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Tipsheet

The Party of Science?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Following Wednesday’s debate, Lincoln Project co-founder – and one-time respected Republican political strategist – Steve Schmidt took some arguably well-deserved heat on social media for mentioning in an interview with MSNBC that a fly that had landed on the VP’s head while he spoke about law enforcement was an old symbol of sin and “is always seen as a mark of the devil.”

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It’s a fair bet Schmidt was rather viciously taking a crack at Pence’s firm devotion to his Christian faith and wasn’t seriously suggesting Old Scratch had made a choice for VP in 2020, but it certainly wasn’t obvious from his deadpan delivery.

And because of that, and the fact that his comment seemed to come from a pre-Enlightenment place born of superstition rather than scientific method, it’s worth examining since Schmidt publicly declared in April his intent to throw in with the Democrats, the self-described “party of science.”

Harris, at Wednesday’s debate, accused Republicans of not believing in science, as if “science” is a single monolithic thing rather than a course of study made up of thousands of different disciplines. And it was an odd charge coming from a woman who went on to declare that she would take a coronavirus vaccine but only if Dr. Anthony Fauci and the experts told her to.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. [Anthony] Fauci if the doctors tell us that we should take it, then I’ll be first in line to take it,” Harris said.

“But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it — then I’m not taking it.”

What, one might ask, would be the difference if Fauci and Trump were pushing the same vaccine, which is at least going to be very likely? Is Harris – a member of the party of science – suggesting that Trump’s vaccine would be different and possibly personally cooked up by the president himself in the basement of the White House? That’s not clear-headed, scientific analysis.

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But then this is the same party that downplayed hydroxychloroquine as an interim treatment for COVID, despite evidence from all corners of the world that it was helping stem the tide of the pandemic and taking the edge off symptoms for many people battling the disease. A new report breaks down the hysterical -- not rational -- thinking that politicized that drug simply because Donald Trump recommended people try it.

And just to end this with a flourish, since the study of economics is a science unto itself (they even have a Nobel Prize category devoted to it), it’s worth noting that as Harris defended the Green New Deal and other progressive policy agenda items on the debate stage Wednesday, a new report was coming out of the James Madison Institute that details exactly how much those policies were going to cost individual voters and families in five battleground states.

(Via The James Madison Institute) 

Citing Vice President’s proposed policies, this is the total cost breakdown by issue:

  • Healthcare – Medicare for All: $32.6 trillion
  • Climate – Green New Deal: $2.0 trillion
  • Taxes – repeal of Tax Cuts: -$3.8 trillion
  • Education – higher ed subsidies: $1.3 trillion
  • Trade – protectionist regulations: $700 billion
  • TOTAL: $36.4 trillion

In analyzing the impact of this agenda, JMI also concluded what it would translate to in cost-per-resident in each of the five selected states, along with a family of four (in additional taxes):

  • Florida – $9,389 / $37,556 family of four
  • Michigan – $8,142 / $32,556 family of four
  • Ohio – $12,299 / $49,197 family of four
  • Pennsylvania – $10,605 / $42,419 family of four
  • Wisconsin – $9,020 / $36,078 family of four
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Schmidt can make fun of the vice president for what he believes is an old fashioned devotion to religion, and Harris can smear conservatives as science deniers akin to flat-Earthers, but their efforts will serve only to momentarily shift the spotlight from the Democrat “party of science” willfully disregarding inconvenient scientific facts if those facts contradict Democrat talking points.

Sarah Lee is a freelance writer and policy wonk living and working in Washington, DC.

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