Apr 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The ugly side of politics emerges

Hundreds gathered for a "reopen" rally yesterday in Harrisburg, Pa. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Brace yourself for a very predictable next phase of the coronavirus crisis: the deeply partisan, parallel universe reaction to what America should do next.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats experienced very different realities with the emergence of the virus.

  • Conservatives live in states with fewer cases and consume far more skeptical coverage of the virus threat.
  • Liberals, especially in big cities, experience more death and consume far more ominous coverage. 

You saw this last night with President Trump announcing via Twitter a ban on legal immigration, an extraordinary move most Republicans will rally around. 

  • You saw this yesterday with three Southern states — Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, all run by Republicans — saying they would open beaches, restaurants and most businesses. 

Flattening the curve "is now one of the most contentious issues in politics," the N.Y. Times Jeremy Peters writes:

  • "Guns, abortion, voting rights and religious expression ... have emerged as fault lines in the debate over how government is responding to the crisis."

So, like everything in modern America, it appears most dimensions and interpretations of the virus will quickly devolve into Fox vs. MSNBC food fights.

  • What makes this all the more extraordinary is that it's unfolding when most Americans see the virus — and returning to work — as a big risk.
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