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The Anti-Lockdown Protests Are Not Real Life

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | April 22, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | April 22, 2020 |


Good morning, it is Wednesday, April 22nd, one month and 11 days since Tom-and-Rita Day. This week, the news media has become obsessed with anti-lockdown protests, which are a real thing, but do not in any way reflect the overall sentiment in America, which largely believes that it will not be safe to congregate in gatherings of more than 10 people until at least June. From WashPo:

Asked when people expect the outbreak to be controlled enough that people can safely attend gatherings of 10 or more people, just 10% predict such gatherings would be safe by the end of April or earlier, while another 21% expect them to be safe by the end of May. More than twice as many—65%—say it may take until June or later for people to safely gather in groups of 10 or more. Partisans divide on this question, with 77% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they expect public gatherings will not be safe until June or later, compared with 51% of Republicans and Republican leaners who say the same. Yet Republicans split depending on personal health concerns.

Just ten percent believe that gatherings will be safe within the next two weeks, despite governors in Georgia and Tennessee reopening large parts of their economy as soon as this week. Basically, a lot of Southern states appear to be adopting the Sweden strategy, which has seen mixed results — at best — even with a large work-at-home workforce, a fairly healthy population, and a good healthcare system. These are things that one does not associate with the South, which has more poverty, far more underlying health conditions, and a poor healthcare system, particularly in rural areas. I genuinely hope it won’t be, but I fear it will be a disaster, and so do many experts.

But Georgia Governor Brian Kemp isn’t opening up the economy again because of a relatively small number of protestors. He’s doing so because by ending the lockdown for workers in bowling alleys, restaurants, movie theaters, nail salons, etc., the state will no longer have to provide unemployment benefits to them, because Georgia doesn’t have enough in its unemployment compensation fund to support those workers, because Georgia is a conservative state that believes in small government, a philosophy that is likely to get a lot of people killed. In fact, a lot of restaurants in Atlanta have no intention of re-opening on Monday, citing the health and safety of their customers and staff.

In fact, these anti-lockdown protests — which feature a tiny number of people relative to the actual population — are really about only one thing: Reelecting Donald Trump, whose approval rating has plunged in recent weeks (a poll yesterday had Joe Biden leading him 48-39 nationwide, despite the fact that the only thing I have heard about Joe Biden in the last two weeks is a sexual assault allegation leveled against him by a former employee). The NYTimes The Daily podcast investigated who was behind these protests — i.e., who was funding them — and you won’t be surprised to learn that all the funding and messaging leads back to the White House. Betsy DeVos’ family are among the funders, as is Stephen Moore, a Trump advisor who believes that anti-lockdown protestors are the new Rosa Parks. I have no idea why “getting people killed” is a wise strategy for reelection, particularly when the nation’s governors are seeing record approval ratings for their efforts to put the safety of Americans over the economy.

It’s all very disingenuous because if Stephen Moore, and the family of Betsy Devos, Attorney General William P. Barr, and Carol Hefner, an Oklahoma co-chair of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign — who believes that the wind has put the state in a better position to open back up — really believed in their cause, they’d be out there protesting, too, and not like this guy.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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