Ron DeSantis bets on vaccine skepticism
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has tried to follow the same line with the anti-vaccine movement he has with Donald Trump. He recognizes a large constituency within his party that alienates a majority of the public and has tried to draw its energy behind it without becoming attached to it so publicly that it poisons its political viability.
The trick allowed DeSantis to win over the rabid anti-vaccines of Trump cultists, even as pro-vaccine conservatives insist Desantis is on their side. National exam‘s Dan McLaughlin describes DeSantis as “a strong supporter of COVID vaccines” who simply has a principled belief “that adults are free to make their own choices and bear the consequences.” His colleague Charles CW Cooke sarcastically refers to “that notorious anti-vaccination extremist, Ron DeSantis”.
After months of carefully walking on this balance beam, DeSantis fell. He’s fully committed to anti-vaccines, and all the plausible denial he tried to maintain is gone.
You can see DeSantis’ progression from anti-anti-anti-vaxxer to simple anti-vaxxer by observing the increasingly strident tone and content of his positions. DeSantis has:
– prevented cruise lines from requiring the vaccination of their customers. This position is both a violation of traditional conservative deference to property rights (why should a business owner be forced to allow infected customers on their property that they do not wish to serve?) Their good. meaning would set foot on a cruise ship that wouldn’t require everyone to be vaccinated?)
– prevented cities from requiring their public employees to be vaccinated. DeSantis threatened to impose a fine of $ 5,000 per violation on any city in Florida that imposed a vaccination warrant on its municipal workers
– refused to participate in a federal plan to issue checks for $ 100 to anyone who has been vaccinated
– appeared at a rally alongside an anti-vaxxer who told the public that the vaccine “changes your RNA” and then refused to contradict that absurd claim when his turn came to speak
– and appointed a state surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, who has repeatedly questioned the safety of vaccines.
Last week, DeSantis appeared at a rally with Ladapo, who lashed out at vaccine safety. “People are forced to put something in their body that we don’t yet know everything there is to know. No matter what people on TV tell you, it’s not true. are going to learn more about the safety of these vaccines. We find that some of these vaccines, the protection against infection is less than 40 percent, “he said,” We are going to learn more about the safety of these vaccines, right?
Ladapo urged his audience to “stick to their intuition and sensitivity”. Intuition! It comes from the state’s foremost public health authority, more than a century after the scientific method replaced intuition as the basis of medical practice.
During one of his regular Fox News interviews on Sunday, DeSantis urged police officers who have lost their jobs in other states for refusing to be vaccinated to come to Florida. He has even promised $ 5,000 to help them move. If Florida is in desperate need of police officers, why does it have to select anti-vaxx cops for recruiting? Why do vaxx’s denials deserve special payments, when DeSantis has refused to allow payments to citizens who receive a jab?
There is no principled explanation for all of these decisions other than the belief that vaccine skeptics are a special category of citizens who deserve special treatment and legal protection. DeSantis offers platforms for vaccine skeptics they can use to encourage that sentiment.
Pro-vaccine Republicans are likely to continue to pretend that all of these moves add to something other than the obvious reality. But DeSantis has made it clear that the anti-vaccine movement is his constituency. And if his actions cause the death of Floridians, it is a price that he is willing to pay to advance his political career.