While not all excess deaths are due to COVID directly–some might be due to delayed services, such as medical care or drug addiction, it’s a pretty good proxy for COVID deaths (paper can be found here; boldface mine):
Political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat- leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views. This study constructs an individual-level dataset with political affiliation and excess death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic via a linkage of 2017 voter registration in Ohio and Florida to mortality data from 2018 to 2021. We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post- vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.
The authors did take into account location, so I think that would control for medical examiners who refuse to put COVID on death certificates (and are more likely to be found in Republican areas).
I would say, “FAFO”, but that only works if you live to figure it out.
Anyway, Trump et alia kill people. If Biden hadn’t been so mediocre on COVID, Democrats might have been able to run on this.