Within the USA it seems the approach to COVID-19 is significantly different depending on the political party of the governor, to the point that it almost seems as if the two parties have a different, if unstated, political platform when it comes to how to approach COVID-19.

For the Republicans that platform appears to be a focus on rapid reopening of businesses and less emphasis, or even outright resistance to, public safety measures like wearing a facial mask or the need for social distancing.

Can these sentiments be traced back to where they seemed to originate?

Trump clearly expresses both the points I mentioned, so I'm wondering if he is the driving force behind this sentiment within the Republican party, or did Republicans always generally agree on these points from the beginning?

Was Fox News (as a general representation of the general Republican view) focused on these points prior to Trump making public statements about them?

  • It's all trump and his need to stay in the news, good or bad.
    – dandavis
    Jul 27, 2020 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


It's difficult to answer this objectively, because there is a lot of disparity between the public stance of people and their actions. A lot of decisions are made for appearances sake, not on a rational basis.

The republican party, as a general rule, favors businesses over people and assumes that businesses will take care of people by themselves, through market forces and a trickle down economy. Happy businesses leads to happy people. Whether that works or not is not in the scope of this question.

Locking down businesses, requiring masks and hygiene standards as well as enforcing social distancing is bad for businesses, because they have less customers and there are additional costs for disinfectants, cleaning staff, home-office infrastructure and such. That would mean that businesses would have to go bankrupt and could no longer pay wages, unless they get "bailed out" by the government. Bailing the companies out costs a lot of money, which would increase the deficit. Without the bailout, the mass-unemployment would lead to an increase in suicides outweighing the deaths from the pandemic.

On the other hand, without locking down and with no mask requirements and such, the businesses can decide on their own rules, stay open, keep their customers, pay wages and not cost the government any money. The market forces will lead to customers and employees staying safe by themselves, because in theory customers will only buy in stores where they are safe and employees will only choose to work for companies that keep them safe.

In addition to that, an argument brought often in the early stages of the pandemic, it affects old, "unproductive" people more than the young and productive people, so having retired people die so that businesses can keep young people employed is seen as a preferable trade-off.

Whether those arguments are right or wrong is also out of the scope of this answer.

  • 7
    As the question is specifically asking about origins, some quotes for these arguments seems a necessary feature of the answer. Such as Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, back in March.
    – Jontia
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:10
  • 2
    That's not the origin, @Jontia. One has to go further back in time, at least back to late February when Trump tweeted “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.” But I would argue the origin was Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Or perhaps even earlier than that. Jul 23, 2020 at 11:54
  • 2
    @DavidHammen there's probably not a lot of specific Covid things to downplay in 2012 though. But I concede the point, the Patrick quote was just the first one I found. There may well be other, earlier quotes. Which is what I understood the question to be asking. Specifics related to Covid rather than generalities of business before people.
    – Jontia
    Jul 23, 2020 at 12:12
  • 3
    @Jontia - You'll have to trace all the back to the origin of a politician's version of modus tollens, which goes along the lines of "If P then Q. But I don't like Q! Therefore P must be false." This version of modus tollens dates back to the antiquities. Jul 23, 2020 at 15:01
  • 1
    this is a good answer, except that wearing masks (once it was shown to be beneficial in limiting outgoing infection spread) has limited economic costs in the present, while showing clear benefits in the future - the quicker this gets put under control, the quicker economy will rebound. so even businesses could support masks and the Republican stance on them is not explained by economic criteria alone. Jul 29, 2020 at 16:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .