Deplorable Donald Trump, for those who are living in a log cabin off the grid, is a wealthy (according to him) white guy running for President of the United States. Deplorable does not begin to define all that Trump embodies – ignorance of the constitution, sexism, racism, misogyny, white privilege, xenophobia, and institutionalized lying. And since this is a pro-science website, Trump’s anti-science beliefs fall far below the low bar I set for your average Republican.
But his anti-vaccine rants are particularly loathsome. As I’ve written before, Trump is completely wrong about vaccines by claiming that the “massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism.” Wrong Donald Trump, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines are related to autism. It’s hard to choose which of his hatreds are most dangerous, but I would nominate his anti-vaccine stance, because vaccines prevent diseases which can harm children, and protecting children has got to be society’s most important goal.
A little less than 2 years ago, a Huffington Post/YouGov poll found only a modest ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans regarding the science of vaccines – in fact, the difference was 1 percentage point, or essentially, vaccine support was the same between adherents of both political parties.
Unfortunately, the basket of deplorables hang on to every word uttered by the King of Deplorables himself, so one has to wonder if that difference has grown at all over the past couple of years as a result of Trump’s ignorant statements about vaccines. Lucky for us, we’ve got some data.
Deplorable Donald Trump turning Republicans into anti-vaxxers
The Daily Beast commissioned a study this past summer to examine whether there has been a change in attitudes towards vaccinations in the Republican Party. And guess what they’ve found? Republicans have become more anti-vaccine in a relatively short period of time.
The survey of 400 people found that 25% of respondents affiliated with the Republican Party said that it was more like that they would not vaccinate themselves or their families. That is a remarkable difference from the approximately 90-95% vaccine uptake seen recently in the USA. By comparison, only 15% of respondents who identified with the Democratic Party said they would not vaccinate – this number is close enough to the national vaccine uptake rate to be considered essentially equivalent.
And if we look at Trump supporters vs. Clinton supporters, 23% of the former were unlikely to get vaccinated versus 13.5% of the latter. There seems to be a strong correlation between Trump supporters and vaccine denial. However, as I’ve stated frequently, correlation is not causation. It’s impossible to “prove” that Trump has caused this decline in support for vaccines – for example, vaccine deniers may be predisposed to Trump’s anti-government message. Or, possibly, Trump supporters are disinclined to accepting real science, like they do with climate change and evolution, so rejecting the science behind vaccines just fits with the overall anti-science tropes of the deplorables.
At a minimum, this study shows that there is a small, but significant and growing, gulf between Democrats and Republicans. The problem is that the selfishness and ignorance of the Trump supporters toward vaccines can cause great harm to children across the country, irrespective of their parent’s political leanings.
Go away Trump
Again, the deplorable Donald Trump is wrong on so many issues that I’m sure it would take a 1000 page treatise to describe them all. Since this is a science website, and my expertise is in science, Trump is wrong about vaccines, climate change, protection for endangered species, mental health, energy, science education, public health, the environment, and many other scientific issues that are important to our nation’s competitiveness and leadership. His demagoguery about the critical scientific issues of our time is dangerous – many of them will cost more American lives than his favorite obsession, ISIS.
Without a doubt, this feathery dinosaur is absolutely opposed to Trump on so many levels, especially with respect to science issues. Hillary Clinton is mostly correct on scientific issues (she’s weak in a few areas, like nuclear power) and is a generally a much better leader than Trump would ever be. But if you’re into science, there is no way that you should be giving any consideration to Trump. None whatsoever, to be honest.
But the one area that makes my skin crawl is his ignorant anti-vaccine stance. That brings harm to the most innocent of humans – our children. Vaccines save lives, despite the rantings of the most deplorable Donald Trump.