The latest numbers on vaccinations in the United States are gobsmacking. Jennifer Rubin writes:
The latest numbers on vaccination rates are telling: Mississippi has the lowest percentage of vaccinated residents, followed by Alabama, Arkansas, Wyoming, Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee. All except Louisiana have both Republican governors and legislatures, as do the next seven on the list. Among the 14 U.S. senators representing the bottom seven, only two (both in Georgia) are Democrats. The Post reports, “Ten states, concentrated in the Deep South and rural West, report fewer than 35 percent of residents are fully immunized.”
And, when it comes to healthcare in general, it's the same story:
Health care in these deep-red states is generally dreadful. Among the 12 states that have neither expanded nor voted to expand Medicaid, all but three have GOP governors and in those three (North Carolina, Kansas and Wisconsin), a Democratic governor faces a GOP legislature.
By these or just about any other measures, Republican states are failing to meet the basic needs of their residents. Among unvaccinated Americans, infection rates are climbing. More will get sick in those places, and some will die. Republicans are unwilling or incapable of meeting the challenge.
The simple question is why?
As Reason Magazine’s Peter Suderman wrote recently for the New York Times, the GOP “no longer has a cognizable theory of government.” They claim to be economic populists but oppose raising any taxes on the rich and corporations, decry union organizing and attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Freedom” used to be a central theme, but they are on a crusade to criminalize abortion and compel unwilling women to endure nine months of pregnancy — even in cases of rape or incest. They are also in favor of ordering teachers not to teach unfavorable facts about America.
One might wonder from time to time why Republicans even bother running for election. Because they have so little interest in governing (other than in protecting tax cuts for the rich, shielding the gun lobby from reasonable regulation and dictating women’s reproductive choices), they might as well take on the role of social media trolls and right-wing media guests full-time.
There is one simple reason why they run:
In truth, a great many Republicans simply like to be “important people” with the perks of holding office. It seems the notion of finding other work causes them to break out in a cold sweat, so they adopt insane MAGA positions so as not to offend the mob they helped rile up. Certainly, there are true believers who believe Trumpian rubbish and take right-wing TV hosts’ conspiracies as gospel, but they are a distinct minority. Time and again, we hear from Republican dissenters that most of their colleagues do not really believe the MAGA party lies; what they believe in is the necessity of their own reelection.
They are the incarnation of Lord Acton's axiom: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.