The pandemic-induced implosion of the GOP is due to Trump elevating ideological cranks like Scott Atlas: op-ed

Writing for New York Magazine this Tuesday, Jonanthan Chait contends that the "pandemic-induced implosion" of the Republican Party has followed a similar course of the George W. Bush administration, which dismissed intelligence and foreign-policy professionals who questioned claims about chemical weapon in Iraq. Faced with a different sort of crisis than the one presented to Bush, Trump "ignored public-health experts, and instead elevated ideological cranks."

Chait writes that Trump's irritation with public health experts goes back a long way. Back in August, he wanted to elevate another doctor who would compete with his top infectious disease experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. They settled on Scott Atlas.

"Atlas is a radiologist, not an epidemiologist, and possesses essentially no expertise relevant to a pandemic. What he has, instead, is a medical credential — trust him, he’s a doctor — which he uses to ward off expertise," Chait writes. "Atlas spent years in the right-wing think-tank world cranking out standard-issue doggerel about the glories of free-market health care and the dangers of doing anything to cover the uninsured."

While the mainstream continues to follow the science on coronavirus, "Atlas and his cranks have dug in to their increasingly absurd contrarian ground," writes Chait.

"He has continued to insist the United States is close to achieving herd immunity, and thus can allow most Americans to resume all normal activity, even as the vast bulk of scientists insist herd immunity is nowhere close and that such a plan would unleash mass death."

Read the full piece over at New York Magazine.