More Republicans than Democrats appear to be “vaccine hesitant” — that is, reluctant for one reason or another — to take the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve gotten the treatment you might expect in some quarters of the press. “Right-wing anti-vaccine hysteria is increasing. We’ll all pay the price,” read one headline in The Washington Post. In The New York Times, there was, “Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine.” The Daily Beast chimed in with “The GOP’s Paranoid Streak From John Birchers to Anti-Vaxxers.” You get the idea.
But it’s not hard to imagine a different picture. If President Donald Trump had won reelection, the vaccine skepticism might have leaned more to the other side. We can’t say that for sure, of course, but we do know that during the 2020 campaign, top Democratic leaders, like presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, laid the groundwork for vaccine skepticism.
For example, during a CNN interview on Sept. 5, with the vaccine still in development under Trump’s historic Operation Warp Speed, Harris was asked if she would get the vaccine when it was ready. It depends, Harris answered. “I will say that I would not trust