One of the most significant and controversial discussions in American politics is why there is such a contrast in living conditions in states with more conservative governments, as opposed to those with more liberal governors and legislatures.
Census figures provide a significant analysis. A glimpse at U.S. Census Bureau figures provides a clear picture. The top five states losing population are New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan. Combined, these liberal-run jurisdictions lost a total of four million people in the period of 2010—2019.
The reasons are not particularly mysterious. High taxes, rampant crime, reduced personal freedom, and government activities based not on providing the best service but on pursuing an ideological agenda plague leftist states, a reality that has become even more pronounced as elected officials in those jurisdictions tilt even further to the left.
There is an additional factor, one that is not discussed as often as the others but of crucial importance, one that became far more evident in the face of the COVID crisis: manifest, utter ineptitude.
Recently, as the New Year has begun, it was revealed that despite the availability of COVID vaccines, some state and local governments, notably in New York, had failed to administer them efficiently. An analysis by Bloomberg News found that by the start of 2021 New York State had only given 32% of the available vaccine shots. New York City was even worse, providing only 25.4%.
This is not the first, or perhaps even the worse, example of the Empire State’s disastrous response to the pandemic. Early on, local politicians responded to President Trump’s call to halt travel from China as “racist and xenophobic.”
Last February, then-NYC health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, along with city elected officials, urged people to attend the densely-packed Chinese New Year’s celebrations. The next month, Mayor de Blasio stated, “If you’re under 50 and you’re healthy, which is most New Yorkers, there’s very little threat here. This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu.”
On March 2, Governor Cuomo stated: “[…] When you’re saying, what happened in other countries versus what happened here, we don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries.”
When the extent of the crisis became undeniable, New York’s officials both panicked. Governor Cuomo said the state didn’t have sufficient ventilators, and blamed Washington. As it turned out, the nation produced more than enough ventilators for Americans, so many, in fact, that it became a chief supplier of the machines for the entire world.
New York State’s politicians then complained of a shortage of beds. Washington provided both a U.S. Navy medical ship, the U.S.S. Comfort for non-COVID patents, and assisted in the transformation of the Javits Convention Center; both of which were barely used at all. In one of the worst mistakes by a politician in American history, Governor Cuomo sent COVID patients to nursing homes. His stunning error caused a minimum of 6,500 unnecessary deaths.
But for Cuomo, COVID was a victory, because the primary objective was not saving lives or stopping the pandemic, it was grabbing headlines that, during a presidential election, temporarily fooled citizens into believing that it was the incumbent conservative president, and not the classic incompetence of his own leftist administration, that was to blame.
As the vaccines, developed under the Trump Administration in record time, begin to defeat COVID, another plague is growing ever larger. Rampant crime, the direct result of no bail, sanctuary city, anti-police and other leftist ideological mantras is making the cities they administer resemble scenes from the “Mad Max” movies. Unfortunately, left-wing strangleholds on their states means that this disaster will grow worse.
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.