Losing the Mask War

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May 28, 2020 4:37 p.m.

It seems notable that President Trump seems to be failing in defining masks as a cardinal element of political identity. It’s a work in progress of course. We continue to hear reports of non-masking Trumpers shaming or calling out people wearing masks. But there seems to be the makings on some public consensus behind masking, at least at the level of political leaders, even normally reliable Trumpite types.

Needless to say, it’s not saying much. It’s a low standard. But we are where we are. Mitch McConnell, Sean Hannity, Dewine, Scott, Hutchison have each advocated mask wearing in recent days, some more proactively than others.

What seems clear to me is that especially for Governors they see it as a critical part of their ability to restart their economies. Here the economic rubber really meets the ideological road. It’s very practical. And critically, rather than seeing masks as the team symbol of permanent shutdown softies, they are viewing it as a path to ending or significantly loosening their shutdowns.

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