In the end, outrage over masks, vaccines, and lockdowns didn’t matter

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Protesters upset with state coronavirus lockdown measures rally outside the Capitol on Friday, May, 1, 2020, in Albany, N.Y. (Will Waldron/The Albany Times Union via AP) Will Waldron/AP

In the end, outrage over masks, vaccines, and lockdowns didn’t matter

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Many Republicans claimed it was tyranny what Democrats did during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing businesses, forcing people to wear masks, and vaccine mandates all drew the ire of those on the Right. They called it tyranny and oppression. They said such people would pay come election time in 2022. But, as it turned out, none of it mattered. All the supposed tyranny and oppression from less than two years ago was irrelevant Tuesday night. The politicians that many said were going to lose because of lockdowns cruised to election night victories.

Consider Michigan’s gubernatorial election. Gretchen Whitmer was a frequent target of Republican politicians, pundits, and media. There were rallies, protests, and demonstrations outside her office. Republicans claimed tyranny and promised retribution to come election time in 2022. Whitmer won by over ten percentage points on Tuesday night.

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Consider Gavin Newsom. Newsom barely survived a recall election last year. He was accused of imposing some of the country’s most aggressive left-wing authoritative policies. From mask mandates, school closings, and vaccine mandates, Newsom was seen as a tyrant in democracy’s clothing. He won his election by 15 percentage points.

Consider Pennsylvania’s election. Democrat Josh Shapiro was one of the architects of the state’s lockdowns. He sued to keep businesses shut down and defended the lockdowns in court (even though he changed his tune during his campaign), obliterated his Republican opponent, Doug Mastriano, in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election. Mastriano was vehemently opposed to the lockdowns, and Shapiro defeated him by over 14 percentage points.

The rage, anger, and fury over masks seem like a distant memory. That may be why the aforementioned politicians won reelection. Yet, in 2020 and 2021, many felt that come election time, politicians such as Whitmer, Newsom, and others who championed “tyranny” would be voted out of office. Freedom would prevail, or so they said.

But in November 2022, either the majority of voters forgot about the lockdowns and mandates, or it was only an issue to those in a right-wing political echo chamber. Given the results and opinion polls at the time that favored masking and strict government actions, it seems to be the latter. The hyperbolic claim of tyranny was always a bad strategy.

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Unfair actions, poor judgment, and illogically aggressive choices don’t equal tyranny. If they did, people would have remembered it less than two years later. In reality, what many on the Right don’t want to admit, is the majority of the population agreed with the government lockdowns. Tuesday’s votes reflected that.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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