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VICTOR JOECKS: Blue states have more coronavirus deaths, higher unemployment

It’s fair for President Donald Trump to blame America’s high coronavirus death toll on blue states. Red states have both a lower death rate from coronavirus and lower unemployment.

On Tuesday, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000. It was a tragic milestone. It also gave Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden another chance to attack Trump.

“While other nations worked around the clock to get this virus under control, our president was too busy tweeting and golfing,” Biden said. “Now, nearly 200,000 Americans have died. It didn’t have to happen this way.”

In one way, Biden is right. If Democratic governors did as good of a job as Republican governors, more than 20,000 people would still be alive.

Trump touched upon this point earlier in the month.

“Blue states had tremendous death rates,” Trump said in a press conference. “If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at.”

As he often does, Trump made a correct statement about his main point and then exaggerated. The death rate among blue states is 668 per million. That would be the third-highest death rate in the world, excluding countries with fewer than 100,000 residents. Of the 11 states with the highest death rates, Democrats run eight of them. Washington, D.C., run by a Democrat mayor, would rank eighth on that list. Of the almost 180 million people living in those states, nearly 120,000 have died from coronavirus.

All data comes from Worldometer and is from Tuesday. Blue states include states with Democrat governors and Washington, D.C., which has a Democrat mayor.

Democrats’ horrifying record of mismanagement can’t be laid at Trump’s feet. It was Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who for weeks ordered New York nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients. In a federal system, governors have much more control over their individual state’s response than the president.

In red states, the coronavirus death rate is 544 per million. That would be the 12th highest in the world, excluding countries with fewer than 100,000 residents. It would be ahead of countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Mexico. Of the almost 150 million people in those states, a bit more than 81,000 have died from coronavirus.

The mainstream media and Democrats — but I repeat myself — frequently attacked Republican governors for reopening too quickly. In April, an Atlantic article described Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s reopening plan as “Georgia’s experiment in human sacrifice.” Gov. Ron DeSantis took heat for reopening Florida’s beaches in April. Five months later, the death rate in Florida and Georgia is nearly three times lower than in media darling Cuomo’s New York.

Unemployment is also significantly lower in red states. Their combined unemployment rate is 7 percent. In blue states, it’s 9.6 percent. Of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, Democrats run nine of them. The only state on that list with a Republican governor is deep blue Massachusetts. Nine of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates have a Republican governor. The other state is Montana, which will likely support Trump in November.

Thanks to King Steve Sisolak’s restrictive royal edicts, Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 13.2 percent. Remember this the next time he insists that keeping Nevada shut down will somehow help the economy in the long run. No, hosting the National Finals Rodeo would have helped Nevada’s economy. Instead, it’ll be held in Texas this year.

So far, Republican governors have done a better job of responding to the coronavirus than Democrat governors. Just look at the numbers.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 3 p.m. with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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