Americans are notoriously awful with math. I doubt we’re unique in that Americans tend to have a national character flaw; the EU was started because, prior to 1945, it was hard to go more than a few decades without a major war (See also: Anglo-Franco relations, Franco-Prussian relations, Franco-Russian relations, Franco-Spanish relations, Scottish history). What makes America unique is that we’ve weirdly embraced and celebrated this collective failing, which is beyond strange.
We have now, unfortunately seen the inevitable-but-entirely-foreseeable consequences of cultivating a society that spits upon math and science. We have a significant percentage of the population that believes that cloth masks somehow keep out oxygen (I can only assume these people have never walked in the rain in a shirt, or put a blanket over their head when it was cold, because that’s a statement that can be empirically disproven in ten minutes). And now, according to some studies, a third of Republicans don’t plan on getting the COVID vaccine. And here we get into a surprisingly simple math problem, which absolutely infuriates Americans — if God intended for man to mix words with numbers to convey meaning, we wouldn’t have emojis!
So, my very basic, Trolley Problem/Prisoner’s Dilemma question is; how many Republicans will die if that happens? I will warn everyone in advance that my sources on this are Pew Polling, Wikipedia, and “they” (hey, they used to work for The Donald’s speech-writing team, they’re freelancing now). I will be using the overall US death rate of 1.8%, and Germany’s initial plan that 80% of their overall population would either get COVID or become carriers (I have yet to see us beating the Germans when it comes to public health and hygiene, call me a naive fool). Yes, I’m going to coldly walk everyone through a grim math problem to figure out how many people could die in a specific party, but that’s only because they had a year to do the right thing, and it wasn’t until they were nationally shamed on live television for a blatant attack on not only the American government and democracy, but the very concept of self-determination. Yes, I’m going to make fun of GOP voters dying, but I never openly advocated for tearing cops apart, so I still retain the moral high ground. And, it’s worth remembering, The Donald is under investigation for stealing from children’s cancer charities and charities for homeless dogs, which is cartoonishly evil. I can crunch the numbers on this all day long, and, as long as I’m not loudly singing about it, I will still, somehow, be less of a Disney villain than an actual former president (my apologies to the animators, producers, and writers of Disney Global Consolidated Holdings, Inc. for that tasteless comparison between beloved children’s characters and a man indirectly responsible for half a million American deaths). Obviously, I’m not going to reach Nate Silver levels of accuracy, but neither is Nate Silver these days.
Pew claims that 44% of registered voters vote Republican. So, a third of 44% won’t get vaccinated, and 80% of them will get COVID. That works out to 11.733% of Republicans will get COVID if the current temper tantrum continues. That works out to 0.2112% of Republicans will die. Which seems like a tiny, inconsequential number, so let’s throw some people under the Trump Trolley. Pew claims 158.4 million people voted in 2020. Undoubtedly, a large chunk of them showed up to vote for The Donald (or against him, depending on your framing), but Mitch McConnell is using those numbers in his risk-reward analysis. Using the numbers I just cited, that works out to 33454 dead Republican voters, or roughly ten 9/11s. Basic decency and morality would demand us to be concerned and go out for the vaccine based simply on the horror of condemning the population of a large university to death, but that’s not what senior GOP leadership uses to make decisions, so, just putting it out there, The Donald lost Georgia by 12670 votes, and Arizona by 10457 votes, and Wisconsin by 20682. The question McConnell and the third of Republicans planning on not inoculating themselves isn’t, “Why bother if there’s a small chance I can still get sick and I should wear a mask in public, anyway?” It’s, “Do you really feel comfortable, given how narrow those margins are, sacrificing more voters on the altar of the Trump Family’s vanity?”