The American Electorate...
(posted by C)
It's almost October of a presidential election year. A question less timely, and easy to ignore during other times and other years-- and who could blame us for ignoring it, because the answer is so profoundly depressing-- rears its head and is brought into focus once again: Who are the electorate?
We can break voters down into a few broad categories. (Yes, we can, and we will
. And it will be instructive, and enlightening. So there!)
First, there are those who chronically vote Democratic. The bulk of Democratic votes are cast by poor and middle class voters who recognize that there own economic interests and social well being are served by voting for Democrats. (Plus there are a few who just find Republican politicians creepy-- and for good reason because, let's face it, they are
These poor and middle class voters are led/ruled/financed by a handful of do-gooder, cheese sipping, latte munching, elitist overlords, just like the Republicans say they are.
Fine. None of these people are scary. They are understandable, predictable, benign.
Next, there are those who chronically vote Republican. First among them are who we can call The Stepford Christians or the American Taliban-- the kind of fundamentalists who feel good about Sarah Palin purely because of her religious beliefs. They don't care that she's ditzy and unqualified because they think the end times are near anyhow. They want the United States to be a Christian Nation, Christian values to be U.S. law.
That's spooky enough. But the AT somehow exist in the same party with another, seemingly unrelated group of voters, whose defining characteristic is an economic philosophy so reactionary that they want to de-regulate commerce, de-tax the rich, and de-fund the government until we enter into a kind of corporate feudalism. The Great Depression taught them nothing; the Savings and Loan debacle taught them nothing; and the trillion dollar banking bail out will teach them nothing.
Those unlikely allies are somehow allied with another seemingly unrelated group, the Hammer contingent. They're the folks who believe every problem can be fixed with a hammer. They are the kill it, bomb it, shoot it voters. They vote Republican because it's the throw-the-bastards-in-jail party, the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" party, the party of Blowing Shit Up.
And of course these rank and file Republicans have their own overlords, too: the Country Club meeting, economy plundering, blood of the workers swilling, interlocking corporate boards running, richer-than-God people, who don't give a rat's ass about any of the issues that motivate their voters, and merely abuse their credulity, by running politicians who win elections on the issues their base cares about, and then turn around and do whatever the hell they are told to do by those richer-than-God elites.
Now, these chronically Republican voters, unlike chronically Democratic voters, are
scary. And somehow there are just about as many of them as there are people who vote their economic self-interest.
Next, there are the undecided and swing voters. The undecideds are mostly people who digest so little political information that they don't know enough about the candidates and issues (even at this late point) to make up their minds. (Or are they engaged in some kind of profoundly complicated chess-like logic about issues and ramifications, five steps into the future, that we of lesser minds can only imagine? Nah, couldn't be.)
Swing voters are those who somehow waiver between the two parties, election after election. As if the distinctions between the parties are so obscure or slight that it requires careful consideration to tease them out and evaluate them every four years in the context of the current political climate. They have no sense that the two parties are really very different.
But they vote. (Shudder.)
I mean, come on. Reagan Democrats? Let's think about this a minute. That's like saying Mao Republicans, Jesus Satanists, Go Stoppers, No Yessers, White Blackers.
The chronically undecided, the swing voters, and the "Reagan Democrats" are people who will vote against their own economic self-interest because the other candidate projects a more macho image, or riddles his speeches with more references to God.
(Okay, in their defense, perhaps they have some of the reactionary attitudes that only the Republicans share-- racism, sexism, religious intolerance, etc., but still vaguely recognize that their economic interests lie with the Democrats. It must create cognitive dissonance of truly horrible proportions. I feel their pain. Or not.)
What's not just scary, but depressing is that these undecided and swing voting buffoons and ignoramuses have more power than the rest of us precisely because they can't be relied on to vote for one party or the other. They veer wildly between voting their irrational fears and prejudices, and voting their economic self-interest. The chronic Republican and Democratic voters get taken for granted, ignored, while the candidates have to focus on trying to sound bite or photo op their way into the hearts of these flighty, dimwitted, uninformed yahoos.
Of course there are fringe voters: Greenies, Libertarians, etc. But there frankly aren't enough of them to matter.
Oh, and then of course there are the people that don't vote. Lots of us! Most of us! What could possibly be the explanation for that? Is in anomie? Ennui? Something else French? Angst? Nausea? Mal de mer?
Well, that's the American electorate.
I need a drink.
Labels: American Electorate