It has always puzzled me why middle class and poor people vote Republican and support conservative ideals. Don’t they know which way their bread is buttered? Republicans mainly help the rich and special interests, which are the corporate rich. If you don’t have a pile of money to protect, or a business that you want the government to bestow special favors upon, then why go Republican? Well, this article from The New York Times, “Why Voters Tune Out Democrats” explains it very well. Stanley B. Greenberg has analyzed polls about voter attitudes and he sees trends why people are supporting conservatives, not just in the United States, but all over the world.
Republicans have always been anti big government, but it seems that people who previously voted Democratic are now developing their own anti-government bias, and they are moving to the Republican Party to join their anti-government stand. Greenberg suggests for the Democrats to fight back they need to deal with issues their voters are upset about. Even though a majority of voters support most of the policies of the Democrats, including social programs and rejecting tax-cuts, they are mad at the Democrats for several particular issues, and that’s making them swing to voting Republican. Those issues are:
- The government bailed out failing companies without punishing their executives
- Wall Street gets a free pass even when it brings down the economy
- Big businesses can get help from the government but not small businesses
- The banks and bankers were saved but not home owners
- The government is rigged for special interest groups
- The government supports globalization over American workers
- They don’t like illegal immigration
- Congress helps itself more than it helps the people (my cousin emailed me as I write this a protest promoting a 28th amendment advocating no pension/no tenure for congressmen)
Greenberg sees these as a trend. People resent the government acting unfairly, supporting special interest groups, and rewarding the unjust, privilege, incompetent, and underserving rather than helping the common American. Whether this is true or illusion doesn’t matter, it’s the perception in polls. And because Republicans, especially Tea Party voters, are so anti-government, that people who normally votes Democrat on other issues are moving into the conservative groups because of these perceptions.
What Greenberg recommends to the Democrats is they also get on a Fix Washington campaign too.
I’m against unfair practices too, but I’m not going to join the conservatives.
Personally, I blame all these issues on the Republicans anyway. I believe they are the party that set things up in Washington so special interests control the government. Of course the Democrats are not without blame. When they wanted the Republicans to vote on social programs they made deal with Republicans to support their big business goals. Now the Republicans are saying no more deals, no more compromises, because they have sensed they’ve got more of what the people want than the Democrats.
I think this New York Times article is very perceptive. I think we liberals need to see which way the wind is blowing, and WHY. This explains why so many Tea Party voters, many of which are ironically on social security and Medicare, are so riled up about big government politics at the moment.
I find our current political climate very unsettling and depressing. But maybe there’s a silver lining. Maybe all of this will lead to governmental reforms that will make us feel better about our rulers in Washington. Maybe I don’t really hate Republicans, maybe I just hate how big money has corrupted the government and special interest groups with money get more representation than they are due.
JWH – 8/1/11