EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here. The Nation believes that helping readers stay informed about the impact of the coronavirus crisis is a form of public service. For that reason, this article, and all of our coronavirus coverage, is now free. Please subscribe to support our writers and staff, and stay healthy.

Progressive ideas don’t always break through when voters are fearful. Often in times of crisis, calls for solidarity have been overpowered by a mantra of the right: In government we distrust. Yet the coronavirus is making this worldview harder to maintain—and exacerbating deep structural problems in our society.

In their debate on Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former vice president Joe Biden offered different visions of government and its role in a crisis. While Biden focused more on the immediate crisis and Sanders more on the systemic issues that are exacerbating it, both set a higher bar than the current administration has.

The context is grim: The number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise, schools are closing across the nation and large gatherings have been disbanded. As many as 214 million Americans might contract the virus, one estimate projects.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.