The Consequences of Partisanship
Politics is not a game.
David Leonhardt in the NYT has a pretty stark set of numbers that shows the consequences of politics and partisanship in the era of Covid-19: Red Covid.
During the early months of Covid-19 vaccinations, several major demographic groups lagged in receiving shots, including Black Americans, Latino Americans and Republican voters.
More recently, the racial gaps — while still existing — have narrowed. The partisan gap, however, continues to be enormous. A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters.
There are several graphs to illustrate this fact, but I will share these two and recommend the whole piece.
All of which reminded me of this from the Ezra Klein Show a few weeks ago:
Seth Masket, a political scientist, he put out this incredible finding to me, which is — and I’m quoting him here — that “vaccination rates are a better predictor of the 2020 election than the 2000 election is. That is, if you want to know how a state voted in 2020, you can get more information from knowing its current vaccination rate than from knowing how it voted 20 years ago,” unquote.
To help illustrate all of this is a story from Morning Edition this morning about Arizona’s governor offering money to parents who want to send their kids to schools without mask mandates (Critics Blast Arizona’s School Voucher Offer As A Way To Avoid Mask Mandates). I was struck first that this is just another way that a GOP politician is signaling that public health attempts to mitigate spreading a contagious disease are just politics and not, you know, about saving lives and keeping people well. I was further struck by a mother who was interviewed who was upset that her choice about masking was taken away by her local school. There was no reason given for her not wanting her child to wear a mask, but instead, it was framed simply as a personal choice (and the governor was coming to her rescue, to empower her family to send her child to a school not engaged in infection mitigation–hooray for freedom!).
Every politician, media personality, and attention-seeker who has made vaccines and masks into political statements is responsible for the increased deaths in that second chart above. There is just no way around that fact.
It’s really absurd.
I’ve moved to thinking about what the longer-term ramifications are, both for politics (local, especially) and public health.
The public health angle is particularly concerning. We have all kinds of rules and regulations to maintain public health that go against “personal freedoms.” It’s clear that the crowd that is comfortable with politicizing this objects to “government” telling them what to do. I have a feeling that this isn’t going to end well. We already have state representatives suggesting the elimination of all vaccination requirements–I cannot think of anything more gawd-awful stupid than passing these laws.
They are out to kill the rest of us. How can we defend ourselves?
These are the same people who have spent the last 20 years being terrified because some Muslims killed 3000 Americans in the WTC attacks, despite the fact that the vast majority of these people hate NYC.
For that, we have to have our liberties curtailed, and monitored, and blow things up overseas for decades. But when it comes their time to bear the slightest inconvenience to help their country from a larger threat, they complain and whine and throw temper tantrums.
Mitigation efforts that are an actual threat to America… totally fine, so long as it mostly happens to “other people,” but if they have to wear a mask or get tested or get vaccinated against a deadly disease… tyranny!
Whether or not to spread disease is one of the most important decisions that a person can make for their children.
Aside: If the NEA somehow indirectly ends up funding a painting of Christ on the Cross wearing a mask, we will never hear the end of it.
Devise, in a lab, a deadlier, more contagious variant the vaccines still protect against, or make new vaccines for that variant, and let them throw their tantrum.
@Kathy:..Devise, in a lab,..
If I still had my Gilbert Chemistry Set I’d drive them out of the country with the stink I used to make with the sulphur.
Example of MAGA propaganda:
That says it all, doesn’t it?
@charon: At least he’s not cluttering up the hospitals. To quote Clarence Darrow, I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.
It is not simple partisanship, it is dishonest false “information” being promulgated, for whatever reasons, within a closed partisan information bubble.
Three words: horse deworming paste. That tells you all you need to know about the pandemic and America’s sorry state.
Real vaccines have a sign next to them with “VACCINES” written on it and an arrow pointing to them.
@charon: It would be a shame to lose such a great artist. He’s like the Chuck Tingle of right wing cartooning.
I hope Chuck Tingle got his vaccine. I don’t see a “Safe, Effective and Handsome Vaccine Pounds Me In The Butt” in his titles, yet, just a book about vaccinating away straightness. He does have a book about a sentient, handsome, face mask pounding him in the butt, though, so at least he is trying to keep safe.
And I poured used cat litter on their graves so they will always have visitors.
There is also peer pressure and social standards involved, there are actually areas where vaccination secrecy in on offer because people want to hide being vaccinated from their neighbors – local community norms being enforced.
F them. Let them die for all I care.
And, yes. I do mean it.
Saw that and decided to not that my impression over the years is that conservatives and conservative evangelicals in particular are not all that far removed from the era when wives and children were considered “chattel property.” It’s her choice about masking that matters, not the child’s. Fascinating stuff. Unsettling, too.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Government wants to screw with YOUR kid is a fundamental myth with white evangelicals. That the government really lets you do anything aside from physical abuse and ECT for curing gayness never enters the picture. The myth is so strong and prevalent that there’s no evidence to go against it.
I do wonder how many rural Trump counties are medical wastelands, and how much of this could have been solved by having a robust health care system where people have doctors they trust, rather than cranks on TV talking to them about medicine.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: If you can’t use your child as a biological weapon, can you really be free? It’s all about the second amendment.
There’s a PhD. dissertation on Darwin somewhere in all this.
I joked a little a week or two ago about making up gVOR’s Laws as I need them. IIRC the one I had just made up was, “No matter how bad you think GOPs are, they’re worse.” When this whole thing started I was pretty optimistic. I assumed the bureaucracy would deal with it pretty much as a matter of routine and Trump would sit back and take credit for any good results. It honestly didn’t occur to me that Trump would deny it was happening, actively obstruct the bureaucracy, oppose obvious mitigation measures, and actually run on actively supporting the spread of a deadly virus. I mean, I despise Republicans, but jeez.
And I similarly expect FOX et al to lie, but I didn’t think they’d knowingly kill people. Republicans and FOX are destroying democracy, as made clear by Robert Kagan in WAPO a few days ago. The supposedly liberal MSM have, finally, managed to draw lines at harmful COVID misinformation and election misinformation, but little else. It’s noteworthy that the Eastman memo doesn’t seem to be much of a story outside MSNBC and the lefty blogosphere. FOX and the GOPs are destroying the republic, but apparently it might be seen as partisan to mention it.
(The Office, season 7, episode 19, minute 14:45)
Or my thoughts about exactly where my generation went wrong, circa 1970 (approx)
Truly, how did these people pass the either the written or oral licensing test for their kidlet licenses?
FOX top priority is viewers, ratings, fomenting fear and resentment and anger are means to that end. They don’t really mind if the GOP loses elections, they do OK regardless. As for killing people, it’s like wars etc., if it bleeds it leads.
There are plenty of non-partisan grifters working shticks too, but with synergy red areas are more receptive.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
I’m becoming very Darwinian in my approach to these games, including the ones in my home state. Just let the stupid jerks die for their “freedom” if that’s what they want.