With Some Voters ‘Ready to Move On,’ Democrats Search for New Message on Virus

Some Democratic officeholders say they’re ready to defend their actions, noting that by closing businesses and schools they slowed the spread of the coronavirus and saved lives. But Republican candidates have vowed to make the shutdowns central in races from school board to governor to the Senate.

“They will pay the price in the next election,” said Lou Barletta, a Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania who blames Democrats, rather than the virus, for damage to businesses and loss of learning. “Nobody’s going to forget businesses who couldn’t open again or people who lost their jobs. That doesn’t get erased from memory. Not to mention a year’s education was stolen away from our children.”

In Virginia, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s upset victory in November as a Republican was fueled in part by parents fed up with school closures and mask mandates for their children. Around the country, long-term school closures, which disproportionately occurred in Democratic-run states and cities, has turned off even some progressive voters.

Kim McGair, a lawyer and a normally staunch Democrat in Portland, Ore., said she felt “utterly betrayed” by her party, which she believes abandoned parents and students. “I will not vote for a Democrat who was silent or complicit on school closures, which is the vast majority of them here,” Ms. McGair said. But she also cannot picture herself casting a ballot for a Republican, a situation she describes as being “politically homeless.”

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, imposed some of the nation’s strictest stay-at-home orders early in the pandemic. Angry protesters who waved Tea Party flags at the State Capitol in April 2020, while former President Donald J. Trump tweeted “Liberate Michigan,” were one of the first signs of politicization of the pandemic.

Ms. Whitmer, facing another deadly surge of the virus in her state and a tough re-election fight this fall, was pressed recently about why she hadn’t issued new statewide orders. Her response was defensive, but telling: “Like what?” she said to a Detroit TV interviewer. The existence of vaccines meant that the “blunt tools” used in 2020 to fight the pandemic were not needed, the governor said.

Though broad shutdowns and mandates are off the table in many places — sometimes because of court decisions — Democrats have used other tools lately, including aggressively promoting vaccines, opening testing centers and deploying strike teams to beleaguered hospitals.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

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A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

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A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

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