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Is Stupidity as Contagious as COVID?

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Touré are coming to you as protestors amass at the Michigan state capitol to defy Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Similar rallies popped up in Kentucky and North Carolina as Trump supporters rail against the COVID-19 lockdown.


That’s where we are right now. Let’s break it down.


  • Conspiracy theorists have a new endeavor: COVID-19 truther-ism.


  • We all know Trump doesn’t read, but it turns out he’s emotionally illiterate too.


  • Obama endorses Biden in a video message that feels like a throwback to normalcy.


  • Do we Democrats owe Joe Biden our votes, or does he need to earn them?


This week, it seems that right-wing coronavirus skepticism has become COVID-19 truther-ism: doubt over how many people have actually died, how scared we should be of this thing, whether or not it's actually real.


“They’re politicizing a medical situation,” says Touré. “The right is saying enough of this. We've got to get back to work.


Touré wants to get back to life as normal as much as anybody.


“But I need the doctors to say that this is okay,” he says.


“I guess stupidity is contagious,” says Danielle. “Maybe it's just as contagious as the coronavirus.”



Episode Highlights –– Repubs: Go Lick a Pole


The COVID-19 coverage critique

Blaming the media is usually Trump territory, but Danielle has a few critiques of her own.


Journalists haven’t really “brought us inside [hospitals and other healthcare facilities] to see the devastation that the coronavirus actually causes,” she says. People who refuse to follow social distancing guidelines aren’t personally touched by the crisis –– yet.


“So they can move forward with their conspiracy theories,” Danielle adds. “A part of me is like … if they want to crowd into their fucking white evangelical right-wing churches and go to their tiki-torch white supremacy rallies … go for it … I just don't want them spreading it to me.”



Over-education and doubt

“For a long time I’ve felt like the GOP and Fox are a cancer in the modern American collective mind,” says Touré. “The impact is clear: decades of the GOP doubting experts, doubting media, doubting reality, no matter how many facts and experts you provide.


“And this precludes Trump. This goes back to Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush. A lot of people in Middle America believe we should not trust people from the coasts who have been so over-educated that they no longer know anything.”


“Is there such a thing as being over-educated? Is that a real thing?” asks Danielle.


Apparently, it is. Touré points out that political analyst Thomas Frank wrote about the phenomenon in his book “Listen, Liberal.”


“There's a class of people who never say doctor without saying quack … or lawyer without saying hack. It’s part of what the conservative movement has become all about. And in a moment like this, their guiding principles are: Media is always fake. Democrats are always wrong. That leads to corona is a hoax, and we should not be stuck at home,” Touré says.


He adds: “And then you are basically advocating to go out and kill each other.”



The dangerous anti-science, #FireFauci agenda

Danielle is done with trying to convince Republicans of facts and science and truth, she says.


“The 38 to 40 percent who are with Donald Trump … they’re gone. I hope they go off a fucking cliff with him, frankly. But in this particular moment, their ignorance really is deadly.”

“It's not abstract. It is acute and specific,” Touré adds. “W