In Year Two of the pandemic, to sabotage Joe Biden, the GOP sacrificed its own voters by the tens of thousands
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In December 2020, while living in the UK, Australian-born Rupert Murdoch became one of the first American citizens to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Having practically shoved the then-94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II out of the way to get his vaccine (she would not get vaccinated until January 2021), the then-89-year-old Fox News Chairman said in a statement:
I would like to thank the key workers and the NHS (National Health Service) staff who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic, and the amazing scientists who have made this vaccine possible. I strongly encourage people around the world to get the vaccine as it becomes available.
Back in the US, on Murdoch’s own Fox News, the “the amazing scientists who have made this vaccine possible” were not being praised so highly.
The day after Murdoch got vaccinated, Tucker Carlson told Fox News viewers that they should be suspicious of the Trump Administration’s vaccine rollout: “It all seems a bit much,” he said. “It feels false, because it is. It’s too slick.”
And even as Fox News was encouraging Americans to lean into their vaccine hesitancy, Trump was managing the vaccine rollout as uselessly as he handled the rest of his pandemic response.
Trump promised to deliver 20 million shots in arms by the end of 2020. But as 2021 began, only 1/10 of those shots—a mere 2 million—had actually been delivered.
So while “amazing scientists” had made the vaccine possible, the mammoth task of actually getting Americans vaccinated would be left almost entirely to Joe Biden.
As I wrote on 21 January 2021:
Biden inherits a country that not only leads the world in death, but is far behind many other developed nations whose economies have already rebounded and where life has gotten back to normal or something close to it.
After four years of Trump destruction, the challenges America faces are enormous. But none can be tackled until the virus is under control and the economy is back on solid ground.
And the Biden Administration rose to the challenge.
By 18 March 2021, less than two months into Biden’s Presidency, two thirds of Americans age 65 or older had received at least one shot and 36% were fully vaccinated.
By 18 May 2021, half the population had received at least one vaccine dose.
By 9 July 2021, more than 165 million people—half the US population—were fully vaccinated
Under Biden, America led the world in vaccinations for his first 100 days and beyond.
America Was Number One In Vaccinations. Until It Wasn’t.
As of May 2021, with 40% of the poulation fully vaccinated, America was the clear leader among G7 nations in getting its population vaccinated. But in June, the UK overtook us. And then Canada, Italy, France and Germany did, too.
Despite being the first G7 nation to achieve 40% fully vaccinated, America was only the 6th to reach 50% fully vaccinated.
Today, the United States is only 65% fully vaccinated and only 29% boosted, far and away the worst stats of any G7 nation.
And with new variants such as BA.2 threatening a new surge, having an unboosted population of more than 200 million—the size of Russia and Germany combined—is leaving us incredibly vulnerable.
“Make America Sick Again”
In my two most recent articles I explained: 1) How Trump’s recklessness and incompetence put America on the path to 1,000,000 Covid deaths; and 2) How Fox News and the GOP made sure that the virus would keep spreading and killing Americans throughout Biden’s first year in office.
As the tweet by @Charles_Gaba at the top of this article revealed, Biden’s Inauguration Day was, coincidentally, the very day when the lines showing the death rates between the “Reddest 10%” and the “Bluest 10%” of America crossed. Here’s that chart:
Just look at the blue line through the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2020 and you can see exactly why Trump and Kushner thought they could let a “Blue State Genocide” play out in a way that benefited Trump’s re-election.
Follow the red line from January 2021 until today and you can see how the “MAGA Massacre” unfolded throughout 2021 (Delta wave) and through winter’s Omicron wave.
In mid-2020, the death rate per 100,000 was 5X higher in the Bluest Tenth of the USA vs. the Reddest Tenth. In March 2022, it’s 2X higher in the Reddest Tenth vs. the Bluest Tenth.
It’s important to remember that the states hardest hit in the first wave (Spring 2020) share certain characteristics:
Many people were infected before the “pandemic” announcement and the March 2020 lockdowns
Testing was virtually non-existent
Blue States and Democratic cities were abandoned by Trump/Kushner
Hospitals were overwhelmed
There were no effective treatments
Equally important, most states hardest hit in the pandemic’s second year share certain characteristics:
A MAGA/GOP governor more focused on political future than public health
Ridicule of public health tools such as mask wearing and vaccines
Failure to promote vaccines at a similar level to non-GOP states
Active encouragement of anti-vaxxer (“Freedumb”) movement in ways designed to increase community spread
High levels of mostly preventable death among the unvaccinated
As noted in my last article, new research by Axios/Ipsos has shown that, since the start of the pandemic, watching Fox News instead of CNN and/or MSNBC became a pre-existing condition that made you 61% more likely to catch COVID-19.
And for most of the past two years, part of the GOP’s (and Fox News’s) calculations were based on the fact that Covid-19 was disproportionately killing “older, sicker, poorer, Blacker or browner” Americans.
But since Biden’s Inauguration, thanks especially to extremist Republican governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas, in the second year of the pandemic being a white Trump voter made you far more likely to die from COVID-19 than the average American.
In Florida (population 21.5 million), where the death toll of 72,704 now exceeds that of New York State (population 19.5 million) by more than 4,000, 50% of all deaths have occurred since 14 May 2021, a date that’s months after free vaccines become available.
By contrast, 50% of New York’s total deaths occurred prior to November 21, 2020, many weeks before vaccines were widely available.
It should also be noted that Governor Ron DeSantis spent more energy in the summer of 2021 selling anti-Fauci campaign merchandise than he did encouraging vaccinations.
Astonishingly, the nationwide “pandemic of the unvaccinated” in GOP-led States and the country’s Reddest Counties has accelerated white deaths to such a degree that, while white Americans have contracted Covid-19 at a far lower rate than their population level (54% vs. 60%), whites now represent 63% of total deaths.
To further underscore how many of those deaths could have been prevented by more effective Republican public health leadership, Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 61% of unvaccinated Americans identify as “Republican” (vs. only 16% as “Democrat”).
The GOP Actively Created a “MAGA Plague”
In February this year, Charles Gaba concluded a data-packed Twitter thread with these words:
Put simply, GOP/FOX leadership have made an actuarial calculation that sacrificing several hundred thousand of their own voters (mostly in deep red districts where it won’t matter anyway) is a small price to pay for dragging down Dem/Biden approval enough to flip Congress.
It’s a shocking allegation to even consider. And clearly, if Democrats were guilty of such homicidal negligence, Fox News and the GOP would forget about Hunter Biden’s laptop and hammer them on this issue on a daily basis.
I reached out to Gaba to ask if he really believed that his data would lead to a conclusion that Republicans were, in a calculated way, literally sacrificing a portion of their voters in overwhelmingly red counties just to make Joe Biden look bad.
He told me:
Congressional districts usually cut across county lines, and my death data is county-based. But generally speaking, there's not a single individual county where I estimate the gap to be more than around ~1,500 people, so I can't imagine it making enough of a difference to flip a House district one way or another unless it would’ve been within a few thousand votes to begin with.
In other words, as deaths among white people in America’s Trumpiest counties have soared, an analysis of the data makes it appear that Republicans were OK with sacrificing those lives simply for political gain.
The Post-Vaccine Slaughter of White Americans
Gaba’s latest analysis includes a chart that could easily be labeled “The Post-Vaccine Slaughter of White Americans.”
Taking 1 May 2021—the date when everyone who wanted to be vaccinated could have been vaccinated—as a starting point, Gaba shows that, since then, the Reddest Tenth of the population (based on County-Level vote) was more than 3X more likely to die from Covid-19 than the Bluest Tenth.
Keep in mind that the US Covid death toll as of 1 May 2021 was still under 600,000.
The chart above shows how more than 400,000 deaths (equivalent to the total US combat fatalities in World War II) were distributed across America.
If the Red and Purple tenths of the country (bars 6-10) had simply performed as well as the Blue tenths (bars 1-5), many tens of thousands of American lives could have been saved.
Trump set America on the path to one million Covid dead. But it took an orchestrated campaign of lies and sabotage by “Freedumb”-loving GOP Governors and right-wing media personalities to get us there.
Simply to sabotage Joe Biden, the GOP sacrificed its own voters safe in the knowledge that, as long as they didn’t kill too many of them, there would be absolutely no political price to pay.
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