corona Conservatism

Column: The coronavirus accelerates a generational and ideological transition on the right

Not long ago, as the severity of the coronavirus pandemic became clear, journalists were quick to say that the crisis marked the end of an era. "The Trump Presidency is Over," declared a headline in the Atlantic. One article in Politico said "The Pandemic Is the End of Trumpism." A New York Times op-ed column carried the headline, "The Era of Small Government Is Over."

Coronavirus Tests America’s Social Capacity

Column: Is American society ready for the coronavirus pandemic?

social distancingA few months after September 11, 2001, David Brooks went back and looked at coverage of Pearl Harbor for an article in the Weekly Standard ("After Pearl Harbor," December 10, 2001). What he saw intrigued him. A sense of unity and patriotism followed both surprise attacks. But media after Pearl Harbor had none of the sorrow, sensitivity, and angst that filled the news, with reason, after 9/11. Recognizing the inevitable costs of war, Americans on the home front at the outset of World War II were nonetheless eager to carry on as usual. They did not apologize or second-guess. They soldiered on. "When you step back and contemplate the range of post-Pearl Harbor media," Brooks wrote, "you are struck by how extraordinarily proud of itself America then was."

The Fight Against Socialism Isn’t Over

Column: Bernie Sanders isn't a relic. He's a preview of things to come.

Bernie SandersDemocrats are breathing a sigh of relief. Joe Biden's victories on "Mini Tuesday" make his delegate lead all but insurmountable. Bernie Sanders's electoral weakness, compared with his performance four years ago, has dulled the fear of an incipient socialist takeover of the world's oldest political party. The left is said to have talked itself into believing its own propaganda and helped President Trump equate Democrats with socialism. Victory in the primary did not come from pledges to eliminate private health insurance or impose wealth taxes. It followed from the perception that Biden is the candidate best able to defeat Trump.

Joe Biden: The Comeback Gramps

Column: How a flight to safety helped the former vice president

Joe BidenOn the day before the South Carolina primary, the stock market finished its worst week since the global financial crisis of 2008. Fear of Bernie Sanders and of coronavirus had investors panicked. They wanted safe returns. Bond yields fell to record lows.

The First Postmodern Pandemic

Column: The only predictable fallout of coronavirus? Partisanship.

ChinaThe pundits are having difficulty settling on a historical analogy for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Will the spread of the disease be President Trump's Katrina, or his financial crisis? Will it be similar to the H1N1 Avian flu pandemic in 2009, or will it be politicized like the Ebola outbreak in 2014?

Battle of the Boroughs

Column: And the fall of the political establishment

Bloomberg Trump SandersThere are 329 million people in the United States of America. They are spread across 3.8 million square miles. The presidential race will be determined by the actions of three of them: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Michael Bloomberg. Each one is a New Yorker. Each hails from a different borough. Trump was born in Queens, Sanders in Brooklyn, and Bloomberg, a native of Massachusetts, has worked and lived in Manhattan since 1973.

The Era of Limbaugh

Column: Why Rush Limbaugh matters

Rush LimbaughFlorida governor Ron DeSantis spoke to Rush Limbaugh last fall at a gala dinner for the National Review Institute. The radio host was there to receive the William F. Buckley Jr. award. "He actually gave me one of the greatest compliments I've ever had," Limbaugh told his audience the next day. "He listed five great conservatives and put me in the list." DeSantis's pantheon: William F. Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Limbaugh.