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September 23, 2008

Why Republicans?

Many liberals simply can't fathom why many folks, especially working-class and minorities, vote for Republicans. I find it difficult to rationalize their decision to, as I see it, vote for those whose policies are in direct opposition to their financial, civil, and personal well being. Don't we liberals fight for the right of the oppressed? Don't our policies support the middle- and lower-classes better? Aren't freedom, justice, health care, the environment, and education important to everyone? I honestly want to know.

In thinking about this, I stumbled upon a couple of articles, one thoughtful, the other bellicose, but both complementary, that look at this liberal dilemma: Why does a constituency that one would predict to be strongly left-leaning elect right-wing politicians?

First the thoughtful one:

"But with pleasure comes seduction, and with righteous pleasure comes seduction wearing a halo. Our diagnosis explains away Republican successes while convincing us and our fellow liberals that we hold the moral high ground. Our diagnosis tells us that we have nothing to learn from other ideologies, and it blinds us to what I think is one of the main reasons that so many Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by Democrats. To see what Democrats have been missing, it helps to take off the halo, step back for a moment, and think about what morality really is."

More here: Why do working class people vote Republican?

Now the angry, but insightful, analysis:

"However: the happy comity that allows us to function as social and political animals inevitably falls apart when one group pulls away from the collective whole and decides that there are in fact two kinds of people in the world -- a righteous Us, and a suspect Them -- and They aren't worthy of respect, cannot be trusted, and should rightly be purged from our midst for the good of the whole. Whenever the name of the political game becomes Us Versus Them, the resulting divisions can quickly shred any sense of shared identity or common future. Nobody wants to invest in anything. Infrastructure and economies fall apart. In short order, the escalating internal conflicts can tear apart families, communities, and nations far more effectively than any external enemy ever could."

More here: Two Kinds of Americans: Us Versus Them (Part I)

Posted by tat at September 23, 2008 09:08 PM

James Slack had an interesting idea about this, which makes a lot of sense. A lot of what Republicans do mostly (or only) benefits the rich. People like to cling to the idea that anyone can make big in this country, especially with the three L's: Las Vegas, Lawyers and the Lotto. So, a person may be mired in the lower class, but they think: "Hmmm... If I strike it rich, I don't want to pay lots of taxes either," and other such things. So they support ideals and plans they may never benefit them.

Also, they get bombarded with arguments that seem logical to people who like to be spoon-fed their logic. Here is my favorite example: "If we get nationalized healthcare, all the best doctors will get out of the business all the best potential doctors won't go into the business because they're only in it for the money." Who says that national healthcare can't pay doctors well? But the argument makes sense to them, so they'd rather continue to get screwed on their insurance.

Posted by: ToddDrevers at September 26, 2008 07:17 AM

I think the Republican base has more fear of diversity and seeks leadership who promises predictable ideology that does not change. Their need for maintaining this delusion seems to be greater than their other survival instincts.

Black/ White
Red, White and Blue
Me, Good; You, Bad

Posted by: Suzanne Gentling at October 10, 2008 10:51 AM
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