Dr. Oz’s recent stereotype-based comments seem to be having the opposite of his intended effect – if his intent was to garner his own support, that is. These comments not only push favor towards Fetterman but they do so by showing how out-of-touch Dr. Oz is with Pennsylvanian voters – something that cannot be had as a Senator.
Oz had a lead of fewer than 1,000 votes in the still progressing recount as of Tuesday morning in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Republican Senate race this fall. It’s unknown whether Mehmet Oz, a celebrity television doctor, or David McCormick, a former hedge-fund CEO, will take the position. What is known is that both candidates are dedicated to the race, however, Dr. Oz appears to be quite removed from the reality of Pennsylvanian opinions, desires, and dislikes.
“Oz is definitely trying to differentiate himself in the election, and I think it shows how out-of-touch he is with Pennsylvania voters,” Chris Goldstein, who is a regional planner with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) stated.
Only a few days after the primary, Donald Trump supported Oz and attempted to carve out a position that would set him apart from his presumed opponent, state Democratic lieutenant governor John Fetterman.
If Fetterman supports marijuana legalization, which he clearly does, Oz opposes it, as he told Newsmax’s, Greg Kelly.
Oz remarked that there aren’t enough Pennsylvanians to work in Pennsylvania and providing them pot to stay at home isn’t an ideal option. He added that cannabis wouldn’t be helpful in reattaining Pennsylvanians’ “mojo”.
Requests for a response from Oz’s campaign were not returned. Leaving aside the merits of his speech, drawing a line at cannabis legalization as a political strategy was not a good move on his part.
What Polls Tell Us
Using cannabis to distinguish himself in an attempt to gain favor culturally – something that even Trump never did – in a state where Republican politicians favor legalization and polling has shown up to 60% voter support for legalization is an unforced blunder, according to some analysts. It might also be a huge gift to Fetterman, a longstanding proponent of marijuana legalization who Politico dubbed as “perhaps the country’s most ardent pro-weed politician.”
Chris Goldstein pointed out that Oz’s comments so far are unlikely to win over a majority of Republican voters, and instead will drive them straight to Fetterman. “Honestly, with Oz making these things, Fetterman has to spend less [on campaigning],” he said.
Despite the fact that Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, has been unsuccessful in his efforts to legalize marijuana so far, he has the support of certain Republicans in the state. State Senator Mike Regan, a veteran law enforcement officer, conducted hearings on legalization in Harrisburg earlier this spring.
A poll of 522 registered voters conducted by Franklin & Marshall College last fall found 60 percent support for legalization, the greatest level of support since the topic was originally looked into in 2006.
Some polls, on the other hand, are less optimistic. Only 48.5 percent of people support legalization, according to a March poll done by WHTM, Emerson College, and the Hill, with 35.9 percent against. However, 15% of respondents in the same poll were still undecided—and a majority of independent voters support legalization.
Medical cannabis was made legal and available in Pennsylvanian dispensaries in 2018, making cannabis a done-deal in legislation. No state has ever undone the decriminalization of medicinal cannabis, which is usually followed by recreational marijuana several years later. While most voters consider cannabis to be a low priority, it is nevertheless a widely supported policy position.
This is common sense to most people – but apparently not Dr. Oz, and should he continue making these stereotypical, off-base comments, he will likely lose favor with voters. Much the same way he seems to have lost touch with them already.
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