Wasn't it just in the recent replacement election in southern California where older Republicans turned out and helped flip the seat back, precisely because so many of them took advantage of mail-in ballots?
I don't think voting by mail will necessarily help the Dems unless they can also do a heck of a lot of organizing and turnout work (now all by phone or online) to motivate their younger voters to actually request, complete, and return a ballot. Whereas older conservatives, like older black church ladies, just do it; they're already motivated because voting is just a civic duty they were raised to value and perform. And there's a lot to be said for that attitude.
Here's one more longish excerpt (but I've highlighted). A lot of it now seems predictable or even self-evident in today's media environment. But on the other hand, who would have ever thought that traditional conservatives of 10 or 20 years ago would ever become anti-science and anti-health? Would either president Bush have egged men on to ignore the advice of doctors and scientists?
When the Mask You’re Wearing ‘Tastes Like Socialism’
The partisan divide over how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic has deepened over the past few weeks. ...
By Thomas B. Edsall
To no one’s surprise, lockdown politics have joined the legion of issues that pit Democrats against Republicans.
Take Daniel Horowitz, senior editor of Conservative Voice.
Objecting to the lack of attention that has been paid to what he considers the relatively light impact of the coronavirus on nonurban — largely white — areas of the country, Horowitz writes: “We now know that geography played a large role. 54 percent of all U.S. deaths were in the 100 counties in or within 100 miles of NYC.”
Covid-19 deaths — more than 90,000 so far — are “concentrated among the elderly,” Horowitz continues, and the “virus lopsidedly targets people with particular underlying conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.”
The death rate, Horowitz claims, “doesn’t even climb above .1% until you reach over 70, with a steep and dangerous growth of risk over 75 and 80.”
To deal with a threat Horowitz sees as focused on “specific” groups, he writes, “We destroyed our entire country and sacked the Constitution all for a very narrow and specific problem that required a precise and balanced approach.” ...
W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, ...
... noted, “some (especially male) conservatives see the lockdowns and mask wearing as expressions of cowardice that they reject as unmanly.”
This last point touches on “the white male effect,” a theme that regularly emerges in studies of risk taking and risk aversion.
In their 2012 paper “Bringing ideology in: the conservative white male effect on worry about environmental problems in the USA,” Aaron M. McCright and Riley E. Dunlap found that conservative white men “express significantly less personal worry about the quality of the environment and about eight environmental problems than do other adults in the general public ...”
In a separate 2011 paper, “Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States,” McCright and Dunlap found that ... opposition was “even greater for those conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well.” ...
... 71.6 percent of white male conservatives who claim to understand global warming very well agreed that “recent temperature increases are not primarily due to human activities.” ...
All of which brings to mind President Trump’s assessment of his own ability to understand the health issues surrounding the pandemic: “I like this stuff. I really get it,” he declared during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on March 6. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said ‘How do you know so much about this?’” ...
Peter Ditto, a psychologist at the University of California-Irvine, wrote me that “... there is good evidence of sex differences in responses to the coronavirus; women are more likely to report favoring and practicing social distance measures than are men.”
This, in turn, fits with “the general sense that liberals are the more ‘feminine’ of the two parties ...”
In addition, in Ditto’s view, there is a fundamental tension arising “from how the two sides view the value and integrity of scientists.” Conservatives ... are “... more likely to question conclusions of scientists because they are more likely to question their motives — seeing them as typical liberal pansies who just can’t accept the reality that people die.” ...
A 2018 paper, “Can Threat Increase Support for Liberalism? ” by Fade Eadeh, of Carnegie Mellon, and Katharine K. Chang, of the National Institute of Mental Health, reported that some threats push voters to the right, while others push the electorate to the left. Threats to health are among those that push the electorate to the left. ...
... the moral foundations theory developed by Jonathan Haidt of N.Y.U. and Jesse Graham of the University of Utah ... posits that conservatives are more preoccupied with notions of purity and disgust than liberals. ...
In an email, Ditto ... summarized the work of Haidt et al: “From the perspective of moral foundations theory, conservatives’ greater concern for purity and fear of contamination would suggest that they would respond more vigorously to a virus than would liberals. This was indeed the case with the Ebola crisis during the Obama Administration when conservative voices often expressed extreme concern about and even fear of Ebola spreading in the United States, while roundly criticizing President Obama’s more measured reaction.” ...
The Graham-Haidt study suggests that conservatives would show a higher level of fear of the pandemic and a readiness to comply with restrictions on interpersonal contact.
A group of four California-based scholars is exploring why this is not the case.
In an intriguing ongoing study, Colin Holbrook, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California-Merced, and Daniel M. T. Fessler, Theodore Samore and Adam Sparks, all of the anthropology department at U.C.L.A., find a sharp split in the behavior of conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans.
Holbrook wrote by email that he and his colleagues ...
... found that “... conservatism, measured in a number of distinct ways, positively and highly significantly predicts precautionary behaviors among the Democrats in our sample, but not among the Republicans.”
Holbrook wrote that this apparent contradiction grows out of the responsiveness of the conservative Republicans “... to authority messaging, from the president as well as other conservative political and media figures. There are theoretical reasons to expect that, had conservative authority figures encouraged them to do so, conservative Republicans would [have been] as likely — perhaps even more likely — as conservative Democrats to engage in precautionary behaviors.”
Thomas B. Edsall has been teaching political journalism at Columbia University since 2006. His column on strategic and demographic trends in American politics appears every Thursday. ... He covered politics for The Washington Post from 1981 to 2006, and before that for The Baltimore Sun and The Providence Journal. He has written five books: “The Age of Austerity”, “Building Red America,” “Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics,” “Power and Money: Writing About Politics” and “The New Politics of Inequality.”
I'm not sure about all those studies, especially the Haidt-Graham one about purity that doesn't seem to distinguish between sexual purity and public hygiene. I would think that female conservatives might be more prone to disgust and concerned about purity, but males? I have the feeling that a lot of macho white guys who like to hunt and fish and drink are probably not too concerned about a little dirt -- it's the idea of gay male sex that disgusts them (HIV/AIDS), or the idea of a much more lethal virus that came from monkeys and black Africans (Ebola), all of which seems more distastefully foreign and scarier than unwashed hands or coughs or sneezes. (I even wondered if Graham, from Utah, had picked up mostly Mormons in his samples, who might be more concerned with both sexual purity and cleanliness, and more inclined to conflate the two, than other conservatives. I wondered if he had ever read William Countryman ...)
And maybe it's good for the species, in some callous way, that many men are less risk-averse, if humans still need groups of men to be both risk-taking and essentially expendable, as in war. I suppose a strict Darwinian might say young men don't need to live much longer than it takes to procreate. I just think, or hope, that most of us value their lives more than that, even if they themselves don't. And I just don't think most of those conservative men would necessarily feel the same way if they could hear individual accounts from relatively young, strong, healthy men who endured pain and fear, came near death, spent weeks in the hospital, and still lacked energy and lung function weeks later. But the older male leaders they respect no longer seem to be getting that warning message out, at least at the national level.
Another political analysis today where a Bush conservative and an Obama liberal were essentially in complete agreement about the failure of this administration to deal with the Covid crisis was on the PBS NewsHour. I think this might even be the whole clip, but if not, you could look for articles by the two writers individually.
How disdain for government undermined U.S. pandemic response
0:09:01 | Clip (May 20, 2020)
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, questions have been raised about why the U.S. federal government was not better prepared for such a crisis. Scrutiny of President Trump has been intense, but questions extend beyond him to the efficacy of government and civil service more broadly. William Brangham talks to the American Enterprise Institute’s Yuval Levin and The Atlantic’s George Packer.