Masks Have a Higher Approval Rating than Joe Biden

They were never political suicide.

Masks Have a Higher Approval Rating than Joe Biden
Reuters

Masks are more popular than Joe Biden.

For the last two years, fad liberals have called masks "political suicide." They've insisted that anything having to do with mandating masks, encouraging masks, or even wearing masks in public would hurt their poll numbers and tank their chances at winning in 2024. Bloggers said we had to drop mask mandates to alleviate "mask fatigue" and save them for when the public "really needed" them, and then they never mentioned them again. It's worth pointing out a few ironies. For starters, more Americans now believe in the pandemic itself than they do in Biden's chances of winning.

Leaked memos now reveal that Democrats did intentionally mislead the public about matters of public health, simply in order to present the illusion of defeating Covid so they could claim "victory."

Well, they were wrong.

Ignoring Covid will go down as one of the single greatest, though unacknowledged mistakes a president has ever made. The silence on everything from masks and clean air to Long Covid has only emboldened the far right, ceding them a vast territory to blame the rising tide of heart attacks, strokes, and neurological problems on "the jab." Their continued insistence on vaccines instead of broader mitigations has made that problem worse, given their short windows of efficacy and relative ineffectiveness against Long Covid.

Now, as almost every single news outlet speculates about the president's health while running calls for him to withdraw or resign, the president himself jokes that "it's just my brain" while telling governors that he needs more rest and an early bedtime. Not one of them will even mention the very likely possibility that Joe Biden himself has Long Covid.

Biden's approval ratings have sunk into the 30s this month, while the public has remained ambivalent on masks. Even a poll from Rasmussen Reports in September 2023 showed that 52 percent of the public favored mask mandates. More than 70 percent of Democrats would support them, and even 33 percent of Republicans would go along with them.

That's better than Biden's numbers.

Most of us have learned from conversations with our friends, family, and even our coworkers that most of them would wear a mask if they were asked or required to do it. When you ask why they don't wear a mask, most of the people we know eventually admit that it's peer pressure.

They don't want to look weird.

When it comes to masks, the corporate media has conducted a campaign of self-fulfilling prophecy, cranking out numerous stories on the idea that the public was tired of wearing masks, and people weren't doing it anymore. The stories didn't reflect public opinion so much as fantasize about it and conjure it. In March 2022, Emily Oster published "Masking Policy Is Incredibly Irrational Right Now" in The Atlantic. In August, Lean Wen published "I'm a Doctor. Here's Why My Kids Won't Wear Masks This School Year" in The Washington Post. In early 2023, Monica Gandhi declared during a roundtable on masks, "Masks are not magic," and tweeted a piece in Slate stating that "There's still not strong evidence that masks protect against Covid."

After Christmas 2022, The New York Times ran "The Last Holdouts," portraying maskers as a "dwindling" fringe group. In July 2023, Ashish Jha published a piece in The Boston Globe celebrating unmasked indoor dining, telling Americans "most of us can finally ignore Covid." Earlier this year, he went on NPR and said most Americans "weren't interested" in wearing a mask to protect themselves from airborne diseases.

They just don't get it.

When you tell someone repeatedly that nobody is interested or nobody wants to do something, that's discouragement.

Of course, maybe they do get it. Some of us suspect that the entire plan was to feed the public two competing narratives on Covid, and to convince them that they themselves didn't want to take precautions even while acknowledging the risks. Public health influencers routinely confused the public about the effectiveness of masks and the seriousness of Covid.

Even during the same interviews, they made contradictory statements, failing to draw clear distinctions between types of masks or explain the long term risks of Long Covid or Covid organ damage.

The end result:

The public has lapsed into a default state of ambivalence and indifference. They just don't know what to do, other than resign themselves to blissful ignorance and infection. In March 2023, a poll by Monmouth University found that 24 percent of Americans believed the pandemic wasn't over, and 53 percent "feel the pandemic will never be over and we will just have to live with it." Nearly half of Americans were still wearing a mask, at least occasionally. About 20 percent were still wearing a mask most or all the time.

Nearly half were still at least "somewhat concerned" about someone in their family developing a serious illness from Covid.

Look at what happened with masks:

At the beginning of the pandemic, 80 percent of the public wore masks. By January 2022, 60 percent of the public wore masks. By January 2023, about 27 percent of the public wore masks. By the end of that year, it was down to 12 percent. A large portion of the public still doesn't know the difference between types of masks. The CDC has actively spread mask misinformation, tweeting upside down mislabeled KN95s or even equating baggy blue surgical masks with N95s in effectiveness. This failure has only helped anti-maskers and underscored their argument that "masks don't work."

For the record, masks work:

Most Americans are still willing to wear a mask, even if they're not actively doing it on their own. Most Americans are willing to learn how to wear a mask better, and they're willing to wear a better mask. You just have to give them a little push, a little reminder about the stakes. That's what the polls show. That's what our own experience confirms. Once we can get past the superficial attitudes and dismissals, most people seem to want permission to wear a mask. The bullying comes from a very vocal, aggressive minority.

Let's consider Biden's approval ratings, by comparison:

Reuters

Biden's approval rating slipped below his disapproval rating in August 2021, right when we got slammed by Delta and the CDC finally had to admit that, no, vaccines alone didn't protect you from Covid.

That's kind of telling, in my book.

His approval ratings never recovered. It doesn't matter what he does or what concessions he makes. It doesn't matter how much the corporate media tries to erase Covid, or how hard they push his policies. Meanwhile, more Americans have always been concerned about Covid, no matter what the media tells them, and no matter how they pretend to act normal.

Despite a sustained media campaign, more Americans remain somewhat willing to take Covid seriously than they're willing to vote for Biden.

Americans want leadership more than anything.

They're afraid to demand it.

You know what that tells me? It tells me that masks were never a political liability. Ignoring Covid was the liability.

The Biden administration could've subsidized the mask industry. They could've championed precautions, even if they couldn't legally require them. Instead, they sat by and watched mask manufacturers go out of business as they dropped mitigations and encouraged "normal."

Now that our public health institutions and corporate media outlets have run out of excuses like immunity debt, they're finally starting to very quietly acknowledge that Covid is airborne and it spreads year round.

Democrats are now further ensuring their demise by trying to pathologize and criminalize masks while diseases come back 10 to 30 times stronger than before the pandemic, and bird flu continues its inevitable spillover into humans. These mask bans cater to a vocal political minority.

The public doesn't want them.

Regardless of what you think, it's not a good look for a party that constantly portrays themselves as the pro-democracy alternative.

Biden's last supporters continue to insist that doing the right thing isn't politically expedient, but time keeps proving them wrong.

Doing the right thing is popular.

It could've been a show of strength and resolve for Biden and Democrats to continue encouraging masks and advocating for clean air, even if they couldn't mandate them in public spaces.

Instead, they caved.

As we continue to see, caving and pandering doesn't work, especially among Americans. It's viewed as a sign of weakness.

Ignoring the pandemic was a horrible campaign strategy. Americans don't see a strong leader in Biden. Democrats have caved and pandered on public health. They've sought to appease anti-maskers instead of fighting them. Americans see that, even if they don't say it out loud.

It's more accurate to say that the Biden administration are sacrificing their own reelection chances by doing the bidding of corporations and lobbyists. Time and again, they went against the will of Americans. They tried and failed to manufacture consent. They would rather hand the country over to fascists than go against their political donors. They've left ordinary Americans with the job of saving democracy, and few tools to do it.

Honestly, I suspect this administration's utter failure on Covid is playing a silent role in the election. Somewhere in their minds, the voters losing their faith in Biden know they've been lied to. They understand on some level that their health was sacrificed on the altar of capitalism and political expedience. After all, half of them secretly believe the pandemic will never end, and they have no choice but to submit to constant reinfection.

That's not leadership.

So, you might wonder if encouraging masks and clean air really would've meant political suicide for Democrats.

Maybe it was just an excuse.


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