Strict COVID School Measures Driving Parents to GOP

Strict COVID School Measures Driving Parents to GOP Strict COVID School Measures Driving Parents to GOP New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty)

By Jeremy Frankel | Sunday, 10 April 2022 08:53 PM

Many Democrats have been rethinking their party allegiances because of COVID-19 restrictions, such as school closures, mass lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In New Jersey, particularly, the frustration with COVID measures nearly cost Gov. Phil Murphy a second term in November. According to a WSJ poll taken in March, voters said Democrats were best able to get the pandemic under control by a 9-percentage point margin, down from 16 points in late 2021.

In the Northeast, a 30-point edge for Democrats concerning the party's pandemic-management approval in November dropped to 20 points last month, the Journal poll showed, driven mainly by Independents (12 percentage point drop).

Longtime Democrat and Bridgewater resident Jennifer Loughran, a 45-year-old skateboard instructor, voted for Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli for governor. So did most of her neighbors: Bridgewater backed Ciattarelly by 5 percentage points, just one year after voters picked Joe Biden over Donald Trump by 12 percentage points in the presidential election.

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, represents Bridgewater. His likely challenge in the upcoming midterms is Republican Thomas H. Kean Jr.

"There has been a lot of frustration over the impact on families and kids staying home that some Democrats were slow to recognize," Malinowski told the Journal, adding that "It’s natural and fair to hold the party in power accountable for what happens in the country."

Gina Genovese, a longtime Democrat until November, told the news outlet that Democrats have "left me so disillusioned" and that she would most likely back Kean.

"Everything is a balance," she said.

"I’m a pro-choice person—my body, my choice," she said, in reference to the debate over mask and vaccine mandates.

Rachel Keane, 35 and a registered nurse, voted Republican after she got angry over Murphy's mask requirements for her children – she has two.

"I knew I wasn’t going to vote for Murphy, but wasn’t sure if I was going to leave it blank or what," she said. "Then I just got angry…And I voted Republican all the way down the line."

Despite her leftist positions on climate change and abortion, Loughran’s priority was in opposing the Democrats’ positions on COVID restrictions. She said her daughter fall behind in virtual kindergarten.

"Everybody wanted their kids back in school—it wasn’t just Republicans," Loughran told the Journal. "But we couldn’t stop fighting about it."

"I didn’t understand where I fit," she added.

Loughran hasn’t decided which party to vote for this fall in her local congressional election.

"What I do know," she said, "is that my party-line vote shouldn’t be taken for granted anymore."

Original Article