The Midterms Will End The Pandemic

To make a libertarian look forward, it takes much.

It’s like two years of government mandates that have been ignored by many of those who put them in place. Imagine watching over 70k maskless people (and celebrities) attend a major sporting event held in a place where kids are required to wear masks for school, and to keep the masks on during sports. To stop COVID-19 spreading, we imposed border control on travel and immigration. We then kept them there (with no ramp) for as long as they were needed.

We can at least be grateful that we have another election season, since politics is where the pandemic dominates decision-making. It was a surprise that the economy emerged from this omicron wave better than anticipated. Sunday’s Super Bowl signalled that Americans are tired of all the health gimmicks of recent years. Even the political class is slipping away from COVID policies. Although President Joe Biden and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may not offer any hope for COVID mandates to be removed soon, they are being increasingly rescinded by rank and file Democrats. These Democrats look at favorability ratings as falling almost as quickly as COVID case count.

For example, in New York the Democratic Governor. Kathy Hochul last week announced that companies will not be obliged to mask unvaccinated clients. California’s indoor mask mandate will expire this week, even though some local governments will keep similar rules in place—Sunday’s Super Bowl was supposedly subject to Los Angeles’ mandate, though you wouldn’t have known that from shots of the overwhelmingly unmasked crowd seen on television.

The school masking regulations that were never necessary are being relaxed by schools. Children aren’t at any risk of COVID-related serious illnesses and the rules are no longer making sense. New Jersey’s masking policy will be in effect until March 7, and Connecticut’s will expire later this month. Delaware’s will be ending at the end March. All three orders were issued by Democratic governors from blue states.

But a more telling example of the sentiment sweeping the country came from Virginia, where the Democratic-controlled state Senate voted 29–9 last week to let parents decide whether their kids wear masks in school, regardless of what policies local school boards might have in place. It’s remarkable how close mask mandates and partisan alliances have been mapped over the past year. This statement is clearly bipartisan.

The bill was also passed by the state House on Monday and sent to the Republican Governor. Glenn Youngkin’s desk. It is likely that he will sign it.

The culture is the constant downstream component of politics. All democratic systems, however, are ultimately rooted in the will and aspirations of the people. In the American system, the people don’t often get to make decisions directly—instead, elections act as a sort of feedback system for those in power. After being elected you can do pretty much anything you like, but you will eventually have to confront the voters.

Pandemics have shown what can happen when this feedback system is broken. Many governors took to emergency powers statutes to take control of their state legislatures and cut them out from the pandemic-rulemaking process.

Some may argue this is a positive, and not a drawback. It is imperative that the government respond quickly to crises. Legislative deliberation may be impossible.

To a certain extent, it is true. We are no longer in crisis after two years. It is possible to address the situation through regular functioning of democracy government. And when the system is allowed to work as intended, and policy makers who have to face reelection on a regular basis (as state lawmakers do) face the prospect of voting for or against mandatory masking in schools—well, just look at what happened in Virginia.

You can also look up the polls. Monmouth University’s January 31 survey found that 70% of Americans and 47% of Democrats agreed that COVID was here to stay. Now, they just have to move on. According to the same survey, support for vaccination mandates dropped 10 percent from September last year. Support for social distancing (such as limiting indoor capacity) fell 11 percent. As omicron fades into the background and warmer temperatures arrive, these trends will likely continue.

Only 38 percent of COVID-19 voters consider it a “public safety emergency,” while 55% believe that COVID-19 “should be treated like an endemic, which will never completely go away,” according to Echelon Insights.

The looming midterm elections and those polls leave Democrats looking for “a new message” to combat the pandemic, well in advance. The New York Times reported last month. The party is “keenly aware that Americans—including even some of the party’s loyal liberal voters—have changed their attitudes about the virus and that it could be perilous to let Republicans brand the Democrats the party of lockdowns and mandates.”

This new message is being blocked by the same problem that has tripped up the government’s response since the beginning: engaging in sociology, instead of simply giving the facts, and trusting that the people will make their own decision.

This has done two things. People feel, and probably rightly, that they are being controlled by the ever-changing messages from government agencies. They simply ignore it. Others have adopted a devout, almost religious response to public health authorities’ exhortations—complete with moral condemnations of those who don’t feel the same way. If the ultimate goal is to, neither is perfect. Together, combat this deadly diseaseThe predictable outcome is a heightened politicization in all aspects of the pandemic response.

However, they are still Do it. A senior administrative official said, “We’re moving towards a time where Covid doesn’t disrupt our everyday lives.” PoliticoThis week. But to make people see the pandemic in a different way, they need to have a different view.

While this might seem surprising to Biden’s administration, it seems that most Americans are already changing their opinions about the pandemic. Even urban residents and liberals can be affected. Look at all the Super Bowl cheerleaders, who are blatantly but nonchalantly not following the rules. This attitude has now moved downstream in a swift manner. Some Democrats, like Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and other Democrats were ahead of their time, but others now understand the importance.

This could mean that COVID policies are changing to reflect science. The case counts in many areas are declining and warmer weather promises to be around the corner. Perhaps Democrats don’t play politics and just adjust strategies to the changing circumstances.

This conclusion is not true. Biden won’t be reelected until 2024. The CDC doesn’t have to face the public. But state and local lawmakers are being more responsive to the emerging will of the people, who are increasingly indicating—both in polls and in their behavior—that they’ve had enough masking and restrictions.

This is the democratic system functioning as intended.