Politico: Democrats making an about face on mask mandates just in time for the midterms

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

This morning Ed wrote about a Washington Post story highlighting the new trend of Democrats pushing to end mask mandates. A bit later in the day, Politico has also published a piece noting that the sudden pivot on masks appears to be about changing the narrative prior to the 2022 election.

“By the time we’re at the midterms, we’ll hopefully not be wearing these,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), gesturing to his own mask as he walked through the Capitol. “People are, of course, frustrated. We all want to get back to life.”

Many in the party are now coming around to what swing-district lawmakers have privately warned for weeks: that the Biden administration needs to drastically rethink its handling of Covid, particularly in the suburbs. Those vulnerable Democrats worry that ugly clashes over masks, school closings and vaccine mandates will crush them in purple districts this fall. But the current shift may be too little, too late to avoid blowback from voters wearied by pandemic whiplash…

Democrats’ public turnaround on mask mandates is a remarkable twist for the party that’s championed a painstakingly careful — though critics have called it too cautious — approach.

It really is a remarkable twist and the really important point is the reason for it. Not science but pure politics.

“It’s not based on science; it’s based on politics. I think people are fed up, and the Dems are seeing the polling,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.)…

“We’re never going to get risk down to zero. But there’s also risk by not letting our kids have normal lives,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who faces a tough reelection battle this fall.

Democrats have politically exploited the pandemic from day one. It still amazes me that all of the progressives who were eager to point out how President Trump was personally responsible for every single death have gone silent about Joe Biden’s responsibility for same. Joe Biden himself was on that particular bandwagon when it was working for his party.

Agreed! When do you resign? No, of course things are different now. Things are always different when Democrats are in power. Now statements like that are ludicrous. After all, it was the delta variant or vaccine resistance, etc. that are really at fault. Blaming the president for things beyond his control is just silly. Of course that’s the point. It was always more complicated than pointing to the top guy and shouting that he’s a complete failure responsible for every death. But you really didn’t hear that from many Democrats in 2020.

So here we go again. The politics of the situation have changed and suddenly Democrats are willing to take a little more risk and to be a little less dogmatic about mask mandates. It’s worth highlighting these stories now because if things do get back to normal in a few more weeks, Democrats will lie and pretend they followed the science all along. They haven’t and they aren’t now. They’re just getting nervous about the impact their increasingly absurd approach might have on them at the polls.