Uneven coronavirus spread leads to an uneven partisan response

Democrats and Republicans seem to be experiencing the coronavirus differently and that may be playing a role in how they see the pandemic.

“About 77 percent of those confirmed cases were in the 490 counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. And the overwhelming majority of those Clinton counties, 81 percent, had at least one case. Meanwhile, there were more than 2,600 counties that voted for President Trump in 2016, but they hold only 19 percent of the cases. On the whole, only 50 percent of those Trump counties have a single case.”

“Those are wide discrepancies and they go to the first-hand experience those populations have with the virus. People in those Trump counties are less likely to know someone from the community who is suffering from the virus compared to those in Clinton counties. The stories playing out in places such as New York or New Orleans are likely to feel further away to many people who live in Trump counties. And those different realities on the ground may be playing a role with how Democrats and Republicans see the virus’s impact.”

“Up to now, the cultural self-segregation that has become a big part of American life has provided a buffer from the pandemic for some rural, more conservative political partisans. But as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, and the disease spreads, that buffer seems likely to wear down, poking a hole in one part of the blue-red divide that defines politics in 2020.”

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