Friday, August 14, 2020


A new poll has good news for Joe Biden ...
Democrat Joe Biden's lead has expanded to double-digits against President Trump in the presidential election, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. Biden now leads Trump 53% to 42%, up from an 8-point advantage at the end of June.
... but not-so-good news about the coronavirus:
... more than a third of Americans (35%) say they won't get vaccinated when a vaccine comes available; 60% say they will. There are huge splits by education and party on this. Those with college degrees are 19 points more likely to get vaccinated than those without (72% to 53%), and Democrats are 23 points more likely than Republicans (71% to 48%).
A higher rate of vaccination would put us closer to herd immunity and thus reduce the spread of the virus, but it seems likely that skeptics will hold out, and that skepticism will be concentrated among GOP voters.

But there's a good chance that the numbers will be even worse than this poll indicates. Consider what's about to happen.

The election will be in November. The president would like us to believe that a vaccine could be ready before Election Day, but experts say that's a long shot, and even if there is an approved vaccine, doses probably won't be widely available until the end of the year at the earliest. Both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates believe it's more realistic to expect that Americans will be able to get vaccinated in 2021 -- possibly early in the year.

Now consider what Republicans already believe about this pandemic: that it's a hoax created with the express purpose of defeating Donald Trump. That Democrats will cease talking about the virus as soon as the polls close in November.

Now imagine that Joe Biden wins in November, and a successful vaccine emerges from all required testing phases just after the election, in late November or December or January.

Then Republican voters will really believe the fix was in all along.

And Trump will compound the problem. Even if he loses in a landslide, he'll insist he was defeated by a vast Deep State conspiracy, a victim of China and Soros and Gates and mail-in voter fraud. He'll give regular phone-in interviews to Fox & Friends and he'll probably announce that he's running again in 2024. He'll continue to be the effective head of the GOP.

And when he's asked whether he'll get the vaccine, he'll say, "No, I'm not going to get it. I think it's a hoax, a Democrat hoax. I think the China virus was always a hoax, and this is a hoax."

And that will inspire even more Americans to hold out. They'll see Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their families getting vaccinated on camera, and they'll see Trump refusing, and this will be even more of a culture-war flashpoint than it already is.

Of course, if Trump wins, he'll treat the vaccine as his glorious triumph. Then Republicans might be willing to get vaccinated.

Or maybe they're so far gone that they'll continue to believe the whole thing was a hoax -- especially if, as I suspect, Trump declares that the vaccine is incredible and tremendous and the greatest vaccine in the history of vaccines, but he's not getting it, because (he'll imply) he's so genetically superior he doesn't need it. Mike and Karen Pence will get it, possibly on camera, and Jared and Ivanka will leak their vaccination to the media, but Trump will still be a holdout. And more people will die.

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