Republicans deny science, embrace measles epidemic because 'freedom'

All around the country, Democratic lawmakers are trying to stem the resurgence of measles by tightening immunization laws, efforts that are being rejected by Republicans, Politico reports.

In Washington state, where the current epidemic kicked off and which has one of most severe outbreaks, not a single Republican in the state Senate health committee voted yes on a bill to rein in vaccine exemptions. The bill passed through the committee with just Democratic votes. That scenario was repeated in Colorado and Maine. In those three states, along with three others—Arizona, New Jersey, and New York—efforts to pass legislation making it harder for parents to avoid vaccinating their kids have faced Republican opposition. Republicans are so much on the side of owning the libs by allowing preventable diseases to kill again that they’re trying to weaken strict vaccination laws in West Virginia and Mississippi.

The “reasoning” is depressingly familiar. Here’s Andrew Raia, ranking Republican on the New York Assembly’s health committee: “I’m not a religious leader, and I’m not a scientist either, so it’s my job to weigh both sides.” Not a scientist, so how is he supposed to know whether a century of progress in eradicating dread childhood diseases is a real thing? Next stop, polio.

“There’s a credulity gap between the parties in regard to science that wasn’t there 25 years ago,” says MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky, who believes that we’re just “three Trump tweets away” from an all-out federal battle over vaccination. Because “at the end of the day it’s not the arguments people are making, but who is making them,” Berinsky said.

Continue reading...