Are Republicans prolonging COVID to get back in power?

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The more you see Republican leaders fighting vaccines and indoor masking, the more you have to wonder: is prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic a political strategy?

Democrats, certainly, rode the pandemic to success in 2020. The presidential election, close as it was, had as its tipping point the failure on the part of Team Trump to demonstrate even the slightest degree of competence in navigating its way through the public health emergency, and the Senate almost assuredly would not have the 51-50 Democrat majority, all else being equal.

Now, to 2021. There’s always a mid-term around the corner, and with majorities in the House and Senate again up for grabs, it might not take much to flip control of Congress back to the GOP, ahead of the 2024 cycle.

A new Quinnipiac University poll has President Biden underwater in terms of job approval for the first time in his presidency, with approval at 42 percent and 50 percent not approving of the job he’s doing, largely based on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But, see, Afghanistan will be a fleeting memory come November 2022. There are roughly 400 news cycles between now and the next election in that sense.

Something that isn’t even on the radar right now is much more likely to be the tipping point issue than Afghanistan.

Which gets us back to COVID. I’m thinking here of two peripheral candidates for the Democratic nominations for governor and lieutenant governor in Virginia who in January were all-in on COVID, pressing the state party on ballot signature requirements and the like, assuming that COVID would be the defining issue in the June primary.

The rollout of the vaccines happened next, COVID numbers started to decline, and by May, the CDC had opened the door to society opening back up.

We seemed to be heading toward a quick end to the pandemic a few months ago. Remember those glorious times?

What we didn’t presume was that Republicans and their sycophants in conservative media would continue to get traction with their ongoing effort to cast doubts as to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, to the point that hospitals are actually under more strain now than they were pre-vaccines because vaccination rates are still well below the herd immunity threshold.

The new Quinnipiac poll has Biden underwater on his handling of COVID, which is absurd, because his handling of COVID is being hamstrung by Republicans, by Fox News, by One America, telling their followers to not trust the vaccines.

If you’re wondering how much longer this nonsense is going to continue, project out to at least November 2022, and if it works to get Republicans back in power in one or both houses of Congress, we might be in the throes of pandemic for the long haul, God forbid.

Story by Chris Graham

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augusta free press news