- The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Masks are a given part of the daily wardrobe for most Americans. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 900 registered U.S. voters finds that 74% always wear a mask in public; 14% sometimes wear one. Another 6% say they rarely wear a mask and 5% skip it altogether.

The poll also reveals that 6-out-of-10 voters also favor presidential or congressional candidates who focus on controlling the spread of coronavirus by requiring masks in public, or by other means. A quarter of voters prefer a candidate who pushes reopening businesses and bolstering the economy instead. An indifferent 14% said neither aspect was important to them.


President Trump recently made his first public appearance in a sleek navy blue mask, complete with gold presidential seal. Meanwhile, Fox News morning host Steven Doocy points out that some people believe wearing a mask restricts their personal rights.

“It has become a political thing. Is wearing a mask a political statement?” Mr. Doocy asked White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday.

“President Trump’s been very clear that wearing masks has nothing to do with politics. He would wear them in certain scenarios, as he did at Walter Reed when he couldn’t socially distance and was in a hospital. So it’s never been a political issue for him. It shouldn’t be a political issue,” she replied.

“What is your message to people who will not wear a mask because they feel it’s infringing on their rights, and when they don’t want the government to tell them what to do?” asked Mr. Doocy.

“I would say the CDC’s been clear that it’s recommended but not required. There’s not a federal mandate. But if you can’t socially distance, follow the president’s lead. Put on a mask. I think that’s the best way forward. And the president has been saying that for weeks,” Ms. McEnany observed.

MASK MATH

There is not much sales data reflecting how much we spend on masks. Yet. It’s coming, because the amount is huge. Here’s one example: E-commerce giant Etsy reports that their sales of masks are up 79%. The company sold 12 million in April alone, raking in $133 million. Etsy’s stock price also has tripled since then.

Meanwhile, a new Goldman Sachs analysis estimates that use of masks would increase by 15% if there were a federal mandate requiring masks in public — which the research says would lower the rate of coronavirus cases by 1 percentage point. The result: People would get out and about, spend more money and add $1 trillion of “economic activity” to the GDP — rather than the 5% drop which would occur if the U.S. renewed a national lockdown, the analysis said.

“It is important to recognize that this estimate is quite uncertain because it is based on a number of statistical relationships that are all measured with error. Despite the numerical uncertainty, however, our analysis suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable,” the analysis explained.

CANCELING CANCEL CULTURE

One observer has advice for those weary of “cancel culture” which almost instantly undermines those who don’t follow a certain script crafted by those looking to change America.

“To defeat cancel culture, vote Republican,” writes Spencer Klavan, assistant editor of the Claremont Review of Books, in an essay for Newsweek.

‘You may fiercely oppose some GOP policies — you may want to defend abortion rights or universalize health care — but we will be unable to have those debates at all if we lose our freedom of speech. Republicans will protect that freedom. Democrats will not,” he says. “There is one party — the Republicans — which opposes cancellation and another — the Democrats — which promises to become the hollowed-out mouthpiece of all the worst that cancel culture has to offer.”

PORTLAND: A TEST CASE

As of Wednesday, the city of Portland, Oregon, has endured 53 days of nonstop rioting and protests. The Portland Business Alliance now says local merchants have lost $23.2 million in revenue due to social unrest, property damage and stolen merchandise.

Meanwhile, the Portland Police racked up $6.2 million in overtime costs — plus a yet-unavailable price tag on damaged police property and vehicles. In addition, Portland accounted for half of all Oregon’s jobless claims, despite being just 15% of the state’s population.

“Things will only get worse as businesses flee. This is how cities die. By electing ideologues who don’t care about enforcing the law, who show contempt for average taxpayers, and who impose leftist policies on the local community that damage the economy. Businesses and residents have been leaving Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now they’re walking away from Seattle,” says an editorial from Issues & Insights.

“Portland may be next. It’s already losing population. As a recent Wall Street Journal piece notes: ‘In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent.’ Of course, it’s never too late to change course. But that’s never been the far left’s strong suit, has it?” asks the editorial.

FOXIFIED

Fox News remains the most-watched network in the entire cable realm for the 28th week in a row according to Nielsen. Last week, Fox News drew a prime-time audience of 3 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (2 million), CNN (1.6 million), HGTV (1.3 millions and TLC (1.2 million).

Prime-time host Sean Hannity remains top dog with a nightly audience of 3.8 million, followed by Tucker Carlson with 3.7 million. Both shows outranked such broadcast programs as NBC’s “Today” and “Meet the Press” plus ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

POLL DU JOUR

52% of U.S. adults “strongly support” public policy which makes face masks mandatory in public places; 36% of Republicans, 44% of independents and 75% of Democrats agree.

19% overall “somewhat support” such a policy; 24% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 15% of Democrats agree.

8% overall “somewhat oppose” such a policy; 9% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.

14% overall “strongly oppose” such a policy; 28% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.

7% overall are not sure; 3% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

Source: AN ECONOMIST/YOUGOV poll of 1,500 U.S. ADULTS conducted July 12-14.

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