I am very much in favor of compromising with Republicans and passing a coronavirus aid package. The strongest pushback I’ve gotten over this has been from fellow liberals who argue that it might help Donald Trump. It also might help a few Republican senators who are on the edge of defeat. If winning control of the presidency and flipping the Senate are the top items on the progressive agenda right now, then anything that endangers it, no matter how important, needs to be put off. It’s just too risky.
This is all true. I accept it. Except for one thing: it’s our last chance to help people who have been devastated by the coronavirus shutdowns and are likely to be even more devastated when the winter surge gets going. If Joe Biden wins the election, as seems likely, Republicans will steadfastly refuse to pass anything. Period. Nobody will ever get any assistance of any kind.
This is a perennial liberal weakness, but there you have it: I can’t abide the thought of making people suffer over political gamesmanship. This probably means I’m willing to settle for a bit less than the most hard-nosed negotiation would produce, but in a case like this that doesn’t bother me. Time is running short, and holding out over the gain or loss of an additional 10 percent in the HEROES Act—or a few minor regulations about how the money is spent—is just too dicey for me to accept.
Nobody will thank us for this. Most voters will never even realize that liberals are responsible for there being any assistance at all. If anything, it will probably help Republicans slightly. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but this is the business we’ve chosen. Let’s get on with it.