Governor DeSantis unwillingness to promote vaccines once it became politically inconvenient for him had deadly consequences for Floridians. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank broke down Governor DeSantis’ post-July 1st, 2021 Covid failures in a brilliant piece earlier this week.
After vaccines became widely-available, Florida had a 153 deaths per 100,000 residents.
This was more than two and half times that of California with 58 deaths per 100,000 residents from July 1, 2021 onward. These numbers are notable given that DeSantis acolytes bash California’s Covid response and discuss the “freedom” Floridians supposedly enjoyed. Was that freedom worth almost three times as many deaths?
The District of Columbia, mocked for its lock-downs by the DeSantis side, had 27 deaths per 100,000 population from Covid post-July 1, 2021 when compared to Florida’s 158.
The Governor made a clear shift in his rhetoric around July 1, 2021 going from pro-vaccine, the vaccine hesitant and eventually aligning himself with anti-vaxxers.
In September, when DeSantis complete shift became apparent, I wrote the following and attributed political motivations for his shift – here is a refresher.
DeSantis new anti-vaccine alliances
Last week DeSantis stood by and had a facial expression that indicated glowing approval as Darris Friend said “The vaccine changes your RNA, so for me that’s a problem.” “We don’t want to have the vaccine. It’s about our freedom and liberty.”
This came shortly after a few direct quotes from DeSantis where he clearly intended to reposition himself from a vaccine proponent to a skeptic.
“It’s about your health and whether you want that protection or not. It really doesn’t impact me or anyone else.”Ron DeSantis September 3, 2021
“You know the breakthroughs are not that rare…The vaccinations have been effective against preventing severe illness, but it hasn’t created the type of herd immunity that we hoped.”Ron DeSantis September 7, 2021
While some speculated DeSantis misspoke and others think he’s just an idiot, he’s a smart operator – he knows exactly what he is saying and why he is saying it. And, unlike many of Democratic critics he also understands the shifting electoral landscape. Everything he does is political and he has no interest in saving lives if it costs him votes.
Democratic operatives have seemingly made the decision that gaining the votes of suburban well-educated white voters at the cost of the party’s traditional base of white blue collar families is a winning play. This has led to a pretty seismic realignment in the last few election cycles as Joe Biden struggled to get even a quarter of the vote in many non-urban working-class counties Michael Dukakis had carried in his landslide 1988 loss, while Biden racked up large margins in several suburban counties Bill Clinton had not done well in when he twice won the Presidency.
Vaccines are now a class issue
Vaccines have very much become a class issue of late. Among the reasons cited by many for not getting vaccinated is hesitancy over side effects and how it impacts their ability to work in the days after being jabbed. While I understand and our readers will realize the Emergency Paid Sick Leave covers most of these cases. But in many instances workers don’t want to take a chance. What has effectively happened is some working class types now are finding manufactured excuses not to get vaccinated and are engaged in seeking confirmation bias therefore are susceptible to misinformation.
These things do not impact those who are in office jobs, or may be working from home and are better informed about the reality of vaccinations. Generally the more upwardly mobile or upper middle class someone is, the more likely they are to get vaccinated. Vaccination rates tend to be highest in suburban areas and lowest in rural areas with urban areas somewhere in-between.
The African-American and Latino Vote
Democrats need to be aware the working class intestacy about vaccinations isn’t merely a white working class issue. It united working class voters irrespective of race and ethnicity, causing a potential problem is DeSantis bleeds some of this vote due to his alliance with anti-vaxxers.
What has become obvious to those paying close attention the last few weeks is that vaccines while a partisan issue have also become a class one – where working citizens of all races and ethnicities
DeSantis independent fundraising base which is based around small dollar donations from right-wing voters across the nation (a similar model to Bernie Sanders fundraising on the left) gives him the autonomy to defy corporations and work to secure a base of working class, vaccine hesitant conservatives both for purposes of fundraising and electoral politics.
So as we see above. DeSantis has sacrificed Florida lives for political gain and being a performance artists of the higher-caliber. Heck, even President Trump saw through DeSantis’ nonsense on vaccines and tried to draw him out into open conflict this past December, but failed to do so.
The dangerous rhetoric and policy preferences of our Governor, needlessly cost thousands of Floridians their lives.