I’m not going to blame Associated Press for the clear typo in a recent story about Republican aversion to science. AP does incredible work.
As the story reported, “Republicans’ faith in science is falling as Democrats rely on it even more.”
Nothing incorrect with that wording. Sadly, in this pandemic it appears demonstrable. What came next, however, had to have been an error — about a “trust gap” pertaining to expertise.
Gotta be a typo. Republicans don’t have a trust gap. What they have is a truth gap.
Trust? Republicans have it aplenty — even on the most complex scientific matters. They just award it to barbershop oracles like Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, Kid Rock.
This has resulted in two nations: one that relies on those who actually understand science and one that, in the words of University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd, relies on “fear, lack of critical thinking, confirmation bias and political tribalism”— in so many words.
Hence, according to the 2021 General Social Survey, while 64 percent of Democrats express a “great deal” of confidence in medical science, only 34 percent of Republicans share that confidence.
This discrepancy translates directly to the abominable disparity in vaccination – and death – among Republicans and Democrats during this pandemic.
Those who would change the subject by pointing to vaccine hesitancy among Blacks should know that after balking early, Black Americans embraced the vaccine to the point where by October, Kaiser Family Foundation reported roughly equal rates of vaccination for Blacks, Hispanics and white Americans.
But of course, the truth gap – the rate by which Republicans flee from truth about vaccines’ and masks’ safety and effectiveness – far exceeds their aversion to scientific consensus.
We’ve seen it in embracing a huckster for president who called climate change a “Chinese hoax.” We’ve seen it in efforts to undercut the teaching of evolution.
(By the way, neither the greenhouse effect nor evolution is a theory, as in an untested hunch. It’s simple science.)
And since truth is the enemy for the majority of today’s Republicans, no more frightening foe exists than that schoolchildren learn how human exploitation and institutional racism underlie the American experience.
Since truth is the enemy, the secret of success in the Republican Party today is to genuflect at Donald Trump’s knee and take as sacrament his cavalcade of lies, particularly the Big One about 2020.
The race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio has demonstrated that any candidate who won’t lie the Trump way won’t win.
Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel, Republican seeking nomination to the U.S. Senate, has declared not only “the election was stolen” from Trump but that the pandemic is the result of “a bio weapon manufactured by the Chinese Communist Party,” indeed, constructed in China’s labs to punish Trump.
His rival for the GOP nomination, author J.D. Vance, was highly critical of Trump – before entering the race and getting a whiff of the winds. Now he, too, claims the election was “stolen.”
To make points with people whose eyes weren’t burned irrevocably by what their TV screens showed them Jan. 6, 2021, Vance now calls the terrorists who tried to stop the electoral count “political prisoners.”
That’s a good boy, J.D. Have a biscuit.
Truth is the enemy, people. Your eyes are what lie.
A recent poll of Republicans finds Trump comfortably atop the field of GOP pretenders for 2024, despite the Big Lie, despite his attempted coup, despite criminal and civil probes, despite a covey of crooks who owe their freedom to his pardoning pen.
No, Republicans don’t have a “trust gap.” They simply, irrevocably, refuse to acknowledge truth.
The dollar says “In God we trust.” The majority of Republicans have a whole other dogma in 2022, which is to trust in The Donald.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.