RALEIGH – The reelection campaign of Governor Roy Cooper (officially launched in New York City, mind you) has fully embraced the moral browbeating in regards to COVID-19 mandates, particularly the statewide mask mandate.
He’s expressed that wearing a mask shows you care (intimated that not wearing one is careless); said most who follow his mandates should be proud of themselves for helping the collective (insinuated that the rest of North Carolinians should be ashamed); and, didn’t hesitate at all to label the actions of free men and women to gather in defiance of his decrees as a threat to the health and safety of the entire population of North Carolina.
This isn’t necessarily unique. It has been par for the course in this naturally political schism over Pandemic Panic, government mandates, and ‘collective good’ over individual liberty.
Lately, his sites have been trained on his 2020 opponent and current lieutenant governor, Dan Forest. Forest has had campaign events — without masks! Without social distancing! Without the requisite level of fear and hysteria!!
And, most egregious, Dan Forest has made it known that, consistent with his principles of individual liberty (and despite the surprisingly high support for the measure among some Republican and unaffiliated cohorts), as governor he would end the statewide mask mandate to let individuals and businesses decide for themselves.
So, the Cooper campaign thought they were cutting Forest deep, they really got him, when they shared the graphic below:
Oh, burn! Right? I mean a lot of Cooper fans seem to agree with their Dear Leader that returning to this level of personal freedom would endanger the collective. And Cooper is putting it plain and simple, “Dan Forest would set us back […],” complete with a sinister looking black and white photo of the offending politician.
Well, the Forest Campaign, in a matter of minutes, actually thanked the Cooper campaign for creating the graphic….then shared it themselves.
The result? Dan Forest’s quote about the mask mandate generated nearly three times the social media likes.
How’s that for clapping back?
Now, some Republicans are not enthused with the idea of running on repeal of the mask mandate, precisely because so many Republicans and unaffiliated voters are sympathetic to it (fear is a powerful drug). Opening businesses, or schools, maybe a winning political proposition they point out, but a strong majority support masking, and therefore it’s unwise to hang your hat on politically.
It’s an honest, a probably accurate critque.
Yet, standing on principle, even when it’s not necessarily the most popular position, is certainly one attribute many voters like about Dan Forest. Actually, many of them LOVE it. Their enthusiasm is evidenced by the uneven treatment these identical graphics received from the respective campaign followers, and that base enthusiasm is exactly what you want heading into election day, right?
Whatever the political implications of Forest’s unapologetic position on the mask mandate, the reactions to the ‘clap back’ befuddled some mainstream reporters following the race. Travis Fain, of the Cooper-loving WRAL, pointed out the unusual discrepancy:
This appears to be a Roy Cooper campaign Facebook post against Dan Forest that the Forest campaign has lifted to use in its own Facebook post. And Forest’s has more likes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. #ncpol pic.twitter.com/hnnGk6Q08S
— Travis Fain (@TravisFain) September 18, 2020
Hopefully the numbers on election day go equally in Forest’s favor.