The Politics of Vaccination

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When future historians consider the presidency of Donald Trump, much of their focus will be on his handling of the pandemic. There will more no shortage of devastating criticism, from his initial refusal to take needed measures to combat the virus recommended by our nation’s world class epidemiologists to his virus-spreading events that led to perhaps tens of thousands of people – including Trump, his family members, and members of the White House staff being infected.

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Getting Political Help With Vaccines

But in fairness, his dogged efforts to develop safe and effective vaccines at “warp speed” ultimately resulted in curbing the epidemic and saving countless lives. If the story ended right there, it’s conceivable that history might not judge Trump to be quite the villain that his critics – myself among them – have made him out to be.

Let’s go back to the period beginning about a year ago when President Trump provided new forecasts every week or so about how close the vaccines were being approved and readied for mass production and distribution. Regretfully, wishing didn’t make it so.

Of course, he was wishing for an early release of the vaccine to boost his chances of reelection. Indeed, had the vaccine been released even a month before Election Day, he might have picked up enough votes in Georgia, Arizona, and a handful of other toss-up states to win a second term.

After the election, Trump and members of his immediate family, quietly got themselves vaccinated. Had the vaccine been available before the election, then Fox News probably would have run a one-hour special about this historic event.

In fact, after November 3rd, the word “vaccine” may not have passed Trump’s lips even once. What happened to the vaccine’s cheerleader in chief when the vaccine’s success could no longer help him politically?

Trump Supporters Oppose Vaccination

Now we get to the interesting part of the story. In poll after poll, most Republicans – and especially Trump’s most ardent followers – have become virulent vaccine doubters. In fact, the geographic areas with the highest new infection rates – and the lowest vaccination rates – are populated mainly by strong Trump supporters.

But how could that be? How could they so vociferously oppose being protected against being infected after a vaccine that their dear leader helped get so quickly developed was now readily available?

And why has Trump himself – not to mention the scores of his Republican lackeys in the House and the Senate – remained silent about, or even opposed to getting vaccinated? It all has to do with political expediency.

These career politicians oppose vaccination – even though they personally believe the vaccines have curbed the spread of the virus -- because they don’t want to jeopardize their chances of reelection. And Trump himself, surely does not dare go against the wishes of his base while there is still a chance that he will make another presidential run.

In the end, as their followers chant, USA! USA! USA! Trump and his servile Congressional supporters will do what they have to do to grab control of the federal government. As the virus flairs up again, they’ll caste the blame on President Joe Biden and the “Democrat” Congress.