I don’t know if it’s exactly eighty percent–I’m willing to be talked up or down from that particular number. But the failure of our COVID-19 response demands something like this–and, yes, Trump et alia were murderous, but many state and local officials actively made the situation worse.
A couple of weeks ago, some asshole with a blog noted:
This has been the greatest domestic policy failure in my lifetime–and, sadly, I’m not young. In light of this failure, most states’ governors and other powerful state-level politicians, regardless of party, perhaps should not be reelected, even those that are solid on other issues.
I don’t have any answers to this conundrum, but rewarding, or even excusing failure of this magnitude, doesn’t seem like a good thing to do.
I will grant that, on the whole, more Republicans have been more destructive than Democrats, but when I look at states, I find very few that haven’t fucked up their COVID-19 response. Yes, Trump et alia put the entire country behind the damn eight ball. Still, many local responses have been poor and exacerbated the problem. Others have been extremely mediocre. Very few have taken the metrics seriously, and have used them as excuses to loosen restrictions, but, mysteriously, almost never to tighten them (until it’s too late). Trying to get ahead of spikes and anticipating surges hasn’t happened in almost every state (in many states, the de facto policy has been, as long as hospitals aren’t completely overwhelmed, to just let ‘er rip).
Moreover, it seems, as this story about D.C. Council member vaccination unintentionally reveals, most local and state governments are horrifically ignorant about this issue compared to most other issues they deal with–and I would argue D.C.’s territorial government is better than many. But D.C.’s Council has done very little to challenge the city’s response (I haven’t read about any members routinely pushing for tighter restrictions), in no small part, because they don’t have a framework in which to understand the virus. They don’t even know what questions to ask*.
So I keep returning to this problem: most state and local governments failed–in too many cases, catastrophically–to meet the greatest acute domestic challenge in my lifetime** (and, sadly, I am not young). Yet our political system won’t punish them for that failure, and most of them won’t resign either (STOP LAUGHING! STOP LAUGHING NOW!). I get that this is (likely, hopefully) a one-off event, but a lack of accountability given such failure still does not seem to be a good thing.
*If there are reports of Council members, faced with rising COVID-19 prevalences in the late summer and fall, asking the city to tighten restrictions, I haven’t seen them–and I’ve been following this crap. That was the fucking job. That is grounds for not being reelected, especially in light of the city’s budget surplus.
**Though the Texas power collapse is trying its damnedest to catch up.