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81% of Americans do not share the views of anti-quarantine protesters.

81% of Americans do not share the views of anti-quarantine protesters.
Last week, 81 percent of Americans told pollsters for a Politico/Morning Consult poll that the country “should continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.”
Let me repeat that: 81 percent of Americans agree. That’s an astounding figure.
An NBC poll found a lower rate at 60 percent, but still a solid majority. Large majorities of Democrats and independents are more concerned about the virus than the economy, as are about half of Republicans.
This consensus is striking given that Americans live in an era when they’re divided along party lines on everything from climate change to the NFL.
But continued vigilance is required. Trump will keep trying to divide Americans ahead of the election this fall. Fox will continue to air images that make the anti-social-distancing movement look mainstream. Well-funded conservative groups will gin up more events.
Protesters demonstrate against what they call “government overreach” in response to the coronavirus, in front of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s mansion in Indianapolis, on April 18.
 Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
This is the same playbook that worked in 2009 when the conservative machine sparked the Tea Party, which shaped American policy for a decade. Tea Party politics delayed the recovery from the Great Recession, hobbled attempts to expand health care coverage that is desperately needed right now, and left the medical-supply stockpile under-funded, putting medical providers in grave danger as they fight to save the lives of Covid-19 patients.
The stakes are too high to fall for the same pantomime. Social-distancing supporters are the dominant movement. And the country needs to remember it.

Trump and Fox are putting lives at stake

Trump’s approach to the pandemic has been to crow about his administration’s imaginary successes while blaming governors for everything that’s gone wrong.
On Friday, he escalated his message, endorsing the anti-stay-at-home protests cropping up across the country — specifically the protests in battleground states run by Democratic governors.
Moments after Fox News aired a segment on the rallies, Trump tweeted their rally cry against their governors: “LIBERATE.”
Trump has peddled dangerous misinformation about the virus since the start. He’s undermined policies encouraged by the CDC (he told Americans they should wear masks outside but quickly added that he doesn’t plan to). This endorsement is perhaps the most dangerous thing he’s said.
There’s a lot that’s not yet known about Covid-19, but we do know that gatherings spread the virus. Again and again, when groups get together, attendees get sickSome have died. And we don’t know the extent to which they’ve spread it to others, though we know it’s a terribly contagious virus.
We also know that Americans are actually doing a good job social distancing, which health experts are crediting with a more optimistic outlook on the number of Americans who will die from the virus than initially feared.
But Fox News is trying to convince Americans that there’s a groundswell of opposition to these important measures, attempting to make small rallies look big and fringe attitudes look mainstream.
On air, they’ve displayed images that make the protests seem significant. A first glance at the map below makes it look like a huge number of rallies have already happened, but they haven’t. It’s a double-whammy: The movement looks large and Fox encourages viewers to join.
The same images were used in the early days of the Tea Party, when Fox trumped up the rallies, describing them as part of a “revolution” and urging viewers to join.
Conservative groups are playing an important part, too. Three pro-gun groups are behind the largest Facebook group encouraging the protests, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.
In Michigan, a group funded by Trump ally Education Secretary Betsy DeVos helped get out the word.
And the same Tea Party groups that were successful a decade ago are eager to join in.

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