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Is Biden’s Vaccination Mandate Smart Politics or “Civil War”?

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Are these the successors of the January 6 insurgents?
Photo: J. Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

On September 9, President Biden officially mandated vaccines for 2.1 million federal employees and contractors, 17 million employees in facilities that have received Medicare or Medicaid funding, and 80 million people working in companies with more than 100 employees imposed in the workplace. So, around 100 million Americans will soon be faced with a choice between getting vaccinated, undergoing weekly COVID-19 tests, or quitting their jobs.

The Republican response was immediate and largely unsurprising. The Republican National Committee and at least four GOP governors (Ron DeSantis from Florida, Brian Kemp from Georgia, Henry McMasters from South Carolina and Kristi Noem from South Dakota) threatened lawsuits to stop mandates from being implemented. There were calls for non-compliance among some conservative opinion leaders and Fox News personalities were furious (“BIDEN DECLARES WAR ON MILLIONS OF AMERICANS” read a prime-time Chyron). And a famous Republican Senate candidate, JD Vance of Ohio, called for “massive civil disobedience” when the mandate goes into effect.

Surely, “I’ll see you in court” is a predictable, branded response from governors who previously focused on tracking and stopping efforts in their states to request vaccines or masks. And Vance is a desperate man trying to outsmart the main opponents of MAGA who are so far eating his lunch.

Nonetheless, there is an eagerness to take sides and fight over the issue, which is reminiscent of the dynamics of highly emotional culture war issues such as abortion or racial discrimination. A report by Axios’ Mike Allen, provocatively headed, America’s 2021 Civil War, quoted a Republican Congress official as saying, “Every Republican in the country – especially those who run right in the primary – drool over Joe Biden [igniting] the wax debate. ”But Allen also quotes someone“ close to Biden ”saying,“ Is America divided? Yes sir. But Biden unites the 75% against the 25% who are in opposition. “

Polls show strong partisan polarization in vaccine mandates. A poll published earlier this week by the ABC-Washington Post found that “about 8 in 10 Democrats support vaccination mandates for workers, while more than 6 in 10 Republicans oppose it. Independents are almost split in the middle. ”Presumably, the conservative activists most likely to vote in the Republican primary vote and will do so with greater majority after being whipped up by conservative media outlets and opportunists like Vance. While support for vaccine mandates doesn’t compare to the three-to-one margin Allen’s pro-Biden source stated, public opinion has shifted from a modest negative benefit to a modest positive benefit, with a sizable one, since Delta Number is still undecided.

What proponents of the mandate note, however, is the emergence of a fiery anger towards the unvaccinated who blame them for the national failure to defeat COVID-19 and their individual danger despite their own preventive measures now that “breakthrough infections” are growing ( although they are still rare). One of those who convinced California Governor Gavin Newsom to include Larry Elder’s opposition to vaccination mandates in his fight against the recall campaign put it this way in an interview with Ron Brownstein:

“People were right to freak out about the Delta variant. They are angry at people who refuse to be vaccinated and extremely angry at leaders who allow antivaxxers to put everyone else at risk, ”said Nathan Click, spokesman for the anti-recall campaign. “They see what’s going on in Texas, they see what’s going on in Florida, and they don’t want this to happen.”

Democrats are also aware that the ranks of the fearful and potentially angry vaccinated include a disproportionate percentage of seniors and college graduates who are most likely to vote in non-presidential elections like the recall of California or next year’s national midterm elections. It is not safe to assume that all vaccinated will accept mandates (hence these predictions that this will be a 75-25 win proposition for Biden), but it is not unreasonable to believe that all of this is a wise policy for a president who would rather talk about fighting COVID-19 than not fighting the Taliban or democrats fighting each other over his domestic agenda.

An important question I have is whether Republican poles and opinion leaders, in their rush to show how determined they are to defend the God-given freedom of Americans to infect themselves and others with a deadly disease, are at risk, unleash dark and disruptive forces? . When Vance and others began talking about “massive civil disobedience” or promising non-compliance, they brought up the rhetoric of the 6th insurgent, smells tear gas in the air, and joins calls for a rebellion. Nothing would help Joe Biden or his party in the medium term if it wasn’t a referendum on the first two years of his presidency, but a referendum on those who continue to reject the legitimacy of the current White House resident.

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