the point big bird cruz
Ted Cruz found the real vaccine enemy: Big Bird
04:19 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Almost half of the states in the country are reporting rises in Covid-19 cases of late as colder weather drives more people inside and the still-too-high number of unvaccinated Americans continue to get sick and, yes, die.

It’s against that backdrop that a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation has dropped – revealing just how political getting vaccinated has become.

According to the organization’s Vaccine Monitor, unvaccinated Americans are now THREE times as likely to lean Republican as lean Democrat.

“Partisanship stands out as the strongest single identifying predictor of vaccine uptake,” concludes a KFF memo on the findings.

The numbers are startling. Of the 27% of Americans who were still not vaccinated in October, Republicans comprised 6 in every 10. Democrats were just 1 in every 5 of the unvaccinated.

While the unvaccinated have tended to be more Republican since the vaccine emerged earlier this year, the numbers have grown more and more clearly partisan as the year has gone on. In April, for example, 42% of the unvaccinated identified as Republicans while 36% said they were Democrats. By July, more than half of the unvaccinated (51%) were Republicans while 23% were Democrats. As the October numbers show, that trend line has only accelerated as we near the end of the year.

And, the more conservative you say you are, the more likely you are to be unvaccinated. Almost 7 in 10 unvaccinated Republicans describe themselves as conservative while 68% of unvaccinated Republicans say the same.

Need more evidence of how partisan getting vbaccinated has become? Fully 58% of unvaccinated Republicans live in counties former President Donald Trump carried in 2020 while 52% of vaccinated Republicans live in those same counties.

These facts have created a bifurcated reality in America: Big cities and Democratic areas – especially ion the coasts – largely have the virus under control with large swaths of their populations vaccinated and mask-wearing de rigeur – while in more rural and Republican regions the virus continues to rage through the unvaccinated population.

The New York Times’ David Leonhardt has dubbed this phenomenon “Red Covid.” Wrote Leonhardt in late September:

“The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state…Because the vaccines are so effective at preventing serious illness, Covid deaths are also showing a partisan pattern. Covid is still a national crisis, but the worst forms of it are increasingly concentrated in red America.”

It’s too facile to lay the blame for this solely at the feet of Trump. He did, after all, get vaccinated and urge Americans to follow his lead.

But, it’s equally impossible to not see his open skepticism about the virus as playing a role in where we are today on Covid-19 and vaccines. At every turn, Trump sought to undercut experts in the field – most notably Dr. Anthony Fauci – because of his own selfish political concerns about what the ongoing pandemic meant for his 2020 presidential campaign. He expressed skepticism about the need to wear masks and even triumphally took his office at the White House after he returned from the hospital following his own battle with the virus. And, virus aside, Trump spent his four years in office (as well as the two years he was running for president) systematically undermining the mainstream press and weaponizing partisan differences for political gain.

That we are where we find ourselves on vaccinations then isn’t terribly surprising. But, it is depressing – and scary – because some decent-sized chunk of Republicans would rather own the liberals than getting a life-saving vaccine from a virus that has killed more than 750,000 of their fellow Americans.