Opinion | Will 2024 Be a Vaccine Election?

Will Republicans once again nominate Donald Trump for president? Or will they switch to Ron DeSantis? I have no idea.

What I do know is that anyone who imagines DeSantis as a more rational, sane figure than Trump – a right-wing populist who doesn’t suffer from reality-denying paranoia – is delusional. DeSantis hasn’t fallen into all of the same rabbit holes as Trump, but he has fallen into some of his own, and his decline is equally profound.

Above all, DeSantis is increasingly making herself the face of vaccine conspiracy theories that have turned medical miracles into a source of bitter partisan divides and contributed to thousands of deaths. unworthy death.

Let’s go back and talk about the Covid-19 vaccine story so far.

In the spring of 2020, the US government initiated Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership aimed at developing effective vaccines against coronavirus as quickly as possible. The effort was successful: By December 2020, much earlier than most people could imagine, vaccinations were underway. (I received my first shot next month, on January 28, 2021.) And yes, this is a success for the Trump administration.

Did the vaccine work? And how. There are many ways to measure their lifesaving effectiveness, but I especially like the simple approach suggested by the analyst. Charles Gaba, who looked at the U.S. county-wide correlation between vaccination rates and Covid mortality. Between May 2021, when two-dose vaccinations first became common, and through September 2022, the 10% of counties vaccinated at least had a mortality rate more than three times higher than the most vaccinated counties.

By now, you may have heard that at this point, the number of deaths among vaccinated Americans is exceeding the number of deaths among the unvaccinated, that is real. But that’s partly because most of the deaths are in the elderly, who are over-vaccinated; very few Americans have not received any shots; and not enough vaccinated people are getting booster shots.

But why are some US counties getting so much less vaccinations than others? The answer, as Gaba shows, is partisanship: There’s a surprisingly close relationship between the percentage of voters in a county that support Trump in 2020 and the percentage of that county’s residents who haven’t. their shots – and the percentage that died from Covid.

By the way, you can see similar patterns at the level of whole countries. For example, although New York was hit hard during the first months of the pandemic (before we knew how the coronavirus spread or what precautions needed to be taken), since May 2021, the number of deaths from Covid has more than doubled in Florida than in New York. Even taking into account Florida’s slightly larger and much older population, that’s thousands of excess deaths in the Sunshine State.

However, why should vaccination be a partisan issue?

Right-wing opposition to lockdowns and social distancing in the early stages of the pandemic makes at least some sense, as these public health measures involve asking people to sacrifice to save the lives of others. (Some might say such a trade-off is what civilization is all about, but whatever.) Even masked missions require accepting a slight inconvenience, at least partly for the benefit of others.

But getting vaccinated is mainly to protect yourself. Why don’t you want to do that?

The immediate answer is the widespread right-wing belief that vaccines have terrible side effects. It is hard to justify this belief: If it were true, wouldn’t there be a lot of evidence to support such claims? 13 billion doses has been administered worldwide?

Ah, but the usual suspects assume that the evil elites are hiding evidence. Which brings us back to DeSantis, who announced on Tuesday that he is forming a state commission to fight federal health policy recommendations — and request a grand jury investigation into unspecified “misdemeanors and misdemeanors.” decisions regarding coronavirus vaccines.

OK, I doubt anyone believes DeSantis knows or cares about the scientific evidence here. Instead, what he’s doing is serving a Republican establishment that treats listening to experts, about public health or anything else, with “saneness” and disdain. anyone says things they don’t want to hear.

As far as I can tell, DeSantis didn’t participate as Elon Musk in calling for the prosecution of Anthony Fauci, the leader of America’s Covid response. But he has called Fauci a “little elf” and said we should “cast him across the Potomac.” (President!)

Now, does DeSantis’ attempt to position himself as the leader of the anti-vax movement and at least tacitly endorse conspiracy theories really win him over Republicans? Again, I don’t know. Even if it were, I doubt it would hurt him in the general election if he were to be a candidate: Vaccine paranoia and Fauci hatred are still the mains. appropriateness among the general electorate.

But anyone who imagines that replacing Trump with DeSantis as leader of the GOP will signal a party on its way to becoming sane again is a rude shock.


News7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button