Will Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric about vaccination affect her constituents?
Marjorie Taylor Greene has been a recurring presence in the news since she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s 14th District in November 2020. Her speech is quite often provocative, targeting Democrats, gun-control advocates, and liberals. Those attacks are quite in line with the preferences of her constituents. However, within a month of being sworn into Congress in January 2021, she was stripped of her committee assignments because of her history of racism and anti-Semitism, and her support for QAnon and comments encouraging violence against Democrats. Those views are probably not shared by most of her constituents.
Since then, she has been especially vocal about the Biden administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. She compared mask mandates to the Holocaust and was fined by the House of Representatives for refusing to wear a mask in the Capitol. She criticized masking children just days after a 5-year-old boy from her district died from a coronavirus-related stroke. And she was temporarily suspended from Twitter for inaccurately claiming that COVID-19 is not dangerous for people who are not obese or over the age of 65, and saying that vaccines should not be required.
So, has Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric about Covid and vaccination influenced her constituents? Consider the following table (data as of July 21, 2021).
Covid infections in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District aren’t currently too much different from State and national rates. Its proportion of cases is higher than Georgia’s rate but lower than the U.S. rate. Its death rate is the same as Georgia’s but higher than the national rate.
The big difference is in vaccination rates. Georgia is 10% behind the national rate and the 14th District is 8% behind Georgia’s rate. That’s a substantial difference but not a clear cut indictment of Taylor Greene. The vaccination program is still developing and there are many critics of it on the national scene.
The Covid vaccination program began in mid-December 2020 but it didn’t open up to all adults until April 19, 2021. It has really only been three months since then and the date of the data the table is based on. As a consequence, the statistics in the table can be considered to be a baseline for the 14th District. Marjorie Taylor Green’s constitutions haven’t yet had much time to comprehend the situation and the ramifications of their actions and inactions. However, what she says between now and next year’s elections could have a very big impact on them and on her own reelection ambition.
Certainly, a republican will never lose to a Democrat in the current makeup of Georgia’s 14th District. The District is 75% Republican and that’s pretty much the margin for how all races are decided. But, what might happen if her inflammatory rhetoric causes republican primary challengers to step up? That could be game-changing. If she does draw primary challengers, it would become apparent by June 2022, two years since her last primary. So, there is about ten months for this situation to evolve.
Data sources: https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/state/georgia; https://data.democratandchronicle.com/covid-19-vaccine-tracker/georgia/13/; https://www.ajc.com/news/current-covid-19-vaccination-rates-for-georgia-counties/HQMGCNJ4MNCCNIESMBQDMFUTLU/; https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine; https://www.ajmc.com/view/a-timeline-of-covid-19-vaccine-developments-in-2021.