2021-09-27 12:30:39 Red Covid – The New York Times

Red Covid – The New York Times

“With very little opposition from party leaders,” my colleague Lisa Lerer wrote this summer, “many Republicans have elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations from the margins of American life to the center of our political conversation.”

‘Controlling the left’

With the death toll rising, at least a few Republicans appear concerned about the seeds that their party and its allies have sown.

John Nolte argued in a recent article for Breitbart, the right-wing website formerly run by Steve Bannon, that the partisan gap in vaccination rates was part of a liberal plot. Nolte wrote that liberals such as Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Fauci, and Howard Stern have worked so hard to persuade people to get vaccinated because they know Republican voters will do the opposite of whatever they say.

His argument is certainly odd, given that Democratic politicians have been pleading with all Americans to get vaccinated while many Republican politicians have not. However, Nolte did provide a glimpse of a growing political fear among some Republicans. “Right now, a slew of Trump supporters believe they own the left by refusing to take a lifesaving vaccine,” Nolte wrote. “Doesn’t it benefit one side if their opponents simply die in a country where elections are decided by razor-thin margins?”

Ideas that look promising

How can more conservative Americans be persuaded to have their children vaccinated?

One intriguing anecdote involves the University of Mississippi football team, which is completely vaccinated despite the fact that the state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Coaches there emphasized the tangible, short-term costs of getting Covid, rather than the more remote possibility of death: If they tested positive, the players might have to miss a game, and the team might have to forfeit it.

Timothy Carney, writing in The Washington Examiner, has a similar message. Carney explained that if he had refused to get vaccinated, he would have put additional strain on his wife, colleagues, and Sunday school partner, as well as forced his children to miss school.

Based on her interviews with Tucker Carlson viewers who have not been vaccinated, Olga Khazan argues in The Atlantic that fear is still the best motivator. And, according to Daniel Darling, an evangelical author, one-on-one conversations encouraging conservatives to talk with their doctors will be more effective than any top-down campaign.

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Red Covid - The New York Times