Gravity Makes Stuff Fall Down…

Academic studies often rigorously test a thesis that many people consider obvious. (There are good reasons for testing such assumptions, but such research gives ammunition to a lot of anti-academic critics.) Juanita Jean recently reported on a study conducted by scholars at Johns Hopkins and the University of South Carolina that confirmed something arguably as obvious as “gravity makes stuff fall down”: COVID  has spread more rapidly in states with Republican Governors.

As the researchers politely put it,

Governors’ party affiliation may have contributed to a range of policy decisions that, together, influenced the spread of the virus.  These findings underscore the need for state policy actions that are guided by public health considerations rather than by partisan politics.

Ya think? The research confirmed that states with Republican Governors had both higher case rates and higher death rates.

One of the most depressing aspects of this incredibly depressing pandemic has been the number of people who have rejected medical science and demonstrated their utter lack of concern for other human beings. The sheer number of such people, and their belligerent refusal to take even the most reasonable steps to avoid infecting others, has been unsettling, to put it mildly.

As reprehensible as these individual actions have been, the decision to pander to them–to politicize a medical pandemic in order to curry favor with unreasonable voters–is worse.

Other studies have found evidence that Republican governors in 2020 were broadly less strict than their Democrat counterparts in setting policies on mask-wearing, social distancing, and other pandemic-related measures. The researchers say that those studies, along with the links they found between Republican governorship and greater COVID-19 impact, are consistent with the idea that the political polarization of the COVID-19 response has contributed to less effective COVID-19 policies and worse case-related statistics in some states.

“Despite a more coordinated federal response this year, governors still play a key role in the pandemic response,” says Benjamin-Neelon. “As we’re seeing, several states have lifted mask requirements even though we have yet to make substantial progress in controlling the spread of the virus.”

Florida is a good example of a state that has flouted medical advice in order to curry favor with a Republican base unwilling to accept constraints on dangerous behaviors.

As the Guardian previously reported, Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration ‘suppressed facts’ and ‘dispensed dangerous misinformation’-it was the third US state to record a million coronavirus cases. An investigation found that, especially in the run-up to the presidential election, the DeSantis administration lied about the extent and dangers of the pandemic. (In fact, the Florida department of health’s county-level spokespeople simply stopped issuing public statements about Covid-19 between September and the  November election.)

After the election, headlines like this one from the Orlando Sentinel accused the Governor of being missing in action in the fight against COVID, reporting that “Cases are surging, people are waiting hours to get tested and Ron DeSantis doesn’t appear up to the job.” That disinterest in public health characterizes much of the GOP base that applauded the lack of a vigorous state response to the pandemic.

More recently, NPR reported on accusations that DeSantis was “playing politics” with COVID. Not only did the Governor “open” the state more quickly than epidemiologists thought safe, vaccine distribution was originally limited to areas populated by DeSantis voters and donors.

DeSantis certainly isn’t the only Governor who has routinely elevated political goals over duty. It should be obvious that when elected officials take their cues from the subset of voters who prioritize being able to do whatever they want whenever they want, rather than from medical science, public health suffers.

These days, as the research demonstrated, that subset and those Governors are Republicans.


  1. Ignorance or malfeasance?

    Probably a combination of both!

    Cowardice or stubbornness?

    Again, a combination of both!

    Appeasement or dereliction?

    Another combination!

    Sadly, the GOP has shown that they can combine all of these things together to form an unholy political platform!

    The lack of concern for the health and welfare of a constituency is astounding, but, the willingness of a large portion of that constituency going along with this sort of conduct for some sort of gratification is downright scary!

    It reminds me of Hannibal Lecter having dinner with one of his victims, and serving the victim his own brain tissue fried up in a pan while he is still alive, and the victim eating his own brain until he dies!

    I would have to say though, this is not a one side deal. There is a similar style of conduct on the left, Cocksuredness comes to mind. This is also a form of tribal dysfunction. Imperfect architects can never design a perfect construct. But, one side has definite concern for their fellow man (the left) another, is an antagonisticly blusterous fait accompli (the right) that completely overloads common sense and drives the constituency of lemmings plummeting over the edge kamikaze style!

    The fix? Education! And, I might add, the obligation of government to not allow the spread of false narratives disguised as free speech! A prime example is Sidney Powell who got away with peddling false narratives and passing them off as truth and fact. She will probably face the Piper but many will not. The abuse of free speech was the engine of the insane train!

  2. Not sure how well the study will fare when examined closely. Democratic California at times during the epidemic has fared worse than Republican Florida. Democratic New York was devastated. Michigan as well.
    How well a state does seems to depend on questions of timing, when new strains invade, etc. that go beyond mere political party identification.
    None of that, of course, denies that it is obviously better to base decision making on facts and science than political ideology.

  3. John Sorg,

    So, you’re saying that Republicans can multi-task. Who knew? Too bad their tasks are deadly in any combination.

    This underscores the fact this blog has been hammering for some years: REPUBLICANS ARE NOT FIT TO GOVERN. Worse, they have no intention of governing for the greater good. In some settings, these pathetic partisans would be tried for treason, or worse. DeSantis is pure scum. Kemp is a hateful bigot. Abbott is a totally corrupt moron. Noeme is just a nobody who wants to be somebody, but remains a fool. And the Republican “base” continues to follow with knuckles dragging.

    Education, John? Sure. Too bad everyone outside of school is telling the kids that science is a lie, the COVID is a lie, working with and for your neighbor is stupid, etc., etc. Those of us who taught in public schools saw this coming everyday. We often puzzled why so many kids were actively involved with NOT learning. I’m not talking about the 8% who disrupt for the sake of their empty lives at home. I’m talking about good kids who have parents and ministers telling them that everything is God’s will and educators who don’t teach God are evil somehow. I’m not making this up. Try teaching biology in Texas.

  4. I’d like to see a report on the pandemic response by states/counties with highly educated populations vs. states with low educated populations. It isn’t just a state’s leadership that determines the response; it is ability of each state’s citizens to make intelligent decisions for themselves.

  5. Republican governors were simply following Dear Leader in their mismanagement of the pandemic. I’ve been in Florida for most of the last 15 months, and any success on pandemic response down here can be attributed to local officials and health care providers. City and county officials closed things down while the governor was dithering around trying his best to emulate the short-fingered vulgarian (talk about a shameless drooling fanboy- couldn’t jump up and down shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!” fast enough when the RNC announced it had to move part of the convention out of Charlotte). And as for the efforts of those local officials, the governor eventually decreed that they couldn’t enforce any of their local mitigation mandates. Welcome to Spring Break Miami, 2021!

    And yes, pop-up vaccination clinics did miraculously appear in communities with high populations of GOP donors. Yours could even get a special visit from the governor “if it would look good for ’22.”

    We don’t call him Ron DeathSantis for nothing.

  6. Many lawmakers have law degrees and are still idiots, so not sure if education is the magic bullet. It would appear our universities give diplomas to all sorts of idiots and minions—lots of high-paid shills with degrees and a host of philanthropist credentials to boot.

    The Republicans aren’t much different than most Democrats who’ve sold out their duties. They tend to be more highly polished at lying. There are exceptions on both sides.

    As we witness in Indiana under Gop leadership is the blatant disregard of evidence. They believe in science or they wouldn’t disguise, bury, or otherwise interfere in the data collecting process.

    I’ve watched this for a decade in Indiana as environmentalists try collecting data to use against our corrupt Department of Environment Managment who passes laws preventing the collection of evidence by journalists and environmentalists, limits the number of air and water monitoring equipment, neuters local governments, etc.

    I had a good friend and source with the local county health department under Mitch Daniels. At the time, the health department had lots of authority and teeth. Mitch saw where they were going so he neutered them all to the point they just reported on issues like cleanliness of restaurants. Beyond that, the corrupt IDEM was given all their authority which meant the power to do nothing.

    My friend moved to Colorado where he could actually use his environmental degree to better the county and state where he worked. He had a conscience and couldn’t sit by and do nothing for a paycheck. Whereas, many people in the US, can rationalize away their conscience completely to keep a fat paycheck.

    In order to become a millionaire politician in today’s society, I believe the sociopaths have it made. All others require drugs and/or alcohol to numb out their conscience. The DC area is loaded with 12-step programs. 😉

  7. Here in Florida we consider ourselves to be a Covid free zone. That is, come on down and get your Covid for free. That’s right, no charge. Take a six pack home to your grandmother.


    I’ve renamed our governor. Just call him Mo, as in MoRon DeSantis.

  8. I no longer see republicans …. except as a self-serving hate group political entity.

    I can only see republicans as part of a white supremacist obstructionist group.

    They’re no longer in politics…except as obstructionists.

    Our state and Washington DC legislatures need public elected servers ….conservative in their legislative outlooks….

  9. Peggy & Patrick: I have been in Florida every winter for the last 30 years but am absent this year, opting to live out that season here in suburban Bloomington with my daughter. My house on a lake in Naples sits vacant as I await enough people to “get their shots” before braving another winter season there, and all of this personal disorder on my part can be attributed to one word: DeSantis, who doesn’t have enough organizational skills to run a lemonade stand. He out-Trumps Trump and brags about how he has handled COVID, and that’s with a record to date of over one million infections and 32,000 deaths, and counting. He has suppressed evidence of the death and infection count a la Trump, who politicized CDC’s numbers because they “made him look bad.” As Muhammed Ali would say, “he’s a bad man.”

    Now I understand that DeSantis may be a candidate for president if Trump is unavailable by reason of health, imprisonment etc. If DeSantis should run and win I will have no place to run and will consider becoming an ex-pat in British Columbia in the relatively temperate valley south of Kamloops (if they will have me) and a wintertime denizen of Cabo San Lucas.

    As an antique who spent some time in WW II in the South Pacific I had no idea that I was in a fight to prop up fascism down the road; we were told in 1944 that we were in the fight to “make the world safe for democracy.” Had I known that sometime in my life span a major political party would endorse fascism and insurrection I would perhaps have taken a page out of Trump’s book and become a draft dodger instead of a volunteer. I didn’t know, and history is linear.

  10. Democrats serve the majority who are those grieving the deaths related to Covid.

    Republicans serve the minority which are the businesses being threatened by the management of the pandemic. They manage the numbers game by defeating democracy at every opportunity and by enlisting the most easily led as voters.

  11. The difficulty in getting the Corona Virus mitigated from the start rested on the shoulders of The Trumpet and his handpicked Virus Czar Pastor Pence.

    The Trumpet knew earlier on in Jan 2019 just how deadly Corona was. His public attitude was, it was a hoax, or Corona would just go away. The GOP ever eager to follow along mimicked The Trumpet’s blowing off Corona. The Trumpet’s primary message was carry-on with Business as usual to the GOP echoed this message.

    The difficulty was with 50 states implementing their own actions or re-actions to Corona. Commerce and travel did not stop from state to state.

    Mask mandates and social distancing became a Political-Cultural – Social statement rather than common sense hygiene.

  12. “The abuse of free speech was the engine of the insane train!” Well put, John!
    Vernon, that’s very scry, but no, I will not try teaching science in Texas, thanks just the same!
    Patrick, I do not know where you were before you 15 months, in Florida, but I’ve been here for 21 months, and was sorry to learn that Florida is one of a number of states in which the Gov’r is not liable for a recall.
    Peggy, Gerald, we seem to have a presence here. “Mo,” works for me.
    It is very sad that the GOP, which has been run for nothing but self-interest for a very long time has devolved to its present state, but with Trump having come onto the scene, as he did, all pretense about caring for Democracy was jettisoned. At least, now, we know who the enemy is, and it’s not us.

  13. Vernon,

    Lol, no doubt! Multitasking as a moron is as easy as 1 2 3.

    You know, ML also brings up common sense, but, look at the beginning of this coronavirus covid-19 issue as it started. You had the Trumpians refusing to buy Corona beer because they thought it gave you the coronavirus! So, the coronavirus even though they called it the China virus, somehow came here in Mexican beer, lol, yikes, unbelievable!

    There’s a reason why the GOP really wants to keep dumbing down the population! Because the dumber people are, the easier it is to pull the sheep over their face LOL I mean the wool over their eyes.

    There’s a particular portion of scripture I always found interesting, and it applies to what has been happening the past couple of days. And every time there is a mass shooting! The portion I’m referring to says “of what good is it if you tell your brother to leave, stay warm and well fed, then do nothing to bring that about, of what benefits is it!”

    The modern incarnation of this scriptural phrase is “thoughts and prayers!” What good is it?

    So, Americans continue to be mowed down by grosses in the thousands every year, but at least they have the GOP’s thoughts and prayers, that along with Joe Manchin. He’s not worried about getting mowed down in the capital anymore because it’s a fortress guarded by hundreds of national guard troops armed to the teeth. So, he’s got his protection while everyone else out here is being told accept thoughts and prayers and be safe. How? How! A prime example of not only ignorance but dereliction of duty!

  14. Gerald Stinson, 10:53 AM
    “As an antique who spent some time in WW II in the South Pacific I had no idea that I was in a fight to prop up fascism down the road; we were told in 1944 that we were in the fight to “make the world safe for democracy.”

    My dad was on LSM 112 in the South Pacific. I.F. Stone, in his 1952, book, “The hidden history of the Korean War,” explained the government started (continued) lying to the American people almost immediately after your victory in the Pacific. You heard in the news only of the aggressive North Koreans, but weren’t told the U.S. (MacAurther) was bombing and strafing China and Russia, apparently trying to instigate WW III!

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