When millions of Americans fear a virus, when millions lose their jobs overnight and when millions are told to stay home, you can bet weâ€™re in for a political revolution. Or revolutions.
Look at what happened after 2008. We elected a black President. The Tea Party rose up. Republicans swept the 2010 elections and dominated North Carolina for a decade. The GOP went from the party of Bushes and John McCain to the party of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.
And that was just an economic crisis. No pandemic. No stay-home orders.
Here are a few fearless forecasts for this time.
Young voters will be even more liberal.
The fallout from 2008 made Millennials, roughly aged 25-40, more liberal than their elders â€“ more likely to support Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Medicare for All and free college. Now theyâ€™re getting hit again.
Gen Z â€œZoomers,â€ under 25, are getting slammed. Classes are disrupted, jobs are gone and plans are on hold. They will never forget this.
They will want government to act.
But the 2020 electorate will skew old.
Old people vote; young people donâ€™t. This will be especially true this year, as younger people struggle with the disruption. Poorer people will have a harder time voting. President Trump and Republicans will benefit.
The Democratic race will be prolonged â€“ and maybe unpredictable.
Joe Biden canâ€™t put away Bernie Sanders because primaries are being delayed. The convention is delayed. The crisis gives Sanders a platform to push his issues. Biden has no visible platform. Of course, this does cut down on his gaffes.
The Democratic Party has a history of suffering buyerâ€™s remorse over presumptive nominees. Later primaries sometimes breathe new life into challengers. It happened to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Already, you hear Democrats mooning over Andrew Cuomo.
The general election will be nasty, brutish and short.
For now, the race is on hold. But itâ€™ll be back â€“ meaner and uglier.
Democrats will say, as Nancy Pelosi did, that â€œPresident Trump fiddled while Americans died.â€ Trump will stoke hate of Democrats, bureaucrats, the media, â€œdeep stateâ€ scientists and doomsday medical experts.
Andrew Yang may be a prophet.
Yangâ€™s big idea in the Democratic presidential race was a â€œFreedom Dividendâ€ of $1,000 a month, every month, to every American over 18. A form of the idea â€“ one-time checks to some Americans â€“ ended up in the $2 trillion rescue bill.
Once people get their checks, they may get to liking it. Theyâ€™ll probably like the checks better than the corporate bailouts, loans and special tax breaks. And people who didnâ€™t get checks will want them.
Congressâ€™ actions will set off counter-reactions.
There was only one way to bring together Democrats and Republicans in Congress: spend $2 trillion. Everybody got something.
But everybody hates something the other side got. Democrats think big corporations, and maybe the Trump family, got too much from Republicans. Republicans think Democrats gave people incentives not to work and tried to reshape society along socialist lines.
Both sides got attack-ad ammunition.
Healthcare will be a big issue.
Pelosiâ€™s Democrats won big in 2018 on health care, especially pre-existing conditions. Wait until people get the medical bills from the virus.
Both parties will have new faces in 2024.
Republicans will choose between Another Trump or Never Again Trump. Democrats will choose between this yearâ€™s also-rans, Bidenâ€™s running mate and some of the Governors now starring on TV.
The big question: Will it be morning again in America? Or a Depression?