‘Covid With a Vengeance’ Consumes U.S. Politics
The American political system fell with a case of long Covid.
In Washington and in the States, and in both political parties, expectations that the virus could be delivered this summer and give way to a version of mainstream politics have abruptly disintegrated. The resurgence of the disease, driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant, threatens to cut off plans by both sides to shift their attention to other issues ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
President Biden’s hoped-for message that happy days are here again is pending as the administration’s initial rollout of the blitzkrieg-type vaccine has slowed at a relative pace and new debates erupt over public health mandates on the ‘inoculation and wearing of the mask. There are already cracks in his own party, especially among unions, over how far the government and private companies should go to demand that employees get vaccinated.
Even a breakthrough in Senate negotiations this week over a major bipartisan infrastructure deal has been burdened in the news by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s overthrow of its previous guidelines on masking for those vaccinated, and by new vaccine warrants issued by big companies like Google and Facebook and for public sector employees in states such as New York, New Mexico and California.
On Thursday, Mr Biden took the broadest steps yet to make vaccination or constant testing mandatory for millions of people, including federal workers and military personnel. While noting that the country has made great strides since his inauguration in January, Mr Biden acknowledged that the US escape of the virus has become a chore due to the country’s large unvaccinated minority.
“America is divided between the majority of eligible people who are vaccinated and those who are not,” Biden said. “And I understand that many of you in the majority are frustrated with the consequences of the failure of the minority to get vaccinated.”
For Mr Biden’s Republican opponents, the return of the virus threatens to distract public attention from issues that Tories are eager to campaign on – like crime and inflation – and fix it firmly on the disease they the Trump administration has mismanaged with catastrophic consequences.
Hostility to basic mitigation measures among voters and conservative politicians has hampered efforts to contain the virus from the start, and states with the lowest vaccination rates and the strongest new epidemics are almost uniformly republican tendency. A prolonged plague disproportionately plaguing America from the Red State could become an embarrassment to the GOP even as anti-government language on public health issues becomes an increasingly central strain of the Republican message.
On Thursday, as Mr Biden applauded Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for encouraging residents of his home state to get vaccinated, a crowd of House Republicans mounted a rowdy protest on Capitol Hill against the reimposition of a mandate mask to the chamber. Vaccination rates in the House vary widely from party to party, with many Republicans proudly displaying a cavalier attitude towards the disease.
But even for political leaders who are not interested in the coronavirus, it is clear that the coronavirus is interested in them.
“This week I think it’s become inevitable for all of us to feel that heat again,” said Amy Acton, former health adviser to Republican Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine. “We’re approaching some kind of inflection point again.”
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who this week issued a new vaccination requirement for public sector employees and urged New Mexicans to wear masks indoors, said she was “a thousand percent with the president” in his toughened approach to the vaccine distribution. (She made her point of view more clearly: “Shame on you if you don’t get the vaccine.”)
Ms Lujan Grisham, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, said she expected the issue of dealing with the pandemic to remain “at the heart” of governance and campaigning at the level of the ‘State until 2022.
“I absolutely think this will be the cornerstone of all of these campaigns,” said Ms Lujan Grisham. “How you responded to Covid and its impact on the economy will be in the foreground. “
The midterm elections are still a long way off and it is possible that before the fall of 2022 the pandemic will diminish somewhat in the political consciousness of the country.
Mr Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda is making its way to Congress, giving the president a chance to trumpet major successes in 2022 unrelated to the pandemic. Despite the growing number of infections and deaths, the toll is still only a fraction of what it was in 2020 before the arrival of several highly effective vaccines.
Yet, at the moment, it can be difficult to mount a mass communication campaign on issues that are not closely related to the ongoing public health crisis, including topics like voting rights and immigration which are high priorities for Mr. Biden’s party. The complexity of resuming in-person business activities and schooling this fall could grow exponentially if cases continue to rise and vaccination rates do not accelerate, potentially upsetting impatient parents and employers. to pass restrictions from 2020 and early 2021.
In polls conducted by Democratic opinion research group Navigator, there have been signs of growing pessimism about the trajectory of the pandemic. In early June, the group found more than seven in 10 voters saying the worst of the pandemic was in the past. By the end of July, this figure had risen to 55%.
Polls have found that Mr Biden enjoys continued support from voters for his handling of the coronavirus, and his determination to crush the pandemic was at the heart of his successful campaign.
Understanding the State of Vaccination Mandates in the United States
But his administration refrained for months from using the strongest measures available to coerce reluctant Americans into taking the vaccine, including promoting aggressive vaccine mandates or creating a vaccine passport like the one designed. in countries like France and Israel.
Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, a Democrat who issued a vaccination warrant for public employees more than a month ago, said it had not been possible for places like his to wait federal action. She said she was looking at ways to further expand the reach of her vaccination orders, perhaps by placing mandates on companies that receive contracts or grants from the city.
“We have to be decisive. We can’t wait to see what happens, ”Ms. Breed said. “It’s almost like Covid with a vengeance, and we have to make sure we don’t back down.”
The split between Republicans over how to handle the coronavirus was painfully exposed in Washington this week, as Mr McConnell made the last of many personal calls for Americans to ignore ‘bad advice’ and get vaccinated , while his House counterpart, Kevin McCarthy of California, fired a conspiratorial tweet claiming that the CDC’s new masking guidelines had been “hinted at by liberal government officials who want to live in a state of perpetual pandemic.”
An equally informative split-screen image came out of a Senate Republicans press conference on Tuesday: Roy Blunt of Missouri, a longtime party loyalist who is retiring after his current term, pleaded with Americans to do so. vaccinate, reading aloud newspaper articles about unvaccinated Missourians with the disease. Beside him was Rick Scott of Florida, the leader of the party’s Senate campaign committee, who introduced a law banning vaccine passports and, in an interview with Fox Business, called refusing to be vaccinated a personal choice.
A growing number of Republicans running for high office have tried to exploit the discontent of the Tories by pledging their opposition to new terms, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House spokeswoman candidate for governor of the Arkansas, which this week simultaneously urged voters to take what it called the “Trump vaccine” and pledged not to impose any mask or vaccine requirements on the office.
Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who served as Federal Health Secretary in the George W. Bush administration, said the country’s leaders should recognize that they were still in the “early days” of the government. pandemic, as a political issue – a demoralizing warning to those hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.
After a dozen years of partisan warfare over the structure of the health care system, Leavitt added, it should come as no surprise that a pathogen that has claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans gives another version of this bitter debate.
“In short, it’s the same problem: what role should government play in our lives? Said Mr. Leavitt.
Peter Kauffmann, a Democratic strategist advising Mayor Bill de Blasio on New York City’s response to the pandemic, said it had become tragically clear that much of the country was unwilling to do its part to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
“There won’t be that ‘aha’ moment we’re all waiting for,” Kauffmann said. “Those of us who belong to the responsible wing of the country just have to keep plugging in.”
#Covid #Vengeance #Consumes #Politics