Can 2020 get crazier? You bet. We’re just getting started.
If you wrote a screenplay of what’s happened so far in 2020 and gave it to Hollywood producers, they’d laugh you right out of the room.
“So, your movie,” they’d say, “has the president of the United States being impeached, a pandemic killing more than 100,000 Americans and 375,000 worldwide, race riots and looting in dozens of U.S. cities, a billion animals killed in Australian wildfires, Brexit, royals abdicating, drone strikes whacking terrorists — and a wave of killer hornets to boot? Get out!”
And here’s the thing: We’re only 155 days into the year. Coming up: The craziest U.S. presidential election in history, with a 72-year-old megalomaniac incumbent and a 77-year-old challenger who can hardly remember where he is.
But let’s sum up what’s happened so far in 2020 (some of it now seems like it was years ago).
Jan. 2: The year got off to a fiery start, literally. Australian officials declared a state of emergency as brushfires spread across the country, eventually burning tens of millions of acres and killing an estimated one billion animals.
That same day: President Trump orders the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani by the U.S. military via drone strike after Iran attacked a base in Iraq, wounding Americans.
Jan. 7: The Chinese branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) is notified that there’s a new novel coronavirus in town — SARS-CoV-2. But WHO says don’t worry, it’s not all that bad. Seriously.
The next day: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they’re giving up their royal royalness, saying on Instagram that moving to Los Angeles to be mega-celebrities will “enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition.” Huh?
Jan. 11: Whoops. China records its first COVID-19 death. But don’t worry, WHO says, the virus is well contained, so we’re all good.
Jan. 16: The trial of Trump begins nearly a month after the House passes two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It will drag on for weeks as lawmakers completely ignore that pesky virus in China and focus on a phone call Trump made to the president of Ukraine.
Jan. 20: Whoops. The first case of COVID-19 is diagnosed in Washington state. But Trump and top U.S. officials say don’t worry, it won’t spread widely. No need for masks.
Jan. 31: The United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union in a move dubbed Brexit. “The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
And that’s just January.
In February, the Iowa Democratic caucuses are a disaster, with results delayed for weeks over “quality control” issues. Trump is acquitted of the charges in a party line vote (if you consider Sen. Mitt Romney a Democrat, which he sorta is). WHO dubs the virus COVID-19, but still says it should all be fine. And the “#MeToo” movement culminates with film producer Harvey Weinstein being found guilty of rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
In March, numerous Democratic candidates drop out even before Super Tuesday (after which Sen. Elizabeth Warren bails, too). Italy locks down the entire country as SARS-CoV-2 sweeps through, eventually killing more than 30,000. WHO finally decides that COVID-19 really is bad, declaring the virus a pandemic. Days later, the Dow plunges nearly 3,000 points, the single largest drop in more than 30 years. The Tokyo Olympics are canceled and Americans go into full lockdown, with governors and mayors shutting down restaurants and most businesses. But the U.S. Surgeon General demands people stop buying masks.
In April, COVID-19 cases worldwide top 1 million. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont drops out, leaving just Joe Biden left standing. New York state becomes the U.S. leader in COVID-19 cases, a title it will never relinquish. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, says there’s “no evidence” small businesses are suffering. Tens of millions finally get some relief from the federal government in the form of $1,200 checks, but 30 million Americans lose their jobs. COVID-19 deaths double, then triple. U.S. officials now say everyone should wear masks.
In May, Asian “murder” hornets hit the headlines. Government officials tighten lockdowns nationwide, and another 10 million Americans lose their jobs. It all gets worse and worse — then George Floyd, an unarmed black man, dies after a Minneapolis police officer kneels on his neck for over eight minutes. None of the four officers at the scene were charged for four days. Now, riots are sweeping the nation (with peaceful demonstrators also protesting the plight of blacks in America).
That brings up to date. Still to come, more riots, more craziness, then the most contentious presidential election in history.
Is there any way we all can all just go back to bed and wake up in 2021?
*Joseph Curl ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2014 and covered the White House for a dozen years. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @JosephCurl. A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.