“[T]oday’s right-wing politics and media require a villain. With solid approval ratings and an apparently indelible reputation as a moderate, President Biden isn’t turning out to be much of one. Vice President Harris? A little more promising given how much some trolls enjoy race-baiting, but still a less-than-ideal target.
“But Fauci is a different story. He established himself as an annoyance to Trump early in the pandemic, when he was forced to publicly correct the president’s many dangerous assertions about the disease.
“In a right-wing culture so often opposed to verifiable reality, who better to target than a person who stands for science and facts?”
How right-wing media used his emails to pretend he?s corrupt.
Fauci had the misfortune of being the public face of “the government telling people what to do”. And while Trump spun everything as “It doesn’t matter much, so you don’t have to change what you would do anyway.”, the public health people have been visibly spinning things to try to convince people to do what the public health people want people to do, rather than unbiasedly telling the facts as they are currently known and letting people choose what to do.
If you’re in the New England political tradition, this doesn’t bother you, because you take as axiomatic that the government should micro-manage roughly everything. But there’s a lot larger slice of the public in the “backwoods” political tradition, and though they will troll with statements like “In 100 years, the Covid lockdowns will be seen as one of the greatest violations of human rights ever.”, they also *feel* that.
To summarize, there are a lot of people who feel “the government mandating that people have to stay home” is a lot worse than “a few hundred thousand extra people dying of Covid”. That isn’t a question of fact, but one of political priorities.