The NYT published a column Friday that’s getting some attention: “Who Turned My Blue State Red? Why poor areas vote for politicians who want to slash the safety net,” (Alec MacGillis). The column touches on several controversial issues, including why the white working class seems to vote against its own interests and how Democrats can change the political calculus so that we not only elect presidents but give them a functional legislative branch.
The whole thing is worth a read IMO, but here are some excerpts below the fold:
It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net… The temptation for coastal liberals is to shake their heads over those godforsaken white-working-class provincials who are voting against their own interests.
But this reaction misses the complexity of the political dynamic that’s taken hold in these parts of the country. It misdiagnoses the Democratic Party’s growing conundrum with working-class white voters. And it also keeps us from fully grasping what’s going on in communities where conditions have deteriorated to the point where researchers have detected alarming trends in their mortality rates.
In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.
The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.[snip]
Where opposition to the social safety net has long been fed by the specter of undeserving inner-city African-Americans — think of Ronald Reagan’s notorious “welfare queen” — in places like Pike County [KY] it’s fueled, more and more, by people’s resentment over rising dependency they see among their own neighbors, even their own families.
“It’s Cousin Bobby — ‘he’s on Oxy and he’s on the draw and we’re paying for him,’” [Jim] Cauley [Democratic political consultant] said. “If you need help, no one begrudges you taking the program — they’re good-hearted people. It’s when you’re able-bodied and making choices not to be able-bodied.” The political upshot is plain, Mr. Cauley added. “It’s not the people on the draw that’s voting against” the Democrats, he said. “It’s everyone else.”
That tracks with my experience with rural working- and middle-class family members, many of whom have benefited from government assistance at some point in their lives, be it via Pell grants, unemployment insurance or WIC. Just as there’s no more zealous opponent of tobacco than a reformed smoker, these former dole recipients see current government check-cashers as weak-willed rather than needy.
I think MacGillis is exactly right about the shifting target of white working class contempt. The GOP has carried on Reagan’s tradition of stoking racial resentment with variations on the projects-dwelling, Cadillac-driving welfare queen trope, and that’s still a powerful meme for the IGMFY crowd.
But the “Cousin Bobby” who lives around the corner is perhaps even more damaging to Democrats’ prospects with white working class voters, and thanks to the decimation of the manufacturing economy, the rise of prescription drug abuse and a host of other factors (many brought on by run-amok plutocracy), there are more Cousin Bobbies than ever before.
One of my much-beloved aunts is a GOP voter of the exact type described in the article, a woman who bootstrapped her way into the middle-class via education — with help from the state! — and who has nothing but contempt for the “sorry” (her term) individuals who don’t follow a similar path and only scorn for any politician who wants to redirect a portion of her income to assist them.
How do we reach people like her? Well, it has been a multi-decade project of mine, and here’s my conclusion: We can’t.
You can point out a thousand times how minuscule a portion of government spending actually goes toward welfare assistance like food stamps. You can provide irrefutable evidence that the GOP uses wedge issues to keep the flow of cash and goodies channeled upward while doing fuck-all to address working-class concerns. You can emphasize that the country, indeed these folks themselves, prosper under Democrats and take a hit during Republican administrations.
It doesn’t matter. None of these facts has the visceral weight of the example of the never-married cousin with five children who lives down the road in a squalid trailer with her pill-head, disability check-collecting boyfriend.
I agree with the folks who advocate writing these voters off. But it’s important to remember they are only a subset of the white working class.
The NYT column’s author visited an Appalachian health clinic, where he met another subset:
In the spring of 2012, I visited a free weekend medical and dental clinic run by the organization Remote Area Medical in the foothills of southern Tennessee. I wanted to ask the hundreds of uninsured people flocking to the clinic what they thought of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, whose fate was about to be decided by the Supreme Court.
I was expecting a “What’s the Matter With Kansas” reaction — anger at the president who had signed the law geared to help them. Instead, I found sympathy for Mr. Obama. But had they voted for him? Of course not — almost no one I spoke with voted, in local, state or national elections. Not only that, but they had barely heard of the health care law.
If there’s any hope of turning red states blue again, it lies in mobilizing those non-voters. And as red regions implement shitty policies and turn into Kansas-style failed states, there will be an increasing number of red state citizens with a lot less to be complacent about.
Maybe that’s what happened in Louisiana last night — I don’t know. But I do know this: We need those votes. We can’t wait for demographics to save us.
Front page post of the year.
Just the other day I had my mother wonder aloud why a certain group can’t climb out of poverty.
She’s one Social Security check away from being homeless.
Thanks for the useful perspective. My father-in-law, a conservative Republican, used to rail against government waste, in particular welfare, even though one of his daughters had been on welfare for a while. I could never understand how he squared the circle. But now I think I might see the bigger picture.
Also thanks for the pointer to a local band, Southern Culture on the Skids, that I’d never heard of! Jeez, I am out of touch.
Great post but how do you mobilize non-voters of any color? The folks I know who don’t vote (Black Americans) do so out of a “my vote doesn’t matter/won’t make a difference” mentality. It’s hard to argue with such folks because you cannot motivate people who don’t understand the importance of each and every vote.
But you are correct that Democrats should try to come up with a strategy to convince non-voters that it is in their interest to vote for the Party which is at least trying to do some good.
From Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado:
@WereBear: Reminds me of Joe the Plumber who was worried about 1% problems when he was firmly part of the 99%. Seems like most Republican voters are dreamers versus realists.
This is a tough nut to crack.
I went into that article last night thinking it might have some nuggets of understanding. I thought it was a pretty shallow re-use of things most observers already know. The bottom line is you cannot change racist, misogynist, closed minds. Those that hate always are gonna hate. Better to spend our time getting Dem voters to the polls and making certain they CAN vote, then worry about small minded bigots. Even if they are cousin Bobbie.
@Patricia Kayden: I see it as a twisted form of realism from a sneaking suspicion of how thoroughly the deck is stacked against them.
They don’t feel anything can be done, but in their imagination, they will be saved. Not by someone helping them (and I was raised in the same laboring class defensive crouch, taught to not take tips on my paper route, FFS) but by their own hand.
This is the fantasy that sustains them. It doesn’t matter how many times a numerically literal person explains lottery ticket odds. The poor will still buy them. Likewise, they will pretend to be Republicans who need to worry about rich people’s concerns, someday.
Admitting they need help makes them feel rotten.
It’s because they believe what Fox tells them to believe, which is a hold-over from not so long ago when you knew whatever Walter Cronkite told you was true. It’s also because Fox manipulates the news so that only certain conclusions can be drawn. I think Fox was the first at this, but I’m not sure.
@WereBear: I meant “numerically literate”.
The thing that amazes me is I am in a blue state. Many in very red states get more in taxes than they pay.You want less government, fine, give my state back a dollar paid in taxes with a dollar in government programs!
Big ole hound
Ashamed to go to vote because “people” will harsh on them for supporting the people who allow them to exist. Nope. Seems to me it is a way to say thanks for the helping hand. Just a little politeness.
What I like about Bernie Sanders is that he is motivating people who have never voted before. It’s two thirds of the possible voters. This is how we can win.
And a civics lesson would not be remiss. I was chatting with a college student from an upper class family who was utterly ignorant of the fact that the President is not a king. That he needs help from the legislature to make laws. That he needs that legislature to be of the same party, or at least cooperative.
This is why Republicans removed Civics from the school curriculum.
I’m reminded of what Bill Clinton used to say that he was for those who ‘worked hard and played by the rules’. And there are many many people who work hard and play by the rules are struggling married couples with kids with 3 or 4 jobs between them who are one paycheck away from disaster. The GOP can say ‘you are playing by the rules – why pay taxes for Cousin Bobby’. And it works!
But Team Dem just doesn’t seem to want to push for that vote and they seem afraid to run on accomplishments. It’s all and well and good to say ‘the 1% have all the money’ or ‘raise the minimum wage’ or “no to TPP” but you don’t bring it down to this level. Team Dem needs to say ‘With Obamacare your kids will get medical attention if you lose your part time hours when the Kmart in town closes and you lose your part time job there’ ‘we need aftercare at your school open until 7pm so you don’t have to face the choice of getting your kids or leaving your job early and risk getting fired. It’s not the relatives of Cousin Bobby that are the problem its the DNC/Hillary advisors for not figuring this stuff out. The GOP may be evil and in the pockets of the 1%, but stupid and feckless they are not.
My goal isn’t to do anything to sway people who, like my mother, are convinced that life was best during the early 50s (when THEY knew their place), and that everything that is wrong is wrong because negroes and moochers getting all her tax money to buy groceries. Corporate graft off government, however, is just necessary grease for the system because serious sounding white men in coats and ties.
Those people are unwinnable.
What I want is the not-true-believer, but tribally identified as conservative college educated suburbanite from the the East, Midwest and West. I want that person to hear the ideas, personalities, policies and results of conservatism mocked viciously, smartly and often, as that person hates derision and bears the capacity for reflection. At the same time, I want to regionalize and shrink the stupid.
Great post. I see this too, people without a pot to piss in voting for the guys who will make their lives harder and less secure because of the evidence right in their own families or neighbors that some people get welfare for making crazy life choices. I try to point out that those people are probably mentally ill, but they usually aren’t diagnosed so it’s a hard sell.
And my last job was spent trying to help people who mostly got more in disability than I got working get a job. And the unrealistic demands around working they had wore on me too. And some of them were lazy… it’s a hard population to work with. But the laziness and unrealistic demands around working were symptoms of their illness, which most people don’t realize.
And if a relative is actually scamming disability or welfare, no one will turn them in. Ever. I’ve been told it’s the government’s problem to police their programs, and government doesn’t work, and see- there’s the proof because my cousin is ripping off the government. They shouldn’t have to report anything… And if the government actually was more intrusive to root out fraud, we’d be hearing all about Big Brother. There’s no way to win this argument.
That’s smart. That’s reaching them.
I’m just too radical to be comfortable with HRC. She’s playing it way too safe. That’s not how you get to be governor of Louisiana, much less President of the United States.
Great post but I hear this too and it’s not exclusively about “I did it so why can’t they?”
They see this all around them and they feel as if the public programs are creating the dependency- that the dependency is what is making their communities worse. I hear it a lot from people who have grown children who are on some form of relief or assistance- they believe their grown children aren’t working because they get food stamps. They think if the safety net were pulled away they would go get a job.
I actually think there is less of an incentive for younger working class people, but I don’t think it’s food stamps. It’s because the jobs they can get don’t offer anything. They can show up on time and do good work for years and they never go up the pay scale and they never get any job security. The incentives that might have kept their parents or grandparents working in lower-status jobs are gone.
I think it’s wonderful that he made the point in the piece that this is close to home for them- it isn’t about “the other”. They think their relatives and neighbors who aren’t working and are receiving benefits are making these places they live worse, as a combined whole. I say this because the resentment disappears with any job- if they’re receiving Medicaid and food stamps AND working (as plenty of people are) that’s fine, they’ll even commiserate and bemoan the fact that the person can’t survive on 40 hours without help.
I hate lotteries, and not only because I always seem to get stuck behind the idiots who can’t decide which instant win tickets to by. It is a tax on poor people that rich people never pay.
I remember going to a (Jewish) day camp when I was a pre-teen– at one point the camp counselors got our group together and interrogated us on our “educational aspirations.” There was simply no arguing with the assumption that every one of the assembled 9-year olds was going to college and then possibly post-graduate education.
So, yeah, ‘culture’, whatever that is, makes a difference.
@Kay: And the scrappy job opportunities aren’t just for young people or poorly educated. Lots of the people I’m still in touch with from the mass layoff at my last IT job are still struggling to replace those jobs. Especially since many of them, like me, are older. And now we lose job opportunities because we’ve fallen behind on mortgages and bills. I did, and so did another person I know just in the last month.
I don’t. Not ever for even one second. I might not ever get them to vote for a Dem, but I might get them to change their minds on a particular issue (healthcare, guns, whatever) and if enuf others do so, we might actually inject some sanity back into the GOP. And I have changed opinions.
Of course, I don’t bother arguing with frothing at the mouth gun nut racists either. I just point out the absurdity of some of the things they say. More often than not it is enuf to get them to shut up, a small personal victory anyway.
OT but also worth reading. Over on Huffington the thoughts of the former head of British intelligence on the lessons of Iraq as applied Daesh. The take away line is
I guess that is the British version of Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule.
Not that the baying dogs of war will pay the least bit of attention.
Not a new phenomenon. William Randolph Hearst was no slouch in the manipulation department, just as one example.
I think the other part is that the GOP considers themselves to be an aspirational party and the people voting down the safety net believe that they are moving upwards – even though they may be one paycheck from being homeless. They don’t want anything messing with THEIR money (the millions they will make but just haven’t made yet) like taxes, anything for the poor, etc.
And of course there’s the fact that they’d rather starve themselves than take the chance that the poor will be eating the crumbs.
Cartoon of the Day
False and false.
Absolutely. Because it went from the lowest tier to the next tiers.
I am sympathetic to the working class parents who worry that their grown children aren’t working. This is shameful to them. They don’t understand how it happened. The status of the job doesn’t matter- many of them have absolute crap jobs and they don’t look down on any kind of work, really. They want young people to work, period. They think young people not working is a sign of a kind of collapse of their communities.
I think it shows up really clearly, politically, in the broad support for a higher minimum wage. There’s one and (only one) difference there and it’s that those people are working. If you listen to the language of the Fight for Fifteen people it’s all about the work that they do and how they want to support their families thru their own effort. That’s what they think they’re losing- that mindset.
@RSA: If you ever get a chance to see SCOTS live, go! Such a fun band!
@Luigidaman: I think the article did say something that is, if not new, a concept that isn’t part of conventional wisdom: the white working class isn’t a monolith. You’re assuming the non-voters in the article are racist, misogynist haters. Maybe you’re wrong.
I’m sure some of them are, but keep in mind that it’s not necessary to mobilize all of them to utterly transform electoral politics — we just need to peel off some of them. These are people who aren’t reflexively anti-government. We need them.
Also, I would advocate a walk-and-chew-gum strategy, i.e., combat efforts to disenfranchise current voters and GOTV among Democrats at the same time.
To whom it my concern, seem to be experiencing the server glitching at roughly the same frequency as prior to the work done on Saturday.
@MattF: I don’t know the word for it. It was just a given I’d go to college. I think my parents are a little ashamed I only have a MA and not a Phd. I don’t think it is a bad thing to assume this is how things will work.
@Satby: Such stories trigger an incredible rage in me.
The 1% keep coming up with ways of excluding people from jobs, then blaming them for not having one. Or two. Or three.
who has nothing but contempt for the “sorry” (her term) individuals who don’t follow a similar path and only scorn for any politician who wants to redirect a portion of her income to assist them.
Baptists. Fucking Baptists. God, what pains in the asses.
None of these facts has the visceral weight of the example of the never-married cousin with five children who lives down the road in a squalid trailer with her pill-head, disability check-collecting boyfriend.
Exactly. In the South, they hate blacks, but they also hate the poor. (So they hate black extra hatefully.) You’re supposed to be ‘respectable’ and all that crap, and if you aren’t the entire system will come down on you like a load of bricks. And it’ll be your fault, because you made them do it, see? Besides, that gives them a target to vent their anger about how shittily they get treated.
I’ve always been a liberal, because fuck those people.
Dad comes home and punches Mom, Mom screams at elder brother, elder brother hammers the youngest, and the youngest goes and kicks the dog (who didn’t do a damn thing).
[‘Shit rolls downhill.’]
@Tommy: It is when you come away from college tens of thousands of dollars in debt and can’t find a job.
Thanks for the link. It’s a great article and he makes some great points and one that I hadn’t thought of. My BIL is convinced that “undeserving” people who are drawing SS disability are literally draining Social Security reserves and there will not be enough for him when he retires. He doesn’t understand the complexity of the reserve (hell I don’t really) but rather views it as a checking or savings account. He believes that because he works although his knees and back are shot (he’s a contractor) everyone else should have his work ethic. Even when he couldn’t afford health insurance before Obamacare (and now that he has it he still bitches about the cost) he was opposed government assistance. All is takes is to see a decently dressed person, in other words not dressed as a pauper, using food stamps to set him off. This mentality is prevalent among the 50 year olds that I know as they inch closer and closer to retirement age with the possibility of not being able to retire. And yes, he listens to Faux news and RW radio.
@OzarkHillbilly: Good point, and no doubt over the holidays, I’ll continue my one-woman crusade to convert wingnut relatives. But as a vote-getting strategy that can be implemented by state and national Democratic organizations to expand the base? Yeah, I wouldn’t bother investing a nickel in chasing voters like my aunt.
Most people on assistance are working and that’s overlooked. A higher minimum wage would lower government assistance. We are subsidizing businesses.
The Sheriff's A Ni-*bong*
Yep, its the 2006 solution: An economy downturn that pushes these voters one step closer to becoming “Cousin Bobby” themselves.
in my humble opinion its the coupling of a couple of very basic things….. jobs that pay a meaningful living wage and the understanding that work has value, no matter the job itself. It goes into just about everything… say for example, your job is to pick up trash on the side of the road. It seems trite, but keeping things clean has its own value, protects the wildlife, causes fewer accidents, and a clean environment is a healthy environment. Yet does anyone value that? Willing to pay for it? I look back to history and see the programs that Roosevelt initiated in order to bootstrap us out of the depression. Yes, many of those jobs were backbreaking labor but something came from them, like the national parks, bringing electricity to the rural south. The idea that while some of these jobs seem tedious and mind numbing, there were tangible benefits to them being done.
It’s why I was so incredibly bummed about the infrastructure programs being that much less robust, I can only imagine the jobs that could have been started by upgrading the grid, updating our waste management, improving roads and bridges and bring the web out to the boonies. I truly believe that such a program would propel us into a renewed ear of prosperity and even serve as a mechanism to rebuilding the middle class and reduce our current trends to fuedalization.
@Joy: On top of the propaganda channels that are like catnip to older people (I’d like to see a study on why that’s so!) there’s some kind of fear mechanism going on. They make rules for themselves that they have to work like mules on steroids, and then when they can’t do that, they panic.
A lot of dysfunctional culture has been impressed upon the working class and poor.
This sounds counter-intuitive but I think Democrats do this wrong when they approach it as “the sky’s the limit- opportunity agenda!” Most people don’t think they’re going to be a CEO or President. It’s great to have high expectations but you also have to meet people where they are, and what these people are concerned about is A Job. Having one. I think they sometimes hear the push for “college and career” as a sort of “strivers agenda”, an agenda geared to people who are really motivated and overcome all odds. Those people generally don’t stay in these places anyway. If your whole “opportunity agenda” is geared to the top 10% of a high school class, you’re really ignoring a lot of people. We have about 25% with a bachelors degree here. Obviously it can be a goal to increase that, but in the meantime you can’t tell the 75% “we’ll completely ignore you other than providing food stamps, because obviously you’re subsistence”.
@Betty Cracker: 2nd that on SCOTS, and make sure to check out the you tube videos out there on 8 piece box!
That’s true and “working” is almost a kind of immunization against the resentment, or it is here. I don’t think they mind “help”, what they mind is if they’re working a shit job and people they know aren’t working and getting benefits. That seems really human to me- it’s a different dynamic than Mitt Romney and the 47%. It’s close to them. They see it.
@Rafer Janders: good hearted, kind people don’t resent even their pill popping cousin having shelter and food.
I feel for them, I do, but they make things worse. Past a certain point, you stop doing the same thing when it never seems to change anything. Why keep voting Republican if cousin Bobby hasn’t gotten better from your punative approach? Why are you still so interested in whether a woman has access to abortion? Or if gay people get married? I’m not saying the punish those moochers mindset isn’t there, I’m saying so much of the conservative mindset is about oppressing people for non-fiduciary transgressions that you can’t just say resentment and bias are not a hefty part of their voting patterns.
@Kay: I never understood Romney’s 47% comment. When I was making $22K a year, I was paying a shitload of taxes. All sorts of stuff taken out of my paycheck. And then of course there were sales taxes, etc.
Good point, but I don’t think Hearst had anywhere near Fox’s market share. Not to mention the immediacy.
Grumpy conservatives have always been with us:
I don’t think Romney understood it either. When he said it, Obama was polling at 47% of the vote. I think more than a few people felt he was referring to Obama’s supporters as moochers.
I will be the first to admit that I have no great insight into the voting habits of working class white people. However, I think some of this stereotyping is regional rather than national. The working class white people I knew closely in NY and New England, were all democrats.
One of my neighbors in NY was a roofer, smart kid but not great in academics, he was an Obot. Then there was a machinist I knew in Maine, he wished that the Democrats supported labor unions more, he was a WWII vet. I could give other examples.
So may be this problem is more pronounced in the South or I have lived in a liberal bubble, or both.
This anecdata but still.
I think that’s partly why it was so clueless and harmful. He literally didn’t see or count the taxes they pay. I mean, a high schooler with their first job can tell you that.
@Kay: And I see it repeated in the comments section of my local news. And it’s repeated on f0x channel.
@max: the first time I heard that exact “shit flows downhill” anecdote was in Kiswahili. This is a widely-recognised phenomenon.
My mother’s older sister was married for 20 plus years to a “welfare and public assistance scammer. My grandfather, tired of worrying about her and my 5 cousins, finally bought her a house. When the scam artist died, my Aunt went back to school with state and federal assistance. She earned a masters in social work and went to work for the state. She worked her way up to regional director of social services. She spent her late blooming career weeding out the scam artists and helping people who wanted and needed the help. She once told me, “I spent half my life watching him work the system, he was the best at it. Because of my experiences, nobody can get anything past me, I’ve lived it. My goal is to get help to the people who need it. People in situations like I was in for all those years.” She also said the number of people who know how to work the system is very, very small. One hell of a woman. We used to visit in the summer when I was a kid, that government peanut butter was pretty damn good, the canned meat, not so much.
@Kay: You are absolutely right: it’s actually a great thing to want a family, provide for them adequately, and simply have a job that doesn’t constantly suck.
It’s wrong to force everyone into the same mold: this holds for careers, too.
Half the kids in our family are struggling artists… which was NOT supported, even in abstract form. But it’s a perfectly lovely ambition for oneself. As is being a plumber.
And no one has ever panicked because they need an artist in the middle of the night :)
Its fashionable to castigate working class whites but I have come across more country club Republicans who were clueless and dead end Bush supporters.
I actually think the piece was centered on states that had been blue ( at least at the state level) but no longer are- so Arkansas, WV, Kentucky, parts of Ohio, parts of VA.
It worries me because I think it’s spreading to the upper midwest- OH, MI, IN, WI. That’s what Democrats should worry about IMO because they can’t write off another big area. They can’t lose the “northern” parts of those states or they won’t be able to mitigate the losses with urban areas. They have to hold what they have. They need a share of white working class in OH, MI, PA. It doesn’t have to be a majority, but it has to be some.
This is off topic but it looks like Trump’s supporters are really good at assaulting protesters since this is not the first such incident coming to my attention. Could you imagine what would happen if Secretary Clinton’s supporters physically assaulted Rightwing protesters at one of her rallies, while she stood there cheering them on?
Also, not everyone is an Entrepreneur. Not every student will rush out and start their own business. Some people want and need the security of a regular paycheck in return for their efforts.
@Kay: Democrats need to focus on labor issues and use fighting words. Most of their campaigns are focused on platitudes that satisfy no one, except perhaps the tone police and totebaggers.
Maybe I am elitist (though I am as far from coastal as possible in North America) but reading this still reminds me a dialog from “Blazing Saddles”, The common clay of the new West.
I really don’t see answers for how to get those poor whites to the polls.
This is off topic but it looks like Trump’s supporters are really good at assaulting protesters since this is not the first such incident coming to my attention. Could you imagine what would happen if Secretary Clinton’s supporters physically assaulted Rightwing protesters at one of her rallies, while she stood there cheering them on?
I am referring to a Daily Mail article highlighting a BLM supporter who was assaulted by Trump supporters at a rally in Birmingham, AL. For some reason, every time I link to an article, my comment goes into moderation.
I think it’s well intended when college-educated Democrats do it- nearly all politicians are college- educated, because they believe if they didn’t tell everyone to reach for the stars that would be elitist- lower expectations, a lower standard. Unfortunately I think working class people hear that as not respecting the work that they do. It’s hard because obviously they can’t say “we just expect you guys to get by” but there has to be some way to thread the needle between “everyone! aspire to college and a STEM degree!” and “we have no hope for you and know you’re staying at McDonalds”
I think it goes back to respecting the work that everyone does, no matter what it is. I tink if we had that (or got back to it) everyone would benefit.
Good post, and a hooooge thumbs up for the SCOTS link!
The album with that song, Dirt Track Date, is one of my all time favorites.
“I met my baby in a used car lot-
drinkin’ cheap wine and throwin’ rocks…”
Thanks, Betty- made my morning.
@schrodinger’s cat: Well, there’s Governor LePage right there in New England, and if you look at a red-blue state map, it’s clear it’s not just a former Confederate state phenomenon. If it weren’t for the coastal enclaves, the entire country would be a miserable red shithole.
@WereBear: At least one of my husband’s newly graduated nephews has just switched over to the dark side, angry that O failed to be a king.
“Because it’s the gol danged libruls that keep screwing up our punishment system!”
@Betty Cracker: Well have not lived in Maine for more than a decade, but didn’t LePage win both times with less than 50% vote and because it was a 3 way contest.
Old Dems like the WWII vet of my story are dying off fast, and I think they were reliable Democrats from the FDR era.
If you recall, Romney tried to tap into that feeling with his lie about Obama granting waivers to loosen the work requirements of welfare.
My over 90 in-laws were teens during the Great Depression and have never forgotten how FDR programs helped their rural families survive, lifelong Dems as a result. Mom in high school had a WPA job and that paycheck meant a lot. One of their 3 kids is a firm Republican and his parents’ repeated stories have had no impact on him.
I have that book on my shelf. I couldn’t put it down when I got it.
I do remember that. It has already been forgotten how Romney lied constantly.
@WereBear: ironically, it was for the same job, same manager called the other guy first, and then me. We’re both well qualified, will work now for dramatically less than our old salaries, and both didn’t qualify because we’re both behind on our mortgages.
Which after a layoff does not mean you’re a deadbeat. It means you just have to eat and have the gas to get to your job that doesn’t allow you to pay your mortgage.
I don’t enjoy the irony.
All these folks want people to work, but I bet they oppose any kind of government jobs program.
@Satby: Something tells me that guy is going to be trying to re-fill that job in about a year.
@max: Dad comes home and punches Mom, Mom screams at elder brother, elder brother hammers the youngest, and the youngest goes and kicks the dog (who didn’t do a damn thing).
Market influence and penetration (waiting rooms, etc.), maybe. But share?
The highest rated program on FOX ‘news’ is O’Reilly, and his audience averages around 2 million. Hearst’s radio and newspaper empire easily surpassed that number on any given day, in a country with 1/3 or less the population of today. There really isn’t any good way to compare discrete audience demographics between then and now, however, yet those also must be taken into account as as FOX skews particularly older. Two key differences which work in FOX’s favor versus Hearst’s are the advent of TV as the primary medium and capability to deliver content 24/7.
FOX’s impact is and always has been grossly outsize compared to their audience.
Oct .2015, FOX average audience (per Nielsen):
Primetime (Mon. – Sun.) 1,076,000 total viewers
Total Day (Mon. – Sun.) 1,085,000 total viewers
In the key advertising demographic of adults 25 – 54, in October FOX scored a less than whopping 1000 more viewers than did CNN. Fox viewership was down by 11% over the total day and by 1% in primetime in October versus Oct. 2014.
(Statistics from here.)
BTW, this, from the end of October (emphasis added):
Davis X. Machina
@schrodinger’s cat: Maine is a four-party state — a Tea Party GOP, a very-nicely-thank-you GOP, a Humphrey Democratic party, and an Obama Democratic party.
Guess which two don’t understand tactical voting. Or coalition building? For years it was A and B, and we got Democrats like Mitchell and Republicans like Bill Cohen. Now it’s C and D, and we get LePage.
Interesting. I wonder why. Maybe liberals are starting to get interested in election season.
Old Dan and Little Anne
My BIL is on the spectrum. He is 34 years old and has never had a job even though he has a degree from University of Central Florida. My in laws have enabled him his entire life it has infuriated me for 20+ years. He spends all day reading Drudge and liking Sarah Palin articles on fb. And he hates all things Obama of course.
@Germy:being an entrepreneur is not all it’s cracked up to be. Trust me.
As I read the article my thought was that if the GOP version of the safety net (i.e. mostly big holes) had been in place when this woman was younger she would not have had the opportunity to go to college and get her RN. I’m sure there were deadbeats abusing the system when she was young, after all look at how much mileage Reagan got out of his welfare queens. However a lot of folks like this woman used the programs to make a fresh start. I suspect the same thing happens today when the system is in place to permit it.
I think getting nonvoters to vote in large numbers is nearly impossible because the system itself makes votes matter less every year. As the population has exploded the number of reps remains the same. Large blocks of voters haven’t mattered for ages because there are more of the other side a few towns over. Instead of the population growth splitting the area to different reps they just keep getting stuffed under the same umbrella. Having huge groups with votes that haven’t made a difference for decades upon decades breeds apathy. How can you get rid of that apathy?
Suddenly bluenosed FYWP has been gagging on naked links.
@different-church-lady: They’ve been failing to meet their service level agreements and paying out penalties. Fixing that situation is my claim to fame in my old career, I was good at it. But being late on a mortgage after a layoff is indicative of my bad character, or something.
Well, you are a regular commenter here, so…
@Baud: MUCH more indicative of my bad character, obviously.
@Satby: Thankfully, they haven’t started asking about blogging habits on employment applications.
As I said in a previous thread: The Dems and their supporters need to run ads educating people.
Stuff like “In Sweden, every worker gets paid sick days so they don’t spread germs to customers [shot of food service worker sneezing while preparing food]. Companies shouldn’t punish workers who want to keep customers safe.”
“In England, new parents get [x] weeks of paid time off to spend with their child [soft focus shot of adorable nuclear family]. American families shouldn’t have to choose between paying the mortgage and bonding with their baby.”
“In Switzerland, the government prevents drug companies from overcharging for life-saving medicine [picture of Martin Shekli’s smug face and graph of drug prices skyrocketing. Why won’t Congress let Medicare do the same?”
Plus a few ACA positive spots:
“[Nice white lady sitting at her kitchen table] Dan’s employer offered health insurance through the company. But it was expensive and didn’t cover our family’s needs. [Kids run through kitchen. One has an arm in a cast] So I went on healthcare.gov (or local equivalent) and found a better (and/or cheaper) plan.”
This is all wishful thinking, of course. No Dem would actually have the guts to run these sorts of ads.
what else is telling is how politicized the pulpit has become… a generation or two ago… it was all… There but for the grace of God go I… now there’s a lot of crap about gays, mooslims and abortion. When that kind of brainwashing is coming from the folks supposed to be the owner of your spiritual guideposts, it’s easy to see how screwed up this becomes. Even more so when said spiritual adviser is dependent upon those proper thinking stalwarts of society that pay the salaries.
@Baud: I thought I read something about potential employers checking applicants’ facebook and other social media?
Okay, maybe not share, but how about influence? I know Fox’s reach (or more aptly, tentacles) extends far beyond the viewing audience. Also, there are Fox affiliates in lots of cities/towns who tow the Fox line and use their news packages.
Yes, they do.
ETA: I know this anecdotally, not literally.
@Germy: I’ve heard of that also. Hence the importance of pseudonyms.
Obviously I don’t have access to complete data nor enough data to reach a firmer conclusion, but on first blush it would appear that it isn’t so much people switching from one network to another but rather a pool of new (or returning) viewers who are choosing to not watch FOX.
If so, may it continue.
@Baud: because they do a Google search on you to see what interesting things you might have put on FB or Twitter. Why privacy is so important.. And which I gave up to run an online store. But I am good with that, not sure I would have done it if I was only 40 though.
Oh who the hell am I kidding? I would have.
@Luthe: excellent comment.
It seems every few months or so, I read local stories about some baby or toddler being killed by “the mother’s boyfriend.”
Low-income mom needs to work (“on-call” status job) is desperate for childcare, and leaves infant with unstable boyfriend. Tragic and avoidable.
Obama mobilized a lot of people, who had never voted or rarely voted, in 2008. When change did not happen fast enough, they got discouraged by 2010.
The real trick is to figure out how to get people voting regularly and get them to believe their votes matter.
I do not know how to do this though.
@Schlemazel: I feel this way too, not because I don’t have sympathy for people who hate their jobs or feel others are getting away with something, I just can’t think of an argument that will persuade them to vote for Democrats.
I grew up poor and white, and part of a large family that needed food stamps to survive after my dad was laid off from the steel plant. My mom was a teacher, and had to refuse a full time job while pregnant with me because she was put on bed rest. When she finally returned to the job market teaching jobs were harder to come by and it took a few years for both my parents to gain employment.
When I look back to my childhood and the time we were getting public assistance I think about it as a terrible time filled with sadness and shame. My parents argued frequently because they were scared and we rarely went anywhere or did anything. My father was frequently depressed and occasionally lashed out at us(verbally) because of the situation we were in. Therefore, I’ve never resented people on welfare. I’m grateful that we got to eat and didn’t lose our house, but it’s certainly not a great life.
We were all able to graduate from college in my family. As you all know, college was much less expensive years ago and Pell grants were more generous. This could be another reason I’m not resentful.
Will talking about the power of unions more to raise wages help? How we need better infrastructure? I don’t know, I really don’t know.
@Baud: You are history’s first pseudonymous presidential candidate. As such, you have my vote.
@xenos: the first time I heard that exact “shit flows downhill” anecdote was in Kiswahili. This is a widely-recognised phenomenon.
Sure. But in the South, it’s an institutionalized, dominant way of life, unfortunately.
[‘I have certainly been showered in the stuff.’]
Hell, I don’t know how to do this on liberal blogs, much less the country.
Davis X. Machina
@Luthe: They’re all foreigners.
@Luthe: So true, we need Dems with guts. Like Lalu Prasad Yadav, who tied RSS (mother organization of PM Modi’s party) Gandhi killing past, right around Modi’s neck.
@Satby: Check your state laws. In some places it’s illegal to run credit checks on applicants.
@Davis X. Machina: Foreigners with better lives than us. How can ‘Murka be number 1 if the foreigners are doing better than us?
@Germy: Thank you. I represent the future, and it’s time to embrace the future.
Tippecanoe and Tyler too!
I’ve been where you are (both lay offs and entrepreneurialship, except mine failed). It is very, very tough to persevere, especially for people in their 40s and above. I can only hope the people who looked down at me live long enough to be in the same boat and are self-aware enough to have some kind of regrets.
They love when the community college gets Labor Dept grants. I think job training is universally popular. Even there, though, there’s a small group who finish those programs. Most people don’t stick with them. I noticed they added gas cards to the training grants, which was smart in rural areas. They get a 25 dollar card, which covers gas to the community college and back, five days. Strivers are great, but most people give up if there are too many hoops to jump thru and these programs are supposed to be for “most people”. If gas money is a barrier, then just knock it down. It’s hard enough.
Davis X. Machina
@piratedan7: Fred Clark at Slacktivist has been working on the theory for a while now that about thirty years or so ago there was a sea-change, where people stopped picking their political parties based on their church affiliation, or lack of it, and started picking their churches based on their political party.
The rise of unaffiliated exurban megachurches, school desegregation, old, established congregations based in cities being replaced by suburban ones, increased mobility permitting parish-shopping — who still walks to church — a combination of factors made the highly-politicized church-scape we see today possible, and probably inevitable
Davis X. Machina
@Luthe: That’s ipso facto impossible. So our lives must be better than theirs. QED
The people, who need to be reached the most do not know much about world geography and many Americans reflexively resent being told other countries do things better than the USA.
One of the basic things Fox News does that makes it so appealing yo many is it never says other countries do things better than us. This maybe unrealistic from a liberal’s point of view, but reassuring to many.
Also, many Americans have not traveled out of the country or even their own state. Foreign examples are hard to relate to.
The last paragraph though about using healthcare.gov is good, though if you have employer coverage you do not get subsidies, so you should not imply the less expensive plan may be linked to subsidies. Basically, even in a spot like you suggest, you do not want to mislead people, who are already confused about a confusing topic.
As to what it does not get done? Republicans in Congress will never authorize money. I believe Sec. Sibelius in 2012 or so was begging industry to help promote the PPACA because Congress did not give enough money.
@debbie: You know, all things pass sooner or later. I’m sure these times will too, in the meantime we get what fun we can. I have been around enough to see some karma (both good and bad) dished out to the deserving, so I hold on to that.
@Kay: Do they ‘give up’ or does real life interfere. Maybe a kid gets sick or the car breaks down and they can’t afford to get it fixed for a month or so. All of a sudden they are behind in the classwork and it’s tough to catch up. If they drop out and plan to re-enroll thye next semister is there a financial hit that they might not be able to afford. And most of us need a push now and then. I still have the black and blue mark on my but from my Mom’s foot when I slacked off in college andf that was back in the mid-60’s.
Duke of Clay
@WereBear: Funny. I read it that way. Had to go back to see the error.
@Germy: I’m not sure how a child-care ad would go over, but one could try.
“[Shot of young mom in red shirt and khaki pants (Target uniform) trying to calm a fussy toddler] I’d love to work more hours to support my Sarah, but it’s so hard to find a baby-sitter, specially on short notice. [Montage of mom handing baby to older women with family resemblance, mom handing baby to teenager, mom handing baby to slightly skeezy looking man] I have to leave her with my mom, the girls next door, or even my ex sometimes. If we had universal child-care, I wouldn’t have to worry so much and I could work more.”
A minimum wage ad could be could be similar:
“[Young mom in a “McDonald’s” uniform, standing at a stove with a crying baby on her hip] I’m a single mom and I work two jobs, but it’s just not enough. I have to get food stamps just to feed me and my baby. I haven’t gotten a raise in three years. If the minimum wage increased, I wouldn’t need government handouts anymore. I could pay for everything myself.”
Not perfect, but good at appealing to the red-state people.
P.S. Dem operatives out there, call me! I’ve got a million ideas for you!
@gene108: One could add a line about how they didn’t need to take any money from the government and still found something cheaper.
As for who will pay for the ads, that’s what the Dems should be doing, not just relying on the government, since the GOP won’t pay for it.
This. I don’t know how many 20-somethings still have the drive to succeed in life these days.
I was willing to work a couple of ~ $6/h temp jobs for a year after grad school because I knew it was temporary. These days, I’m not so sure I would feel that way.
People can tolerate a lot for some period of time, and usually expect to have to “pay their dues” before moving up the ladder. One of the big problems is, people cannot tolerate working for inadequate wages for decades with no hope that things will improve for them. And it’s even worse for people who do “work hard and play by the rules”. In return for going to school to get a degree or certificate, they’re too often saddled with 10s of thousands of dollars in debts in exchange for a job that pays $10/hr and the prospect of paying $100s a month for student loans for decades to come. And what about people who “play by the rules” and yet can’t “work hard” because they can’t find a job that they trained for?
The answer isn’t to kick Cousin Bobby off of Disability. The bigger part of the answer is to spend money that promotes the General Welfare. Water systems, sewage systems, electrical systems, schools, roads, all over the country have suffered decades of insufficient investment. Spending money on things like that in rural Kentucky will increase demand for handymen, daycare, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. That means more people needing to be trained, or retrained, in those areas. It means raising the minimum wage, instituting sensible national leave policies (paid leave, leave for essential civic requirements like voting, leave for family requirements, and the end to people’s work schedules being changed at the drop of a hat). Doing those things is a virtuous cycle that helps people and helps businesses (due to increase demand and a more stable, happier workforce).
It also means spending more on health care and research on how to control addiction to opiates and other things.
We can do many more things than one at a time. The choice isn’t a) kick Cousin Bobby off Disability or b) never elect Democrats again. We need to fight that framing.
There’s no quick, magic bullet that is going to fix these problems. But they’re not new and we know how to solve them. It just takes will, leadership, and money. We have plenty in this country – those that have the qualities in politics that we need have to gather the courage to step up and do it. Gentle shaming and mockery of stupid positions is an important tool in getting us along that path. I hope Hillary learns this lesson better from Obama before he leaves.
Oh, that’s all included in “give up”. I’m amazed even 30 out of a 100 finish. I know they can’t weather a lot of uncertainty, that two minor mishaps in 2 weeks can throw their households into chaos. We had this kind of “controversial” pastor here who gave poor people used cars. Not great cars but cars that run. That was part of his mission. He was a former Catholic priest and he had a very practical approach :)
He was “controversial” because he bought a building and opened a homeless shelter. No one wanted it to open. Now it’s just a part of the scenery.
@Big ole hound:
Ashamed to go to vote because “people” will harsh on them for supporting the people who allow them to exist.
Can’t underestimate the extent to which all of society beats it into people that needing help makes them contemptible failures, deadbeat losers, leeches who should be thanking us on bended knee for letting them live when by all rights they deserve to die.
Some people deal by getting aggressively defensive about it and spinning some fiction in their head in which they were never on welfare and got everywhere on their own. Or they try to invent some dividing line between deserving and undeserving poor to explain why it’s okay that THEY got it, but it’s completely different nowadays. And then you’ve got all the people who aren’t dickbags, but who’ve at least partly internalized the whole abuser rationale of “this is all your fault.”
The Pale Scot
Paisley reaching out from the grave to fuck over N-IRE, again. There isn’t any place for religious fundamentalism in a first world society, is there? This isn’t going to change until Calvinism (wealth is a sign of god’s favour) is swept into the ash heap of history. It’s completely oppositional to what the Gospel’s preach.
Forget the SNP, the DUP Tory coalition is the one you should worry about
There’s been a bit of editing for grammar
I always get the impression that many of these people are just bidding their time until they hit the lottery and then they’ll be rich enough to benefit from all the tax breaks for the rich. But in the article it says they are just one rung up on the economic ladder from those still on the government dole and they resent having to pay into the system which they themselves used to boost themselves up to where they are now.
It also concluded that the turnout in the last election showed that those receiving government benefits just didn’t turn out to vote at all. Of the app. 63,000 registered voters only app. 11,000 people voted and that Unions used to get out the vote for Democrats but they just have no power anymore. There is not one single Union mine being operated in the State.
good hearted, kind people don’t resent even their pill popping cousin having shelter and food.
The Pale Scot
Back in the day I worked with a Cuban guy who explained how he ended up in NJ.
“I was listening to the radio, there was a piece on a poll of FL HS students. The majority agreed that education was important, the majority also said that it wouldn’t matter for them because they were going to win the lottery.
As soon as I heard that I yelled to my wife in the other room, “Honey! we’re moving!”
Good Morning Everyone.
Davis X. Machina
Why is it not the answer?
It’s simple, fast, emotionally satisfying to anyone who doesn’t actually know Cousin Bobby, and it saves taxpayer money.
Which is my money. That I earned. (HT Colbert)
This, one zillion times.
As someone who has been struggling with some kind of hormone dysfunction that gives me only so many spoons, I am highly familiar with the effort it takes to just keep jumping. If we raise our heads and see nothing but endless hoops, what is the point?
jake the antisoshul soshulist
Just like I was always told that the New Deal (Farmers Home Administration to be exact)
allowed my grandfather to hold onto the family farm. Counterfactuals are easy, but I can imagine a rural American where the majority of former small family farmers were sharecropping the land they once owned. But then, I tend to believe that, without intervention, all economic systems turn into some form of feudalism.
@Duke of Clay: It’s the curse of proofreading. Your brain helpfully “fixes” it for you. Why you should get someone else to read your stuff for the first time, because your own brain will not see your own typos.
Let’s not forget how many people have built their self-identities almost entirely on bootstrap mythology and that threatening that mythology is a full-frontal self-identity threat. No way it’s going to be abandoned just because the mythology observably conflicts with reality. They NEED it. The only real opportunity with them is to help them find a more stable base for their self-identity.
In the meantime, I vote for focusing on broader voter participation. It’s an easier hill to climb.
So much this. Once again, it’s a moralistic, pecksniff stance; if that cousin had actual medical care, the kind that includes mental health, they wouldn’t be forced to self-medicate.
I know myself; if I had to live some hermit life with a hairshirt and no pleasures allowed… I wouldn’t. By any means possible.
I’ve heard my brain screaming. You’ll do anything to stop the screaming.
Sadly I think Louisiana was an outlier. Senator Vitter was a huge target so long as someone was willing to go there and Edwards did. Hardly any other area is going to offer such a ripe opponent. So how does one make non-voters vote? Shit I am at a loss. Free oxy with each vote? Stupid fucks would vote republican just to spite the black man or white woman running. Depressed you say? Maybe. At least I’ve got the quilted embrace of California to protect me. The rest of you? God help ya. I’ll donate. I’ll write. I’ll post but I can’t make locals get off their asses and actually go down and vote.
Maybe Diaper Dave was a target-rich environment, but he’s far from the only one.
Not hard to understand at all. Normal people are too busy living their lives trying to pay the bills to care about politics whereas Republicans go through life afraid of their own shadow and believe all the fearmongering the polticians tell them.
That is why Obama won. From day 1 they focused like a lazer on getting out the vote and built up one if not the biggest/best voter turnout machines in history. So that lasted 2 years till the next election when that voter turnout apparatus was hardly used at all. Sounds like Hillary is quietly doing exactly the same thing. Using some of the same people and technology to build on that.
So the problem is the midterms and the Dems need to activate that same voter turnout machine every 2 years. That is a failure of Dem campaign comittee leadership
@WereBear: I agree. I think that they feel like they have worked hard all their lives, and yet the American Dream is still not within their reach. They are disillusioned and see the “others” taking that dream away from them. Chances are that their parents had a relatively comfortable retirement as in the case of my BIL. Both of his parents were postal workers and retired with good pensions and a healthy savings account. He doesn’t see that happening for him despite his hard work and he’s angry.
@debbie: Largely I agree with you, but the scions of conservative talk radio are equally to blame for the deliberately reactionary views that so many of my fellow red-staters have both about their fellow citizens of a different color and of the federal government.
I’ve a solidly middle class cousin who lives in the Greater Atlanta area in a county that was altogether WASPY more than 30 years ago and is now a majority AA one. She keeps two radios on all day long. Rush is on the radio in her bedroom and Herman Cain is on in her kitchen. The latter is actually a lot more fun and far less bombastic to listen to. She’s a realtor of longstanding and, though long past retirement age still works.
She almost never turns on the TV. She claims that she’s open to other points of view while I am only open to liberal ones. But in the same email opined that GWB was too liberal in some respects. I asked her specifically what policies he espoused that were liberal. She never answered.
WereBear & Chris: It’s not that Cousin Bobby’s family hates him and wants to see him die in the gutter; they think assistance is enabling him, keeping him captive in a degraded lifestyle. They think he’d straighten up and fly right if he had to. I don’t agree with them in the cases of genuine addiction, and I think their notion of opportunities is out-dated, but the stance of the hard-nosed relatives isn’t incompatible with a “good heart,” at least in some cases.
It makes “minimum income” appealing, because that would get past some of the resentment that comes from people who make 1200 dollars a month resenting people who get 700 a month in benefits. It really is different than “job creators versus moochers”. It’s much more personal.
I think that they feel like they have worked hard all their lives, and yet the American Dream is still not within their reach. They are disillusioned and see the “others” taking that dream away from them.
Well, I agree with them, and they’re right. Others are taking that dream away from them. It’s just that those others are in Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce, and any office held by a Republican politician.
This at least used to be well understood, as people from William Jennings Bryan to Huey Long at least used to be able to whip up people against the 1%, but it’s pretty much gone now. Or rather, entirely directed towards perceived cultural elites rather than actual economic elites.
I am again reminded of “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men” from 1776.
In the song John Hancock tells John Dickinson, “Fortunately there are not enough men of property in America to dictate policy,” and Dickinson replies, “Perhaps not. But don’t forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor.” True in 1776, true in 1972 when Jack Warner took the song out of the movie just prior to its release, still true today. (At least the footage was found and put back in the film.)
@Betty Cracker: But there’s a reason they’re holding onto wrong information in spite of any attempt to help them correct it. Without dealing specifically with that reason (self-preservation), they’ll never let go of the wrong information. Not ever.
@slag: You’re almost certainly right that they won’t change their minds, and let’s not forget — some of their beliefs are shaped by their lived experience, which makes it devilishly hard to overcome. That’s why I don’t think it’s worthwhile for the party to chase those voters.
NON-voters are another story — or at least might be. That’s what I think we should explore as a party.
Glad you frontpaged this one. Important article on a big issue. Look forward to catching up with this thread and the NYT reader comments.
The mental and emotional costs of poverty are now crushing generations.
The Gray Adder
“…as red regions implement shitty policies and turn into Kansas-style failed states, there will be an increasing number of red state citizens with a lot less to be complacent about.”
In other words, we sit back and watch Matt Bevin screw up Kentucky. When the rubes who voted him into office get tired of having their noses rubbed in it (or die of old age, whichever comes first), they might decide it’s time for a change.
If voting didn’t matter, why would Republicans be trying to make it impossible for black people?
The first step isn’t getting them to the polls — though that is important.
The first step isn’t going after corporations that take well-paying jobs out of the country — something, btw, that even my blood-red father insists government needs to do.
The first step is breaking through the web of lies that professional conservatives have caught these people in. They have spent decades creating it, and we only try to break it around election time.
How? Beats me. Schools are locally controlled , and if you’re involved with education at any level you know the way Texas has screwed up this country’s textbooks. Some states are fighting back, but basically it might be too late. Running an educational program 24/7 is beyond the reach of a political party that isn’t financed by evil bastards.
The problem is that they will only vote for their own best interests is if they see change, and they will only see change if they change their votes.
@Betty Cracker: Interesting stuff. I think that people should also look at the Guardian article that focused on one of the poorest majority white regions of Kentucky.
“America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs.”
One of the other issues here, I think, is that people keep talking about a “safety net,” but people are worried about a lack of jobs that will throw them into poverty and into a semi-permanent underclass. And even though Americans may not explicitly talk about it in these terms, you can see how this has happened in the UK in cities that used to be industrial and fully employed decades ago, such as Manchester, which now contains generations of unemployed and under-employed people.
So people may not be just voting against their own interests. They don’t see that social programs in the absence of real opportunities are a solution. The GOP promises jobs by the magic of tax cuts for the rich and get some attention. Democrats speak vaguely about infrastructure programs seem a more indirect, sketchy approach, and more social programs of dubious benefit.
And lastly, yeah, there has been an effective snow job. Political interests can redirect dollars away from programs and then do the redirect of claiming that the money wasn’t stolen, but was given to “undesirables” and “those people” Along with this is the foolish suicidal white nationalism in which white people convince themselves that Obama hates them and could not possibly have their best interests at heart.
Just started reading and this hits a note with me.
Not that many yrs ago I was, like many in the last 8-9 yrs, poor and getting poorer. Rapidly. Little to no income from my small retail business, no viable prospects and still too young for SS, but certainly old enough that jobs are very rare. I would buy a lottery ticket most every week. I’m fairly mathematically literate, tutored statistics in college. I know and understand the lottery odds. But, and this is a very, very large, round firm but, it is possible to win, even better to win 3rd or 4th level. And that would have been far better than the loss of $50/yr. It was a desperate stab at some level of normalcy, rather than the everyday life that I had.
When you have little to NO hope that things will get better, you sometimes have to/just do make decisions that are not in your direct benefit, only because it is your only choice.
The concept that you vote for people who are going to do their best to fuck you over and give you fewer choices and make your life even worse is not based on wild ass/thought out guesses at something that might, even at very sucky odds, help you. It is tribal, maybe/probably racist, mis-directed anger at the real problem of society, the wealthy parasites like the koch brothers.
@Betty Cracker: A thought experiment:
what if instead of Limbaugh and all the other RW radio talkers, the radio stations all featured liberals and folksy-sounding progressives (like Jim Hightower). They exist, but I think they’re behind obscure subscription satellite channels. If progressive talkers dominated the airwaves, would we be having this discussion?
Not just for job training programs.
When I had had zero income for more than a year and was running up my credit cards just for medical expenses, I decided to apply for assistance. I didn’t care so much about food stamps, but I wanted medical stuff taken care of. I called and spoke to someone who set up an appointment and told me what information I needed to bring with me.
I show up, give them my name, and take a seat. Four hours later (trying to be patient), I go and ask if I’ve been forgotten. I get fixed with a cold, steely stare and am told they don’t make appointments and that I could wait my turn to start the process. I decided whatever they would give me wasn’t enough for this bullshit, and I left.
More than two years later, I get a letter from the state, letting me know my file had been closed because I hadn’t shown up for my appointment two years earlier.
I went in there knowing of the inexorable bureaucracy and inefficiencies, but this really was ridiculous.
@jake the antisoshul soshulist:
That’s rural America we have with the minor difference instead of share-cropping TPTB have instituted debt peonage.
@Germy: Yes, people who do not pay income taxes still pay a lot of other taxes — the worst being sales taxes. They take proportionally more from poor people than the percentage amount would suggest. That’s why a fair tax isn’t fair. The percentage sounds the same but the proportion of available money is so very, very different.
The Other Chuck
The funny thing being Pottery Barn has never had a “you break it you bought it” rule. But I guess it sounds better than “antique shop rule”.
It is but it isn’t. I think of the the many hyperlibertarian tech people I know who cling to the exact same mythology though it is in no way informed by their lived experience. Their hands were held from en utero, and they don’t even see it. So, which comes first, the belief system or the experience?
They’ve done it. Proved Sinclair Lewis wrong!
“It is impossible to make a man understand something if his livelihood depends on not understanding it.”
It is and it isn’t. I think of all the hyperlibertarian men in the tech industry I know who cling to the exact same mythology even though their hands have been constantly held starting en utero. So, is it the experience that informs the myth or the myth that informs the experience?
This worries me too.
As Davis X. Machina said earlier, Maine is a study in contrasts. Urban areas, coastal areas, are heavily liberal; everywhere else might as well be the South. I’m not overly familiar with the rural south, but I imagine it looks just like my area – no jobs, abandoned houses, dead towns, skews very old, no hope. The only areas you see growth are located around tourist areas – lakes and ski areas. But that’s all outside (read MA and NY) money. I play a game when driving, when I see a nice car coming towards me I note the license plate, and it’s rarely from Maine up here.
There’s real despair. I pass this intersection where three houses (the only 3) have been abandoned in the last year. I drive by a mobile home that has a tarp for a wall. The poverty is everywhere, and there’s a fair share of Confederate flags and “Don’t tread on me” bumper stickers. I got hassled all the time for my Obama stickers. It’s depressing.
@The Gray Adder: They don’t make the connection between Republican policies and their own suffering. That’s the huge disconnect.
From the article:
That’s what I’ve noticed. The people actually receiving the benefits tend to vote Democratic, but also tend to be disenfranchised, either in actuality (felons who don’t have their voting rights restored, etc.) or in practicality (voter ID, work 3 crap jobs and don’t have time to vote, never registered, etc.)
I have a lot of relatives who are farmers and those are some of the biggest government handout leeches we have, yet they all vote Republican because they don’t want “those people” getting “that stuff” with “mah tax dollahs.” Fuck that.
They never see themselves as getting a handout. THEY’RE the worthy ones.
A lot of those backbreaking jobs of FDR’s were that way because we didn’t have expensive machinery to do the work. But today we do far more with far fewer people in major construction projects because of the expensive machinery that takes a skilled operator rather than a person with a shovel or pick. Look up pictures of Hoover Dam being built or roads in the 30s. It was brutal, hard work, but then so was most productive work of the time. What I can produce today with a computer and the push of a button is far more (and better!) than what could be done 40-50 yrs ago. The cost of the machines isn’t really the problem, the cost in real dollars isn’t that much different, it’s the cost in man hours that changes how many people are required to produce far better work far faster. That and MBA thinking that capital costs are the only important structural, fixed cost requirement in business. You can’t easily quantify an individual’s productivity, but you can a machine. That is just one of the behind the scenes issues that affect how business sees employment costs as a non-controllable (while they try all the time) while capital is a hard number that can be.
@WereBear: In short, “numerate”.
There is a big problem here. We write these voters off, but continue to provide “safety net” or similar programs to help them. Because we know whats good for them, and have no need to try to reach them or engage them politically. This way lies paternalism, and paternalism breeds resentment, and nasty payback at some point down the road.
I keep hearing that but I’m not seeing it. Where does this notion come from? We said the same thing about Obama in 2008 and then 2010 happened. So I just don’t buy that an old man yelling about millionaires and billionaires can do anymore than the vibrant young Obama with the message of hope and change.
@WereBear: My wife has a movement and balance disorder as well as chronic pain. She uses the “spoon budget” metaphor all the time, so much that it’s part of our common vocabulary.
@slag: I was thinking of voters’ lived experience with “able-bodied” people who are on welfare (or in a relationship with someone who is) and don’t work or seem uninterested in improving their lot in life. Some have genuine addiction and mental health issues. Others have lost hope. And yeah, some actually are lazy-ass grifters — it happens.
Even though it’s true that focusing on these people while ignoring corporate welfare queens like Walmart and Big Ag is foolish and self-defeating, it’s hard as hell to tell the people who do that “Cousin Bobby” isn’t really the problem. They can see him with their own two eyes. The other stuff is abstract.
It’s not just that they are on obscure subscription satellite channels. It’s the paywalls, even for podcasts such as the Stephanie Miller Show. But I guess you’re right that this might be obscure for some because finding these shows is not as easy as pushing a button on your radio.
And I recall that Miller and a couple of other liberal show hosts complained that their shows had high ratings in some markets, but still were taken off the air. I get the impression that the ownership of Clear Channel, which owns the popular Los Angeles radio station KFI, wants to market locally based conservative radio programming.
OTOH, Limbaugh was demoted to a less popular Clear Channel station further down the AM dial, and other formally popular right wing hosts have been kicked to the curb as well.
But still the bottom line, is that there are fewer progressive voices.
ETA: have to throw in that the Pacifica station down the here has long been a joke racked by dissension. But this happens when you are more concerned with ideology than making money or getting ratings. Ideological purity becomes your downfall.
My wife J is a member of WPFW in DC. She annually gives a not huge but not insubstantial amount during their pledge drives in the promise of getting a thank-you gift of a DVD or something. Every year she has to remind them multiple times that she hasn’t received it yet. It usually takes them more than a year to get the gift sent out (usually after the next annual drive starts where they, yet again, promise a wonderful DVD if you contribute).
Maybe they don’t have enough people to do the back-room work like getting the gifts sent out. But when you disillusion your most dedicated and reliable supporters, you’re doing it wrong…
I’ve heard a few liberal talk show hosts, Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and I think Thom Hartmann, say they have been approached with offers. All they have to do to make a lot more money and be right up there with Rush, etc, in ratings is to switch from being liberal talk show host to a rightwing host. The liberal talk shows don’t get picked up by main stream radio.
@bemused: My wife used to love hearing one guy; I can’t remember his name. Very progressive black guy. His show was dropped from our local radio. Haven’t heard him since.
Nothing from the FPagers about the Black man beat up at Trump’s Klan rally?
@different-church-lady: This is an excellent post….I have met some of the boot-strap people and my gut reaction is contempt….they refuse to look at where and when the jobs started leaving and WHO was in charge and made that famous statement about the most frightening words being” I’m from the gov’t, and I”m here to help” that changed to FREEDUMB! and bootstraps and makers and takers….it makes me nauseous
Legal Weed: White People Get Rich, Black People Get To Stay In Prison
Ever since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, people have realized how much of a big business it actually is. So far Colorado has brought in over $200 million in revenue, and now it’s even a bigger hotbed of tourist activity. Just imagine the other states that are noticing the huge success of weed, best believe they’ll attempt to profit off of it.
But what do the faces of those profiting off of weed look like?
White and male of course.
For the longest time, black men and women have faced hefty jail sentences over petty weed cases, and if you think that’ll stop now that marijuana is legalized in a couple of states, you’re wrong.
Just look at the arrests in Colorado as an example. Between 1986 and 2010, more than 210,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession according to a report from the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, and they still remain behind bars.
Earlier this year, Michelle Alexander, associate professor of law at Ohio State University and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness held an open forum on March 6 with Asha Bandele of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Alexander basically broke it down to the core, as to who will make profits and who will stay behind bars.
“In many ways the imagery doesn’t sit right,” said Alexander. “Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?”
Miller and Hartmann are picked up by Free Speech TV which I watch on Dish. John Fugelsang got a gig on Sirius. He’s very good but I don’t want to subscribe to Sirius for just one show. Some cities have a liberal radio station. That’s about it.
Liberals are getting more information from liberal sources along with rightwing or “third way” media. Republicans rarely get exposed to liberal radio or other media. They literally don’t have a clue about any information outside their media bubble.
Speaking of bootstrappers, MLK hit the nail right on the head talking about them many years ago:
Villago Delenda Est
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: “Succeeding in life” nowadays has much more to do with who’s uterus you happened to fall out of more than anything else in this country.
And the parasites of the 1% intend to keep it that way.
Not that simple. As I noted, Miller and some other shows were actually getting higher ratings in some markets than conservative shows and still were replaced. I think in one city, the radio station ownership replaced the show with a sports radio program in an already crowded sports market. The show bombed in the ratings.
And as I noted, in Los Angeles, which has one of the biggest drive time markets in the US, Rush has been demoted to a second-string Clear Channel station. And the main station, KFI, never, never, ever mentions anything that he has to say. There have been hints that this is the official policy of the station’s program director. No mention or cross-promotion.
@bemused: I can go up and down my car radio dial and hear an outrageous number of RW talkers. Everyone from Mike Savage to Mike Berry to Limbaugh, plus all the local guys who hope someday to become nationally syndicated.
One day while driving I switched to an oldies station for some relaxation, and after playing “Chantilly Lace” the DJ came on, said something demonstrably false about Obama, and then posed the rhetorical question “isn’t there any way to get rid of him?” (which I personally took as a call for assassination).
If I want to hear progressive talk, I’d have to pay for satellite subscriptions. The RW garbage is free. They’re smart.
Amongst other things, it showed that Romney had never worked in that kind of situation or even known somebody who had. It showed how he was so completely enveloped by privilege he didn’t realize he was in it, or that most people weren’t.
@Fair Economist: Every high school student who sees his/her first paycheck is amazed at how much they earned vs. how much the final check amount is.
Villago Delenda Est
@Brachiator: Media consolidation, which started (surprise!) when the shitty grade Z movie star’s administration leaned on the FCC to allow it, started this trend. Now vile abominations like Clear Channel basically veto anything outside the box of fascist political correctness.
@Davis X. Machina:
Because if they’re kicked off Disability, how is FEMA going to find them to ship them off to the Camps at Gitmo?
Dean Baker at CEPR:
Of course, people who are genuinely defrauding the system are a cancer on it and do cause problems. But as a national policy, we need to keep our eye on the big picture (while having reasonable efforts to reduce abuse).
@Villago Delenda Est: they call themselves iHeart radio now!
Lipstick on a swine…
@Southern Beale: Bernie is ablaze all over Millenial social channels. He’s filling stadiums.
President Obama admitted they should have kept the GOTV operating for the midterms. I hope that lesson has been learned.
The Mills Brothers and Louis Armstrong recorded a song “WPA”
@Villago Delenda Est:
Media consolidation might have come anyway. Satellite radio was supposed to be an answer, but has largely been a bust.
I don’t know how quickly radio is dying, along with other traditional media, but it may be on the way out. More people I know stream music on their PCs, phones and tablets, few of which even have any easily usable version of even FM. Talk radio has preserved AM, especially in drive time markets.
The Tribune Company owns the LA Times and TV station KTLA, but the consolidation has not gained them much of anything. And Clear Channel is still dominant, though heavily debt-laden, but are dominating only with an increasingly irrelevant demographic.
That was a rude awakening for all three of our teenage kids getting their first paycheck. What the heck is this?!
And younger people are streaming, senior citizens, not so much.
Clear Channel, or whatever name they, or one of their subsidiaries go by now is both driven by conservative issues and especially money. They should be a textbook case of what not to do in an open democratic country that wants an open free media. Of course we may not actually live in such a place…..
@Germy: Sorry, distracted by my kids. Anyway, I was going to say that you can listen to Stephanie Miller and Tom Hartman online. Of course, that might not help if you’re at work.
It would be a long-term project and given the way American democracy is designed highly unlikely to happen, but the rough parameters would be as follows.
The Democratic Party has to stand for something and define itself. As it is, individual politicians stand for and define themselves. We have competitions with cult figures on the left side; Obama, Hillary, Bernie. If you’re not particularly into the cult figure you don’t bother to vote.
An example of where to start — this is an example, not a comprehensive program — would be a series of TV ads, run nationally to the largest possible audience, which basically say, “we are the Democrats and we stand for X, Y, and Z.” Make sure the ad is affirmative without being treacly, and keep the faces of Hillary or whomever out of it, this is about the party and not a personality. Keep hammering this message and stick with it, it’s going to take years before it starts doing any good.
That’s the only chance, and I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t think it can happen. Balloon Juicers are somewhat obsessed with personality politics; the MSM is completely obsessed with it. If you’re not into the Khardashians you don’t watch them. Same with our politics.
That MacGillis piece – now THAT is informative; depressing, but informative. Before deciding how to proceed on a problem, even one this huge, you need to know as much as possible about the existing status. MacGillis did some top-notch journalism here.
And always great to see a SCOTS link. I love the album that is on, and that number is one of several favorites from there.
It’s not that Cousin Bobby’s family hates him and wants to see him die in the gutter; they think assistance is enabling him, keeping him captive in a degraded lifestyle.
To a point, yes. But having seen what laughingly passes for public assistance here in red northern Florida (i.e. where as was explained to me when I inquired into health insurance options, a person who is unemployed with ZERO income and assets, a person who couldn’t possibly be more in need if he tried, still isn’t eligible for any health insurance assistance; only a few categories qualify, like if you’re a mother with a child I believe. I doubt if food stamp and other such services are much better)
… it requires some serious detachment from reality to believe, not only that Cousin John Q. Deadbeat is being enabled by the government, but that Cousin John Q. Deadbeat would even be capable of surviving in the first place on the meager assistance that he gets from the government. GOPers are seriously, seriously invested in believing things about their Cousin John Q. Deadbeat that are pretty easily disprovable, not by reading the latest study from the Center for American Progress, but simply by walking into his trailer and asking a few questions about how he’s doing right now.
Maybe it’s different in Appalachia.
@Chris: Yup. Well said.
I think people know in their guts that the problems in America aren’t due to the poor having too much money…
I agree totally with this, but what exactly are “X,Y,Z”. Personally I believe Obamacare is one, but the partly seems unwilling to run on this. It’s not that hard to find people who this benefitted – and yes I would use people who look like “Cousin Bobby’s Cousins” – and what they lose.
The new norm
After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.
The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.” …this was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble,” Trump said.
I think you are right about this. But I don’t know that people understand the magnitude of the economic decline in many areas of the country. Again, it’s hard to talk meaningfully about a safety net when the larger society is declining. The degree to which the standard of living for some people have declined, despite the war on poverty is highlighted in this piece from the Guardian story on poor whites in Kentucky:
Poor people are not even treading water. They’re sinking.
I still say that it may have been best to allow the economy to completely collapse after the economic crisis of 2009. Had McCain-Palin been the winning ticket, we could have seen 25% unemployment and utter devastation of the banking and financial services sector. However, I believe it would have broken the back of the Republican Party and left them discredited and a minority party for many generations to come.
On twitter, Alec MacGillis recommends a piece by Harold Pollack, posted in response to MacGillis’ article, What’s the matter with Kentucky? It kinda covers much of the same turf, but it does make the case that, while analysis “at high altitude” of socioeconomic data misses the personal, close-up stories of individuals in crisis, it does capture the big picture in ways the local stories do not. While politicians running for office really need to pay attention to those close-up stories, the big picture analyses are essential to determining government policy. Excerpt below.*
I wonder if MacGillis was ultimately won over by Pollack with the latter’s inclusion in his post of the YouTube of Paul Thorn singing “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love” (2m58s). Certainly appropriate for this post, and maybe appropriate for your upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner as well. Here’s hoping you do better than 50% on the like/love thing though!
Yes. Because of our pernicious national mythology. And so it goes.
The government didn’t always provide a social safety net and some countries probably still don’t have one.
The current beneficiaries would probably default to family and “tribes” like the local parish church.
“Not all countries provide a social safety net…”
Well, all first world countries do. If we want to be on the same level as Burkina Faso or Myanmar, then, fair point.
That’s why I am a big supporter of Hilary Clinton’s proposal to spend $30 billion on helping coal country deal with the ongoing collapse of its main industry.
My only quibble is that we need similar programs for the midwest and other areas that are coping with econmic forces that aren’t their fault and beyond their control.
@Zinsky: That’s a nutty take. You’re willing to undergo a generation of darkness just to prove some kind of purity point?
Well, all first world countries do.
I hear this said about National Health Insurance too. But, we have “American Exceptionalism” and they don’t. Boorah!!1!
@Zinsky: That’s a nutty take. You’re willing to undergo a generation of darkness just to prove some kind of purity point?
The bailout was a done deal even before Obama was sworn in.
I’m torn. On one hand, I don’t think it’s productive to write off any potential voters. On the other hand, I’m kind of tired of the narrative that white working class voters are the Holy Grail, and if Democrats can just figure out how to appeal to them everything will be fine.
Democrats lost the white working class in the first place because of race. The Southern Strategy worked, and any attempt to counter that by minimizing or ignoring how much race is a factor are going to fail. Again, I’m not saying you completely write off an entire demographic, but let’s face it: the Republicans have succeeded by doing exactly that. They don’t even pretend to try to appeal to non-whites any more. They do manage to get angry white folks to the polls, though.
Instead of constantly angsting over how to appeal to white working class people, maybe it’s time for Democrats to focus more on shoring up our current core constituencies. Since there isn’t going to be any help from the current SCOTUS or Congress on voting rights, let’s talk about how we’re going to get around attempts at voter suppression in Alabama. Come up with strategies to make sure college students can vote and their votes are counted. Take advantage of the fact that Asian Americans overwhelmingly vote Dem now and make sure that doesn’t change. Point out Republican xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment so that the Latino community knows who supports them and who wants them gone. Instead of spending all our time constantly trying to persuade people to like us, maybe we need to make sure we’re working to shore up support from the folks already on our side.
@WereBear: Listening to liberal radio heard a mechanic (sounded rural white) complaining that the $15 minimum wage movement is BS. He is highly trained with certificates and he makes $15 bucks an hour. Why should an un-trained (blah) burger flipper make the same as him? Not sure if a plant, but what a great argument. I have worked hard to get to where I am, and now some illiterate bum is going to make the same as me? The host kind of freaked, mumbled something, and moved on. I think the proper rebuttal is your wages should go up to where they belong, at $23/hr, if the minimum moves up to $15. Should be a win win. But how do you convince someone of this?
Democrats lost the white working class in the first place because of race. The Southern Strategy worked, and any attempt to counter that by minimizing or ignoring how much race is a factor are going to fail.
I live in the South and the conservative themes play out constantly on the home TV, the newspapers, public places like the doctor’s and dentists offices, talk radio, and the water coolers. Just as Fox News has made a big difference, the constant propaganda shapes and sustains views of the world.
Yeah, I agree with this, although I think the extent that it’s “white working class” (instead of middle and upper class) whites who are the problem, is usually overstated. “White people with racial anxieties,” for sure. I think if we’re now finding ourselves capable of winning without trying to appease white people with racial anxieties, that’s something to be celebrated.
About the only people I hear say stuff like this make sure that they themselves would be immune to the impact of any collapse.
And then there are those who care more about punishing political and ideological opponents than in the lives of ordinary people.
mai naem mobile
@Gimlet: if a white Trumpy supporter went to an Obama event and got gently shoved by an Obama supporter, Fox&Pals lead by Trumpy would be talking about how some poor defenseless elderly white man got beaten up by black blackity black Chicago thugs.
Very late to this party and regret I don’t have time right now to go through the whole thread (Thanksgiving for 16 isn’t going to make itself).
Has anyone mentioned that there WAS a natiobal organization dedictated to getting low-income people involved in the political process, including but not limited to registering to vote?
That was ACORN.
Trump and O’Reilly were also there in SF when the hippies spit on returning servicemen from ‘Nam.
From The Hill
Trump said at a rally on Saturday in Birmingham, Ala. that he watched as the World Trade Center “came tumbling down.”
“And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he added. “Thousands of people were cheering.”
ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump on Sunday if he misspoke, noting that “police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time.”
“It did happen. I saw it, “ Trump said. “It was on television. I saw it.”
“George, it did happen,” Trump persisted.
“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations,” he said. “They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down.”
“I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering … as those buildings came down,” Trump added. “And that tells you something.
“There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
@mai naem mobile:
by black blackity black Chicago thugs
The “New” Black Panthers!
I’m the first to tell you that I don’t know the precise way to word it, but…
…to me, Obamacare is a ship that’s sailed and should be portrayed as a way station on the road to a more comprehensive policy. That’s just an example. There’s equality, there’s economic fairness, and so on, and as I said I don’t know exactly how to phrase it but the important point is that the party say that they believe it and have policy goals. As it is we have zombies programmed to recite cliches within the context of a personal brand and even the people who do vote aren’t especially excited about the process.
It should have taken zero mental effort to ask the caller whether they thought their work as a auto tech was worth more than 15 dollars per hour. This is a good reason why it is important to engage in argument with people who hold different political opinions – practice.
I have a twin sister who depends greatly on the safety net and votes Republican. I will never change her mind. But, I give her a bad time and myself great joy by always reminding her that my vote cancels her vote–hahaha.
I heard this one: wakati tembo na vifaru kupambana, nyasi anateseka.
Also: haja kubwa mtiririko kuteremka.
Furahia siku yako.
@Ohio Mom: ACORN was definitely unfairly demonized. I still don’t understand how the seemingly obviously unconstitutional “bill of attainder” against ACORN passed the Congress…
There are lots of groups out there that do similar, but obviously not identical work.
League of Women Voters and VoteRiders are just a couple.
Who gives a shit?
Darwinian ratchet, motherfuckers. If these white trash hillbillies keep voting away their safety net and their mortality rates skyrocket, eventually they’ll die off. Then there will be a lot fewer dumb hicks voting away their medicaid than there will be sane educated people who vote in favor of it. Problem solved.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a problem that will solve itself, like the opposition to gay marriage. The people who vote for this stuff are dying off. They are an increasingly tiny fraction of the population.
Granted, in the case of dumb Southern hicks, the reason they’re dying off is that they’re voting this way. That’s just a bonus. It shows everyone else the brutal cost of voting stupidly.
That isn’t just an opinion, it’s a documented fact. No state that has expanded medicaid coverage under the ACA has subsequently revoked it. (Kansas offers a test case. We’ll see how that goes. I’m betting the coverage won’t be revoked.)
And notice what’s happening in the Southern states: every once in a while a state that refused to accept medicaid expansion, like Louisiana, gets a Demo governor and expands coverage. That state won’t go back. It would cost the state too much money. They just can’t afford it.
So the problem of the gap in medicaid coverage is also solving itself. Over time, eventually, all the Southern states will expand medicaid coverage. The Republican-dominated state legislatures will rage and rail, but in the end, it just costs too much money to avoid expanding medicaid coverage. All these deep-south states are paying in but getting nothing in return if they don’t expand medicaid coverage. As the economy worsens and the state budgets run deeper into the red, they’ll have no choice. They will all expand medicaid.
By all means, keep trying to change their minds. Here’s the thing, though: either these people will change their minds, or they will die.
If they refuse to vote sanely, they will die. That’s the brutal reality. They will get sick, they won’t be able to afford treatment, they won’t have medicaid, and they’ll die.
I don’t like that kind of brutal Darwinian calculus, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. They can vote for Democrats and get health care, or they can vote for Republicans and die. In the long run, either one works to promote progressive policy.
You might want to try that one on ’em. “You can help the Democrats by voting for Democratic candidates, or you can help the Democrats by dying and leaving fewer Republicans to vote for Republican candidates. Which option would you prefer?”
220 comments, so no time to read them all. I agreed with the conclusions at the end of the link.
@Brachiator: But I sure agree with this. If the mass of the middle and working class is doing worse, they themselves have a harder time getting by. they feel the pain. It is not often noted that poor Whites have been hit as hard or harder recently by declining incomes, wealth, opportunities, and social standing. Particularly in South. Rustbelt and some areas of Rocky Mountain region..Hasn’t bee a whole lot of sympathy for them from Democrats because Whites are still far better off on average than surrounding minority communities, and many bigots and racists in this population. But it is easy to see how they increasingly resent giving anything to anybody whom they cannot personally vet, whether it be ‘those people’ of their shiftless second cousin Bobby up the holler. So the emphasis on economic growth that benefits the middle and working class is important. And that may explain the very enthusiastic fan base of Sanders and Trump since they emphasize this issue. Too bad the latter is either insane or pretending to be so in order to make an appealing political pitch to a segment of the population he seems to understand well.
And I agree with your comments to the extent that they emphasize making a very strong consistent pitch to help everyone in tangible ways that they can perceive in their daily lives, even poor Whites who liberals may perceive as ‘the other’ culturally.
Another point is that, in terms of decision making, it has long been known that theoretically, putting people in positions were their plans are regularly frustrated, and any meaningful long term success is increasingly a very long shot, can distort behavior in ways that seem pathological and irrational to people who don’s suffer the same changing constraints. Examples are focusing on areas where there is a greater chance of some measurable success even if that from others’ perspective, very fourth the fifth-best options (so the minority inner city kid going into drug dealing or rural white trash eagerly going into the meth cooking business), relaying more and more on gambling long shot payoff approaches to investment (inner city people spending lots of dough on the lottery, or debt heavy resentful lower middle class white daddies losing everything day trading). Or withdrawing from normal human capital investment, hunkering down and making do so as not to suffer distress of more disappointment (welfare queens and shiftless cousin Bobby on the dole up the holler).
There has been a lot of research recently showing that these effects are important empirically.
Final point is that the insurance function of these programs is important to consider. The redistribution is perceived ex post. Need to remind people that the economic analysis of the effects should be analyzed ex ante, before the good and bad gets dished out. This helps quash a lot of bad ideas like means testing for Social Security (Bill Gates started paying is SS taxes and getting a retirement account before he knew he would be The Bill Gates). It can also be used to fight counterproductive ideas about the need to watch every penny that might go to somebody who might by some standard be perceived as underserving (like assistance cut-offs that impose a large tax on increased work effort).
Maybe that’s a bit like the cure being worse than the disease?
If your sister is like some siblings that I know, that kind of comeback just hardens them in place. Not saying that your sister could be swayed but is giving her that kind of challenge just setting that in stone?
Excellent article over at The Great Orange Satan about the Democratic downballot holocaust. Takeaway? It’s complicated, and not a long-term trend, but more of a fluctuation.
Anyone who thinks having a black man in the White House didn’t contribute to disproportionate loss of House and state legislature seats due to overt racism in the deep South is deluded. Obviously this is a problem that will go away at the end of Obama’s second term. It’s not a long-term issue. Unless, of course, you seriously expect that the Democrats will elect nothing but black people to the presidency from now on. (And the probability of that is…?)
“The Democratic down-ballot hemorrhage: Is it as much of a crisis as it seems?” Daily Kos, 22 November 2015.
We tried that in 1930 and got U.S. army goons cutting down the Bonus Marchers with sabers, armed guards at the border of every state turning back homeless migrants at gunpoint, state police burning down Hooverville shacks and shooting and beating their occupants, and an attempted coup by millionaires (including Prescott Bush) in 1934 against the elected government of the United States.
And that was in America. In Germany, you got the NSDAP. AKA Adolf and his merry band.
Starvation doesn’t make people vote for Democrats, it makes them support fascists who promise to feed them and restore order.
Anyone who thinks having a black man in the White House didn’t contribute to disproportionate loss of House and state legislature seats due to overt racism in the deep South is deluded. Obviously this is a problem that will go away at the end of Obama’s second term. It’s not a long-term issue. Unless, of course, you seriously expect that the Democrats will elect nothing but black people to the presidency from now on. (And the probability of that is…?)
Black Democrat = “Jesus! There’s a ni[CLANG!] in the White House!”
White Democrat = “Jesus! There’s a ni[CLANG!] lover in the White House!”
Although, yes, having the person in question actually be black does drive the racism into overdrive – but the notion of Democrats as “the party of These People” has been pretty well internalized by right wing voters whatever the color of the candidate happens to be, so it’ll still be a big factor no matter how many lily-white candidates we run.
You’re right, of course. The point the guy who wrote the article was making is simply that while racism is a problem in the deep South, putting a black man into the White House pegged the racism needle down South.
You can make a good argument, in fact, that if the Democrats elect a white person to the presidency in 2016, Democrats will make outsized gains in the deep South because all the racist crackers will breathe a relief and say, “Well, the Demos finally got that n****r out of the White House, maybe the Democratic party ain’t quite so bad.”
I think his point was that the Great Depression, with three or four years of Republican rule coupled with earth-shattering poverty, created the backlash that enabled the New Deal. It’s unlikely that anything as radical (by the standards of the time at least) as the New Deal could have passed under normal circumstances, and the legacy they left stuck around for quite a while (till the end of the seventies. That’s quite an accomplishment).
In other words, it’s not just fascists that are empowered. As we’re seeing in Europe right now, this kind of disaster seems to fuel generic “throw the bums out” sentiment. A lot depends on just who’s best positioned to be the new shiny object – in France, the protest party of choice is the FN, but in Greece, it was Syriza (though we’ll see how long that lasts).
Also, the Business Coup – was it ever really proven whether that was a real thing, as opposed to just cocktail party “gosh, I wish someone would do something” fantasizing, like you frequently see from GOPers today wishing the military would give Obama the Allende treatment (or threatening that it’s just about to do so, this radicalism can’t endure forever!) I always found that story to be utterly bizarre, not so much the basic “rich people want a coup” thing but that the Cunning Plan hinged on using Smedley Butler as their new dictator. A guy who’d made his contempt for people like them very clearly known. What kind of coup would hire someone like that? I do understand that rich people are often much dumber than they think, but even considering that, it would be an incredibly weird thing to do.
It’s possible and it’d be nice if it did pan out that way, but I suspect it’s more the opposite – that Obama has been the final straw for them that permanently destroyed any lingering hopes they might have had of seeing the Democratic Party be back on their side.
The situation is complicated. Bluntly, the late 1920s/early 1930s are not comparable to today in terms of the way the U.S. economy works, so it’s unlikely the economic results would be similar.
In October 1929, America was on the gold standard and there was no deposit insurance on banks. In October 2007 America did not have a gold standard and we did have deposit insurance.
In the early 1930s the response in America involved the Smoot-Hawley Tariff — trade protectionism that made everything worse. In early 2009 the response in America was to ramp trade up rather than down.
In the early 1930s America had enormous slack in its manufacturing capacity and enormous amounts of unused raw resources. America’s Oklahoma oil field in the 1930s, for example, were operating far below capacity, ditto our open-pit mines, natural gas wells, etc.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s America had no slack in its manufacturing capacity because most of our manufacturing has been offshored (and in fact many hi-tech products like the Apple iPhone cannot be manufactured in America because we don’t have the technology, on the Shenzen region of China now has that expertise). America in the early 2010s has no unused raw resources — our fracking operations, open-pit mines, and natural gas wells are operating at full capacity.
To put it bluntly, the situation with the Great Depression is not comparable economically to today, in large part because corporate profits are sky-high and at record levels, while automation + offshoring continues to slash American jobs. In the 1930s, an ongoing drop in aggregate demand caused U.S. firms to lay off mass numbers of workers. In the 2010s, an ongoing drop in aggregate demand has caused U.S. firms to offshore or automate the jobs to save money, and increase exports to make up the lost money from domestic sales. This means that during the Great Depression, U.S. corporations saw their profits plummet, while in the 2010s, U.S. corporations have presided over record high profits.
None of this had anything to do with the response by the government. These are structural changes in the U.S. economy due to technology, trade, and the exhaustion of natural resources — in the 1930s, America had something like 80% of the world’s oil production. Today, America produces less than 17% of the world’s oil, if memory serves. At the same time, America’s consumption of energy has skyrocketed since 1930.
As a result, it’s unlikely that the U.S. economy would react the same way to a refusal by the government to step in and boost aggregate demand in 2009. As just one example, if the gov’t hadn’t stepped up, U.S. corporations would probably simply have increased their process of offshoring and automating out of existence. There would thus be no call in 2009 from U.S. corporations for financial reform or fiscalm relief as there was in the early 1930s, since U.S. corporations would do just fine in the 2010s by reducing costs via automation and offshoring and expanding sales by selling to the rest of the world.
The gold standard greatly worsened the Depression in the 1930s. We have no gold standard today, so even if the government had not provided a stimulus, a Depression today wouldn’t be nearly as bad. And so on.
You both would make for an interesting study. Do you have any ideas why you two are so differently politically?
@Kay: I can’t help thinking this is in no small part because, while the economy has boomed, the middle- and working- classes haven’t seen a cent of the boom. Yet the same people complain about raising the minimum wage – even though improving minimum wage would mean a boost for themselves. THIS is what I don’t understand: they resist the social safety net, yet they also resist anything that would benefit themselves directly in the form of higher pay and better benefits.
There has to be a way to encourage business to invest in workers without making the “job creators” squeal.
@Darkrose: That’s a workable strategy only if you’re willing to write off most state legislatures and the US Congress. Unfortunately, we need those bodies to have a functional government. I agree it would be wrong to cede any Democratic positions that make us who we are as a party. But I don’t think that’s necessary. What it may come down to is convincing voters who don’t believe the government can work for them that it can.
@RSA: SCOTS is great live. They play in the Chapel Hill area about a half dozen times a year, so if you’re local, you should have good opportunities to see them. (For local shows at least, they pass out fried chicken and banana pudding for certain songs.) “Dirt Track Date” is my favorite album of theirs.
Paul in KY
@WereBear: Adam Smith wrote about those types of people about 250 years ago.
Paul in KY
@PurpleGirl: That’s a quote from Adam Smith ‘Wealth of Nations’.
Paul in KY
@debbie: You gotta have the gumption to wait the process out. Be ready to wait 5 or 6 hours. They’ll get to you eventually.
Paul in KY
@Ruckus: Think the other thing is that private firms that build infrastructure certainly don’t want any competition from government agencies.
Paul in KY
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I think the ban on ‘bills of attainder’ apply only to people.
Paul in KY
@mclaren: I think you are too optimistic here.
Paul in KY
@mclaren: The thing today that is worse is that there are not the ‘basic man power’ jobs by the scads that you had back in 1930s – 1940s.
Automation does kill a certain amount of good jobs.