The widespread protests to reopen the economy, explained - 2020-04-21
SALT LAKE CITY — Battling the coronavirus has been a uniting issue during one of the most partisan periods in the nation's history. But emerging political forces show cracks appearing in that unified front that could threaten the recovery of both public health and the economy.
Evidence of the underlying partisan divide surfaced in the past week with sporadic protests against government-imposed lockdowns of local commerce erupting in at least 20 states, including Utah. But a more telling sign that efforts are afoot to make economic recovery a politically divisive issue is the coordinated backing of the protests by state and national groups.
"This clearly has a great deal to do with the economic hardship. How could it not? This is the worst hardship disaster we've had since the Great Depression," Sidney Milkis, a political science professor at the University of Virginia who studies social movements in politics, said of the motivation for the protests. "But the protests, I think, go beyond economic necessity."