These Republicans seem intent on scoring political points by appealing to a pandemic-weary’s public yearning to get back to something like normal life. Still in thrall to former president Donald Trump, they fiercely oppose mask or vaccine mandates by invoking traditional party tenets of individual freedom, personal responsibility and resisting state interference.
But with America now averaging about 113,000 cases a day, an increase of nearly 24% from the previous week, and hospitalizations up 31% from the week before, Republicans stand accused of causing the deaths of their own voters as the highly contagious Delta variant scythes through red states where vaccination rates are low.
Elaine Kamarck, a Democrat who served in the Bill Clinton administration, said bluntly: “They’ve gone out of their minds. There’s just no other way to describe this. This is about the dumbest thing you could imagine because the only people listening to them are their voters. So this is the first time I’ve ever seen a political party advocating things that would harm their voters, maybe even kill their voters.”