Our pro-Trump senators in Washington D.C. will not vote to convict former president Donald Trump in his likely impeachment trial, according to the most recent Nashville Power Poll. The margins of this prediction were astronomical. As to whether the Senate overall will vote to impeach Trump, Power Poll members predicted the Senate would not.
Our other statewide elected Republican officeholder—Gov. Bill Lee—came in for some criticism from members for failing to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the presidential race. In keeping with diehard Trump supporters, Lee did not acknowledge Biden’s victory until well after the victory. In fact, it came after the Jan. 6 insurrection, which the vast majority of Power Poll members thought was far too late.
BlueCross Will Cover Costs for COVID-19 Vaccination
By Dr. Andrea Willis
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
We want our members to know that once the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, they won’t have to worry about the cost. We’ve continued to remove barriers in the fight against COVID-19, first for testing and treatment, and now for vaccines. Science has shown this is an important step for us to reduce both individual and community risk to eventually emerge from this pandemic.
Members will not have any out-of-pocket charges.
The cost of the vaccine itself is covered by the federal government. BlueCross will cover the fees associated with the administration of all vaccines that receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization. If a BlueCross member is charged for any part of their vaccine visit, they can call the Member Services number on the back of their Member ID card for help.
Because of the limited initial supply, state health departments, with consideration to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have created distribution plans to guide who will be vaccinated during each phase. The first phase will include the highest-risk populations, like health care workers, first responders and seniors in care settings. Additional segments of the population will be added as the supply increases.
As more FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are produced and distributed, anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one. Members should check BCBSTUpdates.com for answers to vaccine-related questions, and with the Tennessee Department of Health at tn.gov/health for additional information on the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
As a BlueCross member and public health advocate, I plan to get the vaccine when my
In addition to covering the administration costs of the COVID-19 vaccine, BlueCross has committed to supporting a variety of efforts to encourage better health for its members throughout the national public health emergency. These include:
- Continuing to pay the full costs of COVID-19 testing
- Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments, including hospitalizations, from in-network providers until the end of the national public health emergency
- Making coverage of in-network telehealth visits permanent for members with employer-based or individual plans
- Allowing early prescription refills and 90-day prescriptions for chronic medications to help members avoid increased risk of exposure
- Sharing essential public health information such as the importance of social distancing and mask-wearing and warning of potential scam activity
BlueCross also delivered meals to frontline health care workers across Tennessee. Additionally, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has given nearly $7 million to communities across the state during the pandemic, including:
- $5 million to food banks statewide
- $1.5 million for COVID testing in underserved areas, flu vaccine education efforts, and community organizations
The vaccines are powerful tools in our effort to defeat COVID-19. However, we must continue measures to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors safe. Please stay at home as much as you can. Don’t spend time indoors with people you don’t live with. Wear a mask if you go out in public. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available. None of these steps are totally effective on their own, but they all add up.
I know it’s a challenge – but we will get through this together.
For additional information on the BlueCross response to COVID-19, visit BCBSTUpdates.com.
Finally, members were asked if they were optimistic about a lessening of the partisan divisions that brought the country to the point of chaos and violence two weeks ago. It appears we are optimistic, but only barely. More respondents than not think we may soon experience an upswing in civility.
Here are the specific questions and responses to the January Nashville Power Poll. A total of 697 Nashvillians were sent the survey. 384 responded, for a response rate of 55.09%.
U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty are among the most pro-Trump senators in the Senate. If, as appears likely, an impeachment trial is held in the Senate, how do you think they will vote? First, Blackburn:
She will vote to convict: 1.3%
She will vote not to convict: 93.8%
She will abstain: 2.3%
I don’t know what she will do: 2.6%
Now, Hagerty. What will he do?
He will vote to convict: 1.8%
He will vote not to convict: 89.3%
He will abstain: 2.9%
I don’t know what he will do: 6%
Do you think the Senate, if it holds an impeachment trial, will vote to convict Trump?
I don’t know: 25.5%
Will the sharp partisan and ideological divisions in the nation over the next two years:
Stay the same: 32%
I don’t know: 7.8%
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee did not publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory in the presidential election until after the deadly insurrection in the Capitol building. Should he have done so earlier?
I don’t know: 5.7%
The Power Poll is not a scientific survey. Rather, Power Poll aggregates the opinions and beliefs of the most powerful, influential, and significant individuals in Nashville and asks them about the direction of their city, state, and nation. These responses are important factors in determining where our community leaders are steering us. The non-partisan Power Poll conducts similar surveys in 19 other cities. To see the membership of Nashville’s Power Poll, click here.
Joe Biden has been elected president, but there is no guarantee that his call for civil decency and selfless unity will ever leave the launching pad. Trump’s hallucinatory message of a stolen election and a deep state and a nation of carnage entered the minds of tens of millions of American citizens, and it stuck. And it was all so easily done, made possible by our stupendously awful media and information platforms where, it is often the case, the sun rises in the West. And the earth is flat. And elections are stolen.
In the end, millions of Americans—a good portion of whom live here in Tennessee—believed Trump. Our three highest statewide officeholders—two U.S. senators and the governor—tethered themselves to Trump's insanely high political support and also to his insanely fictitious political universe.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time. The truth normally outs, and the election was not stolen, but Blackburn, Hagerty, and Lee never could bring themselves to say that. Either they believed it might have been stolen or they were worried for their political lives if they angered Trump’s base. Or both. Regardless, none of them could bring themselves to utter the truth, which was that Biden had won fair and square.
Now, fast forward to impeachment, which is like Phase II of the how-far-one-will-support-Trump-to-stay-popular-with-Tennessee-voters. Power Poll members are predicting overwhelmingly that Blackburn and Hagerty will vote not to impeach. Local attorney Henry Walker wrote (in our increasingly robust comments section I might add) that distinctions ought to be made between Hagerty and Blackburn. Said Walker: “Hagerty knows better of course.” Or, as Bob Mueller said with a dose of realism, “(There are) too many Trump supporters in Tennessee for Blackburn and Hagerty to change teams now.”
In other words, the center-left membership of Power Poll in Nashville sees the pro-Trump positions of both Hagerty and Blackburn continuing. Which saddened some. As local real estate executive Ken Leiser commented, “ ‘When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.’ How do we deal with that?”
Beyond how Hagerty and Blackburn vote, Power Poll members do not think that the Senate will find Trump guilty in an impeachment trial. Over a majority voted that way.
A lot of people want answers from Lee, whose plate of negatives in the last year has grown fuller in a slow-mo, water-torture-drip-drip way. He’s had bad stats on COVID staring him in the face for a while now. FBI agents are hopscotching from office to office down in the Legislature, with some speculating that the investigation has to do with his school voucher bill. (He has nothing to do with the investigation, it should be noted.) And as regards Trump, while Lee could easily have come out and rebutted the mistruths about the election, he hasn’t.
“Will anyone emerge to mount a serious challenge?,” commented local newswoman Demetria Kalodimos. “It will take years, yes, but possible.”
It is interesting to think about the arc of time here. Will people look back on this period and marvel that our officeholders could not bring themselves to say that Biden won in a fair fight? If so, when will that be? What will the political implications be for the people who didn't acknowledge truth? Or, will popular opinion remain always on the side of those who think the election was stolen, rigged, or “tainted” as Blackburn and Hagerty have termed it?
Finally, if you’re looking for hope for the future, we have a little bit for you. 45% of Power Poll members say we will see less partisan division and rancor over the next two years. One-third think it will stay the same. The rest say it’ll worsen, or they don’t know. Not overwhelmingly good news, but not bad. Light poking through the shade, as the inauguration poet Amanda Gorman said. “The new dawn blooms as we free it / For there is always light / if only we’re brave enough to see it / if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
In conclusion, Power Poll hereby would like to issue a Gold Star award for “Best Comment” to our own Bill Frist, former Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. Rather than post his own words in the Power Poll comments section, he posted a quotation from John F. Kennedy, in an address by Kennedy to the Massachusetts legislature on Jan. 9, 1961.
Here is the passage that Frist posted:
"For those to whom much is given, much is required. And when, at some future date, the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to these questions: First: Were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one's enemies, and the courage to stand up—when necessary—to one's associates, and the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed? Second: Were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past, of our mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, with enough wisdom to know what we did not know, and enough candor to admit it? Third: Were we truly men of integrity, men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them, men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust? Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest? Courage -- Judgment -- Integrity – Dedication: these are the historic qualities which, with God's help, will characterize our Government's conduct in the storming years that lie ahead."
—John F. Kennedy’s farewell address to the Massachusetts State Legislature, Jan. 9, 1961.