We all know that Facebook is awash in false conspiracies. And the last thing I want to do is add to the fever swamp of conspiracies on Facebook. But I cannot resist this new swirling conspiracy which I read on Facebook and am sure is also false. Here it is: Republicans like Ron DeSantis of Florida, Kristy Noem of South Dakota, Doug Ducey of Arizona, and Greg Abbott of Texas are opposed to masks, mask mandates and vaccines because they are trying to kill off their MAGA base. Why would these governors oppose mask mandates and vaccinations otherwise? Why would they be fighting in the courts to make sure mayors in their states don’t defy their orders?
By now everyone knows that masks and vaccines are the only tools people have to protect themselves from the fourth wave of the pandemic. If there were any doubts about that before, there is no longer any question because we can see in real time how areas of the country like LA, where they had a surge of the Delta variant, are beating it back by requiring vaccine and mask mandates even though actual enforcement is mixed. If you want to go into a restaurant or school or another indoor space in LA most places want you to wear a mask or show your vaccine card. Despite uneven enforcement, these expectations have led to much better outcomes in LA than places like Florida or Texas. In LA there are fewer people getting sick, hospitalized and dying. The pandemic seems to be subsiding there, not growing.
In Republican led states with “blue” cities and suburbs (more Democrats and Independents living there), mayors are defying their own Republican governors. These mayors, like the mayor of Austin, Texas, are insisting that people get vaccinated and children going to school be protected from contracting the virus by requiring masks. These “bluer” areas of the state are defying bans on mandates established by their GOP governors. Why? Because these mayors want their constituents to survive the pandemic and be alive to vote for them again. I mean…Duh. And yet, certain Republican governors continue to wage their war against common sense protections against the pandemic which they say is a fight for rights and freedom.
Of course these governors know better. They are all college educated people. De Santis even went to Harvard for law school. They can read. They can reason. They can tell fact from fiction. Theirs is a political motive. Sure they say they are supporting their constituents and doing what they want. But could they have a more nefarious motive they are not revealing? Surely they know that their policies will result in deaths and long haul Covid suffering and expense for those people who defy science and common sense. And yet… here we are.
Could it be that some Republican governors have had it with a base that is nasty and outraged all the time? A base that keeps up a steady stream of death threats when they don’t get their way? I mean it must be annoying to have a base like that. The MAGAs swagger around with loaded weapons and threaten public health officials like Dr. Fauci and local health officials. They threaten school board members who are trying to keep children alive and well and out of intensive care. They attack mayors who are trying to keep local hospitals from being overwhelmed with Covid patients who need emergency care and intubation. They refuse easily available vaccines for themselves and then when they inevitably get sick with Covid, they show up at the hospital ER begging for monoclonal antibodies and the vaccine to save their lives even though it is too late for the vaccine. They wear out formerly compassionate hospital staff and keep ICU beds full so that people who did do their civic duty and have followed the rules but have other health emergencies other than Covid, have no place to go for emergency care. Oh yeah, and they form militias and attack the Capitol trying to hang Mike Pence and assault the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police with toxic chemical sprays, American flags and racist insults.
Who wants a base like that?! I mean, these guys are really annoying! No wonder certain governors are happy to push for what the MAGA base wants! It makes perfect sense.
Of course there can be unintended consequences. They could be flirting with a political fall.
DeSantis is Losing in the Polls
A new poll from St. Pete Polls finds the Governor’s approval rating has sagged considerably, with more Floridians now saying they do not approve of the job DeSantis is doing than those who say they approve.
The poll, which was conducted Monday and Tuesday among 3,952 likely Florida voters through an automated phone polling system, also found DeSantis falling behind one Democratic rival for the 2022 gubernatorial election, trailing Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
The poll also shows Floridians are not in agreement with DeSantis when it comes to his opposition to mask mandates for school children.
DeSantis drew just 44% of Florida voters saying they approve of the job he is doing, while 49% said they do not approve of his job performance. The rest were unsure.
That is a huge swing from the job approval numbers DeSantis received in a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll in May. That survey gave him a 55% approval for his job performance, with 40% not approving. [the Floridian poll was taken in August 2021].
DeSantis faces his gubernatorial re-election November 8, 2022.
Maybe, just maybe, some crows are coming home to roost.
[In case you were not sure, this opinion piece is partially tongue-in-cheek.]