This gets to an issue I’ve long had with the whole “voting against their economic interests” argument: I don’t think it’s true. Seriously now, try to answer this question in a concrete way: if you were an average joe in a rural part of the South or the Midwest, how would it help you to vote for a Democrat? What would you get out of it?
A higher minimum wage? Maybe, but even in the rural South most people already make more than the minimum wage. Medicare and Social Security? They already exist. Money for roads? Republicans do that too. More labor friendly laws? That doesn’t resonate much in the South, and in any case they probably don’t believe that Dems can deliver on that anyway.
So exactly what economic interests are they voting against? Forget the Krugmanesque (or Drumesque) arguments about regressive taxes or rising income inequality. They may be true, but they’re way too abstract. If you want to convince these guys that their economic interests lie with Democrats, we need to offer them something real: local clinics, free healthcare, tax rebates, something. Right now, I don’t think these voters believe that Democrats are actually promising anything that would make a genuine difference in their lives.
While there is no way I can sate my anger over the fiscal irresponsibility by the Republican Congress and the current administration, it is clear that the Democrats really don’t plan to be any better- al least their instinct is to spend just as much, if we are to believe Kevin. They just have different spending priorities.
An argument over who should be given vast transfers of taxpayer wealth and for what is not the argument we should be having with a $400 billion dollar annual deficit.
*** Update ***
No sooner do I write this post than a package comes to my door. What is in the package? A complimentary copy of What’s the Matter With Kansas.