About 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated now, woefully low and certainly not even close to the 80% or so needed to stop the pandemic. Other developed countries, with more social cohesion, have far better numbers
South Korea- 79%
Let's take Germany. Former West Germany is doing well in keeping the pandemic numbers down. The more backward, right-wing states-- Nazi-infested Bavaria and the states that make up old East Germany-- are doing much worse and are back in full-blown pandemic mode, especially Saxony and Thuringia. But, unlike the U.S. where there is extremely low social and political cohesion, Germany is taking strong moves to tackle the problem with sweeping new restrictions for unvaccinated people. This morning the BBC reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the new measures as an "act of national solidarity" in response to a "very serious" situation in Germany. Here's what she just announced:
Unvaccinated people will be limited to meetings with their own household and two other people
The 2G (recovered in the past six month or fully vaccinated) rule will be enforced at restaurants and cultural venues and non-essential shops
Clubs will shut in areas where 350 cases have been recorded per 100,000 people in the past seven days-- the national rate is more than 400 per 100,000 people
• Up to 30 million vaccinations will be carried out by Christmas-- first, second or boosters
• Outdoor events, including Bundesliga football, will have limited crowds of 15,000 and 2G rules
• Fireworks on New Year's Eve will be banned
Are Germans taking this seriously? A million more of them were vaccinated just today. Americans aren't... well, at least not Trump-Americans. Real Americans are, as is reflected by strong, healthy vaccination rates is counties that voted least for Trump. In both deep blue states like Vermont, California, Massachusetts and Maryland and in blue red states like West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama and Mississippi, counties that voted heavily for Trump are death traps with low vaccination rates while counties that voted heavily against Trump have stellar vaccination rates.
Trumpiest- Essex County: 53.5% Trump (36% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Chittenden County: 21.0% Trump (66% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Lassen County: 74.5% Trump (35% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- San Francisco County: 12.7% Trump (77% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Bristol County: 42.6% Trump (59% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Suffolk County: 17.4% Trump (67% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Garrett County: 76.9% Trump (45% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Prince George's County: 8.7% Trump (66% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Grant County: 88.4% Trump (14% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Monongalia County: 49.4% Trump (16% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Crook County: 88.6% Trump (27% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Teton County: 29.6% Trump (83% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Winston County: 90.3% Trump (20% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Macon County: 17.7% Trump (43% vaccinated)
Trumpiest- Itawamba County: 87.2% Trump (33% vaccinated)
Anti-Trumpiest- Claiborne County: 13.5% Trump (50% vaccinated)
Jonathan Chait, writing today about a new international poll meant to measure propensity towards fascism in conservative parties, noted that "[s]upporters of the British Conservative party were split almost evenly between fearing cultural change and fearing right-wing extremism. Supporters of the Christian Democratic parties in Germany deemed the far right a much larger threat. But Trump voters, on the other hand, took a dramatically more conservative stance, deeming the cultural left a bigger threat than the far right by overwhelming margins. Indeed, if you want a comparison to the Republican perspective, you can only find it in a far-right party like Germany’s AfD [a current iteration of the Nazi Party strong in the old East Germany], an extremist faction that has combined attacks on immigration with unsettling revisionism around the condemnation of the Third Reich that has been a foundation of Germany’s postwar political consensus.
The Republican party is an extremist outlier in comparison with major conservative parties in other democracies. That radicalism has been most evident in the GOP’s unique anti-statism: No other mainstream party categorically opposes new taxes under any circumstances, universal health insurance, or government action to limit greenhouse gas pollution. This poll illustrates a dimension that has come to the fore in the Trump era: a fixation with politics as a venue for existential cultural conflict.
American conservatives have believed for decades that liberalism represents a threat to American liberty that cannot be contained solely through democratic channels. The conviction dates back to the shattering experience of the New Deal and the right’s inability to win it back, and found expressions through spasms of reaction ranging from McCarthy to Nixon to the Gingrich tactics of government shutdowns and total war. During Obama’s first term, the Republicans we now see as sober and reasonable were making hysterical predictions like “America is approaching a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the Nation will be unable to change course” (Paul Ryan) and “We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy” (Mitt Romney).
Trump’s influence on the party has been to draw this belief to the fore and make it the party’s defining principle. Trump beat out his Republican primary rivals by positioning himself as the candidate who would fight most ruthlessly against their enemies.
Even as Trump has departed office, his influence on the party has only deepened. Two-thirds of Republicans believe American democracy faces a major threat, as against just one-third of Democrats. A poll today among voters under 30 years old finds 70 percent of Republicans, but just 45 percent of Democrats, think American democracy is either failing or in trouble. Yet another poll finds 30 percent of Republicans (against 11 percent of Democrats) agree “true American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” The people who believe the system is under threat are themselves the threat to the system.
But the emergence of Trumpian authoritarian sentiment can be seen most clearly in the changes in the party’s intelligentsia. Trump was an alien figure to the conservative movement elite, much of which resisted him and then accepted him as only a lesser evil.
The mismatch between the Republican voters’ adoration for Trump and the movement elite’s concealed disdain has created a demand for new, Trumpier intellectuals. It has been filled by new organs, such as the Journal of American Greatness-- which recently suggested Dr. Fauci should be locked in a “federal penitentiary” for his “crimes against humanity” and “ghoulish experiments”-- and the creation of slogans like “National Conservatism,” apparently aimed at reactionaries who believe the main problem with National Socialism was the socialism.
...The Republican leadership has given up any hope of containing these beliefs and is instead harnessing them for its own uses. A recent Washington Post story details harrowing efforts by Trump loyalists to take control of boards and offices assigned to govern elections. Those Republicans not actively supporting these efforts are mostly just shrugging them off. “Most people in Mississippi are concerned about gas prices, COVID overreach. I think candidates are making a mistake getting in those weeds,” Henry Barbour told the Post. “I don’t hear people in Mississippi talking about whether the election was or wasn’t stolen.” Barbour’s advice amounts to wishing the Trumpists would have the good sense to plan their next coup more quietly.
The same dynamic is on display in Congress. The Republican party has a vocal wing of utterly unhinged paranoids, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Paul Gosar. When a couple of the mainstream conservatives called out the racism and all-around nuttiness of the extremist wing, the party leadership, rather than siding with them, has called on both sides to knock it off and work together as a team.
There is a deep desire within the political Establishment to believe control of the Republican party remains in the hands of responsible small-d democrats. But every day provides fresh evidence to the contrary.