It was exactly one year ago today when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appeared on camera and made a bold prediction about the coronavirus pandemic.
"If it ends up that Biden wins in November -- I hope he doesn't, I don't think he will -- but if he does, I guarantee you the week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors, will say, 'Everything's magically better. Go back to work. Go back to school. Suddenly all the problems are solved.' You won't to have to wait for Biden to be sworn in. All they'll need is Election Day and suddenly their willingness to just destroy people's lives and livelihoods, they will have accomplished their task. That's wrong. It's cynical. And we shouldn't be a part of it."
Circling back to our coverage from the fall, the Texas Republican certainly wasn't alone in making comments like these. Indeed, Donald Trump spent much of the summer and fall pushing a nearly identical line, confident in his belief that state and local officials were only pretending to care about limiting the spread of a deadly virus.
Sure, those rascally Democrats and public-health officials said their mitigation efforts were intended to save lives and prevent systemic breakdowns at hospitals, but the Republican president and his allies knew better. They knew it was all just an elaborate ruse, motivated entirely by the 2020 campaign.
A year ago today, however, Cruz went further than most. As far as the GOP senator was concerned, Democrats were not simply pretending to care about the spread of COVID-19, they also were "willing" to "destroy people's lives and livelihoods" in order to make Trump look bad.
Or put another way, Cruz effectively saw Democratic officials at the state and local level as engaging in a sociopathic election-season scam, which would all be revealed the moment Joe Biden became the president-elect.
The Texan "guaranteed" it.
As we discussed, it's impossible to say how much real-world harm the senator did with rhetoric like this. We'll never know how many Americans heard such talk, assumed the Republican was right, believed the pandemic was more of a political scheme than public-health crisis, and failed to take necessary precautions.
What's obvious, however, is that Ted Cruz was tragically, spectacularly wrong. As Joe Biden prepared to assume the presidency, the United States struggled with the brutal and deadly effects of the COVID crisis -- no one said, "Everything's magically better" -- and state and local officials continue now to deal with dangerous developments.
By all appearances, it's unrealistic to think the senator will express any regrets for slandering public officials and peddling such odious garbage during a crisis. If, however, he's still capable of shame, now would be an excellent time for some.