For decades, the anti-vaccine movement was squarely on the left. Anti-vaccine, anti-cell-phone, anti-everything lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was even on the short list for a cabinet position in the Obama administration before we got Democrats who cared about science and reason to join us in pushing back on that, leaving only over-representation of UFO believers and a guy who thought girls can't do math as part of the concern.

Yet concerns about the partisan divide in Big Pharma conspiracy theories were dismissed by most journalists for the most likely reason - they were under the same umbrella. When COVID-19 hit, Democrats began to flip back from the anti-science side of medicine. To be sure, grifters were still selling supplements, and you don't find many right-wing homeopaths out there, but with a Republican that journalists hated in the White House, his correct positions were railed about - stopping travel from China even though WHO had not declared it a pandemic yet - while his incorrect ones, though peer-reviewed, were derided.

Yes, it is hypocritical but like any form of bias and bigotry, any way it is exposed leads to good things in the future, and the partisan divide in medicine may have been hidden when doctors were exempting coastal kids from MMR vaccines because 'they cause autism' but it will be harder for progressive elites to revert now.

Obviously there is only correlation and inference for a lot of these things. On surveys, everyone makes themselves sound pro-science even if in behavior they are the opposite, so a new paper looked at voting patterns and ivermectin prescriptions.

The surveys were 592 board-certified critical care physicians and 900 adults found online. Yes, that is a little weak but recent history shows PNAS loves this kind of thing if it matches the bias of their editorial board, they published results of Facebook manipulating newsfeeds of members, published a paper claiming a weedkiller turned frogs gay, and that female named hurricanes killed more people because men are sexist, after all.

Yet confounders are more obvious now. Unlike the 1990s, when the anti-vaccine movement took off, government controls nearly all of US health care. If a patient wants something, and you deny them today, and anything goes wrong, you are getting sued. Medical schools have created a 'teach to the protocol' environment and hospitals practice defensive medicine. Being sued is not a smear, it is expected within your first 15 years of practice. A doctor may tell a patient horse dewormer won't do any good but to flat out refuse it is risky, but in the paper it suggests that physicians believe it.

We know they may not, even if they did what patients wanted. Doctors also knew that flipping masks up and down between bites of food was moronic and helped no one, but that doesn't mean every doctor who said nothing about how stupid it is was a Democrat. They just didn't want to be yelled at on Twitter.

The good news is that once the Big Pharma Conspiracy flipped from being Democrats to Republicans, journalists rushed to note how worrisome it is. And that means it will be harder for that side to go back. Let us hope that millions don't have to starve or freeze to death for journalists trapped by their own partisan divide to begin criticizing anti-science beliefs about alternatives to agriculture and energy. Right now, like the anti-vaccine and supplement fetishes a few years ago, they dismiss problems on their own side as trivial.