One of the most experienced and less biased political observers in the United States, Charlie Cook, says that a historical characterization of public behavior has disappeared: Americans no longer unite in a time of national crisis. On the contrary, division and polarization are growing.
The national crisis is of course the corona virus. Politicization has turned the treatment of the virus into a rock of contention between the right and the left. An argument that should have been decided pragmatically, on the basis of common sense, is now decided through the ballot box, or through considerations guided by the expectation of the ballot box.
This crisis was about to get out of hand just a month ago. There was no heartfelt agreement in June that it was possible to return to routine. On the left, consent was anchored in science; On the right, she was anchored in suspicion of science. President Joe Biden and his Republican critics could rely on the facts on the ground: the verified numbers plunged, people stopped dying, beds were vacated in hospitals for elective surgery; The masks could be removed, both outside and inside. And success could be attributed to what one wants. Then, even with a slight lag behind Israel, comes the Delta variant.
On Friday, the number of verified people across the United States was about 130,000. Nearly 20 percent of them were in Florida. Now the Delta’s most intense field of activity; And is also the main political battlefield between the president and his Republican opponents.
At the beginning of last week, the number of daily hospitalized in Florida of patients exceeded ten thousand, more than on any other day since the outbreak of the crisis, a year and a half ago. “Dramatic,” said the general manager of the Florida Hospital Association about this figure.
The daily verified crop also set a new record, nearly 23,000, an increase of 1,000% and more compared to mid.June, when the plague seemed to be on the verge of pest control. By the middle of last week, the number of people admitted to intensive care had reached 2,400.
This is not how August was going to look like. In Orange County, Central Florida, home of Disney World, the positive rate among respondents at the beginning of last week was 21.4%.
Even if these numbers sound familiar, here less familiar is the following number: In the last week of July, the number of verified children aged 12 and under stood at 1,540 per day. The number among 12. to 19.year.olds was even higher.
The schedule can be fatal. The school year in most schools in Florida opens this week (in the Miami area it will only start in two weeks).
Immediate decisions are therefore required on the obligation to wear masks in schools. The U.S. education system has a very high degree of local autonomy. Americans elect the supervising schools in almost every local authority. These councils are in charge of most of the operative decisions.
But governors of states can intervene. The Republican governor of Florida did intervene. He preceded and forbade schools to impose a duty of masks on their students and their faculty. He threatened that the state would not participate in funding schools that would not be complied with. He does not forbid masks, but says that they should be a matter of choice. Coercion to cover them is a violation of the freedom of the individual, guaranteed by the Constitution.
“Cubid, Summer Tide: Why Florida Leads the Nation,” wonders the Miami Herald
The governor, Ron Desantis, is a political star on the American right. Polls show that if Donald Trump does not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Desantis will have the best chance. It depends of course on his success in being re.elected governor, next year.
Desantis produces political youth: At 42, he is just over half the age of President Biden. A television confrontation between them will be reminiscent of Peres’ anti.Netanyahu in 1996, which did not benefit Peres. Desantis is not waiting for 2024. He is already waging a bitter war against Biden, which in recent days has crossed red lines of Derech Eretz, on both sides.
Early last week, the president called Dror his feelings of frustration. He directed his remarks to the governors of Texas and Florida. “I tell these governors, please help. If you are not helping, at least do not stand in the way of those who are trying to do the right thing. Use your powers to save lives.“
Desantis immediately repaid: “For those who want to deny the rights of parents in Florida, I will stand in your way. I will not let you do as much as you please.” When asked about the governor’s remarks, in an exchange with reporters in the White House courtyard, he mockingly replied, “Which governor?” (? Governor Who).
“I’m not surprised Biden doesn’t remember my name,” Desantis teased. “I guess the question is what else did he forget.” Republicans question the president’s cognitive control, hinting at his eroding memory, his rhetorical stumbles, and also his physical stumbles.
Immigrants distribute corona?
But Desantis went even further. “I do not want to hear a beep from the President on the Cubid issue,” he said, blaming Biden’s immigration policy for the Delta’s spread. He mentioned the soaring numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border of the U.S. and being allowed to enter it temporarily, until they were summoned to appear in court. The number entering this way between March and June was 700,000 or more;
There is an inevitable likelihood that some of these immigrants do indeed carry the virus and spread it. Biden’s conduct in the border crisis is one of his most significant political weaknesses. It makes it easier for Republicans to switch issues.
Not all Republican governors hold Desantis’ opinion. The governor of Arkansas, also in the southern United States, said he regretted signing a law against masks. The governor of Alabama, Florida’s neighbor, has sharply criticized those who refuse to be vaccinated.
Masks also have a metaphorical role. The obligation to cover them will send a threatening message: the virus is returning, restrictions are returning, the recovering economy is about to retreat. Newspapers in Florida have in recent days highlighted the resumption of cruise ship cruises. The Florida Today newspaper published a huge picture of the Carnival ship (controlled by the Arison family), entitled “A Huge Breakthrough.” A Miami newspaper published a huge photo of a cruise ship under the headline “Smooth sailing?”
“Smooth sailing?” Asks the Miami Herald. “The cruise is back, but so is Covid”
Anxiety about the peace of the economy is of course general. President Biden on Friday relished new employment data, much better than expected, which shaved off half a percent of the unemployment rate (down to 5.4%). These are July data. But in recent days there have been signs of a cold. Fighting the virus, or fighting the impression the virus makes, is the question. Right and left dominate it.
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