This could be a disturbing thought to many, but I wonder about this. If it wasn't for the corona virus, would Trump have won the 2020 election?
Like the inconvenient prospect of climate change, the corona virus became an obstacle for the economy. Under Trump, unemployment was low; including, as he pointed out in his January 2020 State of the Union Speech; unemployment, among minority groups, had gone down. The idea of a rising tide eventually lifting all (or at least almost all) boats.
Of course there was great income inequality, but those toward the bottom of the income ladder tend to be less apt to vote or have a major effect on the media narrative. Climate change was a big problem that was basically ignored by the Trump bandwagon and inconvenient to deal with by the rest of society addicted to, for instance, the fossil fuel automobile.
The complaints from low income sectors were heard in the media, but most of the talk was related to various racial and sexual minority issues and battles over political correctness. Battles within the left, which still was probably the majority of people. Battles between the farther left and the more moderate left which reduced the effectiveness of left politics.
The right wing had it's internal strife also, but there was a powerful alliance between the Trump populists and the "Republican Establishment" (Mitch McConnell & Company). This alliance bolstered the right till that alliance basically unraveled after Trump lost the election in 2020.
The big thrust of our culture toward wanting more material wealth was still, for the most part, unquestioned. It was questioned around the edges, but for the most part, raising people to higher standards of living was not questioned.
The definition of "what constitutes a standard of living" is an important question, but it's not raised that often.
What constitutes a higher standard of living? Is it more free time, or is it more money? Is it greater material wealth or is it higher quality of life? Is it a bigger house, or is it a happier life with less "house" to worry about? Is it good relations with your neighbors and community, or is it it going alone?
The virus has brought some of these deeper questions into light. Climate change is another haunting thing that brings these questions to light, but it's easier to sweep climate change under the carpet; in the short term at least. Climate change is more of a long term thing. A gradual boiling of the pot. Easy for most people to keep kicking the "can" of climate change down the road; unless they live in certain areas strongly effected; like in the path of forest fires.
The virus was a more acute, short term stumbling block which forced some rethinking of economic and life assumptions.
In the long run, the virus may have prepared us for dealing with climate change by forcing more flexibility in some of our assumptions about the economy and our lives within it.
Most obviously, it may have been the virus that toppled the Trump bandwagon.
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