The stark division over whether or not to wear masks has been a staple of the pandemic in the Philadelphia region with support divided along political lines. Democrats typically favor masks, Republicans frequently oppose them. As such, many Republicans are planning to oppose mask mandates, especially in schools, in upcoming elections. Pa. Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman has signed on to a lawsuit challenging Gov. Tom Wolf’s mask mandate. Others such as State Sen. Doug Mastriano and gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta echo these sentiments. So do many GOP committees in the surrounding suburbs.

Yet, this is a foolhardy pursuit for my fellow Republicans which I predict will largely end up failing — especially in areas with Democratic majorities that Republicans are looking to flip, such as Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties.

First, what anti-maskers don’t seem to grasp is that masks are being worn as preventive measures, not punitive ones. Since COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets, logic dictates that any barrier that obstructs these droplets will help prevent the spread. No, it will not prevent it completely but the evidence shows it will stop significantly more than having no mask at all. Masks are not a perfect tool, but they’re an important one. Any argument otherwise is illogical.

Next, mask mandates are not tyranny, not even close. The claim from some Republicans that they violate freedom is one of the most hyperbolic accusations of the pandemic. Mao’s Great Cultural Revolution, a violent sociopolitical movement that killed millions, was tyranny. Stalin’s Holodomor, a man-made famine that killed millions, was tyranny. King George III’s establishment of an oppressive authority in lieu of representative government was tyranny.

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The government mandating its citizens wear masks as a preventive measure to stop COVID-19 from killing people is not. It never has been and anyone arguing otherwise suffers from 21st-century American privilege and entitlement.

However, it is understandable why people challenged the efficacy of masks. “Trust the science” became the unofficial mantra by many on the left during the pandemic, but the science itself was inconsistent. Proponents of masks cited studies showing its effectiveness. Opponents of masks cited studies showing the contrary. It is impossible to know which science the everyday American is supposed to believe. Our leaders on both sides have failed to communicate to Americans how to make sense of conflicting evidence.

Then there were those politicians and other elites who ordered mask wearing but then were caught disobeying their own rules. (Looking at you, Gavin Newsom.) Such behavior is aristocratic and does not set any positive example for the country. It creates divisiveness and displays a sanctimonious attitude of “masks for thee, but not for me.”

But still, an anti-mask platform in areas Republicans hope to flip will yield disastrous results.

There are two important caveats Republicans must consider when incorporating masks into their platforms.

First, wearing masks is a temporary thing. Sure, it is uncertain when it will end — but it indeed will end. Arguing over masks is essentially throwing an adult temper tantrum over not getting what you want quickly enough.

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Second, the majority of the country supports wearing masks, (over 60% according to this poll). Republicans emphasizing opposition to masks in blue areas are sabotaging their own potential success. Such candidates will fail miserably. It is a pointless fight.

I predict that any GOP candidates fighting against mask mandates in Philadelphia or the surrounding suburbs will likely be defeated in the upcoming November election. In Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Republicans need a better long-term political plan. Instead, they should turn their attention to pursuits that are more important and enjoy more bipartisan support, such as debates over critical race theory in schools or pushing for better support for school choice.

Yes, challenging mask mandates will do great in red areas but in areas that are blue, not so much. Any funding of such platforms or initiatives might as well be flushing money down the toilet.

Christopher Tremoglie is a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and from Philadelphia. He graduated cum laude with majors in political science and Russian and East European studies and has written for the National Review, Broad + Liberty, and the Washington Examiner.