Humor is the shock absorber of life. Democrats have developed a wicked gallows humor as a defense mechanism against Republicans who take pride in triggering Democrats with their outrageous antics. In our efforts to remain sane in the face of Republican horrors, brilliant minds have provided levity in our darkest hours. “Karen” has become a meme theme for right-wing women behaving in an outrageous, entitled, sometimes violent manner. There is also a whole “Herman Cain Awards” sub-Reddit – in a nod to the Darwin Awards – that tracks the long list of anti-vaccine Republicans who have died from COVID.

One Twitterer was recently trending for unapologetically lumping the dying Covidiots into one homogenous blob. The replies are a plethora of gallows humor. My favorite, “Let’s Go Darwin” was a wink to the cruel prank played by Jared Schmeck. But seriously, are Republicans killing themselves off in numbers significant enough to change election outcomes?

The loss of over 800,000 lives from COVID hurts my heart, especially considering that, after the vaccine became available, 163,000 deaths could have been prevented since June 2021. Unvaccinated adults are more than three times likely to be Republican. And yet, Republican leaders insist on making sure the pandemic lasts. Possibly to hurt Biden’s re-election chances. It remains to be seen if the number of voter deaths effects the 2022 Midterms.

What about the potential loss of Senate seats? Washington state Republican senator Doug Ericksen died of COVID on December 17th after traveling to El Salvador. A staunch anti-vaxxer, Ericksen had repeatedly called for the resignation of Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and claimed the state was the “national leader in authoritarian government.”

Two questions come to mind. First, what was Ericksen doing in El Salvador? That is still unclear, but Ericksen was a lobbyist monitoring elections for oppressive regimes, including Cambodia. Second, who will replace this six-term Senator who served since 2010? Death is no laughing matter. But neither is our democracy. Ericksen’s seat will be on the ballot in November 2022. State Rep Sharon Shewmake (D-Bellingham) is running for that Senate seat.

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