THE LUNATIC FRINGE IS THE REPUBLICAN MAINSTREAM

This week, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden's vaccine mandate for employers. In The Atlantic, Adam Serwer quotes Republican justices who sounded as ignorant as Joe Rogan during oral arguments.
[Clarence] Thomas questioned whether “vaccinations are efficacious in preventing some degree of infection to others,” and asked, “Is a vaccine the only way to treat COVID?” ...

[Neil] Gorsuch compared COVID to the flu, and asked why OSHA had not mandated flu vaccines, even though the flu is nowhere near as lethal as COVID.

[Samuel] Alito prefaced a question suggesting that the vaccines were unsafe by insisting that he was not suggesting the vaccines were unsafe. “I don’t want to be misunderstood in making this point, because I’m not saying the vaccines are unsafe,” Alito said to Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. “Has OSHA ever imposed any other safety regulation that imposes some extra risk, some different risk, on the employee, so that if you have to wear a hard hat on the job, wearing a hard hat has some adverse health consequences? Can you think of anything else that’s like this?”
But this is what the entire Republican Party has become. Here's a story from Ohio:
For most the pandemic, Dr. Elizabeth Laffay, a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine, worked from the outside in.

She told state lawmakers that vaccines kill; she touted dubious COVID-19 treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine on talk radio; she stormed a Big Lots with a small and barefaced crowd to protest its mask requirement; and she pushed her local school board to rescind its mask requirement.
But now she's been elected to a seat on the Huron City School District Board of Education -- with a contribution from a PAC run by Jane Timken, a former chair of the Ohio Republican Party who's apparently only the third-craziest candidate in the state's U.S. Senate race, after Josh Mandel and J.D. Vance.

These are the view Timken considers worth backing:
“We have been largely kept from seeing the consequences that these injections have been clearly though quietly associated with, including neurologic damage, convulsions, illness, death, continued spread and continued contraction of the disease,” Laffay said to lawmakers this spring, testifying in support of legislation to ban any (not just COVID-19) vaccine mandates....

Besides attacking vaccines, Laffay has regularly downplayed the severity of the infections they prevent. At a March 9 [2021] state legislative hearing, Laffay declared that the “medical pandemic is over.”

Since then, 11,181 Ohioans have died from COVID-19, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. Sixty-five came from Erie County, where Laffay now holds public office.

In an interview with Tom Roten, a conservative talk radio host, she said she has been prescribing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.... She also recommended using mouthwash to “decrease any viral loads” that might be accumulating.

“If this virus is following the pattern that all viruses follow, maybe we don’t even need a vaccine,” Laffay said at a private event hosted by Ohio Stands Up, which has filed a number of unsuccessful lawsuits challenging COVID-19 response measures.
And also:
As evidence for why agencies like the CDC or FDA aren’t to be trusted, Laffay alleged the agencies have done nothing about aborted fetal cells in junk food.

“There are hydrolite fetal cells in foods like Gatorade and Hot Pockets,” she said, airing a debunked claim that has dogged PepsiCo products including Gatorade. “And we don’t know about them. They’re not on the label. They’re used as a flavor additive. This is from aborted fetuses.”
Laffay is affiliated with a prominent COVID-conspiratorialist group.
... Laffay identified herself as a member of “America’s Frontline Doctors,” a network of health care providers who claim vaccines are unsafe and ineffective who have made millions selling consultations and alternative medications like ivermectin, which many pharmacies have refused to dispense. The network was founded by Dr. Simone Gold, who awaits trial on charges related to her allegedly joining an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
America's Frontline Doctors was a project of the mainstream right. AP reported in May 2020:
Republican political operatives are recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television to prescribe reviving the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet safety benchmarks proposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The plan was discussed in a May 11 conference call with a senior staffer for the Trump reelection campaign organized by CNP Action, an affiliate of the GOP-aligned Council for National Policy....

CNP Action is part of the Save Our Country Coalition, an alliance of conservative think tanks and political committees formed in late April to end state lockdowns implemented in response to the pandemic. Other members of the coalition include the FreedomWorks Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Tea Party Patriots.

... after the AP contacted the Trump campaign seeking comment for this story, a Washington public relations firm that frequently works for conservative groups distributed an open letter to Trump signed by more than 400 doctors calling the state coronavirus lockdowns a “mass casualty event” causing “millions of casualties” from alcoholism, homelessness, suicide and other causes....

The first signature on the letter was Dr. Simone Gold....
One of the other physicians who spoke at a public gathering in Washington organized by America's Frontline Doctors was Stella Immanuel. Immanuel claims that
real-life ailments such as fibroid tumors and cysts stem from the demonic sperm after demon dream sex, an activity she claims affects “many women.”

“They turn into a woman and then they sleep with the man and collect his sperm,” Immanuel said in her sermon. “Then they turn into the man and they sleep with a man and deposit the sperm and reproduce more of themselves.”
This is the Republican mainstream. This is what one of our two major parties endorses and bankrolls.