Turkeys voting for Xmas: the American electorate

The Republicans’ shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US…

Only because of opportunist allegiance by both parties to anti-democratic rules in the Senate…

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal…

If people vote against their own interests, it is not because they do not understand what is in their interest or have not yet had it properly explained to them.

They do it because they resent having their interests decided for them by politicians who think they know best.

There is nothing voters hate more than having things explained to them as though they were idiots…

Even if the operative word is “ignoramus” instead of “idiot” – the result is the same.

For Drew Westen, stories always trump statistics, which means the politician with the best stories is going to win: “One of the fallacies that politicians often have on the Left is that things are obvious, when they are not obvious.

“Obama’s administration made a tremendous mistake by not immediately branding the economic collapse that we had just had as the Republicans’ Depression, caused by the Bush administration’s ideology of unregulated greed. The result is that now people blame him.”

Thomas Frank, the author of the best-selling book What’s The Matter with Kansas, is an even more exasperated Democrat and he goes further than Mr Westen.

He believes that the voters’ preference for emotional engagement over reasonable argument has allowed the Republican Party to blind them to their own real interests…

Right-wing politics has become a vehicle for channelling this popular anger against intellectual snobs. The result is that many of America’s poorest citizens have a deep emotional attachment to a party that serves the interests of its richest…

Thomas Frank says…”You vote to strike a blow against elitism and you receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our life times, workers have been stripped of power, and CEOs are rewarded in a manner that is beyond imagining.

“It’s like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy.”

As Mr Frank sees it, authenticity has replaced economics as the driving force of modern politics. The authentic politicians are the ones who sound like they are speaking from the gut, not the cerebral cortex. Of course, they might be faking it, but it is no joke to say that in contemporary politics, if you can fake sincerity, you have got it made.

Thanks, Jägermeister

3 thoughts on “Turkeys voting for Xmas: the American electorate

  1. Cinaedh says:

    So, the moral of this story is; you can get North Americans to believe any insane nonsense and vote for any mentally ill idjit — if the mentally ill idjit just screams gibberish long enough and loud enough?

    I really have to look into emigrating to Iceland. I really do.

    • Jägermeister says:

      If it was just North Americans… E.g. The Germans have a proven history of listening to stories instead of reason. A good story is more interesting than dry facts.

  2. Mr. Fusion says:

    An older gentleman I know is radically against universal healthcare. I always had a quiet chuckle knowing how this mid 70s man was covered by Medicare.

    A couple of days ago I learned that his wife died from injuries sustained by a drunken, uninsured driver. The medical bills bankrupted him and he lost his farm. Although this all happened nearly 20 years ago, before I first met him, the lesson wasn’t learned.

    What really angered me isn’t his denial of a social safety net that would have prevented this. (That farm had been in his family for well over 100 years.) It was that this isn’t the only similar story of bankruptcy I’ve personally learned of. I know of several others that have lost their houses and now live with relatives, or seen someone die because the insurance was inadequate or non existent.

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