One of the hallmarks of movement conservatism–and which is why some asshole with a blog often writes, “Nothing in movement conservatism makes sense except in the light of creationism”–is the ability, often successful, to ignore reality, even as it collides with their ideology. Often the reality is hard to observe at an individual level (how does an average person perceive global warming?) or can be managed away through incessant propaganda. Other problems aren’t ‘real’ ones–gay marriage is only a ‘problem’ if you let it be one; there are no material consequences of its legalization (except for gay people obviously, but straights are unaffected). And, of course, it’s easy to support disastrous policies if the consequences of those policies don’t affect you; the effort required to overcome any cognitive dissonance is small.
But COVID-19 is a very different beast, and it’s where the rubber meets the road (boldface mine):
The lie that people are desperate to get back to work, to shopping, etc. is only useful when the bluff cannot be called; that is, in states where business shutdowns and shelter-in-place are still in effect. But all it takes to destroy the illusion is to give these people what they want. Georgia’s “re-opening” was a gigantic wet fart for businesses. The owner of one hip Atlanta bar was told to expect business at 10% of normal levels for the first weekend; instead he got two customers. Two. For the entire weekend. It would have been better financially for him to remain closed. Two customers didn’t pay for having the lights on. Unless you sincerely believe that there was a bar around the corner that was mobbed with customers, his example may not be universal but is probably not too far from the norm.
The truth is that people are afraid, and with good cause. They are afraid of unnecessary risk. They’re willing to go to the grocery store because, well, food is a necessity. But they’re very far from being willing to roll the dice on going to the ballgame or the bar or the bowling alley or the diner. Nobody, perhaps not even most Trumpers, believe the Trump party line about how things are under control and this is no big deal. Yeah there are dead-enders who absolutely believe the virus is fake or whatever, but…at least in Georgia, the data suggest that they didn’t go charging out their front door to have a shopping spree as soon as the Governor gave the word.
Over the weekend, right wing bugshitarian Michelle Malkin proclaimed that she would refuse the ‘Gates vaccine.’ I’m guessing if we manage to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, she’ll find a way to claim that the particular vaccine isn’t a Gates vaccine. Many Trump supporters will never admit they were wrong, but their actions will tell you what they really believe.