US 'anti-lockdown' protests about more than quarantine

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. This weekend thousands of rightwing Americans took to the streets in several states to protest the coronavirus “lockdowns”, or stay-at-home rules, issued by their governors. Although most of the protests were marginal – counting dozens of people at best – conservative and liberal media outlets devoted considerable attention to them. As always, opposition to abortion and immigration and support for President Trump and the second amendment were prominent. For years, Sweden has been the poster child of the US far right’s feverish dystopias of European “socialism” – Breitbart, in particular, has an unhealthy obsession with the country. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your handsand avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Bydoing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer. Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75 percent ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform. The anti-lockdown protesters have obvious parallels with the early Tea Party mobilization of 2009, down to their prominent display of the Gadsden flag – the yellow flag with the picture of a snake and the text “Don’t tread on me”, a historic American symbol appropriated by the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement was the most important US political movement of the early 21st century, but it has been almost completely written out of US political history in the wake of Donald Trump’s shock electoral victory. Conservative media outlets have emphasized the grassroots aspect of the “Lockdown Rebellion”, staying quiet about the protests’ financial and organizational connections. In contrast, liberal media outlets have focused primarily on these ties, notably to the family of Trump’s secretary of education,Betsy DeVos, a longtime and generous funder of rightwing political causes. While Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, the well-financed right-wing groups that supported the movement, were successful in keeping the supportive rightwing mediaonsocio-economic message, socio-cultural issues often dominated at the grassroots level, with opposition to abortion and immigration as well as thinly veiled racism focused onPresidentObama(including birtherism, the false idea that Obama was not born in the US). On Friday, when rightwingers were announcing their protests on social media, the president loudly encouraged them in a series of all-caps tweets: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA”. Moreover, the three states singled out by President Trump in his tweets are key targets of his 2020campaign – holding Michigan and Minnesota is crucial for his re-election. He hopes to swing Virginia by mobilizing rightwing voters on gun rights and the lockdown. Given that a clear majority of Americans support the stay-at-home policies, Trump needs the momentum to shift. However – as many Republicans found out the hard way, in the Tea Party era - the streets are more difficult to control than lobby organizations and rightwing media. Cas Mudde is a Guardian US columnist and the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.