by Oliver Bateman
Friday, 21
January 2022
Analysis
11:00

Vaccination is the new dividing line in Republican politics

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are now on opposite ends of the fight
by Oliver Bateman
Credit: Getty

Although the 2024 presidential election remains two years away, the Republican Party’s moderate position on Covid-19 management has coalesced. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new Republican governor, distilled the policy in a series of recent initiatives: vaccinated and boosted himself, he extolled the virtues of vaccines and boosters while simultaneously rescinding a mask mandate for his state’s public schools and a vaccine mandate its public employees.

Perhaps more surprisingly, this line has been echoed by former president Donald Trump, who has received a booster after initially expressing scepticism about them. He regularly touts the development of the vaccines as a significant policy achievement of his administration. This puts Trump at odds with many members of his own base and even longtime supporter Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has played it coy with regard to whether he intends to receive or has received a booster for his single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, stating only that he had “done whatever I did, the normal shot.” Trump, perhaps sensing the shifting of the political winds, fired back at his erstwhile ally, claiming that failing to disclose one’s booster status was “gutless.”

Even if tensions between Trump and DeSantis have been exaggerated for the sake of gossipy New York Times deep dives, the ex-president appears to have seized upon a critical differentiator between him and possible opponents: not mask and vaccine mandates, which most mainstream Republicans oppose, but actually receiving the vaccine or its approved boosters, which many Right-wing or “based” constituents have opposed. Beyond that, Trump has exposed a possible weakness with DeSantis’s approach: the dangers of trying to fudge one’s vaccine status to survive a primary, similar to past politicians trying to gloss over their dicey draft exemptions or conceal their sexual peccadilloes.

However, obscuring the facts regarding the receipt of a booster surely wouldn’t be the end of the world for DeSantis or other politicians in his situation. Moreover, there is a notable vaccination divide between Republicans in the House and Senate, as evidenced from reporting last summer indicating that 97 congressional Republicans refused to reveal their vaccination status while 46 of 50 Republican senators stated they had received the vaccination. That gap at least hints at a generational split within the party, with more senior upper-chamber Republicans heeding the call to get jabbed while their junior lower-chamber colleagues continue to express some degree of resistance even as they refrain from sharing their vaccination status.

It seems that Covid safety measures have created two parallel states of deception, one in which a politician like DeSantis attempts to conceal a booster shot he may have received and another in which sceptical employees faced with vaccine mandates, including NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown, respond with acts of civil disobedience such as obtaining counterfeit vaccination cards to provide the illusion that they received theirs.

The question of whether Trump’s trademark sneakily-shrewd bluster can damage DeSantis remains to be seen, but it has opened another front in America’s stage-managed internecine political wars — one fought on a familiar, badly-scarred battlefield that previously posed problems for those unfortunate evangelical Republicans whose vaunted “family values” failed to align with their personal conduct.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
22 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Slade
David Slade
8 months ago

I have nothing against Trump but I think he should step aside for DeSantis – frankly Trump has had his day.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

No question. Trump is passed his prime, just too old, or certainly will be by 2024 for another presidential run.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

I agree David. Trump is too old and too divisive. He has changed the world – I posted here yesterday that his positions which were considered lunatic in 2016 – like trade barriers against China and re-shoring of industry to the US – are now mainstream all over the world. And he has transformed the GOP – there will not be a primary candidate who is against The Wall for instance. He should be content with that and with being an elder statesman. Of course, I know he won’t and could well win the primary and lose the election to whichever horror the Dems put up.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

Totally agree. DeSantis is the future and, I reckon, a pretty easy win for Republicans in ’24.
On the subject of boosters and vaxx status being a divider, I think this article really gets it wrong. First, because the mainstream view among republicans is, and has been for some time, that the vaccines should be a matter of personal choice, especially as they do little to nothing to stop transmission of the virus. That, right there, is enough for almost every Republican, and most moderate, voters.
Second, because we are seeing more and more data suggesting that the immuno-suppressing effect of the vaccine, likely cumulative with repeated dosage, creates ‘negative efficacy’. UK data now clearly shows that for omicron, being double jabbed makes you more likely to be hospitalised and die than having no jab at all.
This means the further the vulnerable go down the rabbit hole of repeated jabs, the more path dependent their immune systems become. Here is the every-excellent eugyppius on the subject:
Unboostered Brits Infected and Dying at Higher Rates than Unvaccinated (substack.com)
DeSantis reads this data and looks ahead. Trump doesn’t.

Fredrick Urbanelli
Fredrick Urbanelli
8 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

Agreed. Trump had his fun. Saved us all from Hillary: God bless him for that. Did his SCOTUS appointments: good important work. But is hopelessly self-absorbed and needy and too disorganized to lead. It’s sunset time in Trumpistan, I fear.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

First time I concentrated on anything US politics was that election. I was always Dem if anything, but old Hillary just hit the wrong note from the get go. Intuition kicked in and I started following it.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
8 months ago

This is another article promoting a Trump-DiSantis feud. Starting to get boring. No Pulitzer here.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

I know, what is this, a Democrat party political piece?

“Trump’s trademark sneakily-shrewd bluster – those unfortunate evangelical Republicans”

But then nothing to say about Democrats and the vax – except they all worship it as some miracle charm which will save them from some bogeyman.

John Aronsson
John Aronsson
8 months ago

I think most Americans know that Trump would probably win in 2024 but that De Santis, or anyone who is not Trump, would certainly turn a probable win into a probable win by huge and possibly historic margins.
The scenario now being batted about is that the elections in November 2022 will likely result in the Republican Party having complete control of the House of Representative; perhaps 250 seats out of 438. The thought is that the House could then elect Trump as the Speaker of the House because the Speaker does not have to be an elected member of Congress.
If Trump should be quite satisfied with this (it would place him in the presidency should the House and Senate the decide to impeach both Biden and Harris) then De Santis, who is infinitely better qualified and better suited the office than Trump, would have the opportunity to be elected president in 2024 and enjoy possibly historic margins in both the House and Senate.
Already there is the sense that neither the current Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, nor the Minority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, should have any leadership position in the Republican Party going forward.
I don’t think the Fauci Flu and vaccination status will have any relevance to all this.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  John Aronsson

MAGA, Speaker Trump, WWG1WGA

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
8 months ago

This is a stark example of the false dilemma. When I see a British writer opining on the USA, I take two grains of salt. The “vaccination” issue for those of a certain age, is more like Anglicanism on the sacrament of confession: “All may. None must. Most should.”

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Nice comparison Liz.

And it is a good rule of thumb to disregard a foreign journalist’s take on your domestic politics. When I hear US commentators, even ones I’m sympathetic to, opine on British politics, they invariably get key elements of the story wrong.

Peter LR
Peter LR
8 months ago

Here’s hoping that by 2024 Covid vaccination should amount to a single booster every year along with (included in?) the flu jab for the vulnerable. In which case this will prove a non-issue then; and perhaps minds and policies can be focused on important matters such as the enormous debt mountains, sensible green deadlines, managing immigration pressures, etc. Sadly I’m not sanguine about us having seen the back of gender/racial politicking by then.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

booster, jab? Waht is it with you vaccine maniacs? It is not some cuddly ‘jab’ or booster, but an injection of alien genetic material created in a lab and once in your cells hijacks their systems to produce alien spike proteins, which then burst out of them like aliens from the mid section of a person – AND highly toxic spike proteins with potentially big health ramifications, as VAERS shows, and as no studies show otherwise – them still being experimental – and also the producers free of all liability if they destroy your life….

Last edited 8 months ago by Galeti Tavas
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Oh no! Why didn’t I listen to you – a wee alien has just burst out of my tummy!
I’m going to love him and squeeze him and call him ‘George’.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ian Stewart
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

He may look harmless now – but watch the movie to see how it ends…..

Warren T
Warren T
8 months ago

Another completely false narrative, clickbait in the making. Being pro vax and not mandatory is not a conflict. No different than being pro choice and against abortion. And I don’t see any connection whatsoever in being pro vax while being against reducing civil liberties.

Mikaela Norman
Mikaela Norman
3 months ago

very informative articles or reviews at this time.

Kadın Takipçi
Kadın Takipçi
2 months ago

Faydalı bilgilerinizi bizlerle paylaştığınız için teşekkür ederim.

Adalyn Cowan
Adalyn Cowan
2 months ago

I just like the helpful information you provide in your articles

Livingston CA
Livingston CA
2 months ago

Your Instagram is pretensions!

Bail Bond
Bail Bond
2 months ago

You’re the most valiant individual I know! I want to be more similar to you.