There are a lot of awful Republican governors in this country, with only a handful (in Maryland and Massachusetts) taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously from the start. But most have been forced to reverse course in the face of this new wave of infections, even in places like Arizona and Texas, with the Trumpiest governors. Yet two states stand out in their continued refusal to acknowledge the dangers of the pandemic.
Guess which two states just reported the worst job numbers?
In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to shut Florida down despite leading the nation in new cases and deaths. “We’re not rolling back,” DeSantis said. “The negative effects of that would far exceed any gains you’re getting. You have to have society function.” This is what’s happening in Florida:
But, DeSantis says, “society has to function.”
Much the same is happening in Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp isn’t just refusing to close the state down, but is suing municipalities (like Atlanta) that have done so locally. “It was never to keep our economy shut down until the virus is gone,” he said. “And if the virus comes back, I don’t see us shutting down our economy anymore. We’ve got to figure out how to live with the virus.”
Meanwhile, a lot of people aren’t living anymore because of the virus:
These two governors really don’t care about those deaths, and in fact, have echoed impeached bunker baby’s desperate pleas to endangers kids by forcing them back in school. At the root of those efforts is the idea that shutting the state down would harm its economy, and thus by extension, harm Trump’s reelection chances. That’s it. These ghouls literally want people to die to help Trump get reelected.
Yet their sick approach is predicated on the notion that the economy is better off open and infected, than closed. It was the same theory that motivated Sweden to stay open for business even as the rest of Europe shut down. Yet it didn’t work for Sweden—it sports among the highest per capita death rates in the world, and its economy is expected to fare the worse in the European Union. It turns out, economies can’t function when people see each other as potential vectors of death. And that’s despite the fact that Sweden has one of the strongest social safety nets in the world, one of the top health care systems in the world, and has about half of its population living alone. None of those things are true of Florida or Georgia. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So it should come as no surprise when the Bureau of Labor announced its latest weekly jobs report late last week on July 23, for the week that ended July 11. Here are the top three states with the most newly unemployed:
UNADJUSTED INITIAL CLAIMS FOR WEEK ENDED JULY 11, 2020
California is getting hammered, in large part, thanks to the idiotic decisions by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to allow bars to reopen. Northern California, which never reopened, has been quiet. It’s freakin’ SoCal that is driving those numbers and, likely, those newly unemployed.
But look at the top two—Florida and Georgia are handily winning the unenviable race for most newly unemployed. It’s not even close.
As much as Trump and his Trumpiest governor allies want to pretend otherwise, economies cannot function in pandemic conditions. The number of deplorable waving American flags and screaming “FREEDOM” over wearing face masks aren’t enough to support normal economic activity. And the more people get infected, get sick, and die, the more people will stay home and hoard resources—especially since Republicans in Washington D.C. are stalling on extending emergency assistance and further stimuli.
The irony, of course, is that those governors think that keeping things open (and trying to force kids into Covid-incubating schools) help Trump out, when the mass of newly sick, dead, and unemployed is doing the exact opposite. In Florida, only 40% of registered voters approve of the federal pandemic response, and in Georgia, it’s just 41%. Those numbers are a big reason that both those states are looking like great Democratic pickup opportunities this November. And there’s certainly no indication that Trump or his local allies have hit rock-bottom. With a rising death toll and more economic devastation, it’s easy to see how Trump’s standing (and that of down-ballot Republicans) will only continue to worsen.
Closing down a state is economically painful. Definitely. But keeping it open is only more so. How many times do we need to keep learning this lesson before conservative ideologues finally get it?