The Best Way to Get People to Wear Masks is to Stop Telling Them to Wear Masks
1. The politicians have been largely wrong about everything in this pandemic. The policies that have been implemented typically overreached and spread panic and hysteria. There was and is a real problem that was badly mishandled with policies that trashed the economy and killed tens of thousands of nursing home patients to free up hospital beds.
2. The actual utility of cloth masks in a lot of circumstances is dubious at best. There's a 'sweet spot' where there's some physical closeness in a confined space, but not too much, where they might make a bit of sense. Instead, politicians insist on commanding entire populations to wear masks everywhere. This has obviously backfired.
3. Most Americans are reasonable people who want to keep others safe. But the actual 'American' part of the population doesn't like being lectured to, let alone condescended or insulted, because they don't jump on board a dubious policy that is being pushed by the same politicians and experts who have been repeatedly wrong about the pandemic.
4. Despite media lectures on the subject, conservatives didn't turn masks into a culture war, lefties did. And they're still pushing the culture war now. If the goal is getting people to wear masks, that's the worst way to go about things. But lefties really don't know how not to condescend or insult Americans, and they see the mask thing as offering a political advantage.
5. All of that means we're getting more of the same.
In the real world, the best way to get people to wear masks is not to mandate or to scold, but to suggest it as an option that might perhaps do some good, and then leave it up to the judgement of the public, which, despite appearances is better than that of most experts and politicians.
The best way to get people to wear masks is to stop constantly telling them to wear masks.
Unless the goal is a culture war.