Biden and his top health officials have already begun hinting at an impending “new normal,” in a conscious messaging shift meant to get people comfortable with a scenario where the virus remains widespread yet at more manageable levels.
But it’s a delicate operation. The White House is wary of declaring victory too early, only to get hit with another catastrophic variant, a half-dozen administration officials and others close to the Covid response said. Officials are also anxious that voters will be disappointed by the idea of living with an endemic virus under a president who once pledged to shut it down completely. And they realize that it will take vigilance — and billions more dollars from Congress — to prevent the nation from backsliding into crisis once again.
Will people even notice Biden’s “new normal”? Most Americans have already rejected any notion that masks will be part of a “new normal” and it’s a safe bet they will reject mandatory vaccinations as well.
In fact, there will be no “normal” at all until the government stops using public health as a means to control the population.
Related: The Post-Pandemic World
Politico’s West Wing writers — Sam Stein, Alex Thompson, and Max Tani — make the point that any “new normal” will not involve the American people placing their trust in any of the old institutions.
Across the board, a massive upheaval is underway in American society. Some of it can be seen through a positive lens. The historic number of workers quitting or changing their jobs, for example, doesn’t just show a wild labor market but that the balance of the business-worker relationship is tilting back towards workers.
But, by and large, the data shows people are no longer turning to the groups, entities, organizations and community structures that had been social pillars.
It’s the biggest social upheaval since maybe ever. Kids are leaving public schools in record numbers. Teachers, nurses, and newspaper subscribers are also leaving.
Data collected during the pandemic showed that one-in-three practicing Christians dropped out of church completely. People are canceling their news subscriptions, and not just as a cost-saving measure. In one Nieman lab survey, 30 percent of respondents said they did so “due to ideology or politics.” Data kept by Morning Consult shows that trust in Congress is at new tracking lows; that only 47 percent of the population has faith in the U.S. electoral system; and that confidence in the Supreme Court went from 62 percent at the start of Biden’s presidency to 52 percent now.
What kind of “new normal” will grow out of that? No one believes in anything and no one trusts anyone or any institution. We can talk about who and what is to blame next century, but for now, what does it mean?
As a matter of practical politics, it means that Biden and the Democrats are toast.
“Biden is getting blamed for things in the system that are just sort of part of the system,” said JULIA AZARI, a professor of political science at Marquette University. “He can’t do this. He can’t do that. He can’t make [West Virginia Sen. Joe] Manchin do anything. He can’t make federalism different…. It turns out that what needs to happen in order to restore a sense of normalcy is to do some abnormal things and I don’t think Biden has the support of that.”
Biden wouldn’t have the imagination to do what’s needed for a sense of normalcy to return. His election brought to power many radicals bent on overthrowing the system that they have been revolting against for 50 years. The system, the culture, the traditions, manners, and mores that are the essence of the United States and its people are under unprecedented attack and Biden is either too old, too tired, or too addled to do anything about it.
For a sense of normalcy to return, we’re going to need a time machine. Otherwise, we’re stuck with Biden and the radicals until someone tosses them out of Washington.
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