Impending death, as the saying goes, has a way of focusing the mind. There’s no reason to believe President Trump faces imminent death as a result of his recently testing positive for the coronavirus.
But the brief video he released before he went into hospital showed a Trump we’ve rarely seen before: sombre, scared and, perhaps for the first time, truly shaken by the pandemic’s threat to both the nation and himself. It’s conceivable that this momentous new development in the US presidential race, just a month from election day, could restore a seriousness to our politics that it has lacked for quite a while.
Exhibit A in the unseriousness of American political life has, of course, been our tragically inept response to the pandemic. Not all of the blame can be pinned on the Trump administration. The coronavirus has demonstrated a widespread breakdown in national competence that has