Pennsylvania voters have been most concerned about the economy, but COVID-19 concerns are almost nonexistent.
Today, the impact of inflation and an increase in gas prices on the public’s wallets has made this a largely forgotten issue.
This change will not affect all candidates equally. Doug Mastriano, a Republican nominee for governor, rose to prominence in Republican circles partly due to his opposition to restrictions related to pandemics.
Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro defended Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to close schools and mask mandates was controversial, but when concerns about COVID-19 grew, he shifted his position. After defending them as attorney-general, he said that “folks got the wrong idea” regarding some Pennsylvania shutdowns and mandates on his campaign trail in August.
According to The Associated Press, the change was “politically painless” for Shapiro in order to move to the middle of Mastriano’s fight.
It’s becoming harder to get voters excited about COVID-19, as the pandemic is no longer a political issue. It is evident in the websites of the candidates.
His campaign website says that Doug Mastriano will end Wolf’s vaccine mandates and mask mandates. “Mastriano will reject any unconstitutional edicts from the CDC or the Biden administration and he’ll expand the access to covid therapies.”
He also attempted to bring attention to his Medical Freedom Act (still in the General Assembly), which would ban employer-mandated vaccinations and prevent “draconian vaccination policies and quarantine,” as stated in a August press release.
The pandemic is now a minor issue in Mastriano’s campaign.
Similar in the Democratic campaign. Shapiro doesn’t give the pandemic a section in his policy page. It is only mentioned in context with other issues.
“The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed the unique challenges in accessing health care for Pennsylvanians – from the elderly and young students, we have learnt that we must do better to ensure that a health-care system is responsive to the immediate needs of Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro’s campaign website states in its section on health care.
Mastriano criticised most of the restrictions, but they have been lifted by either official revocations or social norms that are back to pre-pandemic levels.
Although vaccine mandates are still in place in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for city workers, The Center Square reported that most restrictions don’t affect Pennsylvanians day-to-day lives. Federal policies tend to have the most impact, like limited office hours and health-care waivers.
Voters aren’t interested in the policies of pandemics any more. They are now focusing on the economy and other issues such as crime, inflation, election issues, guns and abortion. When asked by voters about important issues, COVID-19 is not even below 1%.
The economy is now the main focus. As the Nov. 8 election nears, candidates will likely talk about COVID-19 – or the failures of the past –