Thursday, November 11, 2004

Who Do the Rich Vote For?

People have been talking alot about the "values" (read: homophobic) voters in last week's elections. This posting from TAPPED (and links therein) discusses how the Radical Fundementalists didn't really make up any more of W's coalition this time than they did last time. His big improvement, though, was among the wealthy.

I think there's two interpretations of this. First, when you start giving enormous tax breaks to people who don't (appear to) need the government services that the tax cuts have gutted, they'll start coming back to vote for you, regardless of the rest of your record. Remember, here that the income brackets mentioned in the post are not among the super wealthy. 100k per year for a family of 4 is comfortable, but not set for life (depending on where you live). My impression is that many members of this demographic are peaceful residents of middle American exurbia, hold down middle management jobs, watch the local news at 6, don't understand the importance of long-term structural deficits, don't understand the impending crisis in our educational system, don't understand that there will be a draft if this president is left unchecked, and are happy that through tax breaks and low interest rates, they've been able to remodel the kitchen. These are the people that make me sick, because I grew up with them. How we reach them, without the entire economy going in the tank, I don't know. I don't think we can, actually. These are fairly uneducated people, who by happenstance have decent jobs, so that they've become very secure and unwilling to see various writings on the wall.

The other side of the interpretation, is that even though W's win wasn't entirely built on the backs of the simultaneously poor and religious, these people were able to get him close enough so that the wealthy could carry him over the line. I actually think that these people are alot easier to reach. Yeah, there are wacko fundementalists, that we'll never touch. However, I'll bet that a large fraction of Bush's fundy vote were people that are open to Democratic messages, but only heard one message -- Kerry wants to kill babies and have sex with other men --. If they heard more messages, such as ones about economic realities, freedom, and responsible experience in the White House, I bet they'd come over. It's why we have to work the south in '06 and '08.

Face to face contact is what will bring the Democratic message back in this country. We can make all the slick TV ads we want, but when people wake up to their morning email prayer or Sunday preacher telling them that Kerry=gays=Satan, they're not going to come out for us, and they might be scared enough to vote for the other side. I'll say it from here till '08, the Democrats and like minded progressives need to reinvent the precinct and the community group. People need to see people who believe in Democratic/American (sorry, U.S.) values. We need to either get into like minded churches, or build our churches out in the street. I'm open for ideas.

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