Why Do Working People Vote Conservative?
Conservatives tend toward a dominator mindset:
- Elite Republicans think the rich should rule/dominate
- Christian conservatives think Christians should rule/dominate
- Cultural conservatives think white, straight men should rule/dominate
Progressives tend toward a partnership mindset:
- Equal opportunity for all, regardless of class, race, gender, sexual orientation
To that end, liberals expect government to create equal opportunity by working against sexism, racism and homophobia. And classism:
Liberals use the law to help workers get a fair share of the profits they help to create. So they are pro:
- Unions: workers must be able to negotiate wages
- Profit sharing with workers
- Raising the minimum wage
- Structuring taxes so that no one who works for a living is living in poverty (Earned Income Tax Credit — EITC)
And they don’t think we should fund tax breaks for the rich with health care cuts to ordinary Americans.
So why do working people so often vote conservative?
Working people voting conservative
The conservative Republican party has been trying to do away with Social Security and Medicare for years. And weaken the educational system by creating vouchers — transferring money for public schools to private schools — and with high interest rates on college loans.
Yet they use words that hide what they seek:
- Privatize Social Security
- Turn Medicare into vouchers
- Privatize schools
Working people are harmed by elite-favoring policy but wealthy interests fund think tanks to create messaging like this:
- Your problems are caused by Mexicans, China, immigrants, blacks, people of color generally, and working women who take men’s jobs…
Divide and conquer the working class.
Taking off the blinders
During his campaign, at least Trump called out elite Republicans who only help elite interests, while ignoring working Americans.
Unfortunately, Trump joined the elites after taking office. I’m not sure why. Maybe policy just seems boring. Maybe he hoped to align with the powerful to keep power. Maybe he sought to enrich rich interests like himself.
But now even most Trump voters are rebelling against the latest Republican law that seeks to fund tax cuts for the rich with health care cuts to the rest of us. And they are bringing some moderate GOP Senators along with them.
Sneaking through an elite agenda
We’ll see if Republicans keep trying to sneak through an elite agenda. Examples:
- Voucherize (end) Social Security and Medicare
- Consumer protections cut so that corporate profits are gained by shackling the Consumer Protection Agency
- A right wing Supreme Court will ensure that big money becomes entrenched in politics, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.
- That same Supreme Court will make it more difficult for women to get birth control, a la the Hobby Lobby case.
- Then, women will have more children yet receive lower pay for equal work, if conservative Supreme Court rulings favoring Walmart over women are any indication.
- Meanwhile, Republicans want to cut taxes on the wealthiest and cut services for the rest of us.
I could go on…
They’ve already snuck through these changes:
- Environmental protections cut so that Big Oil and Coal profit while our air and water suffer. More hurricanes, tornadoes, and coastal flooding or drought and fires in the West… (Clean energy even creates more jobs!)
- Main Street will keep bailing out Wall Street via financial deregulation.
Call them on it
Call them on it advises the New York Times’ David Leonhardt.
- Where Republicans harm ordinary Americans, we must describe what’s really happening, clearly.
- And repeatedly!
What you can do
All of us must have conversations and write letters to the editor, or opinion pieces, or blog posts, or post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and call and write our Congress members…
…so that laws that help elites but hurt ordinary citizens don’t keep sneaking through.
Posted on June 29, 2017, in politics/class inequality and tagged activism, conservative, dominator versus partnership, Fighting a conservative agenda, Progressive, Why do working people vote for conservatives?. Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.
There is an interesting review in this week’s ‘Barron’s’ on a new book entitled, ‘White Working Class’ by Joan Williams (Harvard Business Review Press). The review by Joe Queenan is entitled, ‘Who Lost the White Working Class?, How the liberal ruling elite in America insulted and ignored a whole class of voters’.
A few months ago I sent the Harvard Business Review article to my local Congresswoman who is a Democrat.
Barron’s puts an interesting slant on it, given the title. Interesting because the Republican elite insults their voters by only doing what the top 0.1% want. That’s what the Republican primary favoring Trump was all about!
The Democrats actually do a lot for the working class, but much of the working class doesn’t know it because they only read right-wing media, which distracts them from the fact that the Republican elite ignore. The means of distraction: them by blaming women and people of color for the problems white men experience due to the massive redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the top of these last four years.
“Republican elite insults their voters by only doing what the top 0.1% want. ”
Survey: Majority Wants To Cut Immigration by Half or More: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/cis-majority-americans-want-cut-immigration-us-half-or-more
Hmm, which party wanted to cut immigration, open-borders Hillary or the other guy?
“by blaming women and people of color for the problems white men experience”
Even the majority of hispanics want immigration cut and illegals deported. Even on the fake theory that white Americans don’t want to do the jobs immigrants do, even the immigrants don’t want more immigrants because there are not enough jobs to go around.
The way that the Republican elite go against their voters — as Trump has trumpeted many times (and it’s one true thing he said) — is by working for tax cuts for billionaires funded by cost to policy and programs that serve ordinary Americans: a living wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid…
The US does need strong boarders and reasonable immigration — must have it for safety and healthy growth. That’s not what the Republican elite want — they want cheap labor — and especially cheap nonvoting labor.
The problem that the liberals face is that the policies which they back are not supported by big business. If you think about it, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions makes it harder to create energy using dirty methods such as coal and fossil fuels. This hurts the fossil fuel industry. Putting restrictions on industry to make it safer makes it more expensive to run. The entire foundation for liberal parties is using the money that the government has to make society a better place but by most of their policies going against big business, they do not have the enormous money that big business can bring. Instead, liberal politicians have to talk to many more people to get money because they have to talk to the everyday people to give them money instead of having big business and enormous Super PACs backing their race. The only people with lots of money that support liberals are individuals that are rich and liberal. Most coming from the technology industry which is predominantly liberal.
It depends on the business. The Fossil fuel industry is hurt by regulations that protect the air land and water so that the rest of us can live. But plenty of industries will be harmed by climate change like the tourism industry, Coca-Cola, and many more. Also businesses don’t do well with war zones and climate change will create more war zones as people fight over water in Times of drought.
Overall what happens is that many businesses benefit monetarily by lack of regulation while the rest of us suffer from air we can’t breathe, water we can’t drink, pharmaceuticals we can’t trust, food we can’t trust …
And then we die sooner have higher medical costs… And wealthy interests don’t want Americans to have affordable health care either!
All so that the rich can get richer at our expense.
The Dems are finally beginning to accept the reasons for their failure to win working class votes. Please link: https://www.rt.com/usa/397375-democrats-workers-trump-russia-deal/
Yeah, The irony is that the Democrats are better on policy for working people but they are not so good at the message. I work with members of Congress. In fact I’m flying back home from Washington DC – at the airport – right now. When I talk to Democrats about things like the Child tax credit, earned income tax credit – no one who is working for a living should be living in poverty, and affordable insurance even if your employer cant cover you, The Democrats are all for it and the Republicans just want to talk to credits for the wealthy.
I’m glad that Dems are getting better at messaging.
In my view, a lot of working class people (especially white blue collar workers or proletariat) have deserted the democratic party because the democratic party deserted them. In the past election cycle, I do not remember Clinton wooing white working class voters at all. Instead, it seemed she thought she would win based upon putting together a coalition of various groups including blacks, Hispanics, women and LGBT. She also did not want to alienate the business class by appearing strongly pro-union. Do you remember her (or other democratic party candidates for the House or Senate) taking strong pro-union or working class stands? I don’t with the exception of Bernie Sanders (whom the party leadership tried to undermine).
I do remember a lot of talk about Clinton speeches to Wall St. groups and her unwillingness to release the content of those speeches.
Hillary Clinton’s policy was actually much more pro-worker than Donald Trump’s was. If you looked at his website, His economic policy was very slim and pretty much only focused on tax cuts for the rich. Hillary talked about something called “middle-out” which meant to get money in worker pockets through things like infrastructure jobs and the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit which would increase consumer spending which would help sales and profits. So it works for both workers and businesses. She also felt that there should be more profit-sharing with workers instead of management and owners taking pretty much everything.
But she didn’t talk about that nearly as much as she talked about “Stronger together.”
And you are right about the speeches. But then Donald Trump complains about Wall Street and then aligns with them the minute he gets into office. On Day 1 he deregulated Wall Street — which means Main Street will bail out Wall Street again.
“Hillary talked about something called “middle-out””
Middle-out can only work when you have strong borders and trade protection. Why? Because businesses being forced to pay higher wages can only work if there are no illegal immigrants willing to work for cash under the table, and there is no possibility to move your operation to Mexico where there is no middle-out and no penalty of trade barriers.
Now let me see, which candidate was in favour of strong borders and trade protection, which candidate was therefore the TRUE middle-out candidate? Ah yes, Trump.
What if you attempt middle-out without borders and trade-protection? What you actually get is hollow-out. Hollowing out the middle class by exporting industry.
“She also felt that there should be more profit-sharing with workers instead of management and owners taking pretty much everything.”
Aka, communism. How did Hillary propose to institute this communist policy? Nationalisation perhaps?
“which means Main Street will bail out Wall Street”
Do you therefore agree that Obama shouldn’t have bailed out Wall Street?
Immigration isn’t really the problem because most immigrants do jobs that Americans won’t do: pick fruit and vegetables, housekeeping and nanny for almost no pay. They survive by everyone working and having two or three families in the same apartment.
I don’t like this situation because it exploits poor people economically who can’t even vote. But right now people are going back to Latin America more than they are coming here.
Trade protection just backfires because other countries put up more boundaries too.
And the biggest problem facing working Americans is automation. Even if we stop immigration or sending jobs overseas robots will eventually take over all the jobs.
That’s why we are going to need a minimum income for All-Americans or the economy will implode. The minimum income should be accompanied by incentives for work (we will still need some workers).
“immigrants do jobs that Americans won’t do: pick fruit and vegetables, housekeeping and nanny for almost no pay.”
Are you serious? You just refuted your own argument. Of course Americans don’t want to do jobs for “almost no pay”. Now why do these jobs pay almost nothing? Because of Immigrants! Supply and demand and all that. If you flood the market with supply, prices drop.
I need not point out that in times past Americans did pick vegetables, and the reason was that it was a good paying job. With no trade barriers, and illegal immigrants, obviously it isn’t a good paying job. Now imagine an America with no cheap imports and no illegal immigrants. Will Americans choose to starve, or will they choose to pay Americans a fair wage for picking vegetables?
“Trade protection just backfires because other countries put up more boundaries too.”
So your great plan is to surrender the world to a race to the bottom. When everyone is earning $1 a day, maybe then you’d be happy.
What country if not the US is well placed to not care? The country exporting high technology has no competitors. OK, so let’s say the US puts a trade tariff on cheap fruit from Mexico, and Mexico puts a trade barrier from the US on computers, aircraft and medical equipment. Mexico is never going to develop a computer, aircraft and medical equipment industry anyway, so it’s irrelevant. If they want to put a barrier on US cars, who cares the car companies wanted to move to Mexico anyway, so you’ve at least stopped them moving their US-sold cars.
“Even if we stop immigration or sending jobs overseas robots will eventually take over all the jobs.”
In the scenario that robots manufacture everything, your one and only hope for any kind of social justice is having the factories in the country where you can exert some influence over them. The only way you can do that is with tariffs and trade barriers.
“That’s why we are going to need a minimum income for All-Americans or the economy will implode.”
That’s a suicide note for America without trade barriers. Hmm, should I pay Americans $20 an hour to make cars or Mexicans $1 an hour? No trade barriers = Mexico.
I think that everyone should be paid a decent wage and not be exploited by those at the top who have the power to keep all the $ for themselves. If all full-time workers were paid a living wage then it wouldn’t be a race to the bottom.
Sales and profits would also go up because people would have money to spend. And then you’d have more hiring, and more people would have more money to spend, And the economy would expand.
But like I said the biggest problem is that most jobs will be automated at some point. That means we will probably need to have some minimum salary for everyone or the economy will collapse.
Since automation creates a redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the top the money would have to come thru a tax on those who gained all the wealth in that redistribution.
“If all full-time workers were paid a living wage then it wouldn’t be a race to the bottom.”
But you can’t influence other countries! So you have to choose between artificially increasing wages through regulation and having free trade. You can’t have both! You can’t force Mexico to pay according to US regulation. All you can do is have your regulation BUT stop Mexican goods at the border to protect local workers. You can’t completely defy reality!
“But like I said the biggest problem is that most jobs will be automated at some point. That means we will probably need to have some minimum salary for everyone or the economy will collapse.”
That’s a very contentious argument. If the entire economy is automated, and there is free market competition, then the marginal cost of producing something approaches zero, and therefore the cost to buy anything approaches zero. Therefore it becomes easier for poor people to buy stuff. And this is the capitalist argument, even when inequality increases, the poorest 20% or so are still better off and can buy more stuff than when inequality was less.
But let’s say you are onto something with this theory that we need a minimum salary because of automation. That is not going to fly at all if you can’t tax someone. You can’t tax someone if the means of production is outside the country. You can’t keep the means of production in the country without trade barriers. Enter the need for Trump, and the need to not allow Hillary to run the country, when she has said openly that she doesn’t want any borders or trade barriers. That’s a national suicide note with or without automation.
“That’s a very contentious argument. If the entire economy is automated, and there is free market competition, then the marginal cost of producing something approaches zero, and therefore the cost to buy anything approaches zero. Therefore it becomes easier for poor people to buy stuff.”
If people don’t have a job they can’t buy stuff. Do you think that companies are really going to make stuff and give it away for free? Why bother making anything?
The taxes would be on those who have gained all the wealth from productivity gains — the top 0.1%. As you fire a lot of workers and have robots working all of the profits go to that top 0.1% and the workers have no money. We can either have a tax on those who have taken all the wealth or the economy will collapse.
This title really jumped out to me as something that has struck me in the past, particularly in this election cycle. In this latest election Trump, a man perhaps previously best known for his enormous wealth and lavish lifestyle, managed to market himself to working class people. This went so far as Trump being referred to as a “blue-collar billionaire, a phrase that clearly contradicts itself. One of the things that clearly jumped out at me was the concept that working class voters are convinced to vote conservative by this method of “dividing and conquering the working class”. By blaming things on other factions of the working class an us v. them mentality is truly developed. This division leads to partisanship and with these divisions, an even further shift from the possibility of a liberal vote as Platts links liberalism and a partnership mindset. Another concept that seemed to have clearly been proven time and time again was conservatives “using words that hide what they seek”. In addition to the clear examples given in the article of legislation being phrased and arranged to almost “sneak” though changes that will detriment the people who vote for them, an example being the environmental cuts, things as simple as the phrases chosen to describe these acts jumped out at me. A striking example was the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) originally introduced in 1996. By referring to something as the “defense of marriage”, it creates the positive sense of protecting a right. In fact, DOMA worked to ban same sex couples from the right to marry. Through actions as simple as finger pointing and word choice, conservatives manage to convince working class people to continue to serve their agenda while voting against programs that would benefit them.
Yeah, I’ll be writing about this more but if you look at the history of today’s conservative movement it looks roughly like this:
First some selfish people who inherited their wealth — sat on their butts, didn’t have to work for it — the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, John Olin, for instance — began lobbying Congress via legalized bribery (campaign contributions).
But even more importantly, they created think tanks to message things so that working-class people would vote against their own interests and in the interest of the wealthy. They pay Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity about $2 million a year.
The think tanks did a couple of things to wedge working class people away from their own economic interests:
1) aligned with Christian conservatives on things like antiabortion and anti-gay-rights
2) aligned with cultural conservatives so that they would blame women and minorities instead of policy that favored the wealthy for their problems.
Since they started doing that we have seen a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the top 1%.
It all seemed to be backfiring on them during the 2016 race when Donald Trump started pointing out that congressional Republicans only do policy that helps the elite. But once elected he aligned with the elite on everything from healthcare to taxes to Wall Street regulations to environmental policy.
For more See a book called “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer.
I find it rather odd that you think that without Koch “dark money”, it wouldn’t occur to Christian conservatives to vote against progressive pro-abortion or pro-gay parties. If the left wasn’t pro all sorts of ideas that all traditional societies have shunned, you probably would have convinced people by now to institute the soviet state. In other words, the left has wedged themselves with a grab bag of ideas that almost everyone can sort through and find something in there repugnant. If the left weren’t so obsessed repeating the mantra that traditional America is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic etc, Trump wouldn’t have won.
In other news, Harvard academics recruited by hard left forces in Australia to prove that public service recruitment was sexist and racist totally backfired, and proved that the only group that are oppressed are white men: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/bilnd-recruitment-trial-to-improve-gender-equality-failing-study/8664888
You completely misunderstand me. I’m not saying that people are against abortion because of Koch money. You have the order all wrong. If you read “Dark Money” you will learn this:
The Koch brothers want to get rid of all public education, any regulations that protect people’s health (EPA) or safety in the workplace, or their finances — no more Wall Street regulation. They want to get rid as consumer protections.
No living wage — no fair sharing of profits with the workers who help create them: union bust, against min wage, against earned income tax credit… Offshore jobs, tax loopholes and shelters for wealthy…
All of those things hurt us but help the bottom line of the Koch brothers.
When most Americans will be hurt by all this how do you get them to vote with you?
1) start promoting things that the Christian Coalition already likes, like anti-gay-rights and antiabortion and anti-birth control. That way you wedge them away from their natural interests.
2) start distracting them from the real harm that has caused a tremendous redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top 1% — almost all the gains of the last 40 years have gone to the top 1% as we get rid of government intervention — and then distract them by accusing blacks, immigrants, and women of “taking white men’s jobs.”
No wonder the Democrats have a hard time winning when they are for equality regardless of gender and race — the Koch brothers and their ilk have done a remarkable job of distracting people from the real cause of their problems.
America was the healthiest and happiest in the 1950s when we were the most socialist.
The happiest countries in the world are today a happy medium between peers socialism and pure capitalism: the Scandinavian countries. They have some of the best economies in the world too.
I would be interested to see how the study you site was conducted. Consider that a woman has taken time off from work and stay home with children for several years and then reapplies for job. Something that women often do but all the employer seizes a gap in work. She will be less likely to be hired.
Groups like the Koch brothers even pay for research — bad research — that will support their theories. How is this research funded?
And then there is this quote from the article, “Professor Hiscox said he discussed the trial with the ABS and did not consider it a rigorous or randomised control trial.”
Other endeavors have found that women are hired at much higher rates in blind recruitment. When orchestra members try out behind a screen women are much more likely to be hired. In the past some women have changed their names to a man’s name because they couldn’t get published otherwise: George Sand and George Eliot for instance. Now there books are classics.
A Professor from Stanford who is transgender said that one day he was lecturing to a group of peers Post-transition and heard one of them say, “He is so much better than his sister!” He is “his sister”!
It’s pretty interesting to see that conservative people and liberal people have such large differences in why they vote the way they do. I agree with the idea that the way conservatives take a stance, portrays their desire to keep programs and benefits exclusive and accessible to those that are like them. The higher-income population has mostly been supporting the Republican party acts like same-sex marriage, privatization of the school system, and inaccessible health care/social security. They are the ones that are able to afford good health care and private schools, so it seems likely that they believe those in the higher wealth classes are the only ones who are deserving of these benefits. Liberals, on the other hand, are more adamant about obtaining equality for everybody in the community instead of discriminating those holding different socio-economic statuses.
Thanks for your thoughtfulness.
Carol, it sounds like you want to institute the Soviet state where the “community” doesn’t give different amounts of stuff to people with different “socio-economic status”. Am I reading you right?
Generally speaking, when a person is “invested” in something, whether it be a religion, ideology, social status, political persuasion, or tribe, he or she stays invested and becomes almost incapable of critical thinking / seeing flaws in his or her investment. As the old joke says, denial isn’t a river in Egypt — it’s the symptom of a closed mind.
I suspect that this is a very important factor.
It doesn’t have to be. I grew up Republican and argued with one of my teachers who talked about everything that was good about the left and that about right. (I also had a teacher who did the opposite: talked about everything that was good about the right and bad about the left — these two guys are best friends.)
Unlike most people, I guess, I’m fascinated by paradigm shifts and seek them out. I love the feeling of getting outside the box.
Yes, and no group of people have more closed minds than those on the Left.
If the policies of the Left are so great, then why are conservatives wining state legislatures and other local races? It is because we have better policies that work better for average citizens.
I live in Maryland a solid blue state. We have a Republican governor. His popularity is now over 70%. He came in and rolled back over 30 lousy tax increases of Martin O’Malley (who also ran for Dem nomination). You want to see what Democrat policies do for average citizens? I encourage you to come to Baltimore. Take a look!!!!
This idea that Democrat policies benefit working people is a crock of shit. All Democrats want to do is take from those who work and give it to the laziest and most unproductive members of society. Just a vote buying strategy.
This is why you have a party with 25 members proposing some stupid bill to remove Trump from office. Yet this same party could only get 4 votes for cutting off funding for sanctuary cities or few votes for jailing illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes and come back to this country after being deported.
This is why people vote for Republicans. The Democrats have abandoned all common sense. But, one should not be surprised as this is now an emotionally-driven party dominated by the most emotional groups in society (women, Blacks, gays, feminist men, etc). The “protected” classes of America who get to say and do anything they feel like without repercussions.
The tide is turning. Just give it time. The Democrat Party is slowing committing suicide.
Why are Republicans winning everything?
You need to read a book called “Dark Money.”
It talks about how some wealthy interests like the Koch brothers funds not only campaigns but right-wing media to convince people to vote against their own interests.
They create policy that hurts working people (removing Wall St regulations, for instance; refusing to pay working people for the profits they help to create…) but then blame immigrants, blacks, Women taking jobs from men.
A lack of environmental policy helps their bottom line. But it hurts the rest of our health and our pocketbooks. But they message so that people vote in the interest of the Koch Brothers, and against their own interests. They will say that renewables take away jobs. But Solar energy alone employs more people than all the fossil fuels combined.
By the way, I’m getting too much eyestrain from reading too much and I’m am going to need to only read and improve comments that are very short for a while. So please try to be concise or I won’t be able to read your posts. And I do like reading them. But this is why I am only going to be posting twice a week for at least a while.
A truly depressing list of what to expect from our current government. The only thing that protects us is how dysfunctional the GOP appears to be in its role of ruling party.
I wonder if some Trump voters are getting a little confused. They voted for Trump and yet both of Republican healthcare bills (Trumpcare) have approval ratings of only about 17%. And that’s because they so obviously help the wealthiest and hurt the rest of us.
I’ve heard that the level of Trump’s approval by his base has largely dropped from “strongly” to “somewhat” among his supporters.
I read about one Kentucky voter who had voted for McConnell but just hated his healthcare bill — which will really harm Kentuckians because about 1/3 of the state depends on Medicaid.
I saw one story that said McConnell has the lowest approval rating of any senator.
I hope his constituents will catch on that he is aligned with elite interests, not theirs.
In my country I find that people don’t necessarily vote for one of the conservative parties because of conservative convitions, it seems to be a result of conservative communication strategy. For example, in advance of our upcoming 2017 election, conservatives have had great success by describing “lefties” as old fashioned and “moving the country backwards”. Many people tend to buy too easily into this strategy without actually making sure what they vote for.
That parallels what’s happening here. Republicans “Sell” the country on the idea that Democrats want to help lazy poor people (particularly black and brown people and women), not you (white males).
Actually, Democrats try to make sure that the working class — regardless of race or gender — are well-treated. But the racism and sexism on the right is really effective distraction. Which, of course, backfires as the elite get what they want and everyone else is ignored.
Divide and conquer the working class… exactly…. It seems that blaming Others could work for working people. Interestingly enough, as you have highlighted, they will be the first Affected by the neoliberal policies of the ruling classes. I think there is something about Trump´s “republican populism” (that´s an interesting concept: I have just made it up: I am not sure it makes sense). Protectionism and.. a sort of Keynesianism speech that might help him.. as those working classes would firstly believe that mexicans and Chinese are stealing Jobs, cooling the economy and indirectly carrying a generalized recession in the consumption.
“Charismatic leaders” such as Hitler knew how to blame others, too… When the Germans lost the First World War, the people felt resentful. And as you know resentment is the mother of all evil. To defend a closed economy, as trump does is something that many populist leaders do. If they are Democrats or from the Left wing, there could be benefits for the working classes (It could lead to social achievements)… In other cases, the speech seem to lead to worse places…
Great post dear Georgia… Sending all my best wishes. 🙂
Scapegoating is a common way of gaining power for yourself/powerful elites while distracting the masses. Not an uncommon thing for dictators, or dictator-wannabes, to do. I am a little relieved to see a drop of support for Trump — if in enthusiasm if not in absolute terms — so soon.
I’m hoping that we will eventually get some leadership that is truly good for the people, hopefully sooner than later.
A question that has been posed quite frequently in the UK recently is “Why do people who want to keep the National Health Service vote Conservative?”
The Conservatives are determined to completely dismantle the National Health Service.
It’s mostly Trump voters who will be hurt if Trump signs this bill he’s pushing.
Nearly 1/3 of citizens from Mitch McConnell’s state would lose healthcare, for instance!
I suspect neither party represent those whose work, so when the country swings to far left, they vote right. Rest assured, when the country swings too far right, they will vote left. Those who always vote left or those who always vote right; are not the ones who decide the direction of the country. Of course, I could be wrong; I entertain that possibility.
I think that that is how the matter is widely seen. Because I work with Congress I see things differently.
I meet with members of Congress on issues that help working Americans. Democrats have always gotten on board — but Republicans say no to:
– increasing child tax credits
– expanding the earned income tax credit which ensures that no one who is working for a living is living in poverty
– childcare help for working women
– education and retraining, which helps workers find new jobs or even move up the ladder
– infrastructure jobs that give good pay to workers
And a variety of other issues.
But, very recently the GOP did get on board with expanding the earned income tax credit. (I had recommended that Democrats lobby their business lobbyists on this issue — when working people have money in their pockets they spend it and sales and profits increase — works for everyone. Can’t say for sure that this was due to that lobbying effort but there is a correlation to Republican support.)
Historically, Republicans only help wealthy interests (as Trump pointed out in his campaign) and then distract working Republicans from this fact by blaming immigrants, Mexico, China, blacks, working women… for their problems. This appeals to people who tend toward racism and sexism, but it actually ends up backfiring on them.
“but Republicans say no to…”
Well, you know… to implement more tax credits the government would have to borrow money, which would have to be paid back by future generations with interest. That’s not necessarily going to benefit the person you’re giving the money to if you tank the economy 10 years from now.
I mean, you seem to be all in favour of increasing electricity costs through buying new wind farms because of fear climate change will in the future tank the economy, but that’s precisely the same argument as not giving out free money now to avoid tanking the future economy.
I mean, come on, it’s a bit more complicated than painting Republicans as Uncle Scrooge who won’t give out free money. As Thatcher used to say, socialism is fine until you run out of other people’s money.
Democratic socialism is working just fine. Sweden has one of the strongest economies in the world.
What you describe is a misunderstanding of how Socialism can work when it’s not extreme.
And it will cost us more to pay for increased damage from the oceans rising up to 160 feet, more and fiercer hurricanes and tornadoes, massive heat waves, and drought in the west which means we must spend more money for dams, trucking water in, desalination…
It costs a lot less to support new technologies that our earth-friendly. And that create jobs. Solar alone creates more jobs than all the fossil fuel companies combined.
No, the world is not conservative/dominator, progressive/partnership. There are multiple political axis, the 2 most common ones are conservative vs progressive and authoritarian vs libertarian. You can plot yourself against both axis. So you have authoritarian left (Stalin, Pol Pot), authoritarian right (Thatcher), libertarian left (Ghandi) and libertarian right (Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman).
I would argue it is actually the left which is weighted heavily towards authoritarian/dominator, and the reason is simple: The left is not really happy with natural inequalities. To “fix” what they perceive as a problem, they need authoritarian power and to dominate the opposition. That’s why communist totalitarian states have been far more numerous in history than totalitarian right wing. Even Hitler wasn’t especially right wing, his party was of course called “socialist”.
So why do many workers vote Republican? Because their commitment to libertarianism is bigger than their commitment to the other axis. And the Democrats are utterly beholden to authoritarian leftism, which wasn’t the case decades ago. Hillary is the queen bee of authoritarian leftism.
You can get an indication of your political compass here : (https://www.politicalcompass.org/). BTW, I rated as centre left libertarian.
“liberals expect government to create equal opportunity by working against sexism, racism and homophobia. And classism”
That’s not what liberalism means. Liberalism is a commitment to individualism and liberty. As the name suggests, it is associated with the authoritarian/liberty spectrum NOT the left right spectrum. The conservative party in Australia is the Liberal party, because its devoted to individualism and freedom. The left wing party, devoted to unionism and excessive obsession with sexism, racism etc is the other party. So basically, I am a liberal, and you are not really because you want heavy handed government intervention based on classes of people, not individuals. In fact, identity politics is anti-liberal because it is based on classes of people, the entirely opposite philosophy of individual based liberalism.
“Divide and conquer the working class.”
Very much the catch cry of the authoritarian left, not the liberal left.
Until the Democrats pull back from hard authoritarians, I predict they won’t be getting anywhere near the white house. They will have to decide between economically social politics and the authoritarianism of identity politics, because I predict the American people might want the former, but won’t stomach the latter.
Libertarianism sounds like liberty but it ends up being liberty for the powerful and domination for everyone else. That’s a domination culture, my friend.
Libertarians say there’s a trade off between liberty and equality. But that only sees things from the perspective of the powerful.
Rand Paul was against the 1964 civil rights act because that would remove Liberty in service of equality.
But it only took away liberty of powerful White people to deny Rights to powerless blacks. Whites could tell blacks they can’t go into a restaurant or get a bank loan or use the bathroom at a gas station.
All of this limited the liberty of Black people.
Seen through a different perspective — the perspective of people who are more powerless — equality expands liberty. As blacks gained more equality they had much more liberty to travel where they wanted, eat at restaurants they want to eat at, get a good education, get a bank loan…
Libertarianism — refusing to use government to increase equality — keep’s power with the powerful and keeps the disempowered disempowered.
Depending on the time and place you’re looking at, blacks would still be enslaved, women would still be disenfranchised, and few of us would be educated. All of which is immensely disempowering.
Given US history of sexism and racism and adding the wealthy working in their own interests, libertarianism would promote the rule of men over women, Whites over blacks, rich over poor. Domination culture.
Otherwise, you are ignoring two distinctions: money vs politics.
Democracies are partnership cultures and totalitarianism is domination culture.
With money you can have socialism and it may be democratic or not. Stalin and Lennon were socialism but not democracy. They were dominator culture.
Nazis and China today are capitalism coupled with totalitarianism. (Nazis called themselves socialist because it was a popular idea in Europe at the time, But they were actually capitalist).
And you can have democracies with either capitalism or socialism. Socialist democracies include Sweden and Norway versus a capitalist democracy like the United States.
The happiest people live in democratic socialist countries: the top five usually include of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Clinton promotes a system closer to Sweden. But not as close to Sweden as Bernie Sanders promotes. But a democracy that works against the domination of men over women, white over blacks, rich over poor.
Ah, I feel a blog post arising. Maybe more than one.
“Libertarianism is a domination culture, my friend.”
I see. So what you’re saying is Freedom is Slavery. Black is white.
“Whites could tell blacks they can’t go into a restaurant or get a bank loan or use the bathroom at a gas station.”
Capitalism doesn’t care about your skin colour. If there’s a profit to to be made, someone will sell you food or gas. Anyone who won’t sell you food or gas will go out of business. The reason segregation existed was because of authoritarianism, not libertarianism. In other words, it existed because of state laws and government interference. And those states were democratic. The tyranny of the majority. Democracy is no guarantee of liberty. Hitler was elected democratically. But there is no way Germans would have done what they did without Hitler exerting authoritarianism. Economically Hitler was neither left nor right. It was the other axis that led to destruction.
You’ve fallen for the mythology that to give one group freedom, you must take away someone else’s freedom, but that’s not so. It just shifts the tyranny somewhere else. And you’ve presented zero evidence that any of it was really necessary.
“Depending on the time and place you’re looking at, blacks would still be enslaved, women would still be disenfranchised, and few of us would be educated. All of which is immensely disempowering.”
Nonsense, slavery can only exist with an authoritarian state willing to enforce authoritarian laws. In a libertarian state where the individual is free to do what he/she wants, slavery can’t exist by definition. And in a libertarian state, what stops anyone becoming educated?
“Democracies are partnership cultures and totalitarianism is domination culture.”
Yet the US was a democratic state which at one time enforced slavery. So clearly democracy is not the same as freedom.
“And you can have democracies with either capitalism or socialism. Socialist democracies include Sweden and Norway versus a capitalist democracy like the United States.”
Sweden and Norway are capitalist. Historically I would have classified them as centre left/libertarian and it is from left/libertarianism that they achieved the success they did. However I’m concerned that they are now moving towards left/authoritarian, and disquiet is increasing. People are now scared about what they can or can’t say which wasn’t the case 10-20 years ago. So they’ve gained nothing economically, because they were already economically ok. But they have lost freedom, and happiness is decreasing. Look how Sweden is dropping like a stone through the rankings: https://www.thelocal.se/20160316/swedes-drop-to-worlds-tenth-happiest-country
So Sweden was great and wonderful, now they are screwing it all up with feminism and identity politics.
No, there is zero upside to living in an authoritarian state, it doesn’t matter if it’s Hitler or Stalin or Mao, or Hillary, or Sweden’s long march from liberty to authoritarian. It all ends in misery.
I’m saying that if you are powerful equality may well limit your freedom. And since we see from the eyes of the powerful that’s what most people believe.
But if you see from the eyes of the less powerful you find that more equality means more freedom.
As women have more equality they have more freedom to vote, get good paying jobs, be self-sufficient, be free from harassment…
But men do have less freedom to sexually harass and pay women less.
As blacks move into equality and leave (depending on the historical point of time) slavery, segregation, discrimination… They gain more freedom to vote, get good paying jobs, be self-sufficient, be free from harassment…
But whites have less freedom to discriminate.
But interestingly men and whites also profit from a stronger economy, and are happier and healthier — as you see from societies that have highly equality: They are healthier and happier. Everyone wins!