The Wrong Governors
by Jim Geraghty, National Review, July 13, 2020 (excerpt)
Pretend for a moment that you are a journalist with a strong leaning in favor of progressivism and the Democratic Party, and you wish to make the argument that Democratic governors are doing a great job of mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
If you use the measuring stick of fewest cases per million residents, Hawaii ranks first, as of this writing. Then Montana and Alaska, and Vermont ranks fourth. (While most people would consider Montana a red state, governor Steve Bullock is a Democrat; while most think of Vermont a blue state, governor Phil Scott is a Republican.) Maine ranks sixth, Oregon ranks seventh, and Kentucky ranks ninth. The states with the most cases per million residents are New York and New Jersey, and then, after a steep drop of about 5,000 cases, Arizona, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts round out the top six.
If you use the measuring stick of fewest deaths per million residents, Hawaii ranks first again. Then it’s three red states and a reddish state with a Democratic governor — Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, and West Virginia. Oregon ranks fifth, Maine ranks ninth, and Kansas ranks tenth.
The state with the most deaths per million people is New Jersey, with 1,757, and New York ranks second with 1,666. Then it drops by about 400 cases to Connecticut, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Louisiana is seventh, Michigan ranks eighth.
You’ve probably noticed that most of the states with the worst numbers for cases and deaths are densely populated, and the ones with the best numbers are generally less densely populated. The states that haven’t been hit as badly might have better state governments or governors, but elected leaders can do only so much. Controlling the outbreak of a contagious virus is just tougher when people live closer together, and mass-transit systems almost certainly complicate the matter, too.
Strictly by the numbers, if a political journalist wanted to praise Democratic governors as doing a terrific job, that writer would start with Hawaii’s David Ige. Hawaii’s low numbers came at enormous cost, however. Ige implemented a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and residents returning to Hawaii, back on March 21, more or less killing the state’s tourism industry. (Few travelers can afford to fly to Hawaii and then spend two weeks in a hotel room before enjoying themselves.) A year ago, the Hawaiian unemployment rate was 2.8 percent; now it is above 22 percent, which is down from 23.8 percent in May.
After Ige, the Democratic governors whose states have been most successful at containing the virus, according the available raw data, have been Bullock, Oregon’s Kate Brown, Maine’s Janet Mills, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, and Kansas’s Laura Kelly. My guess is that unless you live in or near one of those states, you’ve heard little about these governors, compared with what you’ve heard about New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, California’s Gavin Newsom, and New Jersey’s Phil Murphy.
No governor has been more ostentatiously praised than Cuomo, who a little while back was joking around with Jimmy Fallon about his fanbase of fervent “Cuomosexuals.”….
read … The Wrong Governors
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