Democrats see political support for Covid mandates in California


WASHINGTON – Democrats from President Joe Biden to city council members have faced an intense backlash to the Covid-19 mask and vaccine warrants. But fresh off his lopsided victory this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom has a message for his party: Suck it up.

Heading into next year’s midterm elections, when Democrats will have to defend their very slim majorities in Congress, Newsom and other party members are backing the results in California, where Tuesday’s recall election looked like sometimes in a referendum on coronavirus mandates, show that they are not. only a good policy, but also a good policy.

Democrats need to “stiffen their spine” and ignore backlash from a vocal minority, Newsom told CBS this week.

“It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a motivator in this election,” he said. “It was an odd year, out of month elections and the turnout was off the charts because people were motivated because they understood what was at stake. The consequences were so clear, and the Democrats, I hope, were paying attention. “

Democrats face opposition to vaccine mandates within their coalition. Unions, which historically back Democrats, have fought for mandates for their members.

Frustration with the health restrictions galvanized opposition to Newsom and led to the unsuccessful attempt to fire him. But Newsom ended up making his response to the pandemic the centerpiece of his campaign, warning Republicans would rescind his tenure as the country’s first school mask if they avoided him.

It turned out to be a good bet, with an NBC News exit poll showing a large majority of California recall voters supporting his approach.

Getting Democrats to vote was Newsom’s biggest challenge and it will be one of the biggest hurdles for his party in 2022. Newsom advisers credit the mandate’s message to helping boost turnout. levels close to 2018, higher than expected.

Of course, California is bluer than the rest of the country. And the battle for congressional control will be fought in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as moderate parts of the Red States, like the Houston suburb of Texas.

But Patrick Murray, who heads the non-partisan Monmouth University poll, which this week released a nationwide survey of Covid warrants, said there is broad support for the warrants across the country, even in much less liberal places than California.

“When we broke out the red states and the blue states in the presidential vote (2020), he was in the majority in both types of states,” he said. “This suggests that independent voters or swing voters in these states are not happy with the Republican stance on dealing with the pandemic. “

If the terms were unpopular, Murray noted, one would expect Newsom’s margin of victory to be narrower than in his last election. This does not happen. Newsom was elected 62-38 percent three years ago. And he defeated the recall this week by 64-36%, although not all votes have been counted yet.

“At the very least, the mandates don’t hurt Democrats. And there’s some evidence that it’s probably helping them, at least right now, ”Murray said. “In a year, we don’t know.

Mid-term 2022 is still over a year away and opinions could of course change.

Perhaps the pandemic will have abated and voters won’t be interested in how Republicans failed to support vaccination mandates. Or maybe the pandemic will drag on and voters will be wary of mandates and gravitate towards the more freedom-oriented GOP message.

But for now, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, DN.Y., charged with leading Democrats’ efforts to defend their majority as chairman of the Democratic Congressional campaign committee, has said on MSNBC that his candidates should “own anger ”in the face of the pandemic.

“There is a reason the pandemic continues. That’s because (the Republicans) played it down at first, they dragged their feet on wearing the mask, and now, every step of the way, they’re trying to stop the mask warrants where they make sense. We should embrace them, ”he said.

Not all Democrats agree, especially the most vulnerable in swing neighborhoods, although they are mostly silent on this. And the party has met resistance from some key allies – the unions.

Police, firefighters, emergency doctors and other public sector unions, including some staunchly Democratic teachers ‘unions, have resisted their members’ mandates.

When Biden announced plans to demand all federal workers get vaccinated, one of their largest unions, whose PAC donates almost exclusively to Democrats, criticized the top-down decision saying that “workers deserve a voice in their working conditions “.

In Virginia, where voters will elect a new governor in November, Democrat Terry McAuliffe attempted to use mask and vaccine warrants to put his Republican opponent, businessman Glenn Youngkin, in a grassroots deadlock. of the GOP, which fiercely opposes mandates, and the more moderate ones. swing voters, which are more favorable to them.

“Here in this county, all the intensive care beds are full. I am for demanding and mandating vaccination. He is not. He likes to make (public service announcements). public won’t get you anything, ”McAuliffe said in the candidates’ first debate Thursday night in Grundy, in the southwestern state near the Kentucky border.

Youngkin, who himself has been vaccinated and encourages others to do the same, accused McAuliffe of lying by calling him “anti-vaccination” and said it was unconstitutional to force people to be vaccinated against their. will.

“My opponent said he wanted to make life difficult for people who do not get the vaccine. I think Virginians have suffered enough for a governor to make life difficult for them, ”Youngkin said.

A recent Monmouth poll of Virginians found that two-thirds of registered voters support requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks in schools. A narrower majority, 53%, approved the University of Virginia’s decision to de-enroll students who refuse to comply with the school’s strict health safety protocols.

Tyler Law, a Democratic strategist who has worked on House races and is now based in California, said the warrants could cause trouble for Republicans even if Covid no longer remains a real problem in this year’s general election next by pushing the party to nominate problematic candidates.

“The Republicans have created another litmus test for their own party on terms well outside the mainstream,” he said, noting that candidates will struggle to win the GOP primaries if they support the terms. mask and vaccine.

And he said the party’s pandemic policies could be particularly problematic among parents of unvaccinated children in the suburbs, where many key House races will be fought and vaccine acceptance is generally high.

“Democrats are too often afraid of our own shadow and don’t just stand up and stand behind what we believe,” he said. “We know the immunization mandates are good, so let’s go ahead and push them. “

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