At first it seemed the global pandemic could be a unifying moment; a universal experience to bring us all together. But with each passing week, the virus is less of a common enemy and more of a magnifying glass for existing inequalities and partisan divides.
America is now fully embroiled in coronavirus controversies and no one does culture wars better than Texas.
Pandemic response measures have become politicized. Face mask requirements and distancing guidelines are considered an affront to individual liberties; an outright ban on xenophobic rhetoric can be seen as infringing on First Amendment rights; and extending protective shut-down orders to places of worship contradictory to principles of religious freedom.
Why has a public health crisis become so political? Why is science suspect? Do partisan leanings influence beliefs about coronavirus? What are the most notorious flash points of this pandemic polarization?
How could pandemic-related controversies affect overall health outcomes? What are the potential political implications of these contentious issues in Texas and beyond?
- Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report political newsletter and host of the “Texas Take” podcast
- Robert Kahn, professor at the University of St. Thomas' School of Law
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, May 13.