Woodbury Republican Jason Lewis would like very much to claw his way back into Congress.
After having his seat snatched by Democrat Angie Craig in 2018, he’s setting his sights on Tina Smith’s spot in the Senate.
For Lewis, that means a return to conservative talk—the same medium he once used to complain about not being able to call Madonna a slut and compare gay couples to rapists throughout the early 20-teens.
Jason's still comfortable in front of a mic, even if the one thing on everyone's mind is frightening—to most of us, anyway.
“Congressman, the coronavirus is everything,” said Jason Miller, host of War Room 2020, which had Lewis on as a guest last week. Miller asked for an update on how Minnesotans were handling news of the pandemic, and how we should be “looking at” the reality of the situation.
Lewis sounds pretty blasé about the whole thing. Minnesota happens to be the “epicenter” of cold and flu season, he explained.
“So, we’re sort of used to this wintertime sickness,” he said. “And I think… it hasn’t hit the panic stage in the upper Midwest yet.”
To be clear, COVID-19 isn't the flu. It’s got similar symptoms and a similar method of transmission—coughing and sneezing—and, like flu, is especially dangerous if you happen to be an older adult, you’re immunocompromised, or you have a preexisting condition. And nearly 100 Minnesotans have died of influenza in this year alone, including two children.
But the flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. Estimates of coronavirus's death rate have ranged from the 0.6 percent seen in South Korea to the World Health Organization's 3.4 percent. It's too soon to know exactly how high it is -- this is a "novel" coronavirus, after all, and we're collecting data in real time -- but we're certainly in no position to dismiss the danger it poses.
Lewis didn't get into the details, and instead bemoaned the Democrats for “weaponizing a worldwide health crisis” in order to attack the president—who also thinks this is pretty much the flu—and Vice President Mike Pence.
Lewis was having none of it. They've got everything under control.
Besides, he reasoned, seemingly out of nowhere, this little global pandemic will help rich people make money off their investments.
The President's America First policy of controlling who gets in and who doesn't in this country is going to come to fruition, I think. So frankly, I think he's doing everything just about right, and the assault on Mike Pence is just totally unwarranted. So they just need to keep buckling down. I think this will—we will fix it. We are that island in the storm, as Steve was talking about. We'll get through this, and then who knows? We may look back, hopefully, and this will all be a big buying opportunity on Wall Street.
That wasn't the only time Lewis has put a positive spin on COVID-19. On Monday, Lewis appeared on the Justice and Drew podcast, where he was asked about the havoc the pandemic was wreaking on Wall Street that morning.
Again, Lewis was optimistic, advising listeners:
“Take a deep breath, here, and talk about an oversell and buying opportunity. Obviously, the first thing most people tend to do in these situations is to panic and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I gotta get out of this,’ which is how other people get rich."
Through Thursday, Minnesota still only has nine confirmed cases of coronavirus, though the state's getting serious about stopping its spread. The University of Minnesota has shifted entirely to online classes; nursing homes and prisons have been banning visitors; major sporting events are getting canceled or postponed, as are concerts, St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and tons of other events.
It's so serious, the divided Legislature actually did something, passing an additional $21 million budget earmarked for state response to the coronavirus. That's just for the public health effort. Earlier this week, DFL Gov. Tim Walz suggested the state might need to plan some form of support for Minnesotans who miss work (and pay) due to the virus, either through cancellations, quarantine measures, or to care for a loved one.
And hey, if that's you, consider making the most of your quarantine by taking the Jason Lewis path to prosperity in the stock market. Buy while the pandemic has prices low. (Remember to start by already having a bunch of money at your disposal.) Someday, if it hasn't killed you, you'll thank coronavirus.