Partisan Vaccine Divide Represents Political Failure
COVID-19 vaccination rates differ widely between conservatives and liberals. States that cast their electoral votes for Trump in 2020 have low rates of vaccination, by and large. Likewise, states that cast their electoral votes for Biden in 2021 generally have higher rates of vaccination. Bottom line: partisan vaccine divide represents political failure.
Many Republican politicians, including former President Trump, have encouraged their followers and constituents to get vaccinated. Still, millions of conservatives can’t be convinced. Their party’s inability to get through to them represents a political failure that will cost many lives.
Former President Trump fails to inspire
Former President Trump was publicly inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine. He has encouraged his followers to get vaccinated. “I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me,” President Trump stated in March.
Trump’s influence seems to be waning. Millions of his followers have not heeded his advice. His failure to inspire his followers to take an action that will literally save lives represents a failure in his leadership.
Pro-science Republicans lack influence
Many Republican lawmakers also lack influence over their constituents when it comes to COVID-19.
The Republican governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, is a notable example. He held a vaccine lottery that has met with limited success. And he recently told his unvaccinated constituents they are in a “death lottery.” Despite his efforts to change minds, less than 40% of West Virginians are vaccinated.
By contrast, the Republican lawmakers who express skepticism of the vaccine have grown in influence. For example, Kristi Noem, Republican governor of South Dakota, has declined to encourage her constituents to get vaccinated. She has grown in prominence and popularity as a result.
Republicans are failing their constituents — and the country
While the country is perhaps as divided as it’s ever been, an infectious virus should not be partisan. The virus endangers everyone and has a significant impact on the national economy.
Republican politicians and lawmakers should do everything in their power to increase vaccination rates and end viral spread. Not doing so represents a failure not just to their constituents, who may lose their lives, but also to the country, which is relying on herd immunity to return to normalcy.