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One virus, two Americas
Maybe you live in a blue state, in a hard-hit, urban area, and are currently under lockdown orders from your Democratic governor. Or maybe you live in small-town, conservative America, in one of the places that’s been relatively free of COVID-19 cases, where local Republican officials are resisting further preventative measures.
Red-state and blue-state America aren’t experiencing the same pandemic, and it’s showing in the polls. National surveys reveal geographic and partisan splits in attitude, with Democrats and urban dwellers more likely to express their concern. And, perhaps even more troubling, these divides seem to be worsening.
The pandemic, and America’s response, is being swallowed up by the country’s culture wars. As our politics staff writer McKay Coppins reports today, social distancing has morphed into a political act—“a way to signal which side you’re on.”
A few things to consider as you make sense of the situation:
The messaging is coming from the top. Trump refers to this strain as “the China virus,” in an attempt to incite a culture war, Adam Serwer argues.
But it’s also part of a decade-long philosophical battle between parties. One that predates Trump altogether: “How much do the healthiest people in society owe to the most vulnerable?”
All of this might change if, or when, the virus hits red states. And that might happen sooner than you think: Keep your eyes on Louisiana, which Trump carried in 2016.
What to read if … you just want practical advice: