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Covid vaccine and mask bans in Florida and elsewhere raise cynical questions

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday named Dr. Joseph Ladapo as the state’s next surgeon general. Lapado is avoiding masks and vaccines while pushing for unproven treatments popular with the far right, like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Across the country, Republican leaders seem increasingly comfortable with amplifying anti-vaccine rhetoric and conspiracies while banning mask and vaccine requirements.

Lapado’s appointment is normal for the course in Florida. At a press conference in Gainesville last week, DeSantis personally provided a platform for vaccine misinformation. A speaker stood next to the governor and said, “The vaccine changes your RNA.” Another suggested that the vaccine can cause death. DeSantis then posted a video of the conference on Facebook. He also threatened to impose fines on cities and counties in Florida that require vaccines for employees and outlaw mask warrants in schools.

DeSantis also blamed President Joe Biden for the fact that Covid-19 has still not been contained. “You know, he said he was going to end Covid. He didn’t,” DeSantis said in August. “At the end of the day, he’s trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency.”

Across the country, Republican leaders seem increasingly comfortable with amplifying anti-vaccine rhetoric and conspiracies while banning mask and vaccine requirements, even as unvaccinated people cause the spread. of the virus and increase the likelihood of more variants of the coronavirus. And DeSantis isn’t the only Republican who wants to blame Biden for the latest wave of Covid.

This raises a cynical question: Do some Republicans think they can gain political benefits from the continued spread of Covid? And if so, how could this calculation be taken into account in their political decisions?

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has banned government mandates for vaccines and banned local governments and school districts from adopting their own vaccine mandates, even though schoolchildren are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Indeed, on Tuesday, nine states banned mask mandates in schools – all with Republican governors. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, head of a state that has yet to ban masks in schools, issued an executive order banning proof of vaccination by the state government – an executive order that includes public schools and public universities.

At the federal level, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced his own bills to ban mask and vaccine warrants. Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Is openly opposed to vaccination mandates as well.

To encourage vaccine denial, some Republican lawmakers view vaccine denial as a civil rights issue. “South Dakota will stand up to defend freedom,” Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota tweeted in response to Biden’s mandate that companies with more than 100 employees require workers to be vaccinated or have weekly tests . Likewise, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Called Biden’s vaccination or test mandate “armed authoritarianism.” Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said the vaccine requirements were “un-American.” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said the vaccination warrants are an “attack” on “hard-working Americans,” adding that “in Mississippi we believe in freedom.”

“Keeping your neighbors and coworkers healthy is a choice,” Reeves said, suggesting that his definition of freedom means being able to infect neighbors and coworkers with a deadly virus. Meanwhile, Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and last week the death rate was the highest.

People like Harvard Law School graduate Cruz must know they are propagating a legal error by claiming Biden’s mask requirement is’ unconstitutional ‘and’ vaccination warrant is going to be overturned by court “.

On February 20, 1905, the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, upheld the right of a city to impose fines on residents who refused to be vaccinated against smallpox. More recently, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to a vaccination warrant. The precedent here is clear.

In addition, laws generally limit the freedom of some people to protect the health and safety of others. That’s why we have speed limits, laws against drunk and reckless driving, protections for workers, and laws against the release of toxins into drinking water. But the fiery anti-vaccines wave signs that say things like “I decide, not you” and “My body, my choice: say no to mask warrants.” “

While the virus is mostly crushing the Red States (for now), the damage isn’t limited to Republican voters or right-wing media consumers.

While the virus is mostly crushing the Red States (for now), the damage isn’t limited to Republican voters or right-wing media consumers. On the other hand, DeSantis, Abbott and Cruz are vaccinated. In fact, every Republican governor and the majority of the US Congress are vaccinated. Fox News implemented its own vaccine demands even as their top personalities attacked them.

In other words, Republican leaders are getting vaccinated while encouraging others to reject vaccinations, vaccine requirements and mask warrants. However, when their constituents get sick, those same leaders blame everyone but themselves. DeSantis wasn’t the only Republican governor trying to blame Biden for the Covid surge. Kemp also tried to blame Biden for his state’s low vaccination rate, accusing the president of giving “mixed messages” about masks and vaccinations. Scott Jennings, Republican campaign adviser and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, denounces Biden’s “failures” [in] dealing with the pandemic “and Biden’s inability to” convince the unvaccinated crowd to get vaccinated. ” He also said that at mid-term, Biden should be held accountable for the number of people who died from Covid while in office.

Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, claimed Americans were not taking the vaccine because they “didn’t trust” Biden. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that people were more interested in shooting while he was president.

Covid vaccine and mask bans in Florida and elsewhere raise cynical questions

At least among the conservative base, this tactic is working. At a conservative political action conference in July, crowds cheered when a speaker said the US government had failed to “get” people to get vaccinated. They also applauded the fact that Biden had not reached his summer vaccination goal.

In 1992, President Bill Clinton’s strategist James Carville popularized the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid.” Since then, the idea that voters reward the political party that creates a strong economy has been conventional wisdom.

It has already cost nearly $ 6 billion to hospitalize unvaccinated people during the latest wave of Covid. These costs are “borne not only by patients but also by society at large, including public programs funded by taxpayers and private insurance premiums paid by workers, businesses and individual buyers,” the authors wrote. authors of an analysis published by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Peterson Center on Healthcare Health System Tracker. Bankrupting hospitals and depressing entire industries is obviously not good for the economy, but it could be good for the GOP in the medium term.

While most Americans support the vaccine and mask requirements, a majority of Republicans oppose them. Republican elected officials who are more afraid of the main Tory challengers than Democratic rivals may have concluded that keeping their base angry and angry is a better strategy than aligning their views with the majority of Americans – and security public. And the “Democrats want to deprive you of your freedom“The drum is certainly a way to make the base vibrate.

Unfortunately, this will also lead to more illness and death.