The exalted Dr. Fauci has deemed us safe from federally mandated vaccine passports. During an interview with KTTV’s Elex Michaelson, Fauci predicted, “I don’t think you’re going to see a federal mandate about that. It might be at the local level though.” If Fauci is to be believed — a big if — then it will fall to Republicans in governor mansions and statehouses to prevent the historic political power grab that the vaccine passports represent.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has led the charge against the passports at the state level, declaring the measure “completely unacceptable” and suggesting that he might take his opposition beyond the halls of government administration even to barring private companies from requiring proof of vaccination. Mississippi governor Tate Reeves has expressed his displeasure as well. “I don’t support vaccine passports,” Reeves told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I don’t think it’s necessary. And I don’t, I don’t think it’s a good thing to do in America.”
There are 27 Republican governors at the moment. All of them should immediately follow the example of DeSantis and Reeves in asserting their opposition to the passports. Inside every governor is a president waiting to get out. Any Republican governor who does not vigorously oppose vaccine passports should be considered a non-starter in 2024.
The Right has long comprised distinct and often competing factions, but vaccine passports may prove a unifying issue across the conservative coalition. Libertarians object to the intrusion of “big government” into the lives and bodies of private citizens. Traditional conservatives resist the threat that the passports pose to our political order and way of life. Religious conservatives have moral qualms about vaccines that were created using cells derived from aborted babies. Populist conservatives just don’t trust “the experts.”
The divergent interests of the Right’s “fusionist” coalition have long hindered its political efficacy. All conservatives ever seem able to accomplish is temporarily to cut taxes. The vaccine passports offer for the first time in years an issue on which most factions of the Right can agree. Coincidentally, the issue also represents an historic power grab through which government agencies, technology companies, and even small businesses can demand compliance with a medical procedure and access to sensitive medical data in perpetuity, as viral “variants” appear, demanding endless proof of the latest booster shot.
Most Republican governors have thus far kept their mouths shut and their options open. They should speak up now, or they may not have many options come 2024.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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