Politics

We’re So Fucked: The Vaccination Rates, Political Polarization, and Presidential Voting, edition


Our latest foray into the wilds of the Interwebs has resulted in a bountiful harvest, all praise be to the Gods of the Hyperspace. We found two interesting articles that use psychology to explain why we’re so fucked. In order to do both articles justice, though, we’ll have to cover them separately so as avoid the dreaded TL;DR effect. So, bear with and read both.

The first is from MSNBC on the correlation between #COVID19 vaccination rates and presidential voting in 2020. You guessed it, the vaccination rates almost to the percentage reflect the presidential vote for Biden. In some states, it correlates at the county level. And, you’ve easily guessed why this means we’re so fucked, but read the details anyway because interesting.

The other article comes to us from friend of Ye Olde Blogge, Bob of Of Cabbages and Kings fame. It is in Wired about a game theory study using the Intergenerational Goods Game to determine how likely we are to pass on our bountiful non-renewable resources to the next generation. Spoiler: We aren’t, at least not as a group. And, now you know why that article results in the we’re so fucked conclusion, but read it anyway because of the interesting details.

Vaccination Rates and Political Polarization

MSNBC Opinion Columnist, Michael Cohen, had a closer look at several health-related metrics and the presidential vote by state and published his depressing findings. He based much of his information on this Seth Masket article in the Denver Post. As Masket noted, vaccination rates correlate with presidential voting at a .85 rate better than education, income, race, gender, or voting history. It is an obscenely high correlation.

Cohen looked at the following things: (1) who the state voted for in the 2020 presidential election, (2) #COVID19 vaccination rates, (3) life expectacy, (4) insurance rates, and (5) Medicaid expansion under the ACA. The outcome of the comparison was as predictable as it was depressing. Spoiler: if you live in a Red State, you’re prospects for a healthy long life are considerably less than those of us who are living in Blue States. Consider the following (I’ve independently verfied some of these numbers and linked to their sources):

  • The Biden administration had set its sites on having 70% of the adult population vaccinated by 4 July. According to the CDC #COVID19 Data Tracker:
    • That would be 182 million (54.9% of the population) with one dose and 157 million (47.4%) fully vaccinated.
    • In terms of those 12 years of age and older, though, we have 182 million or 64.3% of that population partially vaccinated and 157 million (55.4%). Note it is a lower total number by a couple hundred thousand than that for the overall population.
    • Of the adult population, Biden came close to his goal with 67.1% or 173 million with one dose, and 58.2% or 150 million fully vaccinated. Close but no cigar.
    • It’s the distribution of those vaccinated that tells the real story according to Cohen.
  • Remember, a single dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is approximately 80% effective, so that’s pretty good.
  • By the presidential vote:
    • #BidenHarris won 25 whole states plus DC.
      • Of the 25 that voted for Biden, 18 states that have reached 70% partially vaccinated or with 80% protection. Herd immunity, y’all.
      • Of the seven that missed the 70%, Georgia is lowest at 54.4% and the rest are 60% or above.
    • The former guy won 25.
      • None of those have reached herd immunity
      • Three are below 50%.
      • Five are just over 50%.
      • Eight remain below 60%.
  • Given that few people who are even partially vaccinated will get very sick should the become infected, fewer still will require hospitalization, and only a very few will actually die of #COVID19, you can guess where the majority of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths will occur as infections spike due to the Delta variant. If this situation doesn’t improve, you know what’s going to come in the late fall and winter when infections surge again. God help us if these yahoos allow a variant to develop that the vaccine doesn’t protect from.

This correlation extends to the county level where it has been tested:

  • Masket looked at Colorado counties and found a .835 correlation between the presidential vote and vaccination rate.
  • Cohen looked at Missouri and found that two of the three counties that voted for #BidenHarris have the highest vaccination rates.

If you thought that was bad, just consider the other ways that these GQP run states not only hurt the health of their populations but cause them to die young:

  • Life expectancy is not evenly distributed with states that generally vote more Democratic in the NorthEastern and West Coast states having dramatically longer lives than the generally more Republican voting states in the South and Appalachia.
  • The gap between the state with the longest life expecantcy (Hawaii) and that of the lowest (Mississippi) is seven years.
  • Under the ACA, the US government will pay for 90% of expanded Medicaid coverage, with the American Rescue Plan, it is now covers up to 95% of the expansion! Expanding Medicaid is practically free. It is a no brainer to sign on for it. It will cover the hard to cover working poor who make too much to qualify for any relief but not quite enough to cover themselves through the ACA. Who the fuck in their right mind would turn that deal down?
    • Twelve states have not taken the feds up on it, and those they are all GQP led.
    • The good voters of Missouri voted by referrendum to expand their Medicaid coverage in 2020. Last April, the GQP dominated Missouri legislature declined to fund the expansion in the budget! Thanks gerrymandering!
    • Four million real live Americans are without healthcare insurance because of partisan pig-headed stubborness to take anything from a Black president. What the actual fuck. And these people keep getting elected.

Seriously, I used to think myself so clever for having come up with the snarky phrasing describing GQP dystopia as being for single-party pseudo-democratic minority rule authoritarianism in which the nation’s wealth was transferred to the 1% as quickly as possible while the rest of us live in Cancer Alley, drinking Flint water, paying for Texas utilities, and dying as quickly and quietly as possible when we start costing more than we contribute, but it ain’t nothing more than the truth.

Say it with me, we’re so fucked! The GQP is determined to so cook our democracy that they will never lose and our rights and freedoms will just be what they tell us they are.

If you’re not too depressed by this good old fashioned screwing by the GQP go on and read the second artilce in the series, We’re So Fucked: The Greedy “Defectors,” edition.

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Image Attribution

“130926-N-HU377-017” by SurfaceWarriors is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

13 replies »

  1. Well, “Socialism” helps people live longer and better and extractive capitalism doesn’t. Who would have guessed?

    The correlation with voting patterns is no surprise. After all, that people who voted for a President who still would not push vaccination even after he (although he cannot admit to having been that sick) almost died of the virus, don’t get vaccinated is consistent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a testament to how badly our politics have been sportsified. Now, we’re all trash talk and winning. No one or at least no one on the MAGA side cares a fig for the state of the nation and how all this will affect our immediate much less our long term future.

      While I understand the gaslighting, the groupthink, the cognitive dissonance, and all of the cognitive bias and heuristics that go into it, it still seems unbelievable to me. It just shows how vulnerable we are cognitively. And, how much harder we have to work to educate the general public about the effectiveness of these tendencies and how to protect yourself from them.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 2 people

      • It takes a lot of mental work to deny something as in-your-face as climate change is now. That is stress, and the usual defense against a fear you deny is rage or withdrawal. Much of the public does not want to be educated about these things. They just want their version of “normal” back, and those BLM and CRT people to stop making them uncomfortable.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          And that is the source of authoritarianism. You don’t have to understand the problem, its causes, or its solution. I alone can fix it with this simplistic black-and-white solution. We’ll be back to those halcyon days of yore in no time.

          Authoritarianism appeals to that cognitively lazy shying away of the hard work that we all have, some more so than others. The problem that the Intergenerational Goods Game study exposes is that there are just enough self-serving assholes among us to make sure we’re good and screwed anytime we start down the road of a more effective real solution to any of the issues facing us.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • I was thinking about that game and the robber barons of the late 19th Century. For all their faults, which were many, they also did some pro-social stuff. Carnegie built libraries. He didn’t want you to have a union, but he did want you to have books. Morgan twisted arms and stopped a financial panic in its tracks. Rockefeller didn’t fund libertarian think tanks, he left a foundation and gave to universities and civic works. Even Mellon who said “liquidate them all” worked with FDR to set up the National Portrait Gallery beginning with his collection. And TR, kept the conservation in conservatism. They were a different breed.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              They had a sense of obligation and largesse that came from the Enlightenment. They saw society as consisting of two types of people: those who were natural rulers and those who followed. They felt like they not only earned their positions but were destined to have them. As such, they had an obligation to society at large, but never so much as to actually threaten their positions or wealth.

              The super-wealthy of today don’t see the obligation part. They see the entitlement part, but not the obligation.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  From what I remember of the cursory visit that most of my history courses paid to that Gilded Age, most of the philanthropy done was in service of the greater glory of the philanthropist and didn’t begin until they were quite a bit older and more worried about their legacy. Kinda like the Gates and Soros are now. Bezos is coming into it. Strangely, MacKenzie Scott, Bezos ex-wife didn’t need to be so worried about her legacy or making it. As soon as she got some independence, she began giving away scads of money. The funny thing is that it seems mad to give away $8 billion dollars until you realize how insane it is to have $50 billion more than that.The problem of imagining large numbers. Just another cognitive shortcoming of human beings that is likely to cause us much more grief.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • There among the rich of the Gilded Age, there was, I’m sure, a tendency in the never ending debate in their churches about the efficacy of Faith versus Works, a natural tendency to hedge their bets regarding the Pearly Gates.

                    Oh, yes, large numbers. For many, a large number is more than either ten or twenty, depending on whether they are wearing shoes.

                    Liked by 1 person

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