Why Republicans Can Cut Programs for the Poor and Pursue Policies That Harm Republican Voters with Impunity
Or: “You can take the trash out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the trash.”
Mainstream Democrats are befuddled by lots of things these days, but none more so that the seeming paradox of people who vote for policies which not only do not help them but harm them financially.
These same people vote for Republicans year after year. Democrats have no chance of making inroads with this group and Paul Ryan and others can, without giving it a thought, propose cuts to Medicare and Social Security, cut food stamps, stomp on the unemployed and put in policies to demolish the safety net. In short Ryan and others in the Republican party are trying to undo everything FDR accomplished in creating a middle class and a more egalitarian society. They do so with the support of those who have benefited the most and have the most to lose.
Medicare and Social Security programs in particular are the life blood of their constituents and are supported by these same constituents who nonetheless pull the lever than tugs the blade that slices their throat.
Currently Republicans have cut 8.7 billion dollars out of food stamps, refuse to renew unemployment benefits (even thought true unemployment in the USA is near 20% and more like 50% in certain minority areas), threaten to end Medicare (as we know it) and want to stop the COLA increases in Social Security (which are too small not too big) and replace it with the so-called chained CP (an atrocity that Obama, the Great Capitulator supports as well). All that is fancy talk for reducing benefits to the poor while increasing benefits to the rich and powerful. For example: where is the one billion dollar grant that has been give to “Ukraine” going to end up? Either in the hands of the Ukrainian billionaires (oligarchs as they are unabashedly called) or it will be spent for weapons from the United States. Bank it. Yet none of this bothers the hard-core Republican right. One billion to Ukraine to empower the rich people (and bankrupt the rest of the country with a loan form the IMF which will result in the end of pensions and them imposition of austerity) is just fine to the far right. Yet the trailer park voters barely register this moral profanity or their moral thermometers. Democrats are not without blame here. Obama created a culture where this heartless behavior is the norm and he and the so-called centrist or corporate Democrats share the blame and deserve scorn.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? Obama, sly fox that he is, positions himself as being the great compromiser when in reality he is the great sell out. But the leadership of the Republican Party unabashed attacks the poor and blames them for their state and supports policies to further remove wealth from the middle and lower classes and give that wealth to the already wealthy. In short they want to create the feudal societies of the past that they so love.
But why is this not the death of the Republican Party? This answer is this simple. Most of the hard-core constituents of the Right Wing are staunch one issue voters. They have made up their mind on some ridiculous hot button issue which has captured their minds and seemingly prevented all thought from occurring. Therefore the overriding economic messages of their “leaders” have no impact on their vote.
Their poor constituents are not necessarily in the order of zeal, gun-nuts, racists, people who think the South will rise again, anti-abortionists, Christians who think the country is too secular, people who fear immigration is responsible for their loss of jobs, value voters, and others who are detached from reality and believe things that are not true. People who view evolution as a religion not a science and see religion as revealed truth not to be questioned are easily led astray on other issues because facts have been replaced by faith or opinion. The identities merge.
Polls show around 37 percent of Republican voters describe themselves as White Evangelical Christians. This group tends to be wildly anti-abortion. Currently, having made abortion illegal or impossible to get, throughout “Red State Nation”, they are expanding the term “abortion” to include birth control. That is the essence of “Hobby Lobby’s” claim that is being heard before the Supreme Court at this time. I can’t imagine any other civilized country entertaining the notion that corporations have religions and religious rights. But there it is.
Even though the number of gun coconuts is relatively small, only anywhere from 8 to 13 percent of the voters are of the opinion that gun laws are to restrictive. Since gun laws are not restrictive at all, this group is probably similar in number to the gun voters who feel that their “freedom” is threatened by gun regulation. While not all the 8-13% fall into the psycho category who have arsenals of military weapons in their basement and think Obama is coming after them, most of that group are never going to vote for a Democrat based on their love of weapons and fear of any even reasonable hand gun or military weapon regulation. Almost half the people favor better gun laws. However, they are not split on party lines. So already with just guns and Evangelical Christians the Republicans have totaled 50 percent of the voters. Of course there is some overlap. And this is fifty percent of the poor voters. You won’t find snake handlers on the Wall Street, the snakes are in the offices at the desks. Those poor people are the ones whose programs are being cut and they don’t care. The people who are stock piling weapons in their basement are passionate. And they believe the Republicans are on their side and the Democrats are on the side of the Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Indians, or whomever they perceive to be an enemy. This is a paranoid state. Rationality does not enter into it. Mexicans are not coming with Obama to take the guns from some guy who lives in a trailer park in the hills of LA or some small town in Texas. Sorry. That is a paranoid delusion.
End-timers like Sarah Palin believe the world is ending and the big J is coming back. Well, like the sound of one hand clapping, it is not liable to happen. Nonetheless are they going to vote for secular Democrats who want a better life for their children when no such time will ever exist? Think about it.
Clearly white voters still vote strictly along racial lines. Obama, arguably a master campaigner and organizer, still managed to win the white vote in only 4 states. Hard to believe but true.
People who vote based on emotional issue like race, guns and religion do not care or do not understand the economic knife that they are voting for to cut their own throats. Since that is the case the only course for the Democrats is to educate them. This is how the Viet Nam war was stopped, through teach-ins about what was really going on. Obama wants to be like Reagan, or what his perception of other people’s perception of Reagan is. He cares more about Fox news viewers that Democracy Now viewers. He thinks that Wall Street and the poor can coexist with democracy. They cannot. That is why the great FDR said to Wall Street “I welcome your hatred”.
Until Democrats take a stand and explain it well with fireside chats, they will keep losing the low information voters to emotional issues far removed from economic realities.
Obama had a chance to be the second FDR, instead he wanted to be the second Ronald Reagan. I find this appalling, and fodder for another article.