Governor Hutchinson’s comment on Meet the Press that vaccine mandates harden opposition is worth a second round of derision today.

Advertisement

Other federal mandates work, for one thing. Seatbelts, for example.

More important is this: opposition to vaccinations was hardened months ago in Arkansas, with the governor’s help. Arkansas is even hardened against mask mandates, including in the governor’s office.

Advertisement

Walter Shaub, former director of the federal Ethics Office, summarizes the situation pithily in the Tweet here.

Philip Bump of the Washington Post takes it further, with a look at the numbers.

Advertisement

… it’s obvious that there’s an overlap of vaccination rates, party identity and pandemic outcomes that intertwines the discussion about the pandemic with partisan politics. It is inescapably the case that, even if party doesn’t play a significant role in pandemic outcomes, the debate is largely framed through a partisan lens anyway — often to a hyperbolic degree.

One reason for that is that there is an obvious string of correlations here. More deaths from the virus occur in places where there are more cases. There are more cases in places where vaccination rates are lower. Vaccination rates are lower in places that voted more heavily Republican in 2020.

Hutchinson is a Republican. He is a leader of a virus-ravaged Trump state who hopes to maintain political viability of some sort — a presidential candidacy even — when his term ends next year. So he regurgitates the anti-vaccination party line, even as a majority of Americans, including the mandate-resistant Republican governors, HAVE gotten the vaccination.

The numbers:

Of the 23 states that have new case totals per capita higher than the nation overall, 21 voted for Donald Trump in November. Sixteen are among the 17 states that have the lowest rates of vaccination. Of the 18 states that have new death totals higher than the national ratio, 14 voted for Trump and 12 are among the 17 least-vaccinated states.

That’s Darkansas in every instance. Big for Trump (still, surveys indicate). 4th-highest COVID rate per capita. 4th highest death rate per capita. 5th worst vaccination rate.  (All thesd based on recent compilations from Internet sources).

Again: Arkansas was hardened against science, common sense, masks and vaccination before Biden came with his proposal to use OSHA to required big businesses to either have their employees get shots are be subject to COVID testing. (No, a vaccination isn’t mandated. You can opt for regular testing instead or to work elsewhere, just as any worker may do if he or she finds unacceptable employment conditions.)

Advertisement

Asa can read his audience. Beat up on Joe Biden. It’s a winner. The only thing that would make it easier in Arkansas is if that dark-complected guy with the funny name was still in office. That was REALLY a winner.