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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 48)

How the Coronavirus Changed the 2020 Campaign

Westlake Legal Group 12campaign-virus-02-facebookJumbo How the Coronavirus Changed the 2020 Campaign United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Democratic Party democratic national committee Debates (Political) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — For the past year, the Democratic presidential candidates debated the merits of sweeping liberal ideas, fretted over notions of electability and bias, and rose and fell in the polls as voters struggled to choose a front-runner. And through it all, President Trump sniped from the sidelines, demonizing the party and its 2020 contenders as socialists.

Almost overnight, everything has changed. Amid deepening uncertainty over a spreading virus and growing anxiety about an economic meltdown, that kind of classic presidential campaign ended and something extraordinary has begun: a real-time, life-or-death test of competency and leadership for those seeking the White House this November.

Over 18 hours from Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon, the three major candidates for the presidency, including the incumbent, made quick pivots to shape and guide the country’s new political discourse. It was an attempt to demonstrate how they would lead Americans across a muddled terrain of social disruption and stock market collapse, of worry about testing kits and concern about travel bans and crowd sizes.

Just hours after Mr. Trump delivered a wooden address from the Oval Office, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. sought to position himself as a sober steward of the national interest, delivering a speech echoing the language and tone of addresses given by presidents in moments of crisis. Mr. Biden also went much further than Mr. Trump in proposing a detailed plan and a set of goals on testing, increasing hospital capacity and supporting an accelerated push for a vaccine.

“This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration,” Mr. Biden said, standing in front of a backdrop of American flags. “Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this president, fueled by adversarial relationships with the truth that he continues to have.”

With his sharp criticisms of Mr. Trump’s shifting statements about the crisis, and the administration’s inability to stem the falling stock market, Mr. Biden was also taking direct aim at Mr. Trump’s oft-heard arguments for re-election in November.

The spread of the virus is rapidly becoming a test of Mr. Trump’s core message: that despite the controversy the president creates, Americans are better off economically than before he took office and should stick with him, rather than siding with Democrats whom Mr. Trump portrays as feckless half-wits who botched the Iowa caucuses and much more.

Now it is Mr. Trump who risks looking out of his depth to many Americans, not only in protecting their health but also in guarding their 401(k)s.

Two hours after Mr. Biden spoke, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — the other leading candidate for the Democratic nomination — warned that the death toll of Americans from the coronavirus could exceed the number of U.S. soldiers killed during World War II.

“We have an administration that is largely incompetent and whose incompetence and recklessness have threatened the lives of many, many people in this country,” Mr. Sanders said.

Get an informed guide to the global outbreak with our daily coronavirus newsletter.

The setting of the speeches underscored the unusual situation the campaigns now face. Normally at this time candidates would be traveling the country, rallying supporters at town hall meetings, fund-raisers and mass rallies. But both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have curtailed their travel and canceled big gatherings because of the virus, and on Thursday they found themselves addressing small groups of reporters in sparse hotel ballrooms in their hometowns, Wilmington, Del., and Burlington, Vt.

Political strategists compared the virus to a hurricane, a deeply disruptive event likely to affect broad swaths of the country in unpredictable and devastating ways. The response to those moments can make or break a political career, they say.

“You don’t blame the elected officials for causing the damage that the hurricane ravages across the state,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster with experience on presidential and Senate campaigns. “You evaluate elected officials on how they handle the situation.”

Even as the fate of the country’s health remains uncertain, the dynamics of the primary race are clarifying. After a series of primary wins, Mr. Biden now has a delegate lead that would require a nearly impossible turnaround from Mr. Sanders to overcome.

That leaves Mr. Trump likely to face an opponent whom he spent much of 2019 trying to destroy. Yet, in a moment of crisis, some Democrats argue that the country may turn to a creature of the Washington establishment, seeing Mr. Biden as an experienced hand.

“A lot of people, not just Democrats, are going to start looking to Mr. Biden and sizing him up. It’s a real-time test at some level,” said Addisu Demissie, who managed the presidential campaign of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. “Even though he doesn’t have authority, he can show and not tell what four years of a Biden presidency would feel like.”

In particular, Democrats believe the virus will help them hold more moderate, independent suburban voters who don’t like the president’s tone but have stayed with him because of the strong economy. The party won control of the House in 2018 largely on the strength of their support among those voters, flipping a number of seats in battleground districts. Exit polling from Tuesday’s primaries showed that a majority of voters saw Mr. Biden as the candidate they trusted most to handle a major crisis.

For rural voters, who are more likely to vote for Republicans, the economic ramifications could affect their bottom lines, particularly farmers and oil workers who are already hurting from trade policies.

Yet, the fiercely partisan moment in Washington has scrambled the politics of unity that traditionally kick into place during times of national crisis. The partisan divide is so pervasive that it has affected not only people’s feelings about the president’s response, but also their fears about the virus itself.

Roughly six in 10 Republican voters nationwide said they were not particularly concerned that the coronavirus would disrupt their lives, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week. Democratic voters were twice as likely as Republicans to say they are concerned

While privately concerned about the impact on the president’s re-election prospects, Republicans are largely following Mr. Trump’s lead in minimizing the worries over the coronavirus and blaming Democrats and the media for focusing on the deaths it has caused.

“One thing the press has not covered at all is the people who have really recovered,” said Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Republican ally of Mr. Trump’s. “Right now all people are hearing about are the deaths. I’m sure the deaths are horrific, but the flip side of this is the vast majority of people who get coronavirus do survive.”

In recent days, Mr. Trump and his administration have taken a more active hand in the public messaging around the response. But senior public health officials have frequently contradicted or corrected statements made by the president; in the late hours of Wednesday evening various administration officials corrected four separate policies that Mr. Trump had announced during his nationally televised address.

On Thursday morning, after news broke that the Brazilian president and his aide had both tested positive for the coronavirus days after dining with Mr. Trump at his South Florida hotel, Mr. Trump said he was not worried. The White House later said he had not been tested for the virus himself.

“Let’s put it this way,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m not concerned.”

As the election year progresses into unknown territory, the candidates must now find ways to motivate voters from a distance. A number of Mr. Biden’s donors and supporters were quietly nervous about the effect that the coronavirus could have on events large and small in coming weeks, saying it had injected a fresh measure of uncertainty into the race.

Scheduled Biden campaign events in Chicago and Miami are being transformed into “virtual events” ahead of next Tuesday’s primaries in Arizona, Illinois, Florida and Ohio. On Thursday, both the Biden and Sanders campaigns instructed staff members to begin working from home.

Mr. Trump appears to be stopping all campaign-related events indefinitely, which would remove a major political weapon from his arsenal as he moves into the general election campaign.

Beyond the rallies, the virus throws into question nearly every mechanism of modern campaigning. Already, officials in Arizona, Ohio and Illinois are scrambling to move polling places out of nursing homes — with early voting already well underway.

On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee announced it would move Sunday’s presidential debate to Washington from Phoenix to minimize travel. At least nine members of Congress have self-quarantined after exposure to the virus, including several who had interactions with the president. Across the country, political events are being canceled, including some state party conventions where the delegates who vote on the nominee are elected.

Democratic activists are exploring ways to expand their virtual organizing efforts through Facebook and text. Abortion rights activists are planning a “virtual call center” on Sunday to support a Democrat challenging an incumbent in the Chicago suburbs. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin on Thursday canceled all in-person voter canvassing ahead of the state’s April 7 elections.

“As a campaign, it is completely against every instinct you have: no fund-raising and no big events,” said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “In the final week of a primary that’s the opposite of everything you’d want to do.”

Yet the questions go well beyond mass events and voting and will only get more challenging the longer the virus continues to disrupt social contact. What’s a baby-kissing politician supposed to do when he cannot kiss a baby? How do you gather staff members in a war room, if they can’t be in the same room? Can volunteers go knocking on doors in affected areas? If the campaign moves even more online, can officials protect against a heightened threat of election interference and disinformation?

It’s not known how long the coronavirus and its aftereffects will affect the election or be paramount on voters’ minds.

“There’s a long time until the election,” said Corry Bliss, who ran the House Republicans’ super PAC in 2018. “Last month, the world was convinced the only thing that would matter in 2020 was impeachment.”

Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting from New York.

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Wall Street Suffers Worst Rout Since Black Monday as Virus Response Eludes Washington

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-virus-ledeall-1-facebookJumbo Wall Street Suffers Worst Rout Since Black Monday as Virus Response Eludes Washington United States Economy Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy Metropolitan Museum of Art McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Federal Reserve System Federal Reserve Bank of New York European Central Bank

WASHINGTON — Financial markets plunged again on Thursday, with Wall Street suffering its biggest one-day drop since the Black Monday stock market crash in 1987, as Washington struggled to reach agreement on how to respond to the growing economic threat posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

The Federal Reserve, in a drastic attempt to ensure Wall Street remained functional as volatility roiled even normally staid bond markets, said it would promptly inject as much as $1.5 trillion in loans into the banking system and broaden its purchases of Treasury securities. But neither the Fed’s actions, nor a plan by the European Central Bank to offer cheap loans to banks and step up its bond-buying campaign, were enough to assuage investors, who sent the S&P 500 down 9.5 percent.

The Wall Street rout only increased pressure on Congress and the White House to hammer out a relief package that would provide assistance for people affected by the virus and the resulting economic disruption. With Republicans and Democrats sparring over what to include in the package, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, reversed course on Thursday and canceled a planned one-week recess, saying the Senate would meet next week and be ready to consider a compromise coronavirus relief bill.

President Trump, for his part, appeared to be scrambling to persuade the public that things were going smoothly, while suggesting he could further restrict travel. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump said he could conceivably ban domestic travel to regions of the United States where the coronavirus becomes “too hot.”

His comments came on the heels of his decision Wednesday night to impose sweeping travel restrictions on non-American citizens from nearly all of continental Europe, a step that angered his foreign counterparts and contributed to the global stock sell-off.

With Washington seemingly incapable of mounting a quick response, local governments, sports franchises, schools and cultural institutions moved to try to quell the spread of a virus that has sickened at least 132,300 people worldwide, including more than 1,500 in the United States. So far, at least 39 people have died from the virus in the country.

So much was being shut down so fast that it promised to change life as most Americans know it and bring about a spring unlike any before.

In an extraordinary step, governors in Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Ohio, Washington State and New York moved to ban large gatherings and restrict smaller ones. Broadway announced it would be turning off the lights. The Metropolitan Museum of Art said that it would temporarily close its three locations, including its Fifth Avenue flagship. The two biggest concert promoters suspended all their current tours until at least April, and Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, closed its doors for only the fourth time in history.

Schools across the country, including in Ohio and Maryland, announced they would shut for several weeks, while students at dozens of colleges and universities packed up and headed home for the foreseeable future.

The N.C.A.A. announced there would be no March Madness this year as Major League Baseball postponed the start of its regular season by at least two weeks, canceling spring training games effective immediately. The N.H.L., N.B.A. and Major League Soccer also said they would pause or suspend their seasons.

“It’s the right thing to do but obviously it stinks,” the Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said in a telephone interview.

European leaders were struggling with how to respond — both to the outbreak on their shores and to Mr. Trump — who did not consult them before blocking most visitors from continental Europe to the United States for 30 days.

In a strongly worded statement, the European Union said it “disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.” It said that it was “taking strong action to limit the spread” of the coronavirus, but that it “is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.’’

Asked on Thursday why he had not consulted foreign leaders beforehand, Mr. Trump said “We had to make a decision, and I didn’t want to take time.”

He defended the move, saying, “They have some hot spots that are really bad, but they’ll get them better. Germany, I guess, has some problems now.”

“France has some problems — some pretty big problems,” he added. “And Italy, of course, is probably record-setting in terms of what they’ve gone through. Italy is having a very hard time. But we will reestablish very quickly once this ends, and it’s just a question of time.”

The administration’s approach has sown confusion at home, with conflicting messages emanating from the White House and health officials as well as from individual government agencies.

In a meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump sought to play down the pandemic and its effects on the financial markets, saying, “It’s going to work out fine.” He insisted that, “Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth,” even as the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was on Capitol Hill acknowledging to lawmakers that “it is a failing — let’s admit it.”

The president claimed that anyone who wanted to board a flight to the United States must first test negative for the virus, although there is no such policy. And he said a rally that he had been planning in Tampa, Fla., was “all sold out,” even though the idea of scheduling it was scrapped before it was ever announced.

Mr. Trump himself may have been exposed to the virus after coming into contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive just days after participating in meetings with him in Florida. The White House said Mr. Trump would not be tested for the virus.

Cabinet officials have been waiting for the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management to send out official guidance addressing changes to telework policies, when to impose mandatory telecommuting, whether to reconsider hosting meetings and gatherings, and whether to cancel travel — guidance that would allow them to change their own policies.

At the Justice Department, a sprawling bureaucracy with offices in several buildings, Attorney General William P. Barr sent an email to all staff last week saying that he was monitoring the fast-moving situation, and managers have been empowered to allow optional telework depending on immediate risk factors.

The lack of a clear, consistent response in the United States has only fueled the market sell-off, and this week the messiness extended to even the safest bonds, putting financial functioning at risk and prompting the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to take significant steps on Thursday to show markets that it has their backs. The New York Fed increased the size of its repurchase operations — basically short-term loans to banks — by $1.5 trillion through Friday, added to its weekly repurchase offerings, and shifted its Treasury purchases so that they extend across durations instead of focusing on shorter-term bills.

The package was meant to calm Treasury markets, where conditions had deteriorated in recent days, in part by making sure that as banks take bonds onto their balance sheets, they can have access to the funding they need to cover those positions. That the Fed is now buying across a range of maturities could help relieve pressures across the market.

But investors, along with the public, appear inconsolable and desperate for Congress to unleash aid that could help either stop the spread of the virus or at least buffet an economic hit that is threatening to tip the United States into recession.

“Until there are details on the steps that leadership intends to pursue to remedy the economic effects of the viral outbreak, equity markets will be vulnerable,” said Carl Tannenbaum, the chief economist at Northern Trust.

Mr. McConnell’s decision to cancel recess averted what had been shaping up as a remarkable collapse of talks. House Democrats scheduled a Thursday vote on their own package of paid sick leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, free coronavirus testing and food aid. Senate Republicans, who are opposed to that measure, faced the prospect of leaving Washington having taken no action to address the widening crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a frantic attempt to keep talks on track, spoke by phone at least seven times with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, negotiating additional changes to the House legislation so that it could have a chance of winning the support of Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans.

As of Thursday afternoon, major sticking points were hampering agreement, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who described them on the condition of anonymity. Republicans balked at a sweeping proposal to provide paid sick leave, something Senate Republicans had already blocked when Democrats sought earlier in the week to bring up a separate bill. And Republicans were insisting on inserting language into the emergency package to ban federal funding for most abortions.

Mr. McConnell started the day denouncing Ms. Pelosi’s plan as an “ideological wish list” and indicating that the Senate had no intention of moving ahead with it. But as negotiations proceeded, he faced mounting complaints from Republican senators — including those facing challenging re-election races — who opposed the House Democrats’ plan but were reluctant to leave Washington without voting on something to address the crisis.

“A haphazard bill thrown together overnight?” Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, told reporters on Thursday. “We need to be thorough about it.”

“The Senate has no business leaving,” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said in a speech on the floor. “We shouldn’t leave town until we pass the House package to help workers and support our communities, and President Trump needs to sign it. We need to do our jobs.”

Senators left Washington on Thursday afternoon planning to return on Monday, even as the coronavirus took its toll on the Capitol, prompting more lawmakers to quarantine themselves and close their offices. (During senators’ final vote before their departure, a page could be seen wiping down members’ desks and chairs with disinfectant.)

In the absence of a detailed economic rescue plan from the White House, Ms. Pelosi has pressed forward with a package of her own that leading Republicans have panned as ineffective, overreaching and too costly. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, said on Thursday that Republicans had problems with the bill’s paid sick leave proposals and believed it should include other measures, like tax credits for employee retention.

“We should not just take a rush just because there is a bill,” Mr. McCarthy said. “We want to make sure it works.”

He added, “I think we can get this done in 24 or 48 hours.”

Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note on Thursday that it was “up to Congress to fire the fiscal bazooka, the bigger and quicker the better.”

But in an interview, Mr. Shepherdson warned that even a large stimulus package might not stop the fall in markets, and that the worst may still lie ahead.

“What stops the fear is evidence that the rate of increase of infections is slowing — believable evidence,” he said. “Everywhere you would look for reassurance, for leadership, for policy action, for reliable information — all are absent.”

Reporting was contributed by Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, Alan Rappeport and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington; Matt Phillips, Melena Ryzik and Ben Sisario from New York; and Brooks Barnes and Andrew Knoll from Los Angeles.

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Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Would Dwarf the 2008 Bank Bailout

Westlake Legal Group 11DC-VIRUS-PAYROLL-01-facebookJumbo Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Would Dwarf the 2008 Bank Bailout Wages and Salaries United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Taxation Recession and Depression Payroll Tax National Debt (US) Income Tax Federal Taxes (US) Federal Budget (US) Economic Stimulus Act (2008) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — Almost overnight, President Trump has gone from insisting the economy would not need fiscal help to weather the coronavirus to proposing a stimulus plan that would cost more than the 2008 Wall Street bank bailout or the 2009 stimulus bill aimed at digging the United States out of a deep recession.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s stimulus proposal, which remains a work in progress, is a temporary tax cut that by itself would add nearly $1 trillion to the national debt: a suspension of all Social Security payroll taxes through the end of the year. Some economists have cheered the idea as the right move at a fraught moment when workers are quarantined, schools are closing and large gatherings are being canceled.

But others — including those who have called for aggressive congressional action — say the plan would be an inefficient way of stoking consumer demand at a time of supply shortages and a growing number of quarantines.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have given the proposal a cool reception. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he did not see a need for immediate action on a payroll tax cut. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said Wednesday that the proposal was a “nonstarter.”

Mr. Trump and his top advisers have pitched the cut as a much-needed lift for consumers and businesses at a time when the spreading virus is beginning to chill economic activity. “The payroll tax holiday is probably the most important, powerful piece of this,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters on Tuesday.

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Under Mr. Trump’s plan — as described by Peter Navarro, one of his economic advisers — the government would, through the end of the year, stop collecting the 6.2 percent Social Security tax currently taken out of workers’ paychecks and the 1.45 percent tax taken for Medicare. It would also suspend equally large taxes paid on behalf of workers by their employers. Self-employed workers would be relieved of the entire 15.3 percent tax they currently pay.

For workers, earnings that are no longer subject to the payroll tax would now be subject to federal income taxes. Because lower-paid workers have lower marginal income tax rates, they would see a slightly larger percentage increase in their pay than workers with higher salaries. Some extremely high-paid workers would not see an increase at all because payroll taxes are capped by income, and some workers are close to — or have already reached — that limit. This means they are not set to have any Social Security taxes taken out for the rest of the year.

As a general rule, the largest percentage income gains would go to households earning up to $250,000 a year, according to calculations by the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington. The largest gains in dollar figures would go to households earning more than $123,000 a year, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington.

How much individual workers would save depends partly on their employers. If an employer’s half of payroll taxes was lifted, they would need to decide whether to pass those savings directly to workers in the form of higher pay. Some economists see both sides of that equation as beneficial at a time of slowing economic activity.

The full payroll tax suspension “would not only increase workers’ take-home pay but would ease cash flow constraints for employers who are likely to face a rough patch in the incoming months,” said Karl Smith, the vice president of federal tax and economic policy at the Tax Foundation, which traditionally supports cutting taxes to spur economic growth. Mr. Smith said he supported the Trump proposal, though the Tax Foundation had not taken an official position.

“The payroll tax would be great,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “Dems are not in favor of it. I’m trying to figure out why.”

Democrats are opposed for several reasons. Many economists, including liberals and conservatives who have called for stimulus measures, say there are much more effective ways to stoke demand and support growth during a viral outbreak. They note that cutting payroll taxes only helps Americans who are still working — and not those who are furloughed by quarantines or laid off amid floundering sales. The benefits would arrive gradually across paychecks instead of in one stimulative burst.

“A payroll tax cut like the president wants wouldn’t help the elderly, non-employed, who are at the most risk from the virus,” Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “It would provide a larger benefit to the well off. And it isn’t targeted on those who need it.”

Claudia Sahm, an economist at the liberal Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said Thursday that lawmakers could still ward off a recession with stimulus, but “a payroll tax won’t do it.” She and Mr. Strain both favor giving cash assistance to Americans.

Cutting payroll taxes “will be too slow, and its effects too small,” Ms. Sahm said. “So small most won’t even notice it. Those who don’t have or will lose their jobs won’t get it at all.”

The political calculations around payroll tax cuts are fraught. The tax feeds the Social Security Trust Fund; while administration officials said they would most likely divert other money to avoid robbing the fund, cutting payroll taxes would further balloon the rising budget deficit.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that suspending the tax through December would reduce federal revenues by $840 billion; the Tax Foundation said it could top $900 billion. The initial price tag for the 2008 Wall Street bailout was $700 billion, though less than $500 billion was actually spent and taxpayers ultimately recouped most of the funds. President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package cost about $800 billion over the course of several years.

The full cost of Mr. Trump’s proposals, including assistance to affected industries like tourism and sick pay for quarantined workers, is likely to be tens — if not hundreds — of billions of dollars larger than the payroll tax cut alone.

If enacted, such a package would most likely push the federal budget deficit to over $2 trillion for the year. Data released Thursday by the Treasury Department show the deficit — which has grown significantly in recent years in part because of Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts — is on pace to reach nearly $1.1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year.

The record in nominal dollars for an annual deficit in the United States is $1.4 trillion, during the depths of the financial crisis.

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U.S. to Suspend Most Travel From Europe as World Scrambles to Fight Pandemic

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday night blocked most visitors from continental Europe to the United States and vowed emergency aid to workers and small businesses as the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, stock markets plunged further and millions of people cut themselves off from their regular lives.

In a prime-time address from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump outlined a series of measures intended to tackle the virus and its economic impact as he sought to reassure Americans that he was taking the crisis seriously after previously playing down the scope of the outbreak. He said he would halt travelers from Europe other than Britain for 30 days and asked Congress to support measures like a payroll tax cut.

“The virus will not have a chance against us,” Mr. Trump declared in his 10-minute speech, reading from a teleprompter in an uncharacteristic monotone. After weeks of quarreling with rivals over his response, even calling their criticisms a “hoax,” he called on them to stand down. “We are all in this together,” he said. “We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family.”

The president’s address came as the virus sent stock markets deeper into a meltdown, prompted the N.C.A.A. to bar crowds from its iconic March Madness annual basketball tournament and forced the N.B.A. to suspend its season altogether after one of its players tested positive. Schools, universities, businesses, theaters and sports stadiums shut their doors. And the actor Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had been infected with the virus.

The cascade of announcements felt like a turning point in the crisis, when the real-world effect on people in the United States and around the globe came into stark relief. Ordinary life in many places will no longer be the same for the foreseeable future as society adjusts to a new reality that transforms everything including the global economy and everyday social interactions — not just in far-off places on newscasts, but in the community right at home.

Mr. Trump and other world leaders grappled for a way forward, but there was no clear end in sight as one of America’s top scientists, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, predicted the outbreak would only grow worse. He spoke on the same day that India joined countries like China, Italy, Iran, Japan and Israel in imposing drastic travel limits.

Italy went further by ordering almost all nonessential businesses to close, including restaurants, bars, cafes, beauty salons and most stores. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that about two-thirds of her country’s population may eventually be infected, a prediction that rattled many in Europe and across the ocean.

With the virus now in more than 100 countries, the W.H.O. cited the “alarming levels of inaction” in declaring a global pandemic, the first time it has used that designation since 2009. Although the term is largely symbolic, the decision to use it was a sign of growing concern among public health officials about the failure to contain the virus, which has infected more than 120,000 people and killed more than 4,300 around the world.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the W.H.O., said at a news conference in Geneva. “We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough,” he added. “All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”

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As of late Wednesday, at least 1,240 people in 42 states and Washington, D.C., had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, and at least 37 patients with the virus had died.

In New York, as in other world financial centers, already shaky markets fell another 5 percent to 6 percent, officially putting them into bear market territory for the first time in 11 years. In Washington, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the escalating outbreak should prompt organizations to scrap large gatherings.

“The bottom line: It is going to get worse,” he said at a congressional hearing. “We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” he added, citing as an example N.B.A. games.

Hours later, the N.B.A. announced that a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before the tipoff of Wednesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was promptly canceled and the N.B.A. called off the rest of its games “until further notice,” adding, “The N.B.A. will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Mr. Trump and other world leaders struggled to get ahead of the situation without a clear path forward. A day after he called for calm and assured Americans that the virus “will go away,” Mr. Trump signaled that the crisis was worse than he was saying by deciding to address the nation. But even then, he sought to minimize it as a “temporary moment of time.”

The president made a point of referring to it as a “foreign virus” and blamed the European Union for having “failed to take the same precautions” as he had in limiting travel from China, where the outbreak got its start, even though Europe has not been a major source of known infections so far in the United States.

Mr. Trump imposed a ban on foreigners who have been in the 26 countries that make up Europe’s Schengen Area in the previous 14 days. The limits take effect Friday at midnight for 30 days but exempt American citizens, permanent legal residents and their families, although they could be funneled to certain airports for enhanced screening. The State Department also advised Americans to “reconsider travel abroad” anywhere because of the coronavirus.

In the course of his speech, Mr. Trump mischaracterized his own policies, even though he was reading from the teleprompter. He said he was “suspending all travel from Europe to the United States,” when in fact it applies only to foreigners, and he said it would “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” across the ocean, when in fact his order affects only people. He corrected the latter afterward on Twitter, saying “The restriction stops people not goods.”

Mr. Trump also promised aid to workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others because of the coronavirus and asked Congress for $50 billion to extend that aid. He said he would expand low-interest Small Business Administration loans in affected areas and authorize the deferral of up to $200 billion in tax payments for certain affected people and businesses. But he remained at loggerheads with Congress on more comprehensive measures.

Governors chose not to wait for Washington. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that the state-run university system and the City university and colleges, with about 700,000 students, would shift primarily to online classes starting on March 19.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, where 29 coronavirus patients have died, banned any gatherings of 250 or more people in three counties, while Seattle’s schools will close on Thursday for two weeks. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky urged churches to cancel services this weekend, a major cultural moment in a state with a deeply religious population.

Other countries expanded their own actions. India suspended virtually all visas to enter the country until April 15. Iraq and Lebanon canceled Friday prayers. Greece and Ukraine are closing all schools, universities and kindergartens. Hungary is closing universities and theaters. Poland is closing theaters, museums and art galleries. And Denmark is suspending naturalization ceremonies because a handshake is officially required for their completion.

With the worst outbreak in Europe causing more than 800 deaths, Italy has already all but ordered its entire population to stay at home. The government reported a jump of 2,000 more infections on Wednesday, to a total of more than 12,460. “Today, the red zone is Italy,” former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, but if containment fails, “the red zone will be Europe.”

Ms. Merkel made her first public appearance addressing the outbreak in a country with 1,600 infected. “Given a virus for which there is no immunity and no immunization, we have to understand that many people will be infected,” she said. “The consensus among experts is that 60 to 70 percent of the population will be infected.”

She added: “How we respond matters. We are playing for time.”

Ms. Merkel’s counterpart in France — which has about 2,300 confirmed cases — President Emmanuel Macron, was equally grim after a meeting where European leaders decided to set up a $28 billion investment fund but failed to overcome disagreements about sharing medical equipment like face masks and respirators. “What we are living is a true world crisis,” he said.

The toll of the health crisis on the economic prospects of the United States and other countries was clear by the time markets closed on Wednesday afternoon. The S&P 500 closed 19 percent down from its peak last month, and the Dow Jones industrial average 20 percent down from its peak, officially ending the bull market that began after the financial crash of 2008.

After weeks of sports events getting canceled in piecemeal fashion, a dam broke Wednesday as organizers announced previously unimaginable cancellations and changes to some of the biggest events on the calendar.

Within hours of the testimony from Dr. Fauci, there was a string of cancellations, culminating with the announcement that the N.C.A.A. would hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans and only essential personnel and their families present followed by the N.B.A. suspension.

Likewise canceled were ski races in Sweden, figure skating’s world championships in Montreal, and all international sporting events in Argentina until the end of March. But organizers of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo insisted that they still planned to hold the games in late July despite a suggestion by a member of the local committee that it delay for a year or two.

Late-night comics like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee decided to tape their shows without live audiences. More businesses ordered employees to work from home, including The New York Times. And Washington National Cathedral suspended services for two weeks, offering instead a “virtual service” online.

After adamantly refusing to cancel campaign rallies or alter his own schedule, Mr. Trump on Wednesday night scrubbed plans to travel to Las Vegas for a conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which then promptly canceled its event.

At the White House, the president huddled with banking executives to discuss a way forward after congressional leaders reacted coolly to his suggestions for a payroll tax cut. With the White House and Democrats divided over what a broader economic stimulus package, the two parties appeared to coalesce around a narrower short-term bill focusing on paid leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, food assistance and help for small businesses, deferring the rest until Congress returns from a weeklong recess.

Previewing part of the president’s plan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Internal Revenue Service would delay tax payments without penalty or interest for “virtually all Americans other than the superrich.”

Video

transcript

‘Things Will Get Worse,’ Fauci Tells Lawmakers at Coronavirus Hearing

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House Oversight Committee that the number of coronavirus cases will continue to grow.

Whenever you have an outbreak that you can start seeing community spread — which means by definition that you don’t know what the index case is — and the way you can approach it is by contact tracing. When you have enough of that, then it becomes a situation where you’re not going to be able to effectively and efficiently contain it. So I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse we’ll get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line: It’s going to get worse.

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-virus-sub1-videoSixteenByNine3000 U.S. to Suspend Most Travel From Europe as World Scrambles to Fight Pandemic United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J National Basketball Assn House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Fauci, Anthony S Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House Oversight Committee that the number of coronavirus cases will continue to grow.CreditCredit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Testifying on Capitol Hill, Mr. Mnuchin noted that all individuals were allowed to request tax filing extensions online, but that this would be a special provision to help small and midsize businesses and “hardworking individuals” afflicted by the coronavirus. The delay would not apply to large corporations or the wealthiest Americans, he said, without elaborating.

It fell to Dr. Fauci and other health officials to sound the alarm that Mr. Trump seemed unwilling to voice himself. “We must be much more serious as a country about what we might expect,” Dr. Fauci told the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “We cannot look at it and say, ‘Well, there are only a couple of cases here, that’s good.’ Because a couple of cases today are going to be many, many cases tomorrow.”

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that “this is the time for everyone to get engaged.”

The hearing quickly devolved into a partisan fight over the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak. Democrats assailed the president for a slow response and misleading statements, while Republicans said Mr. Trump’s critics were trying to score political points.

“The 24/7 criticism the president is undergoing is unwarranted at a minimum,” said Representative Mark Green, Republican of Tennessee.

Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, displayed a picture of the president wearing a campaign hat while visiting the C.D.C. “We will not be lectured about politicization,” he said, “and all of your words and sanctimony will not cover up the fact that this administration was not prepared for this crisis and put lives, American lives, at risk.”

Reporting was contributed by Elisabetta Povoledo, Steven Erlanger, Alissa J. Rubin, Annie Karni, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Vindu Goel, Elian Peltier, Jason Horowitz, Emma Bubola, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jorge Arangure, Matthew Futterman, Elaine Yu, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane, Noah Weiland, Sheri Fink, Mike Baker, Monika Pronczuk, Melissa Eddy, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Andrew Keh, and Katie Thomas.

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A Fumbled Global Response to the Virus in a Leadership Void

Westlake Legal Group 11LEADERSHIP-COMBO-facebookJumbo A Fumbled Global Response to the Virus in a Leadership Void United States International Relations Trump, Donald J London (England) Lombardy (Italy) Haass, Richard N European Central Bank Epidemics Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Biden, Joseph R Jr Berlin (Germany)

LONDON — In Frankfurt, the president of the European Central Bank warned that the coronavirus could trigger an economic crash as dire as that of 2008. In Berlin, the German chancellor warned the virus could infect two-thirds of her country’s population. In London, the British prime minister rolled out a nearly $40 billion rescue package to cushion his economy from the shock.

As the toll of those afflicted by the virus continued to soar and financial markets from Tokyo to New York continued to swoon, world leaders are finally starting to find their voices about the gravity of what is now officially a pandemic.

Yet it remains less a choir than a cacophony — a dissonant babble of politicians all struggling, in their own way, to cope with the manifold challenges posed by the virus, from its crushing burden on hospitals and health care workers to its economic devastation and rising death toll.

The choir also lacks a conductor, a role played through most of the post-World War II era by the United States.

President Trump has failed to work with other leaders to fashion a common response, preferring to promote travel bans and his border wall over the scientific advice of his own medical experts. Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has taken to calling it the “Wuhan virus,” vilifying the country where it originated and complicating efforts to coordinate a global response.

The same denigration of science and urge to block outsiders has characterized leaders from China to Iran, as well as right-wing populists in Europe, which is sowing cynicism and leaving people uncertain of who to believe. Far from trying to stamp out the virus, strongmen like President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia have seized on the upheaval it is causing as cover for steps to consolidate their power.

Yet it is too simple to lay all this at Mr. Trump’s door, or on world leaders collectively. Part of the problem is simply the fiendish nature of the pathogen.

Coronavirus has resisted the tools that countries have brought to bear against previous global scourges. Mysterious in its transmission and relentless in its spread, it has led countries to try wildly divergent responses. The lack of common standards on testing, on the cancellation of public gatherings and on quarantines have deepened the anxiety of people and eroded confidence in their leaders.

The simultaneous shocks to supply and demand — shuttered iPhone factories in China; empty gondolas in Venice; and passengers abandoning cruises, hotels and airlines everywhere else — is a new phenomenon that may not respond to the weapons government wielded against the dislocation that followed the September 2001 terrorist attacks and the financial crisis of 2008.

“The nature of this crisis is qualitatively different than the one in 2008 because the traditional tools are not as effective,” said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Even if the U.S. took a leadership role, the traditional playbook would not be all that relevant here.”

Britain, for example, won praise for its robust economic response, which, in addition to billions of pounds for hospitals and workers sidelined by illness, included a sharp interest rate cut by the Bank of England.

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Yet stocks in London still tumbled, if not as steeply as on Wall Street, where investors brushed off Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s proposal to allow Americans to delay paying their income taxes, which he claimed would pump $200 billion into the economy.

Mr. Trump’s other big idea, a cut in the payroll tax, was pronounced a “non-starter” by House Democrats, who scrambled instead to introduce legislation to provide financial help to patients, workers and families affected by the fast-moving epidemic and speed it to a House vote on Thursday.

To Mr. Haass, the intense focus on limiting the economic blow was understandable, given the carnage in the markets, but premature. He said countries needed to put their energy into slowing and mitigating the spread of the virus before they embarked on fiscal programs to repair the economic damage.

The trouble is that, with few exceptions, their efforts have been hapless. In the United States, the delay in developing coronavirus test kits and the scarcity of tests has made it impossible for officials, even weeks after the first cases appeared in the country, to get a true picture of the scale of the outbreak.

In hard-hit Italy, quarrels broke out between politicians and medical experts over whether the authorities were testing too many people in Lombardy, inflating the infection figures and fueling panic in the public. Italy’s response could be weakened further by the anti-vaccination movement that was once embraced by the populist Five Star Movement, which took power in the last government.

Even comparing one country’s case count to another’s is almost impossible, given the different testing procedures and diagnostic criteria around the world, said Dr. Chris Smith, a specialist in virology at the University of Cambridge.

In the most extreme example, China’s case count skyrocketed when it began recording positives based on people’s symptoms, rather than a lab test, the method most countries are still using. But even lab tests might yield different results in different places, depending on the targets labs are using and the ways health workers collect and process specimens.

“Different countries are doing different things,” Dr. Smith said of the testing programs. “You’re not comparing apples to apples.”

The rise of populism has exacerbated the problem by reducing the incentives of countries to cooperate. European leaders, in a three-hour teleconference on Tuesday night, agreed to set up a 25 billion euro investment fund, or $28.1 billion, and to relax rules governing airlines to curb the economic fallout.

But they failed to overcome national objections to sharing medical equipment like face masks and respirators, given that health issues are the responsibility of national governments. Germany, the Czech Republic and other countries have tightened export restrictions on this gear to keep it for their own citizens.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s warning that the virus would infect 60 percent to 70 percent of people in Germany — a figure she attributed to the “consensus among experts” — was the most forthright admission of the scale of the problem by any world leader. It was fully in character for a physicist-turned-politician, reinforcing her status as the liberal West’s foil to Mr. Trump.

“We will do whatever is needed,” she said. “We won’t ask every day, ‘What does this mean for our deficit?’”

Yet even Ms. Merkel’s position has been weakened by the resurgence of the far right in Germany. Germany rebuffed a request for medical equipment from Italy, only to see China offer the Italians an aid package that includes two million face masks and 100,000 respirators.

In Britain, which left the European Union in January, there are already fears that the country will not have access to a vaccine, or will have to pay more for it than other European countries. Mr. Johnson’s government, which won its recent election on a populist-inflected platform of “Get Brexit Done,” is now struggling with how to communicate the risks of the outbreak to its public.

The Johnson government has put a lot of stock in a so-called nudge unit in Downing Street that specializes in behavioral psychology. But in trying to calibrate its response to what it deemed people capable of processing, the government risked condescending to Britons, said John Ashton, a former regional director of public health for the northwest of England.

Britain has only recently started publishing broad breakdowns of where people are contracting the virus. Mr. Ashton said they should be giving much more detailed information, as in Hong Kong, which has published building-level maps of patients who have gotten sick, when they were there and how they contracted the virus.

“I think it’s patronizing — they need to keep the public fully in the picture,” Mr. Ashton said. “You have to treat the public as adults, instead of keeping them in the dark. That’s where you get rumor and hysteria. They actually create panic by not being open with people.”

Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting from London, Steven Erlanger from Brussels and Alan Rappeport in Washington.

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Democrats and the White House Race to Strike Deal for Coronavirus Relief Package

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WASHINGTON — The White House and Democrats rushed on Wednesday to reach agreement on emergency legislation to provide a first tranche of economic assistance to help Americans cope with the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic, with the hope of sending it to President Trump for his signature by the end of the week.

With the White House and Democrats divided over what a broader economic stimulus package should look like, the two parties appeared to be coalescing around the idea of a narrower short-term bill focusing on paid leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, food assistance and help for small businesses. That would defer what is likely to be a much more contentious discussion over other economic measures, such as tax cuts and rescue plans for affected industries, until after Congress returns from a weeklong recess.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, testifying on Capitol Hill, said he had been in “round- the-clock” discussions with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, and hoped to reach agreement within 48 hours on a relief package.

“This is a little bit like a hurricane, and we need to cover these outside of normal expenses,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

In the Capitol, both Democrats and Republicans clearly felt a sense of urgency as lawmakers currently plan to leave Washington on Thursday. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, said the House would vote Thursday on its plan, which includes enhanced unemployment insurance, paid sick leave and food assistance, according to a summary circulated by leaders on Wednesday.

Should the White House agree to the package, Mr. McConnell would likely bring it up for an immediate vote on the Senate floor, according to people familiar with his thinking who were not authorized to comment, clearing a path for Mr. Trump to quickly sign the legislation into law.

As bipartisan talks continued behind the scenes, Senate Democrats released their own plan on Wednesday morning.

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Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters that Congress must focus first on the needs of those most affected by the virus, and think about an economic stimulus package later. Likewise, Mr. Mnuchin said he expected to return to Congress later to ask for a larger economic stimulus package composed of items that will take longer to draw the necessary support — including President Trump’s proposal to temporarily suspend payroll taxes, which has drawn bipartisan opposition.

“The payroll tax would be great,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Wednesday at the White House. “Dems are not in favor of it. I’m trying to figure out why.”

The Trump administration is also considering providing loan guarantees for the cruise, airline and hotel industries affected by the virus, similar to those that were offered after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“We are not looking for bailouts,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “Loan guarantees are a very effective way of making sure the government gets paid back without putting the government at risk.”

The Trump administration is also weighing its options for unilateral action. Mr. Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he would recommend to the president that the Internal Revenue Service allow a delay of tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline, without penalty or interest, that would apply to “virtually all Americans other than the superrich.”

All individuals are allowed to request tax payment extensions online, but the treasury secretary said his proposal was for a special provision to help small and medium-size businesses and “hardworking individuals.” It would not apply to large corporations or the wealthiest Americans, Mr. Mnuchin said, but he did not elaborate on what the threshold would be.

“That will have the impact of putting over $200 billion back into the economy, and that will create a very big stimulus,” Mr. Mnuchin said, adding that Treasury was already working on funding the initiative.

In moving hastily to unveil their own plans, Democrats hoped to set the terms of the debate and get ahead of the Trump administration, which is divided internally over what to do. Ms. Pelosi has scheduled a 4 p.m. meeting with her caucus to discuss her proposal. On Wednesday morning, top House Democrats were briefed by Jason Furman, an economist who advised former President Barack Obama, on how to proceed.

Congress already approved an emergency $8.3 billion emergency aid package — more than three times what Mr. Trump requested — to send additional funding to the federal health agencies responding to the novel coronavirus. The president signed that measure last week.

After weeks of playing down potential effects of the virus, Mr. Trump is now calling for drastic economic measures, including the temporary elimination of payroll taxes, a proposal whose cost would rival both the Wall Street bailout of 2008 and the economic stimulus measure that followed.

Mr. Mnuchin has been privately skeptical about calling for a payroll tax cut or holiday, but he told lawmakers on Wednesday that such a move would provide broader stimulus for the economy, which is likely to face a slowdown from all the disruption.

Democrats want a more targeted approach. Senate Democrats on Wednesday released an initial response plan, featuring paid sick leave but also several new proposals.

Those plans include a six-month break for borrowers on paying federal student loans and mortgages; block grants to help communities where the virus has shut down the economy; direct grants to small businesses; assistance to help public transit systems stay in operation; rental and mortgage payment assistance for some borrowers; and grants to child care centers and schools that are infected with the virus.

“We are just appalled at the administration,” Mr. Schumer said, adding that Mr. Trump and his advisers have “not come up with a plan to help people who need help.”

“We don’t think they should just throw money out of an airplane and hope that some of it lands on the people” who need assistance, Mr. Schumer added, referring to the payroll tax idea. In the House, Mr. Hoyer called it “a nonstarter.”

The House Democrats’ plan was expected to include proposals for government-paid sick leave and increased spending on safety-net programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance, according to talking points circulated by Ms. Pelosi on Wednesday morning.

The legislation, according to the document, will also include widespread and free coronavirus testing and new standards for protective equipment for health care workers, janitorial staff and others on the front lines of the virus. It would provide government reimbursement for all health costs Americans incur that are not covered by their insurance plans as well as efforts to increase the capacity of the health care system to take in coronavirus patients.

Democrats also plan to include new rules against price gouging for “medical and nonmedical essentials” during the outbreak, the talking points said.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies

Westlake Legal Group 11markets-ledeall-facebookJumbo Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies World Health Organization United States Economy Trump, Donald J Stocks and Bonds Recession and Depression Polls and Public Opinion Layoffs and Job Reductions Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Consumer Behavior

A renewed plunge in financial markets on Wednesday ended an 11-year bull market for the Dow Jones industrial average as the economic threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak came into stark relief.

As policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic appeared unwilling or unable to mount an aggressive response to the crisis, the Dow closed with a loss of nearly 6 percent. That brought its decline from its most recent peak less than a month ago to more than 20 percent — the definition of a bear market.

The broader S&P 500 was down nearly 5 percent for the day, but shy of bear territory.

The full economic toll of the outbreak — now officially a pandemic — will not be clear for months. But there is mounting evidence that it will be severe. Airlines are warning of empty planes and huge financial losses. A sharp drop in oil prices is threatening to put energy companies out of business and thousands of American drillers out of work. Supply-chain bottlenecks are forcing factories around the world to cut output, even as a slump in consumer confidence is raising doubts that there will be demand for their goods once production resumes.

Policymakers are struggling to respond effectively. A rate cut by the Federal Reserve last week failed to calm financial markets. A similar move by the Bank of England on Wednesday was equally ineffectual. Governments in Europe were struggling to manage their budgets even before the virus struck, limiting their ability to spend heavily to keep their economies afloat. And in the United States, which faces no such constraints, President Trump has resisted aggressive stimulus measures that many economists say are necessary to contain the damage.

“If the Trump administration and Congress can’t get it together quickly and put together a sizable and responsible package, then a recession seems like a real possibility here,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. He said he saw a roughly 50 percent chance of a recession in the next year.

As recently as a week ago, few economists thought a recession was likely. Most thought that whatever damage the virus caused would be short-lived, and that the economy would experience a sharp, “V-shaped” recovery. Forecasts have become significantly more dour since then, however, as the virus has spread more widely in the United States and as the effects in Europe have become more pronounced.

Italy has essentially been put on lockdown, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said Wednesday that as much as 70 percent of her country’s population was likely to become infected. The World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging its worldwide scope.

Get an informed guide to the global outbreak with our daily coronavirus newsletter.

“Even if the virus situation improves, we’re looking at people just being very cautious about going back,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Markit. “It’s going to take a while for people to feel comfortable to go back into large crowds, to get back on an airplane.”

Indeed, no amount of fiscal stimulus or interest-rate cuts will restore canceled flights or postponed events — nor, at a time when health officials are recommending “social distancing,” would policymakers want to. The only thing that could truly prevent economic damage or settle financial markets lies beyond the power of economic policymakers: getting the virus itself in check.

“I don’t think it’s something that conventional fiscal and monetary policy can solve,” said Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities in New York. “It’s not like if you just write a big enough check everything will be fine.”

But economists said there was still a window of opportunity to limit the damage and avoid the cascading ripple effects that could cause a recession. Targeted aid for affected industries could help prevent layoffs. Cash payments could allow people to keep spending even if their hours are cut or they miss work because of a quarantine.

That window could be closing. Consumer confidence in March suffered its largest single-month drop of Mr. Trump’s tenure in office, according to a new nationwide poll conducted for The New York Times by the online research firm SurveyMonkey. The decline was some of the first evidence that the outbreak — and the financial market turmoil it has caused — is threatening consumer spending, the linchpin of the decade-long economic expansion.

The decline in March could be a preview of larger confidence losses to come. The poll was conducted last week and completed on Sunday, before stock markets dropped 8 percent on Monday in a single day of virus-driven losses.

Adding to the challenge, the people most at risk of losing their jobs or hours are mostly service workers: hotel housekeepers, airport vendors, waiters and waitresses. Those workers are less likely than white-collar workers to have paid sick leave, and they are less likely to have the financial resources to weather a period of reduced income. That could worsen the impact on consumer spending, said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“That’s the part of the economy that is presumably most budget constrained, so they don’t necessarily have savings to draw down or lines of credit they can use,” she said. “An income shock in that population becomes a consumption shock more quickly and potentially more deeply.”

Efforts to fight the outbreak are likely to make the economic situation worse, at least in the short run.

The experience in other countries offers lessons for the United States. China appears to have been able to get its outbreak under control, but only through shutting down vast regions of the country. South Korea has won plaudits for its decisive response, but that too required huge disruptions to daily life and commerce. In Italy, the outbreak spiraled out of control until the country was forced to impose broad restrictions on movement.

“The virus is beatable, but the measures that are required to beat it are economy killers,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, a research firm.

The only way to kick-start the economy after such a vast disruption, Mr. Shepherdson said, was through a “blockbuster fiscal response.”

There is little evidence so far that such a response is coming. Mr. Trump is weighing a temporary elimination of the payroll tax, a measure with a big dollar figure — it could cost nearly $700 billion — but that would put only a trickle of extra cash into workers’ bank accounts. For people who lose their jobs as a result of the outbreak, a payroll tax cut wouldn’t help at all.

Democrats are preparing their own plan featuring paid sick leave for affected workers as well as breaks on federal student loans and mortgages, block grants to help communities, and assistance to help public transit systems stay in operation. Negotiations between the parties have hardly begun.

The United States, unlike Europe, was on fairly firm economic footing before the virus hit. Unemployment was near a five-decade low, consumer spending and the housing market were strong, and overall growth was slowing but still solid. That should give the economy some cushion against the virus.

But cracks were showing even before the crisis. The trade war hurt manufacturers and farmers, leaving the economy even more dependent on consumer spending. The Federal Reserve last year cut interest rates three times to try to keep the expansion on track.

“The economy was already on its back heels coming into this year,” Mr. Zandi said. “All it was going to take was a shove to put the economy on its back, and it just got a body blow.”

Matt Phillips and Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.

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Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies

Westlake Legal Group 11markets-ledeall-facebookJumbo Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies World Health Organization United States Economy Trump, Donald J Stocks and Bonds Recession and Depression Polls and Public Opinion Layoffs and Job Reductions Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Consumer Behavior

A renewed plunge in financial markets on Wednesday ended an 11-year bull market for the Dow Jones industrial average as the economic threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak came into stark relief.

As policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic appeared unwilling or unable to mount an aggressive response to the crisis, the Dow closed with a loss of nearly 6 percent. That brought its decline from its most recent peak less than a month ago to more than 20 percent — the definition of a bear market.

The broader S&P 500 was down nearly 5 percent for the day, but shy of bear territory.

The full economic toll of the outbreak — now officially a pandemic — will not be clear for months. But there is mounting evidence that it will be severe. Airlines are warning of empty planes and huge financial losses. A sharp drop in oil prices is threatening to put energy companies out of business and thousands of American drillers out of work. Supply-chain bottlenecks are forcing factories around the world to cut output, even as a slump in consumer confidence is raising doubts that there will be demand for their goods once production resumes.

Policymakers are struggling to respond effectively. A rate cut by the Federal Reserve last week failed to calm financial markets. A similar move by the Bank of England on Wednesday was equally ineffectual. Governments in Europe were struggling to manage their budgets even before the virus struck, limiting their ability to spend heavily to keep their economies afloat. And in the United States, which faces no such constraints, President Trump has resisted aggressive stimulus measures that many economists say are necessary to contain the damage.

“If the Trump administration and Congress can’t get it together quickly and put together a sizable and responsible package, then a recession seems like a real possibility here,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. He said he saw a roughly 50 percent chance of a recession in the next year.

As recently as a week ago, few economists thought a recession was likely. Most thought that whatever damage the virus caused would be short-lived, and that the economy would experience a sharp, “V-shaped” recovery. Forecasts have become significantly more dour since then, however, as the virus has spread more widely in the United States and as the effects in Europe have become more pronounced.

Italy has essentially been put on lockdown, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said Wednesday that as much as 70 percent of her country’s population was likely to become infected. The World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging its worldwide scope.

Get an informed guide to the global outbreak with our daily coronavirus newsletter.

“Even if the virus situation improves, we’re looking at people just being very cautious about going back,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Markit. “It’s going to take a while for people to feel comfortable to go back into large crowds, to get back on an airplane.”

Indeed, no amount of fiscal stimulus or interest-rate cuts will restore canceled flights or postponed events — nor, at a time when health officials are recommending “social distancing,” would policymakers want to. The only thing that could truly prevent economic damage or settle financial markets lies beyond the power of economic policymakers: getting the virus itself in check.

“I don’t think it’s something that conventional fiscal and monetary policy can solve,” said Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities in New York. “It’s not like if you just write a big enough check everything will be fine.”

But economists said there was still a window of opportunity to limit the damage and avoid the cascading ripple effects that could cause a recession. Targeted aid for affected industries could help prevent layoffs. Cash payments could allow people to keep spending even if their hours are cut or they miss work because of a quarantine.

That window could be closing. Consumer confidence in March suffered its largest single-month drop of Mr. Trump’s tenure in office, according to a new nationwide poll conducted for The New York Times by the online research firm SurveyMonkey. The decline was some of the first evidence that the outbreak — and the financial market turmoil it has caused — is threatening consumer spending, the linchpin of the decade-long economic expansion.

The decline in March could be a preview of larger confidence losses to come. The poll was conducted last week and completed on Sunday, before stock markets dropped 8 percent on Monday in a single day of virus-driven losses.

Adding to the challenge, the people most at risk of losing their jobs or hours are mostly service workers: hotel housekeepers, airport vendors, waiters and waitresses. Those workers are less likely than white-collar workers to have paid sick leave, and they are less likely to have the financial resources to weather a period of reduced income. That could worsen the impact on consumer spending, said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“That’s the part of the economy that is presumably most budget constrained, so they don’t necessarily have savings to draw down or lines of credit they can use,” she said. “An income shock in that population becomes a consumption shock more quickly and potentially more deeply.”

Efforts to fight the outbreak are likely to make the economic situation worse, at least in the short run.

The experience in other countries offers lessons for the United States. China appears to have been able to get its outbreak under control, but only through shutting down vast regions of the country. South Korea has won plaudits for its decisive response, but that too required huge disruptions to daily life and commerce. In Italy, the outbreak spiraled out of control until the country was forced to impose broad restrictions on movement.

“The virus is beatable, but the measures that are required to beat it are economy killers,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, a research firm.

The only way to kick-start the economy after such a vast disruption, Mr. Shepherdson said, was through a “blockbuster fiscal response.”

There is little evidence so far that such a response is coming. Mr. Trump is weighing a temporary elimination of the payroll tax, a measure with a big dollar figure — it could cost nearly $700 billion — but that would put only a trickle of extra cash into workers’ bank accounts. For people who lose their jobs as a result of the outbreak, a payroll tax cut wouldn’t help at all.

Democrats are preparing their own plan featuring paid sick leave for affected workers as well as breaks on federal student loans and mortgages, block grants to help communities, and assistance to help public transit systems stay in operation. Negotiations between the parties have hardly begun.

The United States, unlike Europe, was on fairly firm economic footing before the virus hit. Unemployment was near a five-decade low, consumer spending and the housing market were strong, and overall growth was slowing but still solid. That should give the economy some cushion against the virus.

But cracks were showing even before the crisis. The trade war hurt manufacturers and farmers, leaving the economy even more dependent on consumer spending. The Federal Reserve last year cut interest rates three times to try to keep the expansion on track.

“The economy was already on its back heels coming into this year,” Mr. Zandi said. “All it was going to take was a shove to put the economy on its back, and it just got a body blow.”

Matt Phillips and Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.

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Let’s Talk About Bailouts, Before We Need Them This Time

Westlake Legal Group 11sorkin3-facebookJumbo Let’s Talk About Bailouts, Before We Need Them This Time United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Rattner, Steven L Presidential Election of 2020 Paulson, Henry M Jr Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Banking and Financial Institutions

Bailouts. Stimulus. Corporate socialism. Welfare for business.

We’ll be hearing a lot about the idea of plowing taxpayer money into the economy as the damage — human and economic — from the coronavirus outbreak leads to a conversation about government bailouts.

We’ve been here before, in fall 2008, when the U.S. government bailed out the banks and later the automakers. It, too, was a presidential election year. That was a man-made catastrophe. This one is more like a natural disaster, with man-made mistakes along the way.

The argument for bailouts back then was that letting the banks and autos fail would be so devastating for the economy — and politically unpalatable — that lawmakers had no choice but to save them.

But, if you remember, the recriminations came as quickly as the money: Were the terms too generous? Should taxpayers have received more for the risk they took? Should the money have come with significant strings attached that would change the structure of the companies and industries? Or, rather, should the money have gone directly to workers and other people hurt by the failure of the companies? Invariably, the conversation turned political, with calls that such bailouts were the equivalent of welfare for companies or corporate socialism.

Instead of having that conversation after the fact this time, let’s have it now, before any bailouts become a reality.

If, for example, the U.S. government were to lend money to the airlines, what should it get in return? Should shareholders like Warren E. Buffett — who owns stakes in Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines — be wiped out? Should the government use this moment to change policy in the industry by, for example, taking “slots” at busy airports away from the biggest airlines and giving them to upstarts to try to make the industry more competitive since so many airlines merged? Could the government force the airlines to become more customer friendly, with more transparent pricing and policies?

That may just be the beginning. With oil price falling, should the government help shale producers, as President Trump is reportedly considering? What about the cruise line industry? And on it goes.

We’re probably getting ahead of ourselves. But the conversations have already begun. Mr. Trump floated the idea of a payroll tax cut and help for hourly wage earners affected by measures to control the coronavirus outbreak. He made his case for the tax cut on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and he is planning to meet with Wall Street bankers on Wednesday to press them to provide loans to small businesses.

Whatever the case, the biggest question is whether there would be enough bipartisan political will to spend billions of dollars.

Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, told me that he thought the current challenges were similar but also very different from what he faced in 2008.

“I suspect that before it is over, there will once again be an urgent need in an election year for bipartisan support in Congress to work with the administration if we are to mitigate the economic burden on Americans,” said Mr. Paulson, who oversaw the federal response to the financial crisis in 2008 with Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chair, and Timothy F. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve of New York and later the Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Paulson added: “In some ways, this is more complex because it also involves important health issues. This will once again test our political system, but I believe our leaders will rise to the challenge as our nation has always done in a crisis.”

If Mr. Paulson learned anything from the financial crisis, acting fast matters. But even in the panic of the 2008 crisis, Congress was so polarized that it did not pass stimulus measures until it was almost too late. (Congress voted against the proposal before voting in favor of it days later.)

The current Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, has already lowered interest rates and says he stands ready to do so again, following a similar strategy to that of Mr. Bernanke, who flooded the economy with money. Only this time, lowering interest rates can go only so far: It will not get people traveling or dining out any sooner, but it could allow businesses to pay lower interest rates and help keep them solvent longer in hopes they can ride out the economic damage from the spread of the virus.

Mr. Powell has met with the president and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, in recent days. Mr. Mnuchin mentioned the meetings on Monday as a demonstration of coordination. But unlike the tight relationship between Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke, the relationship between the Federal Reserve and the Trump administration is seemingly strained. Mr. Trump has publicly attacked Mr. Powell, saying of his hiring Mr. Powell that he was “not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay.”

Steven L. Rattner, who acted as the “car czar” in the Obama administration and oversaw the bailouts of Detroit’s automakers, said he believed there was still money available in the private markets to help. “I don’t think we are at that ‘break-the-glass’ moment.”

“Remember part of why the government bailouts existed was because private markets had failed. There was no private market,” Mr. Rattner said in an interview. “Today, we’re not yet in that position.”

He added, “If the airlines run out of cash, there is certainly debtor-in-possession financing,” suggesting that even if an airline filed for bankruptcy protection, there would be enough investors waiting on the sidelines to provide money to keep it going while it reorganized.

Still, it would not be surprising if the airlines — or other industries — went to Washington, hat in hand. After all, just Tuesday, Delta and American said they would slash flights because of lack of demand, and Southwest’s chief executive, Gary Kelly, said he would take a 10 percent pay cut.

When Mr. Trump was asked during a meeting between airline chief executives and Vice President Mike Pence how he would respond to a bailout request from the airline industry, he replied: “Don’t ask that question, please, because they haven’t asked that. So I don’t want you to give them any ideas.”

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government provided $15 billion to the airline industry, partly to offset losses as well as to help pay for additional safety requirements the nation adopted. In that case, the taxpayers did not seek anything in return.

Mr. Rattner said he thought it would be a mistake to use bailouts as “policy tools.” He said in the same way they thought about the auto bailouts, “we shouldn’t try to achieve every objective that might be imagined.” In other words, the government did not use that bailout to mandate new emissions standards, for example, or new safety standards. He said the goal was always simply to “get these companies back on their feet in a commercial way.”

Over the next several days and weeks, with Mr. Trump’s constant focus on the level of the stock market as a signal of his own progress, he is likely to seek large stimulus measures focused on businesses. Some of them may well be needed.

But if the 2008 crisis is any indicator, bailouts are a political morass with lasting effects. In this political environment, it is hard to believe there will not be a bitter fight.

Policymakers should get ahead of that battle and have the debate now — out in the open — about what a fair and right stimulus plan looks like rather than wait until time runs out.

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Joe Biden Is Poised to Deliver the Biggest Surprise of 2020: A Short, Orderly Primary

Westlake Legal Group 10campaign-assess1-facebookJumbo Joe Biden Is Poised to Deliver the Biggest Surprise of 2020: A Short, Orderly Primary Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Missouri Mississippi Michigan Biden, Joseph R Jr

The state of our union is unsettled, chaotic, impossible to pin down. The state of the Democratic primary, improbably, is not.

With a string of commanding victories on Tuesday — Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, probably any other “M” state that might have bothered with a primary this week — Joe Biden appears poised to complete one of the most striking turnarounds in recent campaign memory, finding himself in a dominant position only 10 days after the first state victory of his three presidential runs. His remarkable reversal has banished Senator Bernie Sanders to a familiar electoral perch: an insurgent progressive long shot straining to catch an establishment favorite.

The former vice president has won in the South, in the Northeast, in the Midwest. He has won large states and small ones. He has won in places where his strength with African-Americans could carry him and in others where such residents are fewer and far between.

So thorough is Mr. Biden’s hold on the party now that any collapse would probably require a political U-turn as sharp as the one that precipitated his rise. And as 2020 lurches into a logistically uncertain phase, with rallies canceled over coronavirus fears and voters more likely to privilege steady leadership, Mr. Biden is consistently and significantly outpacing Mr. Sanders on the crucial measure of whom to trust in a crisis, according to exit polls.

Next week’s contests include states where Mr. Biden is expected to perform well again. In Florida, the largest prize on the map until late April, his appeal to older voters and moderates, coupled with Mr. Sanders’s struggles with Cuban-Americans, has Mr. Biden primed for the kind of delegate haul that can only come with a true blowout. A week later, on March 24, the race moves to Georgia, where a large black population is expected to help deliver Mr. Biden another rout.

Unlike 2016, when Mr. Sanders extended his race against Hillary Clinton with a series of victories in caucuses, a format in which he has excelled, this year’s calendar has many more traditional primaries, supplying fewer chances for Mr. Sanders to drive up margins and keep the delegate tally close.

The result — implausible as it seemed last month, when Mr. Biden faltered so badly in Iowa and New Hampshire that establishment Democrats indulged fantasies about a contested convention to stop Mr. Sanders — is a race that could be nearing its functional end.

It is difficult to overstate the whiplash. The last time Mr. Biden ditched one of his own election night parties, he was careening toward a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire in mid-February, skipping out on a Nashua gathering to seek refuge in South Carolina and accept his election-night fate from a safe distance.

On Tuesday, he again pulled out of an event — but this time, out of concerns that his crowd in Cleveland could be exposed to health risks amid the coronavirus scare. Mr. Biden headed instead to Philadelphia, the site of his campaign headquarters, where at the National Constitution Center he sought to project resolve in a time of national anxiety.

With his wife, Jill Biden, by his side, Mr. Biden appeared to describe the race as he sees it now: effectively over on the Democratic side — he thanked Mr. Sanders and his supporters for their “passion” — leaving voters with a choice between himself and President Trump.

And that, he suggested, was not a close call.

“At this moment, when there’s so much fear in the country, and there’s so much fear across the world, we need American leadership,” Mr. Biden said. “We need presidential leadership that’s honest, trusted, truthful and steady. Reassuring leadership.”

Mr. Sanders and his team have not ceded the election publicly, though as the latest election returns came in, his campaign said he would not be speaking Tuesday night. His supporters say that there are many states yet to weigh in, many issues yet to litigate, many chances left for Mr. Biden to squander his advantages — as he has, on and off, for much of the past year as a would-be front-runner who surrendered the label. The Sanders campaign has been eager for the scheduled debate this Sunday, the first one-on-one session with Mr. Biden, a lengthy unscripted setting that could showcase his propensity for missteps.

But if Mr. Sanders could not hold his own on Tuesday — especially in a state like Michigan, the site of his most memorable primary victory of 2016 — it is becoming hard to imagine where he might.

In a sense, Mr. Biden is offering something of a 2016 do-over, coated in patriotism and wishful thinking: Remove Mr. Trump. Prove that the country does not represent his values. And let the work of repair begin, dooming the 45th president to history’s amnesia, eventually.

Mr. Biden decided against a run four years ago as he mourned his son Beau, who died in May 2015. Now, he is running the kind of campaign that voters might expect from a vice president seeking a promotion immediately after his time as second in command, as if the last four years could be effectively elided. He is promising continuity with his party’s prior administration, pledging to build on successes without wide-scale overhaul and even presenting himself as more of a transitional figure than a long-term standard-bearer.

“I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Mr. Biden said in Detroit on Monday night, campaigning with new endorsers like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”

Throughout the campaign, he has declined to meet the demands of the loudest voices on the left — he has super PAC support, attends high-dollar fund-raisers and remains unapologetic about overtures to Republicans — and none of it hurt him much. Instead, Mr. Biden is enticing Democrats with a bloodless bargain: a return to normal — or whatever this nation was on Nov. 7, 2016 — and a vow to make Mr. Trump go away, even if Mr. Biden rarely emphasizes a bold new policy vision.

It is a pitch that shares some elements with Mrs. Clinton’s in 2016, centered often on Mr. Trump’s character and behavior. Mr. Biden and his team seem convinced that the reality of Mr. Trump’s tenure will yield a different outcome this time, with the daily tumult more visceral to voters now than it was in Mrs. Clinton’s prescient-but-hypothetical predictions of executive disorder and excessive tweeting.

There is also the messenger to consider. Mr. Biden recently remarked on an “unfair” sexism in the campaign four years ago. Then came an aside, blunt but true: “That’s not going to happen with me.”

Mr. Sanders is summoning 2016 memories of another sort. After his setbacks this month, he finds himself in much the same bind he faced against Mrs. Clinton, seeking ways to prolong the primary but finding few opportunities for true breakthroughs.

In recent days, Mr. Sanders and his allies have made the case that Democrats would be foolish to nominate the more moderate candidate once again, reminding audiences of Mr. Biden’s potential vulnerabilities on matters of trade and the Iraq war.

“Lots of flashbacks,” said Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator and Mr. Sanders’s national campaign co-chair. “2016 has never ended.”

Mr. Trump, she added, was sure to reprise a formula that worked for him the last time, if Democrats let him. “You best believe Donald J. Trump is going to make this a repeat of 2016,” Ms. Turner said, comparing Mr. Biden’s record to Mrs. Clinton’s. “There are so many similarities for him to hit.”

The president, still known to recount the details of his election victory years after the fact, is not the only veteran of that campaign inclined to linger over it. Mrs. Clinton is starring in a new documentary series in which her loss is featured prominently.

And Mr. Sanders, pressed repeatedly of late about whether his attacks on Mr. Biden might damage the former vice president in November, appeared to grow frustrated last week with a trope he recognized well.

“I heard that back in 2016,” he told reporters in Phoenix. “2016, the feeling was, ‘We should anoint the candidate, and get everybody else — get out of the race.’ Is that really what democracy is about?”

Mr. Biden has not generally felt like a candidate on a glide path to an anointing, though he has appeared exceedingly happy on the campaign trail in recent days, wearing his signature aviator sunglasses indoors at an ice cream shop in California last week and telling reporters about his cash windfall between spoonfuls.

But winning has not changed the underlying weaknesses that defined him through the early states. Despite the growing presence of teleprompters, he still sometimes sets off on long tangents and makes verbal blunders.

He continues to struggle to excite some young people and progressives. He can lose his temper in heated and colorful ways, a trait that delights some voters who take it as a sign of vigor but strikes others as unseemly for a man pursuing the statesman’s mantle. (Mr. Biden swore at a man in Michigan who had suggested Mr. Biden wanted to confiscate guns. “Don’t be such a horse’s ass,” he said at another point in the exchange.)

After Iowa, Mr. Biden’s team underwent a shake-up, and people inside and outside the campaign have since reported more signs of a righted ship. Just last week, three former rivals — Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke — announced their endorsements in the span of a few hours, in an extraordinary show of force that sent Mr. Biden into Super Tuesday with a burst of momentum and free media.

It was the kind of dramatic turn that felt essential to boosting a campaign eager for any jolt it could find as it sought to catch up to Mr. Sanders, the early delegate leader.

A week later, Mr. Biden’s success registered as something even more stunning, in its way: a little boring.

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