Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the politics of COVID.
Most Americans support mandating masks in schools and vaccinations to return to the workplace, and they oppose states' efforts to ban such moves, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
But, but, but: The survey finds the Republican base going against the grain so disproportionately that it helps explain the defiant postures of many red-state governors.
What they're saying: “This is why we’re seeing so much conflict,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.
- It also showed regional differences, with Midwesterners the most critical of mandates.
By the numbers: Overall, 69% of respondents support their local school districts requiring everyone — including teachers, students, and administrators — to wear masks in schools.
- “This data shows that public policy and public health is continuously challenged by our politics today" and that "at the end of the day, it’s all-politics-is-local."
- But that was true for just 44% of Republicans, compared with two-thirds of independents and nine in 10 Democrats.
- 64% of respondents support state and local government mandates requiring masks to be worn in all public areas.
- Just one in three Americans supports state laws prohibiting local governments from requiring masks (Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued executive orders banning mask requirements in schools).
- But that number masks a big partisan gap: 57% of Republicans support those laws, compared to just 16% of Democrats.
- There's widespread opposition across party lines to states withholding funds from schools or local governments that require masks, as DeSantis threatened to do.
- 55% of Americans support companies requiring all employees to be vaccinated to return to the workplace — that's nearly eight in 10 Democrats but just three in 10 Republicans.
A Republican legislator in Maine who lost his wife to COVID-19 last week appeared at a rally on Tuesday that featured a GOP colleague who compared the state’s Democratic governor to a Nazi doctor who performed deadly experiments on Jews during the Holocaust.
State Rep. Chris Johansen, who emerged in the early days of the pandemic as a fierce opponent of public health-related restrictions, joined a group of lawmakers at the event in Augusta. State Rep. Heidi Sampson delivered a speech to the crowd that baselessly accused Gov. Janet Mills, who has introduced a vaccine mandate for health-care workers, of operating a government campaign to test “experimental” vaccines on unknowing citizens.
After a month-long battle, Pressley Stutts, a Republican leader in South Carolina, has died from COVID-19 at the age of 64. Earlier this month, Stutts and his wife were rushed to the hospital due to decreasing oxygen levels. Though his wife recovered and returned home a few days later, Stutts developed pneumonia and entered the ICU, as he shared in several Facebook posts at the time. He was later placed on a ventilator. Over the course of the pandemic — including his time in the hospital — Stutts made several social media posts about COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and once called face masks an "illusion." In July, he also shared dismissive comments about the delta variant in a Facebook post, which has been flagged by the platform as false information, before criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris' vaccination efforts in South Carolina.
On August 6, Mike Stunson reported at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
A Texas GOP official whose social media posts include anti-mask and anti-vaccine rhetoric has died from COVID-19.
H. Scott Apley, who according to the Galveston News was a member of the Galveston County Republican Party and Dickinson City council, was 45 years old.
In his last Facebook post July 30, Apley shared a Twitter post mocking COVID-19.
And of course, Trump makes things worse. Martin Pengelly at The Guardian:
Donald Trump was due to stage a rally in Alabama on Saturday night, in a city that has declared a Covid emergency and in support of a congressman who both backed Trump’s attempt to overturn the election and this week sympathised with a man who threatened to blow up the US Capitol.
The former president will speak in Cullman, Alabama, in support of Mo Brooks’ bid for a US Senate seat.
Like other southern, Republican-run states, Alabama is struggling with a surge in cases of Covid-19 fueled by the contagious Delta variant. On Thursday, the city of Cullman declared a state of emergency.
“We want to prevent as many non-Covid related things as possible, so our hospital can use its resources to focus on the pandemic and its variants,” said Luke Satterfield, an attorney for the city, according to AL.com. “We don’t want to put any extra strain on them.”p’s rally was set to take the stage at York Farms at 7pm local time. Local media reported that organisers expected about 40,000 to attend.
Dr William Smith, chief medical officer for Cullman Regional, told CBS42: “We view this as a potential ‘super-spreader’ event, just like last week’s Rock the South that was [at the same location]. We’ve seen an increase in patients since that event last weekend and we’re concerned we could see the same impact.”