It was four months ago 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."
To be sure, the Texas Republican wasn't alone in making comments like these. Indeed, Donald Trump spent much of the summer and fall pushing an 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 campaign.
Cruz, however, went further than most. As far as the GOP senator was concerned in July, 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.
We'll probably never know much real-world harm the senator did with rhetoric like this. It's impossible to say how many Americans heard such talk, assumed he was right, believed the coronavirus pandemic was more of a political scheme than public-health threat, and failed to take necessary precautions in their daily lives.
But as we're seeing across the country right now, in the midst of a brutal third peak, as Joe Biden prepares to assume the presidency, Ted Cruz was tragically, spectacularly wrong.
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.