Trump rally crowd boos Ohio lieutenant governor for promoting masks

You can interpret this reaction as libertarian or as nihilistic as you see fit. The libertarian read on it is that these people aren’t booing masks per se, they’re booing the mask mandate that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued back in late July. DeWine had held off on a mandate for months, reasoning that political opposition to it would quickly become a distraction from the fight to contain the virus. But Ohio’s positivity rate had crept up to around six percent at the time; two months after the mandate went into effect, it’s down to three percent. All told, Ohio today has one of the lowest numbers of cases per capita of the 50 states, far below the national average. It’s also far below the average in deaths per capita even though neighboring Michigan and Pennsylvania are above that average.

A performance like that by government officials would, one might think, warrant some applause or at least polite silence from libertarian-minded critics of mandates. Which makes me think maybe this isn’t a libertarian crowd. (How many libertarians would you expect to find normally at a Trump rally?) Maybe this is just pure partisan nihilism. It’s the leftist enemy that’s four-square behind masks, it’s the leftist enemy that believes COVID is a lethal threat rather than a “hoax,” therefore DeWine and Husted deserve to be booed for having sided with the enemy. Simple as that.

They let Husted have it. It’s especially clear in the second clip.

Trump saluted DeWine from the podium and the mention of his name drew another earful:

This panning shot of the crowd suggests that many people there were in violation of the mask mandate, which requires face coverings at any indoor location (besides your own residence) as well as outdoors if you’re “unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members.” The response to that will be the same response that’s always given: Those rules didn’t stop BLM protesters from gathering outdoors this summer. Right, but many of those protesters did mask up. And the idea that we should behave only as responsibly as the least responsible members of the other side, even when lives might be saved by doing otherwise, is, well, nihilistic.

Here’s Biden with an attack on Trump today that I don’t think I’ve heard from him before. He zeroes in specifically on the risk of infection at Trump’s rallies — but focuses on the president’s behavior more so than the crowd’s. I know where he got the idea for it: Trump was asked last week by a newspaper after his indoor rally in Nevada whether he worries about COVID at his events and answered, “I’m on a stage and it’s very far away. And so I’m not at all concerned.” I’m not sure what specifically Biden is aiming for in highlighting that — an “empathy gap” between him and Trump, or a way to maybe pry some of Trump’s warier blue-collar white voters away from him by convincing them that he doesn’t care about the little guy after all. But it’s a visceral pitch, something I think we might hear at the debate next week.

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