Two stunning maps show how rightwing politics & COVID-19 are intertwined

California is divided along political and COVID-19 lines.
California is divided along political and COVID-19 lines. Photo: Screenshot

A comparison of two maps of California in the wake of yesterday’s gubernatorial recall election are getting attention for showing how politics and COVID-19 are deeply intertwined.

Pediatrician Dr. Eric Ball posted two maps of his state. One shows the results of the recall election, with counties that voted to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) – that is, the more conservative side – in teal and the counties that voted to keep him in brown.

Related: Sore loser Caitlyn Jenner angrily lashes out at California voters after getting 1% in recall election

The other map shows average daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the past week.

Both maps are from the New York Times. The COVID-19 map used U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

People on Twitter generally saw the point: the counties that were having the most cases of COVID-19 were more likely to want to remove Newsom in the recall election that was largely about mask mandates, social distancing, business closures, vaccines, and other measures implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is, people who were the angriest about having to wear masks were both more likely to oppose the Democratic governor and get COVID-19.

The recall effort – which required signatures from a mere 12% of the number of people who voted in the last election to force the recall vote – was boosted by Trump supporters’ anger at Gov. Newsom for dining debatably outdoors at a restaurant this past November. Larry Elder, the top Republican challenger, opposed mask and vaccine mandates to fight COVID-19. Even Caitlyn Jenner made her opposition to COVID-19 prevention measures the center of her campaign.

Healthcare policy analyst Charles Gaba posted a chart based on the same concept that compared counties’ COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents in July, August, and September to the percent of the vote in that county that went to Donald Trump in the 2020 election. His graph used data from all states except for Nebraska.

The counties that voted for Trump had more COVID-19 deaths.

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