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Younge writes: "So white people who are struggling financially are going to vote Republican. And not by a narrow margin."

The late author, Joe Bageant, who wrote a book on how Democrats have lost the political support of poor rural whites and how the Republican Party has convinced these individuals to vote against their own economic self-interest. (photo: Joe Bageant.com)
The late author, Joe Bageant, who wrote a book on how Democrats have lost the political support of poor rural whites and how the Republican Party has convinced these individuals to vote against their own economic self-interest. (photo: Joe Bageant.com)



Why Do Poor White Voters Reject the Democrats?

By Gary Younge, Guardian UK

27 May 12

 

The white working class is said to 'vote against its own interests'. This only exposes the patronising assumptions of their accusers.

o white people who are struggling financially are going to vote Republican. And not by a narrow margin. Asked in a recent Washington Post poll which candidate would do more to advance their families' economic interests, middle-class white voters who said they were struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Mitt Romney. And not by a small margin. In this category he beats Barack Obama by 58% to 32%.

Such news is generally greeted on the left by a mixture of despair and ridicule. Here is a group of people, it seems, who simply do not understand what's good for them. Whites without college degrees, as reasonable if flawed an indicator of "class" in this country as exists, backed John McCain by 58 to 40 in 2008 and George W Bush in 2004 and 2000 by similar amounts. Failing to sense the liberation the Democrats have in store for them, they have been seized by a collective bout of false consciousness and are once again set to vote against their own interests. Having thus infantilised them as ostensible adults in need of protection against themselves, progressives will then wonder why this particular group of people do not flock to them at the polls.

There are several problems with this response - not least the condescension towards a group that too many liberals feel too comfortable disparaging - but for now let's just concentrate on two.

First, it interprets interests too narrowly. As a well-paid journalist, I vote against my economic interests when I support parties that favour wealth redistribution. That's because my own economic interests are not the only things that interest me when I vote. I have a vision of a society that I'd like to live in that goes beyond my own bank account.

It's patronising in the extreme to assume that poorer white people don't understand that. I may disagree with their decisions to vote on issues like abortion and gay marriage, but it's a different thing entirely to suggest that when they prioritise those things it's because they don't know what's best for them. Paradoxically, given that this argument comes from liberals, it is underpinned by an insistence not that they be less selfish, but more.

Secondly, if they were voting on economic issues alone, that might be a reason not to vote Republican but it's not necessarily a reason to vote Democrat. With unemployment still about 8%, many of the benefits of healthcare reform still to kick in and bankers still running amok, it's not like Democrats are offering much that would support the economic interests of the poor, regardless of their race. It was Bill Clinton who cut welfare, introduced the North American Free Trade Agreement and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act - which helped make the recent crisis possible. If you were going to trade your religious beliefs for economic gain, you could be forgiven for demanding a better deal than that.

Indeed, the people most likely to have voted Democrat four years ago - the young, the black and Latinos - are among the groups that have fared worse under Obama. And all the polls suggest they're about to do it again, albeit in lesser numbers. One could just as easily argue that they are the dupes. Democrats have no god-given right to the votes of the poor of any race and for the past 30 years can hardly claim to have earned them.

In a country where class politics and class organisations are weak, it's too easy to dump on the white working class as a bunch of know-nothings when the problem is a political class that is a bunch of do-nothings. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem here. When asked which candidate is most likely to advance the economic interests of you or your family, white people backed Romney 50 to 37 while non-whites backed Obama 71 to 22. That kind of discrepancy cannot just be put down to white people being better off.

Since the mid-60s Republicans have seen an electoral opportunity in appealing to the basest, racist sentiments of a section of the white electorate. What became known as the "Nixon strategy" aimed to use the dog whistle of racial symbolism - like "Welfare Queens" and "Willie Horton" - to draw white southerners into the Republican fold and peel off disaffected whites in the north too. It worked. Since the second world war, Democrats have won the presidency with the white vote alone only once - in 1964. One of the appeals for some whites of voting Republican is a desire to maintain whatever limited racial privileges they have acquired over the years combined with a fear that what little they have will be taken away by feckless non-whites and undocumented migrants. While in Nevada in 2010 I asked a white Republican without health insurance why she wouldn't support a candidate who might give it to her. "I never really got into that Obamacare insurance stuff," she said. "My mind is focusing 250% on this illegal immigration."

None of this means all Republican supporters are racist. But it does suggest they make their appeal on racial grounds and, as the poll shows, it is effective. But it won't be for ever. Whites will be a minority in the US in about 30 years. Republicans' appeal to Latinos is already pitifully low and has made several western states, including Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, extremely competitive.

Nonetheless, time and again during the Republican primaries Republicans evoked racial themes in the whitest places. "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," said Rick Santorum in Sioux City. "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."

"Right," said one audience member, as another woman nodded.

"And provide for themselves and their families," Santorum added.

The black population of Sioux City is 2.9%. In Woodbury County, in which Sioux City sits, 13% of the people are on food stamps, an increase of 26% since 2007, with nine times as many whites as blacks using them.

Just a few days later, in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich said: "I will go to the NAACP convention and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks [instead of] food stamps." African-Americans make up 0.8% of Plymouth's population. Food stamp use in Grafton County is 6% - a 48% increase since 2007.

Those who are struggling and believe Romney will improve their economic lot are wrong, regardless of their race. Eight years of George W Bush proved that. But it does not follow automatically from that that their home should be supporting Democrats under whom things have gotten less bad less quickly. True, those are the only two choices on offer. But if you're poor they are not great choices. What they need is a party that represents their interests. In a country where corporate money chooses the candidates and therefore shapes the debate that will demand a change in politics, not just politicians.

 

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+350 # pernsey 2012-05-26 13:19
Im always surprised that people in general dont realize the republicans screwed everything up, then blame the dems. I cant understand why people believe the propaganda? Bush/Cheney screwed up the countries economics and finances, and now they are trying to blame the dems for it all. Sadly this works. Honestly I dont think this country can stand 4 years of Romney.
 
 
+94 # Smiley 2012-05-26 21:59
Every administration from Reagan on has made things worse.
 
 
+92 # I. R. Steen 2012-05-27 05:25
Every REPUBLIKLAN administration since "The Great Bed Wetter" has sunk us deeper into economic oblivia.
 
 
+138 # szq5777 2012-05-27 06:12
Smiley,
You are wrong!Clinton's eight years were great for the country! He even left us with a surpplus deficit! Have your memory cells gone to sleep? REPUBLICAN administrations all have made things worse! Bush II worst of all. Obama is still trying to clean up his mess but the idiot republicans in the house block him at every turn. Vote Democratic!
 
 
+126 # susienoodle 2012-05-27 07:56
I always vote Dem, but Clinton hurt the poor with his "welfare reform"; he hurt us all by deregulation, NAFTA, and eliminating Glass Steagall.
I totally support Obama but he's republican the way they were before radicals stole the party. Aside from his many personality flaws, Nixon was left of Obama. I don't have a solution as long as rethugs have $$, power, and a propaganda network. They want to destroy public education so they can implement their Fascist agenda. As long as
population is constantly mis informed, besides being racist and afraid of anyone who doesn't descend from the Mayflower, we are doomed.
 
 
+71 # X Dane 2012-05-27 10:45
Yes Susienoodle, they cut funds for education, because well to do people can afford to send their children to good schools, low income families can not, which is just what the republicans and corpocrats count on, for they need poor people's children to fight their wars for oil and empire.

Unfortunately for many of us, the right wing controls almost ALL the media, print AND TV, so they can get their message out. It is a lot harder for the democrats to be heard. And the republicans in any discussion on TV talks nonstop, they don't let the democrat get a word in edgewise. They are ruthless and rude.
 
 
+35 # mdhome 2012-05-28 05:41
Ruthless and rude are perfect descriptions and wanting poor uneducated cannon fodder for their wars is spot on.
 
 
+28 # carolsj 2012-05-28 15:38
And when anyone tries to report facts, they cry about the liberal controlled media.
 
 
-27 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:09
Then why is it the vonservatives are the ones home-schooling their kids about real American history and values, not Socialist precepts of pride without acvomplishment and redistribuzion of other people's money for their labor to those who WILL not work? Jefferson said that the best way to destroy a Democracy was to take from thise who do work and give to those who will not. Not CAN not, but WILL not.
 
 
+10 # noitall 2012-05-29 13:12
Those who stand for the things that I believe in have no party to be in the running in for leadership in this country. Forget the fact that Obama, as a "Democrat" is in fact a Republican and the "Republican" candidates are Fascists, We have no spot. Which of us brainwashed voters will "waste our vote" on an "independent" or a "green" candidate. Nader still gets shit for being a "spoiler". We were the fault for allowing to perpetuate a system where the rich own both "legitimate" parties from which we have to choose. Through smoke and mirrors Clinton "balanced the budget" but mostly what he did was set the scene and rigged the board for Bush/Obama policies of aggression and empire building world-wide that have left Americans hated and justified "the war against terror" (the war against those who justifiably hate "us"). We're not out in the streets by the millions protesting these murderous policies and so then, we ARE the world's enemy because we apparently support drone warfare and attacks that support the aggression of U.S. (world) corporation's greed and lust for the natural resources of other countries. Watch this, you will be astounded by the size of the drone explosions (fired two at a time, one following the other by seconds and are more deadly if several minutes are between them because they then kill those in rescue efforts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vlxJXfdemW8
It is cowardly; it is wrong; it is apparently "American".
 
 
-20 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:05
And the Right Wing desparage the media as hard left propagandists.. . Failing to vet Obama's Marxist connections early and present, as well as his adherence to Vladimir Lenin's advice, through the Cloward Piven strategy, that the best way to bring down a capitalist country is to debauch (destroy) the currency.
 
 
+1 # suzyskier 2012-06-05 18:22
The red card again! I think you need to back up your allegations calling Obama a communist! People are always throwing Marxist at any one slightly to the left of center. Prove it. Even Russia is no longer communist for Heavens sake. I am astonished by these ridiculous charges.
 
 
+3 # Todd Williams 2012-05-28 04:35
Obama left of Nixon? That's a new one on me. WRONG!
 
 
+15 # DrEvel1 2012-05-29 07:29
The Nixon administration was in many ways well to the left of any administration since then, even Obama's. They supported the guaranteed annual income, revenue sharing, educational experimentation , the opening to China, the National Health Service Corps (for which I worked for a time), and a variety of other public-sector initiatives. True, they had a problem with civil rights and some war issues, but domestically they had a lot to offer, despite the demonization of Nixon personally.
 
 
+35 # JJS 2012-05-28 06:08
Suzienoodle, it is true Clinton was the POTUS at the time these laws were signed but it was the Republican congress at the time that brought them to the floor for action. Obama is in a similar situation. The Republicans have the House and the only laws that come to the floor are the ones the R's bring to it. Clinton and now Obama have had to negotiate with the Rebublican held branches of congress on their terms or find backdoor methods to get edicts passed. Nancy Pelosi did the best she could to get healthcare passed while she could bring the law to the floor, but she had to compromise to the hilt to get it done. We needed universal healthcare (medicare for all) but we got corporate-care for all.
Clinton had to play the only game in town and it was the R's game.
When Obama lost the majority in the House, he lost control of the agenda. He had a majority for a while (a very short while) but it was not filibuster proof. We need to get the House and the Senate a Democratic super majority in order to get Obama's agenda passed. It is then we can judge his motives and if his agenda works.
 
 
0 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:11
"edicts"? I do not believe edicts is a Democratic concept, it is a totalitarian one. A Freudian slip?
 
 
+9 # JJS 2012-05-29 16:40
Freudian slip?, not really. When a president's policies are being thwarted, almost to the point of treason, and especially when pols show that the people, despite their representatives actions, want those policies enacted a president has other avenues. For example I believe he encouraged Nancy Pelosi to get the ACA passed by any means necessary. Recess appointments are another way to overcome this opposition. This was done for Richard Cordray as director of a new consumer protection agency.
I believe if we preserve the constitution we can avoid totalitarianism . There are checks and balances inherent in that document.
 
 
-8 # forparity 2012-05-27 09:34
Well, the insane and irrational era of the dot.com bubble was what created the surpluses - for the most part. When it collapsed in March, 2000 - that spelled the end of the surpluses. Ask any economist - (but you have to ask) - and they will tell you that, "by far," (to quote Dean Baker, the main cause of the quick disappearance of the surpluses and the projected surpluses and being replaced by huge deficits (by 2002 - 2003) was the economic fallout from the collapse of the dot.com bubble.

True, the immediate and short term costs associated with 9/11, as well as the negative economic fallout from that (in tandem with the recession caused by the dot.com collapse) added a bit more to the inevitable reversal of fortunes.

And Bush's stimulus (tax cuts - and the D's tax rebates of 2001) added a bit more (during this 2001-2003 stretch). At the end of 2003 - the deficit stood at $378 billion (had little to do with Bush).

Bush is more responsible for the longer term costs associated with the Iraq War - the continued costs (minus stimulus effect) of the tax cuts - sizable increases in entitlement spending, as well as education and veterans (right out of the starting gate), and of course the historic first of providing Seniors with their first Rx drug benefit w/Medicare.

I personally hold him responsible for not pulling the plug on the housing bubble - as I hold Clinton for the dot.com bubble.
 
 
-7 # paulrevere 2012-05-27 11:58
heh...not even close on the dotcom did the surpluses...com puterization of the entire manufacturing and consumer supply chain, vastly lowering overhead and increasing thruput for far less effort and capital is what created the avenue for much greater profits, increased tax base revenue and for the left to engineer or even consider for that matter, the ideas for budgets that moved towards balance.
 
 
-4 # forparity 2012-05-27 13:27
Wow - that was dreamy.

Then why did "that" suddenly stop working in March 2000 forward? Why isn't it working now?
 
 
+41 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-27 14:27
Why?
Because the 1% wanted to grab the increased revenue for themselves and no, 1%ers hoard money, they don't spend it on what makes the economy go round.
 
 
+12 # forparity 2012-05-27 15:45
The income share of the top 1% skyrocketed from 13.7%, in 1993, to 21%, in 2000 , of all income earned. Last numbers out had it at 16.9%. Average CEO Pay to average worker pay soared over 500% - to 525:1 during the 8 yrs of Clinton - and pulled back for the 8 years under Bush.
 
 
+17 # JJS 2012-05-28 07:41
Forparity,
You say: "the immediate and short term costs associated with 9/11,"
SHORT TERM costs?
http://costsofwar.org/
Don't forget the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and now Pakistan. How about $3-4 Trillion?

The stock market has basically recovered and corporations are sitting on a lot of cash. (From NPR)"1,600-plus U.S.-based companies it (Moodys) rates had $1.2 trillion in cash at the end of 2010."

Currently, it is Republican obstructionism that I hold responsible for not getting us out of the economic ditch we are in, however it is we got here.
 
 
+2 # forparity 2012-05-28 10:10
@ JJS --

I'd ask you read more carefully what I offered. We were talking of why the Clinton era surpluses - and projected future surpluses - vanished almost over night, and were replaced by huge deficits.

The surpluses turned into massive deficits by 2003. They were long gone.

The total cost of the Iraq war through the end of 2003 was roughly $54 billion. The total cost of the stimulus (tax cuts - the static cost - was about $325 billion thru the end of 2003 (less than 1/2 the cost of the Obama stimulus, if you will). However, the shift in fortunes - the delta - from the projected surplus to realized deficits was $1.3 Trillion.

From that point on - yes - one can associate much of the continued piling on of debt to Bush policies (or lack of policies) and war costs.

The important point to understand is that the surpluses were turned into massive deficits almost overnight "mostly" because of the economic fallout from the collapse of the Clinton era economy (the dot.com bubble).

The "short term" I referred to is the 2001-2003 stretch (3 yrs). The claim for the past 10 years has been that Bush caused the surpluses to disappear and turned them into massive deficits. That view holds little to no truth. Any economist will tell you the same thing - if they were asked. Krugman and Baker are on record in agreeing.
 
 
+5 # JJS 2012-05-29 17:48
To respond directly; the 4 years (98-01) of Clinton surpluses disappeared in 2002 (not overnight) due to the 2001 Bush Tax cuts and the $221 billion increase in Federal spending under the Bush Administration. I find it very credible that Bush caused the surpluses to disappear and turned them into massive deficits.

My point was to look at the total history and where we are now. We are in this ditch due to war spending and tax cuts policies of the Republicans.

Since you want to invoke Krugman: “EGTRRA (Bush’s 1st tax cut package) arrived in the middle of a recession (2001), but that was an accident. It was devised in 1999, when the economy was booming, to defend Bush’s right flank against Steve Forbes. During the 2000 campaign, Bush sold it as a way of returning budget surpluses to the people, with not a hint that it had something to do with fighting recession. The recession story was an after-the-fact reinvention.”
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/bush-tax-cut-mythology/
 
 
+1 # JJS 2012-05-29 17:49
If Bush’s tax cuts hadn’t taken effect there would have been more tax revenue from wages, thus lower deficits. I agree the revenues were also less due to lower cap gains revenue because of the .com bubble bursting, losses would have been mitigated without the EGTRRA.

Clinton’s and Reagan's lowering of cap gains taxes encouraged investment along with the fall of the Asian currencies. Many investors pulled their money out of Asia and into American companies, a lot of them into .coms.
 
 
-13 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:14
Was mot the housing bubble caused by Democrats pressuring banks to losn, loan, loan to people who were NOT good risks? People who were almost always turnwd down by fiscally conservative banking institutions as bad risks?
 
 
+6 # JJS 2012-05-30 03:16
No it was not.
 
 
+4 # JJS 2012-05-30 04:45
Credit Default Swaps caused the housing bubble.
 
 
+18 # paulrevere 2012-05-27 11:53
True on BC as far as that thought goes...BUT, as stated in the article he back stabbed the entire population of America with NAFTA, Glass-Steagal repeal and all the privatization efforts he seeded. So no green thumb for partial truths.
 
 
+19 # jlstiles 2012-05-27 13:47
Yeah right, Smiley is exactly right. I guess Obama thought letting every banker and torturer off the hook would make things better while torturing Bradley Manning, who heroically exposed war crimes, was more appropriate. Obama has protected the banks at all costs and perpetuated war even after we were sick of it from GWB and expanded it all over the place.
 
 
+18 # Hey There 2012-05-27 18:50
Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act making possible the Collapse of the Banks and Wall Street.
Clinton ended "Welfare as We Know It" which didn't lift welfare mothers out of poverty but made care of children even more difficult with low paid jobs and child care expenses NAFTA was a disaster as susienoodle observed.
It was also 47 Democrats who made passage of S1789 possible in the Senate on April-25-12.
This bill,if passed would further weaken the chance of OTHER workers to work for a living wage rather than work for a barely surviving wage.
This bill and HR2309 would eliminate 100,000 postal jobs, further cripple the USPS unions who CANNOT legally strike,cut compensation for injured workers,and end it for those 65 and older.
As for the public, curb side delivery, post office box rental will be encouraged, smaller post offices closed,200+ distribution centers closed.
Congress passed a law in 2006 that mandated the USPS to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10. The USPS had managed to have income=costs until this law saddled them with 5.5 billion a year above their operating expenses.
So the point of all of this if possible is to check the voting record of Congress members. Too often there seems to be NO good choices.
I do recall that 13 Republicans voted against S1789.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPIY9bFFZY
 
 
+13 # RLF 2012-05-28 04:14
Clinton's success was based, to a great extent, on bubbles and deregulation of the financial industry...grea t for short term gain, not so good, ultimately, as we have seen
 
 
-2 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:01
Clinton had the brains to ride Reagonomics...
 
 
+1 # JJS 2012-05-30 03:18
He also had a wishy washy Democratic congress and then a Radical Republican one.
 
 
+20 # hd70642 2012-05-27 06:21
Well what about Ford adminstration that stood by while manfacturing was evaporating and the energy crisis was worsening .?Has anything been done as yet for any those problems ?!!!
 
 
+64 # Capn Canard 2012-05-27 06:27
Smiley, absolutely! Clinton's dismantling of Glass-Steagall Act is the cause of the whole mess we're in, Bush is the cause of two wars and a stagnant economy etc etc. Reagan promoted fantasies while thumbing his nose at the constitution... The wealthy have made out like bandits while the middle class has been in recession since 1980. Who's to blame? Money and greed. Eliminate money. Develop a new model of economic transaction.
 
 
+14 # forparity 2012-05-27 09:25
Actually the larger cause of what created this mess was the creation, and the fueling of the housing bubble in the first place. Without the insane housing bubble, Wall Street would not have had trillions of dollars of sub-prime debt to play with (oh, they'd found something else just like they did during the dot.com bubble of greed).

After the housing bubble got started - as with any bubble - everyone piled on to make money; real estate brokers were deeply involved in most every deal. Those who were re-financing to pull equity out for whatever -- everyone.

Here's a piece of the timeline - in addition to Cuomo ordering banks to lower lending standards to linoleum level:

Countrywide, Fannie Ink Pact Nat'l Mortgage News/SourceMedi a, Inc., July 9, 1999
http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/dailybriefing/1999_131/-388557-1.html

How'd that work out for Mozilo?

Well, by the end of 2000 -- Mortgagestats.c om Ranks Countrywide Home Loans No. 1 in Lending to minorities
http://www.minorityprofessionalnetwork.com/News/Countrywide.htm

Now read this one - just two pages - Massive - historic stimulus, it is:

Oct. 2000 - HUD ANNOUNCES NEW REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE $2.4 TRILLION IN MORTGAGES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR 28.1 MILLION FAMILIES
http://archives.hud.gov/news/2000/pr00-317.html

Those who created the bubble - which led to this immense pain and suffering - should be held accountable.
 
 
+10 # paulrevere 2012-05-27 12:43
your hypothesis could not have taken place were it not for the Bill Clinton charades allowing Glass-Steagal to go and NAFTA to come.
 
 
-12 # forparity 2012-05-27 13:36
@ the lone rider . .

Separate the entire saga - from the mid-90's to the collapse of the housing bubble - to the credit meltdown in the fall of 2008 - into stages.

Wall street was not out peddling homes to poor minorities, in 1999.

The housing bubble was created by the federal government ordering up lower standards on lending requirements - from banks; ordering Fannie/Freddie to guarantee "$trillions" for those loans; and from the immense organized effort on the ground (yes ACORN and local organizing - knocking on doors, handing out flyers, etc., telling tens of millions of poor minorities that they could now purchase a home with little or no income. Major goals were set by HUD. Fannie/Freddie were to package up (by order of HUD) these mortgages into portfolios and ordered to peddle them to Wall Street - to spread out the risk.

Next - everyone jumps on the bandwagon, as interest rates are pushed lower (country was reeling from the dot.com collapse - then 9/11) and because of the "tens of millions of new home buyers in the market (think supply demand curves) prices of R/E continued to rise meteorically (they were already too high in 2000). As prices rose - everyone wants in - jumps in. It's a frigging feeding frenzy.

The twin financial deregulation's only play a role in the other sector of this game - later on. Clinton still argues that it did not. But that had nothing to do with the housing bubble.
 
 
0 # forparity 2012-05-27 14:01
It was already taking place.

Perhaps - and only later on - your point adds to the top of the housing bubble.

But obviously when the government is seeking to push 28 million poor minorities into buying a home for the first time, and they lay out the new financing rules for them - you're going to have a bubble. Then the greed - I want in too - factor play in.

NAFTA? NAFTA could only be a drag on that housing bubble - as it probably cost us jobs.
 
 
+4 # Virginia 2012-05-29 10:33
Had bank greed and manipulation not been behind the housing push - these people (no matter who they were) would still be in homes they could have afforded under a decent program. The Wall Street securitization Ponzi scheme eliminated the need for appraisals because what they packaged and sold was your debt - NOT the value of your home. The banks knew exactly what they were doing because they patented in the USTPO every single move they made from behavior and sales to securitization and foreclosure.

Congress wanted housing but relied on a false sense of security that banks had integrity since the banks supplied them with favors and helped them get elected. Banks were in this housing bubble for their own profit - nothing else... No humanitarian deed was to be fullfilled by Wall Street greed - just flat out rape of the American public handed to them on a silver plater with no oversight by dimwitted lightboobs sitting in federal and state House and Senate seats. Much like the bailouts.
 
 
+3 # JJS 2012-05-30 04:49
Agreed Virginia. Greed and the Credit Default Swaps that were rigged and whose only purpose was to enrich the speculators.
 
 
+9 # RLF 2012-05-28 04:25
The seeds for the bailout are under Bush senior and the savings and loan debacle. Bushes made loads of money getting bailed out and the big bailout was thought up in the houses of Glodman, morgan, and citi.
 
 
+12 # RLF 2012-05-28 04:23
The housing bubble was continued to give Bush a rosie looking economy where there was none. The reps. knew that there would be Dems in office in 2008 and cynically dumped the economic mess on them to make them look bad. (Not that the Dems need a lot of help with that!)
 
 
+2 # forparity 2012-05-28 07:46
Oh, I agree to a point. I once discussed this with a progressive economist (well, after the dot.com crash, and before the housing bubble crash.

Now there is a difference. Bush did attempt to reign in some of the risk from the housing bubble early on (2003-2005 stretch, well, according to the NYT's --

New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae "The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago." NY Times Sept. 10, 2003.

But the progressive left blocked this and all other efforts.

In the end, however, this housing bubble he inherited was about all the economy we had going. (Obama's to have the same problem - what economy?)

My point with Baker was, both w/ Clinton and Bush, as they approached the end of their respective terms - clearly understanding the danger of the bubbles - they couldn't bring themselves to go public and pull the string. Obviously, in both, the earlier they pop, the less damage will result.

But then you erred - if Bush played it the way you seem to imply (as would have Clinton), why not help the bubble continue into the next administration - so it can collapse on their watch - let your economy grow all the way up to the end.

Then, the dot.com (Enron) crash could have been Bush's, and the housing collapse and resultant credit crisis - Obama's?
 
 
+9 # fishmother 2012-05-28 08:42
You're right Capn, it's not possible to mention GREED too often. It's the central theme running through everything from outright political theft to the wars we've been hoodwinked into and all the rest of the entire financial saga that has left far too many behind.
 
 
+3 # JJS 2012-05-30 07:05
Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bli ley Act, which dismantled the G-S act.

The three co-sponsors of the Gramm-Leach-Bli ley Act were:

Sen. Phil Gramm - R
Rep. Jim Leach - R
Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. - R

The Republicans held a majority in congress at the time, 1999.

The final version of the Gramm-Leach-Bli ley Act passed the House by a vote of 362-57 and the Senate by a vote of 90-8. The bill was "veto proof".

Clinton would not have been able to stop the dismantling of G-S even if he wanted to.
 
 
+2 # Hey There 2012-05-27 17:57
I'd give you 300 + if I could.

Reply to Smiley
 
 
+120 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 00:50
We can't take another year of Republicans being in power. We _must_ turn things around in November. We need to remove _EVERY_ Republican from office. Problem is, there are some Blue Dog Democrats that need to be removed, too. My representative has been _very_ frustrated with the stalemate in the House. We _must_not_ allow the Republicans to control anything, ever again, not the White House, the House or the Senate, and we must Impeach at least one of the Supreme Court Justices ... Clarence Thomas first.
 
 
+102 # X Dane 2012-05-27 01:32
We sure can't pernsey. Mr. Younge forgot to consider, that it has been impossible for Obama and democrats to do as much for the middle class and low income citizens as the wanted to, because the republicans were non stop obstructionists . There was no chance they would let Obama have ANY kind of success. They were committed to destroy his presidency. I sure hope they will not be able to.
 
 
+18 # John Locke 2012-05-27 05:39
X Dane: Obama destroyed his own presidency! He was too inexperienced and he followed orders from Wall Street...he was also told what to do by the advisers he retained from Bush and the Banks. He did things that were against OUR interest. He continues to do things that are against our interest for his financial supporters!

As for the poor whites voting Republican, that has always surprised me, I saw that with Bush Cheney, I was driving through Las Vegas in the poor part of the city and there were Bush/Chaney bumper stickers in the windows...and I thought at the time they were idiots voting against their own best interest...

As I have said before, the IQ level in America is low in comparison to Europe, and that is the reason advertisements are geared to a high school level! We are dealing with what the Banks refers to as “the poor white trash”, Joe six pack. Poorly educated as they want the rest of America to be, that way they control as we don’t have the intellect to think for our selves, and will work for peanuts.
 
 
+23 # Patch 2012-05-27 08:00
I agree with you John Locke and am sorry to see the negative score you've been given. Americans are stupid and therefore easily manipulated by the ruthless, i.e. Republicans.

Americans also don't have the ability to see the BIG picture and so vote narrowily on one issue that interests them instead of looking at ALL the issues.

As it stands now, I don't see any hope of turning this around. Not when most of the "news" people get is from pundits rather than real news sources. Of course, the latter requires the ability to think and analyze, which is in short supply.
 
 
+9 # doneasley 2012-05-28 06:58
You're so right, John Locke. The only way the monied stay in power is to deny access to education by destroying our public school system and making higher education too expensive for most to afford.
 
 
0 # DrEvel1 2012-05-29 07:46
This is across the board. We took our daughter out of one of the (theoretically) best public school systems in California back in sixth grade, because they were engaged in systematically suppressing the individual qualities of the children and trying to create mindless robots. There seems to be some weird community of interests between the fascists who want a dumbed-down and malleable underclass and the teachers' unions who want dumbed-down and malleable students and robotic teachers. In the long term, education is the answer - but there are enormous forces on all sides teamed up against any real education for kids. The prospects are not good.
 
 
+106 # pbbrodie 2012-05-27 01:50
What the writer totally misses is that it is the Republicans who are responsible for nearly all of the things he says the Democrats fail to deliver for these poor white voters. It is the obstructionism of the Republicans that weakens things like the Health Care act so badly from their original forms to make them mere shadows of what the Democrats proposed.For instance, he says that people are discouraged by the fact that it is taking years for most of the Health Care act to take effect but it was the Republicans that got that inserted into the bill among all of the other amendments they used to weaken the bill astronomically. Despite how much Democrats enable the Republicans and go along with much of their serving the interests of the wealthy, no matter how you cut it, when you get to the bottom line, it is the Republicans that who are responsible for the vast majority of that hurt poor whites economically.
He is absolutely wrong when he says the two choices offered to the poor are poor ones, if you were to completely remove the obstruction of the Republicans, the Democrats would offer a much better choice.
When Mr. Young points out Clinton's welfare reform, he fails to mention that Clinton was forced into it by the Republican majority in Congress. With Democrats controlling Congress, that would have had an entirely different outcome.
 
 
0 # Califa 2012-05-29 10:01
Yes, Obamacare, the great miracle of the democrats. But right now, budgets for medicare and medicaid have been cut and the poor have to pay more out of pocket for things that use to be covered or go without. Most people go without making their lives more difficult than it was already. This happened under Obama's watch and rightly or wrongly Obama, democrats, and Obamacare is to blame.

Remember that saying that the left made fun of "keep your government hands off my medicare and medicaid?" No socialized medicine they would say because Obamacare is in their minds socialized medicine and that means the poor get less of what was inadequate to begin with.

It didn't happen when GWB was president, gee, there was still dental and vision care, now nada, zip, zilch, unless you have a few hundred dollars left over from your below poverty level income from SS or disability. So go figure why many poor people vote for Republicans because the poor fare worse under democrats.
 
 
+46 # rockieball 2012-05-27 05:23
Well what do you expect most listen to Rush, watch Fox, think Reagan was the founder of the RepubliCON party. Mos likely haven't read a book since high school or travels into the next county let alone outside the state. IGNORANCE IS BLISS, and the RepubliCON's want to keep them that way. Why do you think the COP want's to kill education and prevent middle class and poor from a high school education let alone college.
 
 
-2 # DrEvel1 2012-05-29 07:53
The teachers' unions have to bear as much responsibility as the Republicans' stupid "No Child Left Behind" initiative for the collapse of effective public education - it's an unholy convergence of interests between highly protected bad teachers and those who want to limit public education to the minimal skills necessary to participate robotically in the lower stretches of the labor force. Everyone else loses, particularly the children. Bu the time they get to higher education, there's not much mind left to work with.
 
 
+19 # 666 2012-05-27 06:45
It's not just the GOP that has screwed things up, it's BOTH parties. However, that barely comes out in this "well-paid" author's self-righteous piece (a "C-" at best).
People do vote against their own interests, but the key is that they (we) have not one interest but many. The GOP realizes the false assumption is that we don't really vote to support certain interests (usually nebulous & longer term) than we do in fear of losing other interests (values) in the near term.
Beyond that, it's that people's values can be determined (response) with propaganda (stimulus), again it's usually about promoting irrational fears. The irrational actor is far more powerful than the rational actor -- especially an ignorant rational actor.
The GOP understands this idea (which Lakoff speaks of as framing). The dems (and those this author attacks) seem fixated on the rational actor fallacy.
More than that, what's happening is that it's easier to frame irrational values when the political choices are pretty nebulous themselves: known evil (GOP) vs. lesser evil (dems). People (even those that vote GOP) feel screwed by both sides. Once such confusion & anarchy exists, demagogues are quick to exploit it.
 
 
+4 # harris.carlus 2012-05-27 13:27
Very Nicely Stated
 
 
+8 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-05-27 06:54
Yes, Bushwhacked we were, and, in many ways, still are today. But, let's assume nothing, i.e. that the 99% doesn't 'get' a whole lot more than they are given credit for 'getting'. The thumbs up and laughing, oh so supporting response I get from folks of all classes and incomes, from the wealthy to the poor, when my precious, forty year old son who's autistic tells them, or I tell them, what he's going to be this coming Holloween - a pretend politician clown, with phoney money attached all over his clown costume, tells it all.

Big fat guess as to whether, if folks take the time and make the effort to vote, their vote will honestly be counted. And, no consequences for all the election fraud/disenfran chisement, only "Well, the polls told us it was going to be a close election." Duh. Like polls can't be a too often are rigged by the 1%, to assist in the election fraud.

Evil is nothing new, and the evil takeover, worldwide, by the evil 1% greed and power addicted villainaires has been a longtime coming. And, I honestly don't think this country can stand 4 more years of neither Romney nor Oh Bomb Ah. OWSers, many of whom are among the poor, chant it best:

GLOBAL REVOLUTION IS THE SOLUTION !!!
 
 
+24 # geraldom 2012-05-27 07:22
The Repubs have learned to play a better game of Chess than the Dems over the decades. The Repubs are better at psychology than the Dems. Even now, the Dem Party has learned nothing from its many mistakes & continue on the path of stupidity & ignorance.

What happened in 2010, the virtual slaughter of the Dems at the polls, was easily predictable because of Obama's failure to come across with his promise of change, & please don't put all of the blame on the Repubs as obstructionists . The Repubs made no attempt to hide their goal & their strategy early on. What was it that the Dems didn't understand about Mitch McConnell's threat in Jan of 2009 to do whatever was necessary to make Obama a one-term pres?

Ask yourself why Bush was able to ramrod his agenda thru Congress, not just over the objections of the moderate Repubs, but even over what is supposed to be the opposition party, the Dem Party? Bush & Cheney were ruthless in their efforts to achieve their agenda, & 9/11 sure helped them in that effort. They had no intentions of cooperating or compromising with the Dems.

After McConnell's threat in Jan of 2009, Obama & the Senate Dems should've done to the Repubs what Bush & the Repubs threatened to do to the Dems if they blocked any of Bush's nominees for the SCOTUS, kill the filibuster via the nuclear option, kill the 60 vote requirement to pass anything in the Senate, but, being gutless wonders, they failed to do this.
 
 
+13 # universlman 2012-05-27 15:14
I agree Harold. I think the GOP gets the Nobel Prize for Not learning from history. This is what is so worrisome about a GOP win in the fall. Getting us into the Iraq war and destroying the US economy are but two unhelpful examples of what the rightward swing has cost us.

I have tried to find any of my right-wing friends who will admit that any of the traditional GOP policies were a mistake. The hawkish overreaction to perceived threats from abroad is my favorite example that brought us the Iraq war. I also am alarmed at the blanket notion of casting aside any and all environmental regulation (for instance the environmental review of the Keystone Pipeline.) We are having to tippy-toe out of Iraq. Some of us are realizing that we will probably have to help with the so far uncalculated clean-up costs of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Consequences of GOP like behavior never seem to form themselves into anything that looks like a lesson.

Dems know this without crowing much about it amd I agree with you that they should. The GOP never get it at all. Past failures should give us that tingly feeling that we might just have been here before. This only happens when we admit that we have.

By avoiding obvious facts (think global warming denial) and blaming only your opponent for all of life’s problems (think the economy) the GOP demonstrates why we should not give them any more power or any sharp tools either.
 
 
+4 # geraldom 2012-05-28 08:36
universlman, I think that you may have read my posting wrong. I'm an independent in the sense that I'll vote, independent of political affiliation, for who I think the best man is, or, in most cases, unfortunately, who I think the lesser of the two evils are.

Having stated what I just did, I'm vehemently disgusted in what the Republican Party has turned into over the decades, especially since Nixon was president, and, coming in a close 2nd, I do not like what the Democratic Party has turned into. What this country dearly needs is a strong 3rd political party, or perhaps a 4th to compete against the 2 current political parties that have become completely corrupted.

In a twisted sense, since the Republican Party has become so evil in their policies, my posting actually glorifies them in that for the past 4 decades, they in fact have known exactly what they were doing & what their agenda would bring about, but they didn't care. They weren't acting in a naive & stupid sense as you seem to imply in your posting. It is the Democratic Party that I truly condemn for being so stupid & naive in not seeing what the Republican plans were and, in the end, allowing the Republicans to get away with those plans.

The biggest & most fatal mistake the Democratic Party made was allowing the Bush admin to completely corrupt & destroy our federal court system with Bush's crony judges, most especially the SCOTUS. That was the last nail in the coffin for us.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2012-05-28 04:26
You assume the Dems are not getting exactly what they want...a dangerous assumption!
 
 
+4 # geraldom 2012-05-28 08:51
Quoting RLF:
You assume the Dems are not getting exactly what they want...a dangerous assumption!


RLF, I don't disagree with you in what you say, but the Democratic Party is not nearly as monolithic as the Republican Party. The Republican Party has succeeded in wringing out almost all semblances of moderation & morality, most especially under the Bush administration. It is almost impossible now to find even one Republican in Congress that will vote against the common agenda of their own political party.

In terms of your implication that perhaps Obama is getting exactly what he wants when he's acting like a DINO instead of a strong progressive Democrat (and I do hate labels), I had come to that conclusion a long time ago. Unlike the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is not nearly as monolithic as the Republican Party. There are still a lot of decent progressive Democrats in Congress, unfortunately not enough anymore to make a difference. It seems that, as happened with the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is losing these progressive members almost everyday now, people like Dennis Kucinich for example, as well as others.

Unfortunately, the Congressional Democratic leaders in Congress, the ones with power & influence, people like Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid, seem to hang around like bad apples. If it wasn't for them & their support of Obama's bad leadership, we might not be in the situation we're in today.
 
 
0 # JJS 2012-05-30 07:13
"...please don't put all of the blame on the Repubs as obstructionists."

Ok but I will put the blame on the Republicans for pulling the race card to shellack Obama.

I wish the Dem's would have used the nuclear option, too.
 
 
+9 # jlstiles 2012-05-27 13:43
The fact this pernsey guy gets 237 likes when he completely misunderstood the article is telling of how phony and unintelligent the progressive community is. Reader supported news will probably edit this comment and of course people reading this will think I am a republican when I am very much a progressive and quite radical as if disliking the dems means liking the republicans. That's the check-mate we are trapped in. Honestly, the dems and Obama, in particular, are perpetuating GWB policies, actively, not because of republican blocking or anything. Obama's been GWB without the protest against him because the liberal community refuses to look at his actions, which are too numerous to name unless someone here wants me to do so.
 
 
+4 # 666 2012-05-28 06:19
1 thing I "like" about this site is the divisions of contemporary politics are patently clear:
- One one side, the trolls split the GOP battle to re-define "conservative" between the laissez-faire status quo fascist folks and their brownshirt teabag radicals who keep trying to chew through their leash.
- on the other side, the battle to define "progressive" between the 2-party status quo ("we still believe in the democrats even when they are indistinguishab le from repubs because 'progessive' is a fashionable buzz-word'") and the chicken-littles who believe there's either an apocalypse or a totalitarian govt coming because rational dialogue has just about ceased to exist (count me in the latter group)...
 
 
+7 # RLF 2012-05-28 04:12
Clinton repealed Glass/Steagall. ..what is more destructive to the common man thatn that???
 
 
+4 # Senior Citizen 2012-05-28 08:47
In addition to the "economic" debacle a Romney presidency + a Republican controlled Congress would bring to the country ... an even GREATER THREAT to the nation is the addition of 1 or 2 MORE conservative Supreme Court justices over the next 4 yrs!

Justice Ginsberg, now in her 80s is most likely the next justice to retire, so just replacing her with another 'liberal' simply maintains the current 5-4 conservative majority!

Should the SCOTUS 'devolve' (pun intended) into a 6-3 or 7-2 conservative court during 4 yrs with Romney in the White House, I'd suggest we replace the American "eagle" with a "vulture".

We should also acknowledge our collective hypocrisy & dismantle the Statue of "Liberty" - an oxymoron if ever there was one, considering the anti-immigrant vitriol of so many in "amurika" - including Romney's suggestion that "They" should just 'self-deport!

We could sell it as scrap metal to the highest bidder & use the funds to reduce the budget deficit! I'm sure Donald Trump would see "Liberty Island" as a great location for one of his future hotels!
 
 
+4 # shraeve 2012-05-28 10:51
Why do you assume Romney would be in office for only four years? If he had eight years in office, in that time Breyer and quite possibly Scalia would also retire.
 
 
0 # Senior Citizen 2012-05-29 08:54
Quoting shraeve:
Why do you assume Romney would be in office for only four years? If he had eight years in office, in that time Breyer and quite possibly Scalia would also retire.


I'm HOPING Romney WON'T even BE elected since I don't think Romney would need 2 terms! Even in 'just' 1 term, I think perhaps 3 justices could retire. That's why I wrote that the shift could go 6-3 or worse yet, 7-2!

The long term effect of a super-conservat ive SCOTUS would, in my opinion, have far greater detrimental effects on our country than any other single issue, 'economic' or otherwise!

IVO "Citizens United" & what I expect will be at least a partial repeal of the Health Care Act currently being reviewed by the SCOTUS, I shudder to think what additional extra-Constitut ional powers might be granted to the Executive/Congr essional branches of govt ...& what additional civil restrictions might be 'legalized', such as even greater authorizations of "no warrant required" wire-tapping/tr acking of citizens...incr eased voter registration &/or petition requirements... even more ID "papers" to be carried by us all... along with who knows what additional intrusions into our everyday privacy such as our internet use of sites such as RSN!

(Actually, I suspect we're already being followed.)

The usa would make the "Casablanca" of Rick Blaine & Nazi Major Strasser seem like a paradise by comparison.
 
 
0 # JSRaleigh 2012-05-29 08:06
Quoting pernsey:
Im always surprised that people in general dont realize the republicans screwed everything up, then blame the dems. I cant understand why people believe the propaganda? Bush/Cheney screwed up the countries economics and finances, and now they are trying to blame the dems for it all. Sadly this works. Honestly I dont think this country can stand 4 years of Romney.


It works because it IS propaganda. That's what propaganda is meant to do, deceive the target audience.
 
 
0 # JJS 2012-05-30 03:30
Propaganda is exactly right.
As it is money can buy a lot of propaganda and it is very convincing to many and sways their vote.
And that is the second point, it is all about the vote. They can't lead unless they win and mostly the "political class" (thanks Joe B) will do anything to win and stay won.
 
 
-1 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:00
Under Bush, the Dems had control of the House and Senate though... at least from 2007 on. Was the spending not only NOT cut back, but accelerated?
 
 
-1 # JJS 2012-05-31 16:32
Dems had control, but not veto or filibuster proof.
 
 
0 # thehodges1 2012-06-07 23:27
Quoting pernsey:
Im always surprised that people in general dont realize the republicans screwed everything up, then blame the dems. I cant understand why people believe the propaganda? Bush/Cheney screwed up the countries economics and finances, and now they are trying to blame the dems for it all. Sadly this works. Honestly I dont think this country can stand 4 years of Romney.

I hate to say this in this America now it's vote for the GREAT WHITE HOPE, true or not
 
 
+106 # railroadmike 2012-05-26 13:25
I was registoring some people today here in Oklahoma. When I asked about State Question 759, the abolishment of Civil Rights, they did'nt a clue of what was on the ballot. The main reason I feel is Rascism.
 
 
+60 # Insider 2012-05-26 15:11
Oklahoma and West Virginia are the two most racist states in the country.
 
 
+43 # LiberalRN 2012-05-26 22:24
Quoting Insider:
Oklahoma and West Virginia are the two most racist states in the country.


Really? What about Arizona?
 
 
+53 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 00:52
The entire South has too many racists. Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North and South Carolina are _all_ just as bad as Tennessee. None of them have ever gotten past the Civil War, and the plantation mentality.
 
 
0 # JJS 2012-05-31 16:36
It may be hard to accept, but we are all racist. It is whether we are able to overcome it or not. Believe it or not, I have never met more racist people than Asians. And I use to think they were all the same!(my own racism) I fight my own racism every day!
 
 
+23 # Califa 2012-05-26 16:31
The point is, and what I've been saying for quite some time now, if you are poor it does not matter which political party you vote for because either way you get screwed. The democrats pretend to care about the poor before they get screwed over and the Republiccans just screw the poor over.

Not much of a difference so why not vote for the party that hates the brown and black people just like you do and get some satifaction by sticking it to someone else worse then they stick it to you.
 
 
+20 # Virginia 2012-05-26 22:30
If the American people are looking for a President (or any politician for that matter) to fix this financial force majeure, they are sadly mistaken.

Banks/elites fear one thing - the people united together removing all of their money from the banks, including mutual funds and stock investments - which will cause a run on the banks and a domino of collapse.

In order to endure this we have to be prepared because it will be an extreme depression. We can only pray that Obama is prepared to handle this.

We're on the brink of it, but at least if the will of the people remove their money, we're in control. The best thing to do is to invest in tangibles - plant a big garden, buy solar power panels for the home, solar generators, etc. and be where you want to be when you retire now, because you may not be able to afford to get there later - cash will not be worth what it is today.

Encourage state banks - but know that our U.S. currency has rapidly devalued and will be come even less. And no politician or President can stop what is already in motion because they are bought and paid for by the banks/elites.

Don't vote based on "hope" that he'll do better or is the lessor of the evils. Vote with the thought in mind of who works with and/or succeeds any President because that is the voice of reason and intelligence factor we may have to live with in a time of turmoil.
 
 
+20 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 08:41
There may be some truth to that but it's also true that the Democrats are probably the only thing holding back the destruction of what's left of environmental protection laws, work place safety laws, unemployment benefits, SS & Medicare, welfare and Medicaid, Obamacare which has shifted close to a trillion dollars in tax money to benefit the middle class and working poor.

I have no problem voting for the lesser of two evils and there are very real reasons that Democrats should appeal to poor white voters when 40 million people get food stamps.
 
 
+212 # Rick Levy 2012-05-26 17:21
I'm surprised that Younge didn't include the other reason for Republican appeal to poor whites: religion, specifically the conservative Christian kind. Just wave the bible in front of their faces and invoke God and creationism while waving the flag. Those folks will come running.
 
 
0 # jlstiles 2012-05-26 20:34
That's a good point but it suffices to say the writer did point out that minor social issues such as abortion, keep us separated while both parties toe the corporate line. If the dems offered anything but back stabbing to the poor white voters, they would win their votes but, as the writer pointed out, Clinton was perhaps the most corporate of all and least favorable to the working class in his shipping of jobs overseas--Obama as well.
 
 
+63 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:03
Both Clinton and Obama have had problems with a Republican dominated Congress. (Obama has never had a two/thirds majority in the Senate, and the TeaTHUGs have used the filibuster more than it's ever been used in the history of the US ... it's a Senate rule, NOT in the Constitution.)

We can't blame it all on Obama and Clinton. To get anything done, you have to be able to work with Congress, that's why Johnson was so effective, and was able to get the Civil Rights Act through. He had many years of experience in Congress, and knew how to play the system. That's Obama's biggest downfall, lack of experience.

The current Republicans have made it clear, they will NOT cooperate, for any reason ... not even for the good of the country, or the Constitution.
 
 
+17 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 07:58
Clinton failed to the extent that he embraced the conservative movement that had been growing for 12 years prior to his Presidency, under Reagan and Bush Sr.

It could be argued that he was embracing the will of the people, the whole country bought into this economic bunk for 30 years while so many got rich in the bubble economy that appeared to be growing with no end in sight. Any and all critics were ignored or smeared by the media when they tried to warn us.

To suggest that Dems back stab poor white voters is simplistic. The problem is conservative ideology, political party is largely irrelevant but Democrats are in a much better position to change course. Republicans are stuck in their extremist corner.
 
 
+6 # jlstiles 2012-05-27 13:35
Clearly speaking truth to pretend hopeful liberals is wasting my breath--and that's coming from me, a radical. Obama is every bit as nefarious and disgusting as GWB. Example: Obama drones killed 25 women and children in a small village in Yemen and he gets on the air the next day proclaiming he killed a major al qaeda operative, a complete bald-faced lie. And we expect voters to give a crap about the democratic party?
 
 
-87 # Archie1954 2012-05-26 19:59
Your whole article has no point, none at all! What in the world were you attempting to say? Nothing I read here enlightened me one bit concerning poor white voters, nothing!
 
 
+53 # Suavane 2012-05-26 21:17
Archie, I believe you are correct here, as the point Gary Younge is trying to make is muddled. A case in point is this quote: "In a country where class politics and class organisations are weak, it's too easy to dump on the white working class as a bunch of know-nothings when the problem is a political class that is a bunch of do-nothings. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem here. When asked which candidate is most likely to advance the economic interests of you or your family, white people backed Romney 50 to 37 while non-whites backed Obama 71 to 22. That kind of discrepancy cannot just be put down to white people being better off." To this I say, Huh???

By using a broad brush to paint lawmakers in Congress as a class of do nothings,is just plain wrong!

There has been a group of lawmakers in Washington DC who have been obstruct-ionist s for a well known reason. They have been successful in squashing most of the bills sent for a vote in Congress both, by the President and Democratic leaders in both houses, that would help the middle-class and poor.

It's very convenient by many who try to put all the blame on Obama for our sluggish economy, to forget the role a majority of Republicans played to create this mess!

What's missing in this report is the answer from poor white voters as to WHY they are flocking, against their best interest, to vote for Romney.

Failing to make this point, makes this article, pointless!
 
 
+43 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:13
As long as the poor and middle class are struggling, they will blame it on the party in the White House, no matter who caused it, or who's obstructing the repair of it. The simple fact is, the Republicans created the mess, and are obstructing every attempt to better the situation.

They refuse to see that the problems date all the way back to Reagan (their god), or that the things that have made the struggle worse have _always_ been done by Republican presidents and/or a Republican controlled Congress.
 
 
+1 # JJS 2012-05-28 06:12
Read some more of Joe Bageant's writings.
www.joebageant.com/
He may enlighten you.
RIP Joe!
Come on, Thumbs up for Joe Bageant!
 
 
+150 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-05-26 20:00
Democratic pols like to say, "The voters are smarter than that." The Republicans know they're not, and use it to their advantage. The result is Republican voters carrying signs saying, "Keep your gov't hands off my Medicare!"
 
 
+28 # SpyderJan 2012-05-27 03:31
You hit the nail on the head Uncle Dave. I live in a very Republican district, much to my distress, I do see the Fox "News" maroons on every street corner. I don't know why they don't just put on Hannity masks so I know who I am talking to.
 
 
+5 # 666 2012-05-28 06:05
while those same people chant "cut government welfare!!"
 
 
+93 # jsheats 2012-05-26 20:07
Frankly, it seems to me that the Guardian could do better than this shallow commentary, which ends with the equivalent of "and then a miracle occurred".

Bill Clinton, whom he excoriates for doing harm to the poor, was doing political battle with Newt Gingrich at the time. This is the real political system we have, and anyone who thinks we are going to somehow magically wipe it away and replace it with "people power" is living in fantasy land. Let's do all we can to reduce the corrosion of big money in politics, but let's not pretend it's just going to go away with a new political party.

Big money has always affected politics in the U.S. Things get better when popular pressure is strong enough to counteract its lies. Elitist that I no doubt am, I will say that the voters to which Mr. Younge is referring are not, on the average, terribly smart. But they can act sensibly when given good information. The critical job of progressives is to counteract Fox News.
 
 
+24 # LiberalRN 2012-05-26 22:28
Quoting jsheats:
Frankly, it seems to me that the Guardian could do better than this shallow commentary, which ends with the equivalent of "and then a miracle occurred".

Bill Clinton, whom he excoriates for doing harm to the poor, was doing political battle with Newt Gingrich at the time. This is the real political system we have, and anyone who thinks we are going to somehow magically wipe it away and replace it with "people power" is living in fantasy land. Let's do all we can to reduce the corrosion of big money in politics, but let's not pretend it's just going to go away with a new political party.

Big money has always affected politics in the U.S. Things get better when popular pressure is strong enough to counteract its lies. Elitist that I no doubt am, I will say that the voters to which Mr. Younge is referring are not, on the average, terribly smart. But they can act sensibly when given good information. The critical job of progressives is to counteract Fox News.


That's going to be tough to do, given the corporatization of the media and the compartmentaliz ation of the 'Net. I agree that the incessant drumbeat of Fox needs to be countered... but how? It's going to take a whole lot more money than progressives are likely to have to buy back anything loud enough to do that.
 
 
+12 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:24
I actually got one guy to admit that voting for Bush was bad, and doing it twice was worse. He actually dropped the Republican Party, and re-registered as an Independent. He probably has gone back to the Republicans.
 
 
+89 # fliteshare 2012-05-26 20:12
As progenitor of one of these evil Socialist countries.
I have given up on even trying to explain these things and decided just have fun with it.
So, I get in a discussion with someone who is adamant and very vocal about his conservative leanings.
I tell 'm I am from Europe.
And ask this good fellow what makes him think he is a true conservative.
His answer: "Because I am the one holding down a real job and am expected to pay for all the stupid stuff".
And I followed up, if he meant that: The people that actually worked should be the ONLY ones making the decisions and that the people that didn't work should have to keep their mouth shut.
He wholeheartedly agreed that such would indeed be "the thing".
I continued: And have a little less of that touchy feely democracy and a little more blunt decision making like in a dictatorship. Again, he agreed that such might be "way to go", as far as he was concerned.
And I finally asked him: How should we call such "dictatorship of the workers" ? Communism maybe ?

You should have seen the disbelief on his face.

So there you have it, American Republicans are closet Communists by their own admission.
 
 
+85 # Third_stone 2012-05-26 20:14
There are real important differences. Obama is trying to build a system that people can get medical care from. Others compromise and obstruct him.
The democrats are fairer with the labor unions. The republicans openly say they are out to destroy unions, which will result in falling wages and benefits for everybody. The labor unions are the best thing that ever happened to labor. Working men stuck together and got fair wages and safe conditions.
Democrats will regulate the banks again. Before Reagan banks were regulated and our nation prospered. Deregulated banks do things like wrecking the economy. With the few big banks we have monopoly credit card systems which gouge you.
Democrats will invest in infrastructure, which will stimulate the economy by creating jobs, and will keep us moving efficiently by improving our trains and roads. Republicans bring austerity and penury.
 
 
+40 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:38
I've been saying for years that all the trouble started with Reagan.Ford actually started it by getting the first big corporate tax cuts through Congress.

It was after Reagan got in power that I started feeling like there had been a fundamental change, and I wasn't going anywhere in my work. Prices were going up, and I was struggling to make ends meet, because wages were stagnant. I never understood how so many people felt they were better off under him, because I certainly didn't feel that way.

Recently I read an article that said, it really started ten years before Reagan, when a group of conservative businessmen got together and decided that they had to take control. They started maneuvering and manipulating within the Republican Party, through the Chamber of Commerce. (Not sure if the Koch's were involved yet or not.) For 40 years, the Chamber of Commerce has been a prime player in the corporate takeover.
 
 
+20 # freeportguy 2012-05-27 05:36
And what is the Chamber of Commerce if not a big UNION for corporations...?

You have to hand it to corporations: they control people like master puppeteers along with the narrative...
 
 
+32 # indio007 2012-05-26 20:14
Quoting railroadmike:
I was registoring some people today here in Oklahoma. When I asked about State Question 759, the abolishment of Civil Rights, they did'nt a clue of what was on the ballot. The main reason I feel is Rascism.


Never ascribe to malice what can be explained with stupidity.
 
 
+17 # jlstiles 2012-05-26 20:18
Right on, good article. What we have is political theater where minor social issues like abortion and gay rights keep us separated and also keep us believing there is a difference between the democrats and republican mainstream. Both parties work to keep endless war, banker tyranny and, in general, corporate tyranny firmly in place.
 
 
-20 # freeportguy 2012-05-26 20:18
Could it be that a lot of poor whites feel they don't get much from the Government while blacks (in their perception) are getting access to programs left and right, and at THEIR expense?
 
 
+22 # LiberalRN 2012-05-26 22:31
Quoting freeportguy:
Could it be that a lot of poor whites feel they don't get much from the Government while blacks (in their perception) are getting access to programs left and right, and at THEIR expense?


They may believe that, but those who do, do so in spite of all the evidence to the contrary - as evidenced by the numbers cited by the author.
 
 
+9 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-27 06:55
Quoting freeportguy:
Could it be that a lot of poor whites feel they don't get much from the Government while blacks (in their perception) are getting access to programs left and right, and at THEIR expense?

You pose a good question with some insight. Perception is it, I have met a lot more whites that scam the system but the right is always slamming the welfare queen...people don't want welfare...it is demeaning to the spirit.
 
 
+14 # Cassandra2012 2012-05-27 12:14
Oil subsidies = corporate welfare so crafty oil giants like Exxon are the real 'welfare queens'!
 
 
+2 # Insider 2012-05-27 13:01
Quoting freeportguy:
Could it be that a lot of poor whites feel they don't get much from the Government while blacks (in their perception) are getting access to programs left and right, and at THEIR expense?


May be their perception, but poor whites have the same access to the programs. Government programs are based on income not color of skin...
 
 
+45 # vgirl1 2012-05-26 20:21
Well, someone feeling offended that they and so called "poor whites" are being patronized when the liberals think the "poor whites" are voting against their own self interest.

What about all those conservative whites and pundits who regularly assert that Blacks vote against their own self interest because they vote for Democrats. That is equally if not more patronizing as far as Blacks are concerned. No one ever bothers to think the reason may be that Blacks find that Democratic policies and programs are more aligned with their constitutional self interest than those set forth by the Republicans.

So don't get your dander up if I do not feel too sympathetic to your outrage at the so called liberal patronization of you and "poor whites".

To excuse "poor whites" for voting Republican even though Democratic policies might truly help them more in the long run, just validates that their vote is based on race and not on logic. So even if the full effects of their economic and healthcare progress are yet to come, at least there is a chance it will come to them under the Democrats led by a Black President. There is no chance in h3ll their lot will improve under Republicans as led by the current pack of takers, except perhaps by accident (ie. definitely not because Republicans will have any programs aimed at improving the lot of "poor whites").

Republicans will just keep convincing them they are better off because "at least" they are white.
 
 
+25 # coach777b 2012-05-27 06:22
The 800 lb gorilla in the room is RACE! Whites in America, especially poor and/or undereducated whites have been programmed from birth to hold Blacks, Latinos, Asians and others down. No matter what social or economic status they hold, at least they are white. If that is your highest interest, voting for a party that is working against your minor interests is a no-brainier.
The rancor and hate directed at Obama is racial pure and simple. When the Repugs state that their HIGHEST priority was to defeat Obama, the message was well received. They will continue to obstruct and defeat ANYTHING that is proposed or supported by that Black man(from Kenya) is occupying their WHITE House.
 
 
+8 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 06:32
I don't see outrage in the article at liberal elitism. The author isn't acting offended. It's simply cause and effect in my view. When progressives dismiss most of the country in demeaning ways, it feeds the culture war that was created by and for the conservative movement, it's part of their Southern Strategy. It's a real problem that should be debated.

Progressives do not need to kiss the butts of racists but we do need to make a better case to working class voters. The culture war is a distraction and progressives play into it. As a gay person, I'm not in any way suggesting that these issues don't matter but they distract from the economic agenda of the conservative side that has destroyed opportunity for working people.
 
 
+27 # RichyD 2012-05-26 20:30
Assignment for Tuesday night or Wednesday:

Check out the results of the vote
to recall Walker.
 
 
+21 # LiberalRN 2012-05-26 22:32
Quoting RichyD:
Assignment for Tuesday night or Wednesday:

Check out the results of the vote
to recall Walker.

Before that: check out the ownership of the Milwaukee Journal, that just endorsed him.
 
 
+25 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:42
Assignment between now and then, do whatever you can get him defeated.
 
 
+34 # Skeptical1247 2012-05-26 20:33
What is sad is that these folks do not engage in thinking a bit more expansively, like enough to consider Progressives instead of establishment Dems & Repubs who are BOTH doing a pretty good job of screwing all Americans at the moment.

A viable Progressive Party is probably the ONLY possibility of saving this nation from being 99% under-employed renters in debt up to their eyeballs with NO civil rights, a state-imposed religion and perpetual war. It IS headed in that direction, and even though the author thinks that we should cut them some slack because they are too stupid to consider that the choices COULD BE something other than chocolate or vanilla, in 2014 and 2016. It really ticks me off that 46% of our population IS that damn stupid, and lazy
and is ultimately responsible for the crummy economy due to electing Republicans who actually only care about 1% of the population, but pander to these yahoos regarding their racist and fundamentalist "social issues" in order to get more than 1% of the vote.
 
 
+22 # Progressive Patriot 2012-05-27 01:46
Republicans don't like, or care about, the poor fundamentalist "christian" voters, they just feed them enough line to get their vote, then get them to swallow the sinker.
 
 
+3 # BobbyLip 2012-05-26 20:37
The point is that Democratic officeholders are beholden to the same corporate contributors as the Repugs. So they'll take "liberal" positions on women's right to chose or gay rights, but when it comes to things that may cost corporations money, like a meaningful rise in the minimum wage or prosecuting corporate fraud, forget about it. The Dems still are the lesser of two evils, and I'll hold my nose and vote for them, but damned if I'll contribute a penny to the party or ring any doorbells.
 
 
+7 # vgirl1 2012-05-26 20:47
Goodness, how long does it take before a comment gets posted shows up on the site?


*** RSN MODERATOR'S NOTE ***

Our comments are moderated by real people, not a software program, so it does take some time before they are live on the site. Also, we have a very small staff and do not have an "overnight" shift, so comments made after midnight Eastern will usually not be approved until the next morning.

Thank you for your patience.
 
 
+31 # brenda 2012-05-26 21:11
Well, the poll takers found out in this country that the biblical based devout Christians amount to 10% of the American population. As a 10% group goes, that not very much to be a dominant voting force, but take for instance the total number of voters in this country that actually beat a path to the polls to vote and you'll see that it's pretty sparse. The usual reasons to not vote are that the person thinks it will be a waste of time, that their vote really won't matter one way or the other, or they're just plain too lazy to go and vote because they have better things to do. Republicans see this trend, and realize that if they make a religious stand, they will win a huge block of voters that will come out in force and vote for whom they think God wants to win the election. ---continued below---
 
 
+28 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-05-26 21:11
Who is this moron?

Lets start with 91% of all talk radio is republitard - continue with the rampant racism that is encouraged by it - where there is zero progressive radio in the vast majority of the nation...then, there are too many errors to even begin counting in this article.

What is amazing is that with that kind of blanketing with lies and propaganda, that democrats get even a fraction of the vote they do. Amazing that so many people still see through their evil.
 
 
-1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 05:09
Great summary. With so many corporate and religious forces working against progressives, it is amazing we survive.

With truth on our side, we may still prevail.
 
 
+16 # brenda 2012-05-26 21:11
For a while, labor union members would organize and stand behind the Democratic party that would serve their cause best and also be the union public endorsement. But Nixon found a way to get the labor union members behind him like in the mid 60's. The Vietnam war was a good example of the division between the liberals and the perceived moral majority establishment. The war made many good paying jobs for the military goods manufacturing labor workers. The Vietnam war meant manufacturing jobs. Liberals were perceived as protesting - draft dodging - drug using - communist pinkos. Hard hat workers wore flags on their fedoras and statements like "America - Love it or leave it". Nixon managed to sweep the blue collar union workers to vote for him. ---continued below---
 
 
-10 # 666 2012-05-27 06:59
I fear the Dem party was only "behind" labor (historically) as long as it served their political interests against the GOP... Labor no longer serves dem interests so the dems don't really care about labor anymore...
 
 
-2 # 666 2012-05-28 06:08
zapped by the dem trolls
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 08:57
Another conservative with a victim mentality.

The truth is you've won the war against union labor to the extent that even young liberals have misinformed opinions about union organizing, buying into all the bull crap propaganda we've been hearing since Reagan was elected. Rather than claim victory, you blame Democrats.

When things get bad enough for millions of more workers and recent college grads as they will, we will have another labor movement. If history is any indication, it's inevitable.
 
 
0 # 666 2012-05-30 07:36
ky - call me any name you want for calling a spade a spade. You can't see beyond the 2-party system.

Truth is, the dems screwed labor over just when labor's victory was within reach. Many Dems were only interested in votes and contributions. Dems controlled congress for how many years? And last time I checked, the dems controlled congress most of the way through the dismantling of the unions since raygun. what has your precious obama done to fix that? what did slick willie do to fix that? how many of your dems have consistently voted with the minions of evil (gop) against labor?
 
 
-1 # kyzipster 2012-05-30 13:26
I'm not defending the Dems, they're weak an spineless, but it's clear that Republicans, not Democrats, have waged a war on union organizing since Reagan was elected and they've won.
 
 
+22 # brenda 2012-05-26 21:12
But the real killer was how all the jobs seemed to migrate to the South, Mid west, and West, where the land was cheaper and manufacturing and building labor laws were nonexistent. Those states said come on over and build your factory here and get labor for half the price to the Northern business owners. Municipal taxes and state taxes were way lower than Northern states. One reason for that was that was those states didn't have half the public municipal expenses to cough up. But later on, those states had population increases due to migrating workers from the North. Their populations grew, and so did the congressional redistricting of electoral seats. Florida and other Southern states now had huge influence on the voting public. And all this was in Republican country if they played their cards right. ---continued below---
 
 
+50 # brenda 2012-05-26 21:12
Just take one look at the Republican rhetoric and see what they say. They use racial slurs, anti-democrat lies, and wear religion on their sleeves. They take advantage of people who are ill informed and poorly educated. What the Democrats have to do is be able to counter all these Republican tactics with truth and expose the Republican lies with multi-media, including TV, paid newspaper op-editorial adds. Fight ignorance with knowledge.
 
 
+27 # X Dane 2012-05-27 01:02
Brenda, there is a huge problem with your correct suggestion. Democrats are up against a wall, for there is very little media, the right wing does not own or at least control, and that is print media AND TV.

Too many journalists do not stop or counter republicans when they are spouting lies.... Either they don't care or they are not bothering to inform themselves about the important issues we are facing.

A case in point is that blasted Tar Sands Oil Pipeline. they obviously don't know or understand that, that oil is more than twice as polluting as regular oil having a lot more led and a lot of other destructive stuff. It will NOT create a lot of jobs, the Canadians admit and many are highly specialized, Canadians can do them.

Also the oil will be shipped from the Gulf to other countries, China one of them. So WE risk a lot of pollution, AND the danger of spills. The aquifers could suffer a lot of damage if there are spills. It is a loose loose situation.

The tar sands should stay in the ground. We don't want more pollution in the world. It is not just the US we want to protect we MUST work to protect THE WORLD, for there will be nowhere to hide if we destroy our environment.
 
 
+2 # coberly 2012-05-26 21:13
well, i seem to be the only one who agrees with Younge. The politicians have divided the people pretty successfully according to what focus groups tell them.

the poor whites may be ignorant, but probably not more ignorant that the "progressives" who just know that what they know is what there is to know.

and the progressives can be counted upon to stick their finger in the eye of the poor whites and call them ignorant superstitious racists and lose their votes when you ought to be getting together with them and figuring out how to get out from under the RepublicanDemoc rat good cop - bad cop act.
 
 
+7 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 06:15
Pick an issue and discuss. Progressives are much more likely to debate reality, not Fox News lies and distortions of the truth. They're also much more likely to criticize their own political party and President, to the extreme at times.

I don't disagree with you that progressives help to lose votes by demeaning conservative voters but I do not see both sides as exactly the same.
 
 
-1 # coberly 2012-05-28 15:24
oh, no, not exactly the same. there are limits to human cognition that make us all subject to error and dogma, and of course we don't recognize our own. but I am far more on your side than on theirs.

as for an issue... one I know a lot about... is Social Security, which the Dems are working as hard to destroy as the R's.

but the Dems don't hate us the way the R's do. They just don't think very hard and want to win elections by going along with the bought and paid for consensus. I've left a couple of comments here with more details, but the bottom line is that SS is not welfare. and its not going broke. it has nothing to do with the deficit. that can all be shown beyond any doubt if people would just take the time to look at the facts (real facts, not think tank factoids). but even the "progressives" are keeping the facts from you because they seem to think they can turn SS into welfare, and they'd rather have the rich pay for it than have the workers pay for it themselves. that is suicide, and FDR knew it.
 
 
0 # kyzipster 2012-05-28 20:34
You're talking about politicians in this post, I'm talking about progressive voters, two very different things.

I don't believe that Dems are working as hard to destroy SS as Republicans. No, it's not broke, and it would take little to make it solvent for the next 75 years but at least the Democrats will stand in the way of Republicans who want to privatize it, another trillion dollar giveaway to Wall Street.
 
 
+17 # Kiwikid 2012-05-26 21:17
Hope trumps despair - maybe one key reason that many poor white people vote republican is simply because they DO recognise that the GOP is the party of the haves, and they continue to believe that one day, hopefully soon, they will be joining them. A powerful delusion maybe, but one that continues to persist. Apparently there are still many poor Americans who still believe in the American Dream.
 
 
+24 # AnastasiaP 2012-05-26 21:19
I had hoped for more insight here, but this article, I felt, was just as patronizing, as the author seems to feel progressives are/ Unfortunately, it is too true that in this country voters are overwhelmed and under-informed, and the electoral system, now tainted by money more than ever, gives them few effective tools for informing themselves. Recognizing this isn't "patronizing"; it's factual. Also suggesting that maybe it's Democrats voting against their interests because Democratic officeholders haven't provided a magical Disneyland for them seems way off base. There is an underlying set of Democratic beliefs (whether pundits want to admit it or it) including access to fair opportunity for all and not just those born into wealth and privilege. Does it always work out that way in real life? Can Democrats wave a wand and create a fair playing field? No. Does it sometimes seem like they aren't trying? Sure. But this is the reality of making policy where you don't always get what you want and when you are dealing with the current crop of "100 percent our way or nothing" teabaggers, you're lucky to make even baby steps.
 
 
+19 # alphabet 2012-05-26 21:19
A lot of people are telling us that we're condescending for saying that members of the 99% shoot themselves in the foot when they vote GOP. (By the way, I'm a huge fan of Gary Younge, most of the time. But here, he seems to go on to contradict his condescension comment by saying something similar, that the Repubs do hurt the majority even more, or faster, than the Dems do.)
I wish we could find a non-condescendi ng way to say it, when people are voting against themselves. One question to ask may be: What is the government's job? Religious matters? Moral issues? Economic questions? What should be left to other players? Should religious issues be just for churches to decide? (I think yes but maybe you don't.) Should corporations have all the say over economics? (Well, they don't and can't, one way or another, figure it out, no matter how much they want de-regulation). ..Maybe Those are questions we need to focus on. What do you think? By the way, when poor and middle-class white people are being racist, they're shooting themselves in the foot---because they're driving a wedge between groups of us who need each other, if ever we can successfully "demand a change in politics!!!" Is that condescending? Heck. Let's find a way to show that is true and be convincing!
 
 
+32 # CreativeBlue 2012-05-26 21:23
While this author waves his hands in the air and complains that it's all a mystery and that the Democrats haven't done much, he's right about the Dems, but he's wrong about what "poor" people perceive as their best interests and who's going to deliver.

The fact of the matter is that most of these people get their "news" from FOX TV, which means that they have a faulty and inaccurate view of the world and why it's so screwed up.

Until FOX is pulled from the air (and the other "news" outlets start provided accurate reporting on politics and the economy, instead of the newest shake-and-bake recipe and pet grooming tips), then you can expect this state of affairs to continue all the way to the time the oath to Der Führer is required at daily school homeroom class, coming soon.

The press has made America ignorant: www.thenation.com/blog/167999/its-official-watching-fox-makes-you-stupider?rel=emailNation
 
 
+34 # Regina 2012-05-26 21:24
There is a tendency for people in socioeconomic difficulty to grab hold of any factor that makes them feel better-off than some other group. Hence the racism of poor whites toward others equally strapped who are of other ethnicities -- black, latino, native Americans (those in tribes without casinos), etc.
Fox News' simplistic sloganeering contributes much to this disparity.
 
 
-17 # rjmcca22 2012-05-26 21:25
People should not be voting against their own economic interests. The game is already rigged enough without rolling over. Unfortunately, thats what the Democrats have done the past 3 years. Centrist Democrats have failed to advance the economic interests of poor voters. There is not one accomplishment that the Obama Administration has delivered that was high on the list of the Democratic Progressive base, despite having a super-majority the first year when most of a President's agenda is shoved through. Unemployment is still around 11% when you add back workers who have given up. Wall Street on the other hand is still busily transferring wealth to the 1% while corporations are still awash in cash. Obama cautions that progress is slow. Tell that to the 1%. They're making progress at 100 mph. The 99% haven't taken one step forward. In fact they got a tax hike with the elimination of the Make work credit in 2011. I won't vote for either party. The Republicans are extreme and have a feudal mentality. The Democrats in charge of the Democratic Party today have a philosophy that is closer to Romney's when he was first running for President as a moderate Republican. I'll vote for a third party in 2012 and wait until 2016 to see if a Democrat from the populist wing of the Democratic Party, like a Howard Dean or a Russ Feingold, is going to take back the Party from the Centrists.
 
 
-1 # conniejo 2012-05-29 08:09
Blue dog dems = reps; ergo, no super majority.
 
 
-16 # dquandle 2012-05-26 21:26
They don't vote for "Democrats" because they don't see a difference between them and the other right wing.
 
 
+32 # bigkahuna671 2012-05-26 21:27
The fact of the matter is that many of these people aren't voting their pocketbooks. In many cases, what they're voting are their religious beliefs. A large number of undereducated poor are fundamentalist Christians and support pro-life, anti-gay, anti-immigrant positions. Additionally, many of them actually believe that at some point, they are going to win the lottery or somehow strike it rich and thereby join the wealthy 1%ers out there, forgetting that that was their Pappy's dream, their Grandpappy's dream, and their great-Grandpapp y's dream...none of which came to fruition. But you can always believe. As long as there are people out there like Rush and Bill O to coal the fires of hatred for those overeducated liberals who look down their noses at the undereducated poor, not necessarily the truth but they somehow believe it, they will continue to vote their prejudices. Democrats have to realize they need to draw more support from minorities by being even more inclusive, thereby mitigating the loss of this group of voters who, by all rights and common sense, should be voting for the 99% and not the 1%.
 
 
+37 # mrbadexample 2012-05-26 21:35
Sorry, this was all explained pretty well about seven years ago (post Kerry/Bush). Tim Wise's seminal essay WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH WHITE FOLKS? exposes at length the need of the white 'anxious class' (those with incomes between 30K and 50K) to believe in a meritocracy that is threatened by the aspirations of people of color. The GOP has been tuning this instrument since the days of Nixon's 'Southern Strategy' with great results.

The Dems did themselves no favors by buying into the DLC's exhortations to move right, thus blurring distinctions between centrist repubs and Dems. But the Repubs' strategy of playing on white fears has been working very well since LBJ left office--there won't be a counter-narrati ve as long as the Democrats' leadership keeps thinking the trick is to move right.
 
 
+10 # cynnibunny 2012-05-26 21:54
Why don't the Democrats spend time appealing to working people?
Well, they did do it when Obama was running: he had compelling themes - hope, confidence, and an expectation of fairness - and I believe he won support largely because people could understand, and explain to others why they support Obama.

However, Democrats usually don't bother doing this. Why? Because it's not something they feel comfortable doing. It's like lying, being false and all. The working-class, so the story goes, should realize that they should support us liberals themselves. After all the good we've done for them.

And the Republicans simply point out how elitist the Democrats are, and how different they are compared to the average white man (oh yeah, that's racism, but in stealth mode), and look, those poor whites support the hand that is robbing them.

So, DNC, start talking to the working-class. Start saying what they want to hear, especially if it's true (the Republicans don't seem to have a problems with lying, so why should the liberals). Stop talking to show off your learning and your sophistication. Start showing your passion to do what's right, and what's good economic policy for America.

And if you can't say it in short sound bytes, hire a Rap Singer to do your speeches!
 
 
+2 # 666 2012-05-27 07:01
I think the key point is that "appeals" don't work. Rationally framed concepts, plans, ideas -- it don't work that way in the New Era of propaganda, newspeak, and fear. It's all about fear and manipulation. And if people won't think rationally, they'll never figure out they are just tools. Some of course are happy being tools, since they hope to benefit from it.
 
 
+8 # leftisright 2012-05-26 22:02
Poor whites and people of color could easily be united under the banner of labor, but bad conservative economics and public policies are the wedge issue that keeps on giving. There is not a poor white person I've met here in the Southern U.S. who understands the importance of collective bargaining.

See the International Monetary Fund report "Leveraging Inequality"
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2010/12/pdf/kumhof.pdf
{THE United States experienced two major economic crises over the past 100 years—the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2007. Income inequality may have played a role in the origins of both...Policy Options:
There are two ways to reduce ratios of household debt to income. The first is orderly debt reduction...The second possibility, illustrated in Chart 4, is a restoration of workers’ earnings—for example, by strengthening collective bargaining rights—which allows them to work their way out of debt over time.}
 
 
+2 # rharris50 2012-05-26 22:33
It's certainly true that social issues can tip the scale for poor whites, causing them to vote Republican, in spite of the economic interest. However, I don't think that it is condescending or elitist to argue that many people are actually ignorant of their economic self-interest. I have always been amazed at the number of people who would benefit from the Democrats' policies but do not even realize it. It's not enough to say that the Democrats have not always stood up for the poor, therefore voting Democratic is not necessarily in their economic self-interests. The issue is which party tends to promote policies that help the poor more. Surely that is the Democrats, even though there are exceptions. Even if you believe in "trickle-down" economics, that still inevitably provides the biggest benefit to those at the top, since they take their share first, before any trickles down. Finally, NAFTA is a convenient whipping boy, but every economics book, regardless of the political orientation of the writer, explains that trade is good for the country as a whole. Clinton's support of NAFTA was a cause for rejoicing by liberal economists who want a strong safety net to help the poor, but not through protectionism.
 
 
+3 # cordleycoit 2012-05-26 23:05
Tea Party has been corting those people for years. They also hate the wars because their children are fighting them and getting screwed coming home. They also hate the tom foolery around the debt thing. They feel Obama has not been truthful and they listen to Glenn Beck who is forever screaming "Wolf" Illegal Immigration directly effects their pay checks, And not with Mexican trucks in the country the upper tiers of the teamster good jobs are headed for the toilet. Apart from that making college so expensive the smart poor kids cannot escape poverty though education. Making a dummy class out of the birthers has not helped at all. Smart liberals have not been too wise.
 
 
0 # hd70642 2012-05-26 23:25
First you have liberal in name only like Phil Donahue Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Springer that will mock the poor and often blame for them being poor .You have some sincere liberals like Sean Penn Micheal Moore and the singer from range against the machine that have stood their ground !! While Obama is far better than any those mutant tea bagging freaks he is the biggest Milk toast moderate and the anti Truman when comes to standing his ground on domestic issues .Foreign policy yeah he is Rambo but sometimes on Domestic issues seems like sir Robin from Monthy Python the holy grail
 
 
+5 # rradiof 2012-05-26 23:31
Thank you Mr. Younge for dabbling with this very important topic. As a graduate of an inner city midwestern public school who matriculated from one of the most selective colleges in the United States (Hint: only two colleges in the USA have more endowment per student than this jewel in the cornfields), I spent four years facing off with naive sons and daughters of privilege from all parts of our nation who did not have clue #1 about the nature of populism (i.e. white folks radicalism, e.g. Tom Watson, Huey Long, etc.). Unfortunately these progressive darlings I jousted with back in the early 70s now dominate the conventional wisdom of the Democratic hierarchy. They continue to regard this essential part of the Democratic coalition as the unwashed, yet oddly entertaining. Unfortunately for the Democratic party these populists, of whatever political stripe, are hip to the lame game of the elitists I came to know in academia and have continued to deal with in my professional life. As long as a significant portion of the Democratic Party power structure continues to look at their populist brothers and sisters as ignorant white trash rubes, their party will continue to drift from shore to shore with no mooring post in sight. Over and out.
 
 
+6 # PaineRad 2012-05-26 23:56
The central problem is that Dems, except generally for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are economically conservative. It is only the CPC that offers this block of voters anything of value to them. But party leaders generally disregard the CPC and genuflect to the BlueDogs because leadership takes the CPC for granted.

For the most part, the DCCC and the DSCCC do not recruit economic progressives as candidates in those areas where white males of modest incomes predominate. Most progressive Dems come from pretty safe seats. If the DCCC and DSCC recruited more progressives for swing seats, I think they would be seriously surprised. But they just have no stomach for a contest. They seem to prefer the easy and gimmicky, the supposed slam dunk (like promoting Tammy Duckworth instead of Christine Cigelis for retiring Henry Hyde's seat in Illinois in 2006, which Tammy lost anyway).

If the Dems continue to ignore economic realities, they deserve to be ignored by those voters most disadvantaged by economic conservatism. Most Dems are as bad as most Repugnacants when it comes to economic issues.
 
 
+4 # Rain17 2012-05-27 13:00
The biggest obstacle to getting blue-collar white men to vote Democratic is these statements that I've run into over and over again:

"The Democrats offer me nothing but higher taxes for social welfare programs that reward, enable, and promote pathological behaviors and dependency for those who don't want to work. They care about women, minorities, illegal immigrants, criminals, and those who don't play by the rules than those who do. I work hard, pay my taxes, and do the right thing; but the Democrats don't seem to care about me because I'm white and not part of an 'oppressed' group".

The problem is that, when white men hear the words "social justice", they think it applies to everyone else but them. That's why they spurn the Democratic Party.
 
 
+4 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 00:54
The destruction of all of the institutions supportive of the less fortunate in our society (those earning under $500,000 per year--"the 99%") , for instance, journalism (the fourth estate), the public schools, the labor unions, is evident. Coupling that with the criminalization /privatization by the endless imprisonment or deportation of entire groups, e.g., young black males, sick drug abusers, productive tax-paying immigrants and those born to them in the USA--and the resultant further enrichment of the 1%--do two things: make the less fortunate vulnerable to being manipulated as to what their best interests are, setting them up to vote against their own advantage, and build up the economic, therefore, political power of the elite 1%.
When one is fighting to keep a roof over their head and food on the table and lacks the financial wherewithal to pay others to push their interests forward, one can’t help but be confused, perhaps even overwhelmed enough to mistake what is to their own advantage.
 
 
+3 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 00:54
Two factors can explain a lot of the reason for the state of affairs where individuals are, in fact, voting against their own economic interest. First, as others have said here, people will most often identify up in their aspirations, much less often will they identify with less powerful or less advantaged folks.
Second, super-rich right-wingers know this and do--especially now, after the flood gates for unlimited contributions to political campaign spending have been opened up via the SCOTUS' "Citizens United" opinion--spend uncounted millions, perhaps even billions, to buy off elected officials and pay for propaganda selling the idea that their own economic well-being is less important than whom their neighbor is sleeping with/married to, whether a zygote conceived is brought to term, or what the skin pigment is that others bear….continued
 
 
+2 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 00:55
"The white working class is said to 'vote against its own interests'. This only exposes the patronising assumptions of their accusers."

The subheading has at least two pejorative terms aimed at political progressives, i.e., they make "patronising assumptions" and are "accusers" of less advantaged white folks. This is an instance of "patronising," like beauty, being "in the eye of the beholder," Mr. Younge. To state one's opinion that other individuals' voting preferences are counter to their own economic advantage or interest is not an accusation, but merely an opinion--or even a statement of fact….continued
 
 
+10 # moby doug 2012-05-27 01:09
The GOP appeal to the white working classes is a witch's brew of race hate, xenophobia, misogyny, know-nothingism , bellicosity, posturing patriotism, and a Taliban-like Bible-thumping Fundamentalism. This has made the Confederate South, The Bible Belt, and the Aryan Brotherhood West, stupefyingly solid for GOP candidates since the Democrats passed the Civil Rts Act in 1964...and lost the segregationist Dixiecrats to the GOP. These are the same strings Karl Rove (and Lee Atwater before him) has been plucking for decades. If Obama were white, Romney wouldn't have a ice cube's chance in an Appalachian August against him.....
 
 
-5 # dick 2012-05-27 01:16
My god! Clinton, not Reagan, not Bush, de-regulated the banks.
And Obama's anemic, pathetic, contrary to all good advice, so called Stimulu$ is a major reason for lack of Recovery. Where is the indictment of Wall St. criminals? The guy's POINT is that Dems have not done much lately for the economics of the non-rch, & it's true, other than saving the auto industry. READ the article. It's the dimwit commentary that's muddled, dead wrong.
 
 
+18 # Peace Anonymous 2012-05-27 01:30
I finally understand the Jerry Springer approach to Republican campaigns. I also understand why it is so beneficial to make sure people can't afford decent education....th ey wouldn't vote Republican if they could clearly grasp the issues...
 
 
+2 # midtwnscott 2012-05-27 02:29
You can't say this is about race alone, as some posters have theorized. After all, poor white voters voted overwhelmingly for Bush in 2000 and 2004 instead of the "white" democrat. The problem, at least for deems, is that the republicans have been able to appeal the this block on an emotional level that resonates with them. The deems try and try to appeal on an intellectual and factual basis and that is a complete failure. The republicans have realized that emotion trumps intellect especially when delivered in a folksy, good ole boy manner. For all Obama's intelligence, he comes across as dead pan and emotionless. People want their leaders to show some emotion so there can be a sense of connection. Clinton used the republican strategy very well in his two terms and Obama must learn from him or we may wind up with Mittens in November and that will spell the end of this country as we knew it.
 
 
-24 # brucbaker 2012-05-27 02:41
BEING a child of Welfare programs and struggling to get ahead ... seeing the GOOD OLD BOY network of the Democrats, not that the Republican good old boy network is that much better, I have been beaten up by EVERY SINGLE TAX PROGRAM the Democrats bring up to FUND their WELFARE PROGRAMS ...and somehow .. I JUST DON"T QUALIFY making too much money. So, after years of being beaten down ...I observe... poor people who are self-educated or just plain educated ... DON"T FALL FOR THE DEMOCRAT PROPAGANDA or the party line. As bad as the republicans are... there is MUCH MORE OPPORTUNITY TO PROSPER AND RISE UP OUT OF THE LOWER CLASS.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2012-05-27 12:29
Yeah, by pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps? (anti-gravity bootstraps?)

The good-old-boy network of Repugnicans is visible and rampant in places like Wisconsin... take a good look ....
The DemocratIC [not 'Democrat' party -- a by-the way deliberate Rovian illiteracy] party has its propaganda, but Faux 'News' is often the only pseudo-news available in places like NEastern Wisconsin and elsewhere. And slap-on-the-bac k cronyism is often tghe order of the day.
 
 
+2 # judgeroybean 2012-05-27 02:50
The question addressed here is an old one. It goes back to Mondale's loss in 1984, if not earlier. It is the widespread sense among white voters that the Democratic Party is the party of handouts to minorities, of affirmative action, of gay marriage, etc. And that is a widespread sentiment among a lot of white voters (and not just working class whites; white disproportionat ely males vote Republican irrespective of socio-economic class), and the Democrats have not done a very good job battling it. It is a particularly deep sentiment in the South and the Mountain West. But racism? Maybe to some extent, but the real point is that the average white working class voter does not think that the Democrats' economic program holds much for them either.

One thing this author neglects is trade policy. the Democrats have been just as guilty of pursuing ruinous free trade policies that have shipped millions and millions of decent factory jobs overseas. Always with some empty promise about retraining, or claims about how Atari or solar energy was going to create a new middle class future for the country and this class of people. Look at the results. The US middle class is shrinking, and large numbers of middle class Americans are experiencing downward mobility. So they vote based on resentments, or based on issues that symbolize the Democrats' refusal to address their concerns (=illegal immigration). Ross Perot was right - this country needs middle class factory jobs.
 
 
+11 # Ralph Averill 2012-05-27 03:09
"Since the mid-60s Republicans have seen an electoral opportunity in appealing to the basest, racist sentiments of a section of the white electorate."
Karl Rove quite effectively added homophobia to the list, not to mention the fog of religious fundamentalism.
 
 
+1 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 10:32
I agree about Rove being able to turn every good thing about progressives into something terrible, e.g., swift-boating Kerry. Haven't been up on his adding of homophobia to the mix. Incidentally, I have been curious as to what, if anything, the fact that his father is gay may have had on his politics to date. Regardless of all this, to my mind, he is the anti-christ.
 
 
+12 # Velochicdunord 2012-05-27 03:45
For those who find Younge's piece condescending, a quick reminder that he's writing primarily for a British audience, not all of whom are familiar with the nuances of racism in U.S. politics.

As a Canadian now living in the American South, it took me several years, a couple of civics classes and a lot of reading of local history to fully grasp effect the effect racism has had on the U.S. narrative. I had followed U.S. politics for a long time from Canada prior to moving here, but never really understood the code words -- or why racism remains such a poisonous force.

Most foreigners who haven't lived in the States miss this nuance. Younge's article is filling that gap.
 
 
+12 # bikewriter 2012-05-27 03:47
The Democrats are not the party they once were, for one main reason: money.It is no longer possible to win without corporate money. That was shamefully apparent with Clinton and is even more true now. Until we get true campaign finance reform, both parties will continue to serve corporate masters and the little people will remain essentially irrelevant.
 
 
+6 # LegendBert 2012-05-27 03:52
Unfortunately the Democrats just don't get it. They don't get that being right counts for nothing. It's not that the Republican voters are too stupid to understand the arguments, either.

The Dems are portrayed as wanting to destroy business, destroy morality and give everything to minorities. The Dems need a strategy that counters this in a clear, compelling way. Obama's "Fair Shot" approach is a good start but more has to be done. The Dems need to show that fair business is good business -- good for the jobs, good for the economy, good for growth -- and do it in 10 words or less. Social issues like abortion and gay marriage have to be shown to be issues of Liberty and Freedom.

The clock is ticking. The Repubs are well organized and always on message. The Dems are anything but.
 
 
-14 # Larry2 2012-05-27 03:53
Those so-called poor Whites appear to have better sense than they're giving credit for. In this particular case. its the so-called middle and upper classes who appear to be senseless in voting democratic after experiencing a decline in their overall living standards.
Most Americans would prefer to see a much better candidate than Romney, but it is what it is. Rpmney would begin with a clean slate whereas Obama has used to many tricks and ploys in the job. He has issued far to many executive orders as a means of bypassing the legislative agenda of Congress.
 
 
-4 # burnchris 2012-05-27 04:00
The problem is that poor whites don't see Obama and the Democrats in general working for their economic or personal interests. They see him as working mainly for the economic elites and "identity political groups" (blacks, Latinos, women, gays) that they're not part of. They're not wrong, either. Because poor whites aren't part of his coalition, Obama isn't doing much to appeal directly to them either. He's writing off states like Tennessee and Oklahoma that were traditionally part of the Democratic coalition. Poor whites also see Obama as a cultural elitist who doesn't identify with them. Do you really think Obama has their back? Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson did, but the Democrats have changed since the 1960s and allowed the Republicans to move in and claim their voters.
 
 
+5 # riverhouse 2012-05-27 04:12
Well, we must consider that this is a Brit lecturing Americans about their political interests and, thus, discard it wholly. The explanation lies half way between inherent racism and the dog whistle of fundamentalist religion. That's it. The Democrats lost that vote with the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the Republicans pull out their Bibles and thump heartily against sex, drugs, and rock and roll every election time.
 
 
+8 # Bruce Gruber 2012-05-27 04:26
We are frustrated.

It sometimes feels like the election process is akin to a cattle drive. We are herded together, corralled, branded and driven to visions of fresh water and green pastures, but end up in stockyards and the slaughterhouse ... and we pay for it with tax money that significantly goes to corral other humans on other ranches - often half a world away.

Corporations and governments are TOOLS created to address our interests. Neither is inherently good or evil as concepts. Neither is a PERSON. Neither thinks, acts or has conscious intent. Neither "wants" to hurt or help as a matter of intent.

In my view the corporation was created with the lure of choosing, owning and participating in the profits of economic endeavors. However, its primary function is to maximize excess income over cost. Of even more importance, it is legally designed to insulate the individuals who run the show from liability and responsibility for their actions, failures and transgressions.

Government, as I learned it, should be the mechanism by which citizens identify, priorities and implement their solutions to societal aspirations, differences and problems - hopefully democratically. Both tools have been personalized by the people who control them - and us. As we allow ourselves to be alienated from one another by a barrage of false propaganda aimed at growing their power and diminishing OUR influence ... lobbying for GAIN.
 
 
+29 # eldoryder 2012-05-27 04:30
1. Remove ALL but public money from the political process.
2. MAKE the TV stations provide FREE air time for all qualified candidates.
3. SHORTEN the election period to 90 days.
4. ABOLISH the Senate "filibuster" law which (under recent Republican leadership) has turned it from a 50% vote to a 60% vote.
5. MOVE election day to a Saturday.
6. STOP all efforts to disenfranchise a large number of voters based on age or race.

And THEN we will be closer to what some refer to as "Free Elections", where corporate interests are no longer served, and where elected officials no longer have to spend 2/3 of their terms "begging" for re-election funds from corporate types. They will have NO ONE to serve but their own constituents.
 
 
+15 # HooverBush 2012-05-27 04:47
I consider myself "Lower White Middle Class", and I am a Vietnam Veteran.
I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote (a year after I came home from Vietnam).

I would vote for a Republican I thought I could trust, or who I thought gave a shit about Working People. I just haven't seen any of them yet----Maybe next Century?!?!
 
 
+9 # bingers 2012-05-27 04:51
I might wonder why a "well paid" journalist from the Guardian could be so wrong. He may be right about why the ignorant, and they are ignorant, white voters do vote that way, but those opinions are definitely the result of ignorance and therefore richly deserving of condescension.

The Republicans will destroy them along with every other poor and middle class member as they turn this country into a tyrranical oligarchy. Of course the inevitable outcome of that will be the destruction of the country and their fortunes as nobody can afford their junk any longer.
 
 
+5 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 10:39
I'd agree to pretty much all the above, EXCEPT, I don't think that any person is deserving of condescension. Ignorance deserves teaching, not condescension.
 
 
+14 # walt 2012-05-27 04:54
This is still hard to believe but true. People will support the source of their own problems simply to see what scraps might be thrown to them by the 1%. It's madness!

The real tragedy here, however, is that Mr. Obama let us down on multiple occasions when he had golden opportunities to square off with the opposition in favor of the 99%...in true FDR style! Yet he didn't! The wars, Guantanamo, real health care reform, Bush tax cuts, the debt ceiling, NDAA, etc. His winning in 2008 was a strong message that the people were looking for real change they could believe in, but they saw differently afterwards.

Let's hope the same people realize the opposition he has had and give him another chance. But more importantly, let's hope he can deliver in a second term. We need his promised change badly.
 
 
+7 # KMC64 2012-05-27 05:42
Paradoxically, what we do know from abortion statistics is for those women who seek abortions for non-health related reasons, the overwhelming reason is economic, either real or perceived. We also know that young women with more access to education, who early on are encouraged to set goals and are given access to the paths that will lead them there are less likely to put those plans at risk with an unplanned pregnancy. So when those who vote against their financial self interests on the basis of abortion, they also vote for policies that are far more likely to increase the demand for abortion.
 
 
+11 # vgirl1 2012-05-27 05:51
A few more points regarding that Tar Sands Pipeline known as the Keystone:

1) Some states it will pass through still don't want it coming through their state.

2) The construction represents only about 20,000 jobs (not that that is insignificant in the labor market today, but truly nothing tremendous when one considers points 3 & 4)

3) There is no guarantee oil coming out at the other end will stay in the US, even though it would be us who have exposed ourselves and our neighbors to the danger of its transport.

4) Indeed Republicans have blocked all legislation that would guarantee the pipelines oil would stay in the US or that at a minimum we would have first "dibbs" on it.

By golly we can't even get the media or all those who refuse to be able to vote in their own self interest to understand any of these points.

They both merely fall for and repeat ad nauseum the Republican drivel aimed at the ignorant and propogated by the complicit, everything is morally equivalent media.
 
 
+6 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 06:11
I agree that patronizing conservatives hurts the progressive movement but this article did not convince me that poor white voters are not voting against their economic interests.

I'm tired of seeing this false equivalence drawn between the two parties. Some of the tactics used in this article are like those of Fox News. Pointing out that the young, blacks and Latinos are worse off under Obama while not acknowledging the reasons for it. We're lucky to not be facing 25% unemployment with the economy that Obama inherited and a debt that has made it impossible to invest in society.

I agree with almost every criticism of the Democrats that I come across but we also need to acknowledge that there are stark and consequential differences. If nothing else, Democrats have managed to protect much of the progressive movement's accomplishments of the last century from destruction by the extreme right. The accomplishments of the Labor Movement, the social safety of the New Deal.

Both parties have embraced the conservative ideology that brought us to this place but Republicans want to continue down this failed path and they, more than Democrats, are responsible for the debt. They've become even more extreme since the recession while the Democrats seem willing to reverse course on deregulation and taxation.

OWS has shifted the debate in a better direction which has empowered the Democrats, we need to continue.
 
 
+7 # mblockhart 2012-05-27 06:30
The author makes an all to common mistake of ignoring the House and the Senate and focusing on the President when referring to public policy that benefits middle class and poor of all racial, ethnic and religious groups. For example, he says Clinton gave us the repeal of Glass-Steagall and eliminated welfare. Those were bills pushed upon Clinton by the Republican-cont rolled Congress. The fact is that everything minority groups and middle to lower income groups have gotten has been brought to them by the Democrats. They just don't know it. They're are being purposefully used, misinformed and mislead by conservatives. And that is NOT a criticism of them as much as it is an indictment of conservatives who should know better. Those who lack college education have had one source of information over the past 30 years and it has been controlled by corporations intent on misleading them then using race, ethnicity, religion, and gun rights to whip them into a fury to go out and vote in the interests of corporations, not working folk. And all too often Democrats have had to lean conservative in order to stay on the playing field at all.
 
 
+5 # quackerz 2012-05-27 06:31
"it's not like Democrats are offering much that would support the economic interests of the poor, regardless of their race. It was Bill Clinton who cut welfare, introduced the North American Free Trade Agreement and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act"


This assumes that poor whites are aware of these facts. Most are not. They live in a fact-free world where Rush tells them everything they need to know about Democrats, and if they think there's more to learn they turn on Fox. Get rid of that poisonous indoctrination, and Democrats will do much better.
 
 
-18 # 2wmcg2 2012-05-27 06:39
White people are disrespected by the Democrats and by segments of our society - the media, education, etc. - aligned with the Democrats. Call me "racist", as a white man I'll always pull the lever against a candidate who advances that kind of message.
 
 
+4 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 08:05
Cite an example of this persecution of the white majority, then we can discuss if your perception is racist.
 
 
+5 # hillwright 2012-05-27 06:46
Just a comment on the "Nixon Strategy". It was a plan conceived by Jesse Helms, who was kept in power and well financed by the Bacardi/Cuban money who convinced Nixon to take on the white poor north and south with its racist anti-liberal strategy resulting in today's "red" states. Better than anything that Strom Thurmond could put together.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2012-05-27 06:51
The bottom line of the article is right on target.

"What they need is a party that represents their interests. In a country where corporate money chooses the candidates and therefore shapes the debate, that will demand a change in politics, not just politicians."

While the thought of a Romney presidency is appalling, Obama's performance has been underwhelming and there's not much hope of improvement. What we all need is a strong leader with the balls to stand up against corporate money and special interests who will do what is right for the country.

Sadly, I don't see anyone like that on the horizon.
 
 
+9 # DofG 2012-05-27 06:57
The reason so many people don't understand this phenomenon is that they don't understand Western history. The name of the game is "white supremacy"- the biological impulsion to maintain and protect the European genotype against genetic annihilation! This happened as a result of the Moors (not simply Muslims) occupied southern Europe from 711-1492. The knowledge class knows this but this info has been obscured and explains why blacks have been so reviled because they are Earth's autochthonous people from whence all races are descended. But one must first understand the concept of anthropological monogenesis and migration patterns. Even Gov. Wallace understood this impulsion in the "Jim Crow" south when he observed that poor whites didn't care how bad their situations were as long as the culture affirmed their "superiority" to blacks. And since the Civil Rights Acts of '64/'65, the democrats have been deemed by these under served whites as the party of blacks. So the catalytst "to take our country back" is the fact that you have a black man- a Moor! in the White House. And so for these people, despite what they may say to the contrary, the first order of business is to get this black man out of THEIR White House!
 
 
+9 # politicarl 2012-05-27 07:06
Too many eligible voters don't vote because they don't understand or don't believe their collective vote can make a difference in spite of the seeming insignificance of their individual vote. Too many voters are discouraged or blocked from voting by efforts intended to discourage and block them from voting.

Too many who do vote, do so only with a 'vote the bums out' mentality. Too many cast their votes based on feelings rather than facts, because facts are difficult to come by and to process in the chaos of 'fictions' and personal opinions that constantly flood the infotainment industry, especially when campaigns and special interest groups are so effective at stirring up emotions which then confuse a voter's ability to process any facts they may have available to work with.

Too few vote with real knowledge and understanding of how our political process and government work - and don't work. Too few vote for their real, long-term best interests because they are too distracted by and focused on what they feel are their best short-term interests. Too few vote with a vision for the greater good of all - the greater good of the country.
 
 
+11 # Sensible1 2012-05-27 07:12
100 percent of the poor white people I know who will vote Republican are racists.
 
 
+10 # Critic46 2012-05-27 07:24
This author completely misses the point of "self interest." It is not just economic. Race bigotry is not in their self interest. Sex bigotry is not in their self interest. Anti-choice is not in their self interest. Homophobia is not in their self interest
When liberals complain that the poor and ignorant do not vote in their self interest, it is a statement of truth, not opinion. Self interest is NOT doing what you want, but getting what you need.
 
 
+2 # elmont 2012-05-27 07:26
While I generally enjoy Guardian posts, this one infuriates me. The author goes a long slow way around saying that Dems offer the best policies for people [of all ethnicities] who are struggling financially right now, but poor whites are correct to reject them because Dems are condescending elitists. That may make some sort of sense to a holier-than-tho u journalist, but it doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me.
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2012-05-27 07:47
elmont,
Be fair, reread the article. The author isn't really saying or implying that poor whites are correct to (or that they should) reject the dems. He's just saying that's what they are doing and why they are doing it. And he's right, they are. But there's no justification for it, and the author's not implying that there should be.
 
 
+3 # kyzipster 2012-05-27 08:29
I have a lot of problems with the article but the basic premise that Dems can be condescending elitists and that contributes to support for the Republican Party from poor white people rings true to me.

I'm guilty of it myself, it's difficult to not react to the mass amount of ignorance out there but I'm disturbed that it has become such a part of our culture. I don't recall this phenomenon in my youth, prior to Reagan's Presidency. This works in the Republican's favor. Despite their undeniable failures in government, they're still thriving because of this cultural division.

The author is right that progressives need to offer some sort of message to the working poor. Criticizing the ignorance and the racism may be unavoidable and even warranted but it only feeds the hate.
 
 
+2 # Sirviver 2012-05-27 07:29
Because only half of their brains are awake. Once the other half wakes up, they will reject the Republicans as well.
 
 
+6 # ThinkRodan 2012-05-27 07:31
Few seem to understand that the wheels started coming off the buggy under REAGAN. He was the one who stopped Revenue Sharing among states amd municipalities! in Jan.1987. He then turned around and gave BIG TAX CUTS to the wealthy! EDUCATIONAL BUDGETS suffered everywhere!
 
 
+6 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 10:50
And Reagan the led the way into union busting on such a large scale that unions are now mere shadows of their former selves. Thank goodness for the remnants of the old unions with whom we can build our new progressive movement.
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-05-27 07:32
While what the author says may be true in large part, when he votes "against" his economic interests, he is actually voting for the country's interests as a whole. Also, he isn't voting to hurt himself to any great extent.

The white working class that votes republican can't make that statement. I have no doubt that they will vote in a republican government in all three divisions of government (they already have a far right SC), and the country will go to hell, but that won't convince them. The uberclass will convince them that the Democrats are responsible and they will continue voting against not only their OWN interests, but against the interests of the country as a whole.

I'm not sure that there is anything that can be done to save the US, and anything that we do is merely putting the brakes on the downhill ride that is inevitable.
 
 
+3 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 10:52
You may be right, but I am not willing to throw in the towel. We are fighting for our country's soul.
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2012-05-27 07:41
What is truly sad is that Democrat politicians have shot themselves in the foot. The only saving grace is that Republican politicians have done likewise. The question remains, which party did itself the most damage?
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2012-05-27 08:18
How about the blatant encouragement of Jingoism, Faux-patriotism , military-worshi p, griping resentment and lack of a real education? That's quite enough to starve any population of attempts at reason and to lash out at anyone or institution seemingly above them -easily targeted by those who wish to selectively use it.
Sadly, much of the populace go along in a somnambulistic "wanna-be-rich- and-powerful-to o" mode and are deeply offended if the following conventions are not followed.
The ubiquitous hand-on-heart whilst the "Stars and Stripes" are being played and sung. Also "America the Beautiful", another glowingly-worde d false picture of a once-beautiful country that is being, and has been for a long time now, systematically raped, pillaged and left to rot for profit of the new self-styled Monarchy.
To assume this ridiculous position is to me, at base, approval of the huge military-power- worship culture that goes out and invades other nations to perpetrate the glutted power of the same few, with their corporate slogans not unlike the former British Empire, spread in "Rule Britannia" and "Land of Hope and Glory" in the name of Victoria, the British East Indian Company and the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Co (now BP and still as destructive).
There is a tendency here to glorify the CEO's of huge multi-national corporations, four-star generals encouraged by an almost wholly-owned and infotainment-dr iven, privately owned, monopoly media.
 
 
0 # wwway 2012-05-27 08:40
Good article. I was wondering when he would get to the bottome line. Race.
He ignored gender. Affirmative action and other equating policies brought opportunities to people of color and women. What that is well and good, the result has been the angry white male and the Republican party in particular has adaquately exploited that as part of their plan to be the only political party in America.
 
 
+4 # JNWesner 2012-05-27 09:24
If I had my way -- and I won't -- I'd first have the Republican party go out of existence and put Democrats in all offices. Then, through a true groundswell, I'd have us demand smaller military, medicare for all ages, higher taxes on the rich and upper middle class, the end of corporate welfare, elimination of tax loopholes (possible even combined with a small decrease), far more open government, and restoration of civil rights. If the Democrats -- by then the only party -- won't give us these, we would form another party, left of Obama, which would.
Ah, yes. If I had my way.
 
 
+5 # Tom Camfield 2012-05-27 09:30
It took George Bush eight years to bluster and simper his way to destroying the well-being of the Clinton years. Some were impressed by his popinjay style over the process and apparently still fail to fully accept the fact that everything came tumbling down Just as Bush was leaving office. Now, in addition to being viewed with suspicion as ineffective through many eyes, thanks to conservative propaganda and actions, Obama is seen as not having improved matters swiftly enough. Many apparently don't look beyond him at the obstructionism of a Tea Party Congress bent on little more than getting him out of office.

Impatience reigns--and certainly must be nourished at least in part by obliviousness.

What on earth does Romney offer the poor? Or for that matter, the middle class? Decline toward oblivion, I'd say.
 
 
+1 # forparity 2012-05-27 12:49
The well-being of the Clinton years, i.e. the irrational exuberance of the dot.com (Enron) bubble of exceptional fraud and greed, collapsed in March, 2000. All that was given, immediately was taken back.

The great gains - the income share of the top1% soared from 13.7% to 21%, under Clinton.

The ration of average CEO pay to average worker pay soared over 500%, to 525:1, under Clinton. Fell considerably during the Bush years.

Other than that, ole Clinton turned his back on Bosnia for too long - turned his back on Rwanda, the DR Congo (millions died 1997-2000), Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan (1995-2000 stretch was pure horror), Blood Diamonds, and of course, the HIV/Aids pandemic in Africa. I think David Corn summed it up best - "It didn't poll well for him."

It wouldn't have polled well for Bush, either, but he wanted to address it. So, he gathered up a few willing able bodies of support quietly from around the world, and in Congress - put the plan together - and without telling Congress - without polling - presented it to a shocked nation, and a shocked Congress, in a STOTU address in 2003 - and made it happen.

The plan came in on time, on budget, and is credited with saving well over a million lives - not to mention preventing millions of infections. Geeze - he handed out more than 2 billion condoms in Africa.

That's where the rubber meets the road.
 
 
-4 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 03:48
..you forgot to mention that the Bush tax cuts saved the economy after Clinton wrecked it and that Iraq was a great humanitarian cause. (sarcasm)
 
 
-11 # coberly 2012-05-27 09:32
here is something i know about:

Social Security is not going broke, and it is not causing any deficits. It is paid for by the workers who will get the benefits.

It is not welfare. It works because it is not welfare. Workers don't like welfare.

If those workers are going to live longer than their grandparents and still want a decent retirement, they would need to pay a little more on the payroll tax: about forty cents per week more each year.

Yet the Democrats, including the "progressives" are trying to turn SS into welfare by making "the rich" pay for it.

And most of you, by far, don't understand why this is a fatal mistake, and will cost you your retirement.

The Democrats are part of the problem. So are the progressives. So are the 'workers' who don't understand this.
 
 
-2 # forparity 2012-05-27 12:51
Well Coberly . . now you just have to convince 319 million Americans of that bizarre claim. Even Paul Krugman called it a Ponzi scheme last year.

The SS trust fund is a note.
 
 
+2 # coberly 2012-05-28 08:12
forparity

you must have misunderstood krugman, who, after a bad start has come around to almost understanding SS. which is more than can be said for 99% of the people. the 1% understand it and want to kill it because they like having a desperately poor worker pool. what is tragic is that "liberals" think that they can change SS into welfare and make the rich pay for it.

the fact is that the workers have always paid for it and that's why it has worked so well.

i can't convince you if you aren't willing to think carefully. read the CBO Options for Social Security numbers 2 and 3. if you need help understanding it, write coberly@peak.org and i will try to explain it in a way you will agree with.
 
 
-4 # angelfish 2012-05-27 09:44
Because they don't think they DESERVE what the Mega-Wealthy have! They are so used to bowing and scraping, they have forgotten how to behave like MEN! THAT is the main reason why poor and disadvantaged people vote against their BEST interests! They are too dumb to know any better!
 
 
0 # KitJones!007 2012-05-27 10:55
And, pray tell, if you're right, how did they get that way?
 
 
+2 # MendoChuck 2012-05-27 10:15
One thing that seems to be missing from this article is that perhaps the disgust the voters feel may not be in support of just the Republican Party but just the disgust with the incumbents.
Perhaps the REAL CHANGE that voters are seeking out is not support for the current incumbent but just getting rid of lying a self seeking current politicians.
What we need to do is stop blaming voters and start putting the blame on our current politicians in politics.
That includes ALL of them.
 
 
-6 # sapereaudeprime 2012-05-27 10:17
Ultra-left-wing liberals dumbed down the public school curricula for three generations, with the absurd rationale that if all men (and women) are created equal, they all ought to be able to graduate from high school and college. The consequence was that every drooling cretin has a high school degree, and half of those have college degrees, but few of them know anything about history, geography, economics or science. The next consequence was that the majority of Americans can read enough to read tripe, but they can't think critically because they haven't been taught any critical thinking tools. So it's not surprising that many of them vote and campaign for their owners, much like the black slaves in the confederacy who enlisted in the confederate army, fighting to preserve slavery in exchange for what they were told would be their personal emanicpation.
 
 
-1 # dick 2012-05-27 10:21
Don't forget, don't pretend, don't deny simple facts: It was Clinton, NOT Raygun, NOT Bush, who repealed Glass-Steagall & unleashed the Wall St MONSTER. And it was Obama who selected the jerks responsible, like the vicious Larry Summers, to lead his economic team. Obama supporters are chumps who idolize a guy who DOES NOT EXIST. The real Barry Obama is in bed with Wall St. criminals & OBSTRUCTING their prosecution. Face it.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2012-05-28 11:39
Why is everybody saying that President Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act? The repeal was passed by a veto-proof majority in Congress. Clinton could have made a statement of principle by vetoing the bill, but it would not have prevented Glass-Steagall from being repealed.
 
 
+2 # tonywicher 2012-05-28 16:07
Well, maybe we can't pin it on Clinton. But can we pin it on Obama that he brought in the very architect of repealing Glass-Steagall, Larry Sommers?
In any case, if a robust version of it is not reinstated immediately the derivatives market will cause a total collapse of the economy that will make 1933 look like boom times. Will Obama stand for reinstating Glass-Steagall? I highly doubt it.
 
 
+2 # conniejo 2012-05-29 08:12
He should have vetoed it, regardless of the veto-proof majority.
 
 
-1 # tonywicher 2012-05-28 16:09
Right on, Dick. These Obama supporters have been totally bamboozled by this con man. We need a real FDR Democrat who will take on the bankers, not this phony that nobody should vote for.
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 03:56
I don't see much idolizing these days, I think most Obama supporters see the opposition as something to fear more, and rightfully so.

We're stuck with Obama, best hope is to continue with the OWS movement which has changed the debate in a better direction and exposed the Democrats as well as the Republicans.
 
 
+3 # susan lea 2012-05-27 12:15
THE POOR VOTE FOR THE REPUBLICAN WAR MACHINE BECAUSE IT IS IN THEIR ECONOMIC INTERESTS FOR THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ENLIST IN THE MILITARY AS IT'S OFTEN THE ONLY DECENT JOB THEY CAN FIND
 
 
+5 # Rain17 2012-05-27 12:37
Working-class whites are hostile to the Democrats because they think many liberals look down on them. As the Democratic Party has attracted more educated voters the gap between them and the working class continues to grow. Working-class people without college degrees or just some college resent being told what to think by people who, by virtue of their degrees from whatever private liberal arts college they went, think they know what's best for them. That's one of the reasons.

The other thing is that a lot of these voters don't think the Democrats offer them anything but higher taxes for social programs that, in their mind, reward, enable, and promote pathological behavior. When they hear the words "social justice", to them, it means "social justice" for everyone else except them because "they don't need help".

The bottom line is that they don't think the Democrats offer them anything because they aren't minorities, low income, or in the inner-city. That's why they vote Republican.
 
 
+1 # hd70642 2012-05-27 14:05
Actually most of welfare receiptants just happen to be white and there are plenty of those of the "I did it all on my own folks "that have collected unemployment or workmans comp some time their life .It is always a lazy bum until they need some help then they play the "I paid into it" record. The poor with out degrees do not have a monoply on being ill informed most Americans in general lack basic understanding in science math and history
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2012-05-27 15:43
You have a point there. I know some people who have gotten public assistance themselves but consider themselves "different" than other "recipients."
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 04:04
..you're partly right, the main motivation that I've seen with conservative voters is resentment of the welfare system which is 1% of the federal budget. They vote for Republicans because of some bizarre belief that Republicans will actually do something about welfare even though they haven't done a thing since welfare reform under Clinton.

In reality we're broke because of unfunded tax cuts, corporate welfare, unfunded wars and Medicare Part D, unfunded. An outrageous military budget that both parties refuse to reign in for fear of being called unpatriotic by the far right.

Have Republicans even offered to roll back prescription drug coverage for seniors to maintain those tax cuts for the top 1%? Of course not, conservative voters love their socialism and Republicans maintain it all to stay in office.
 
 
+1 # EdieVP 2012-05-27 13:04
Many of you are correct in your assumptions but it goes further back when Milton Freedmen started his Shock Doctrine Idealogy. The Free Market Capitalism has no room for democracy and until the American people learn of its propaganda under the guise of freedom, greed and control by the rich over the nation's average people in all countries will continue. Look it up on Youtube The Shock Doctrine and take the time to view the entire vid to the end you will then understand where the GOP are coming from to oppress the masses into serfdom.
 
 
0 # EdieVP 2012-05-27 13:11
Most all are correct in their assumptions but knowledge without understand is futile. Go to youtube and watch The Shock Doctrine through the end and you will become crystal clear what is going on in the present and why.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2012-05-27 13:25
This article is pure tripe one end to the other. This "journalist" purports to be some kind of authority on liberal Americans while pumping out a stream of CONServative "values" and spin. The people in the USA who vote with the Republicans are low-information voters who are attracted to misfits; people devoid of humane impulses and usually have a close association with alcohol.
 
 
+4 # BishopAndrew 2012-05-27 13:26
I remember my Dad saying that during the Great Depression when people were literally starving and standing in a soup line to receive at least a bowl of soup and a piece of bread he heard some of them cursing Roosevelt! Nothing has changed. The Republican Robber Barons know how to manipulate these folkes and do so with race baiting and other scare tactics. They laugh at them behind their backs and would gladly see them die for lack of money to insure health care for them. Ignorance and stupidity serve the oligarchs well and has always done so!
 
 
+2 # harris.carlus 2012-05-27 13:45
For anyone out there who is an entrepreneur, I've got an idea. It's called the pauper kit. It's empty. But I'm sure that if people are buying the promises of those who contend that corporations are people, and that finding affordable education is as simple as shopping around, someone will buy it.
 
 
+9 # Achee 2012-05-27 14:18
If you're not from poor, white, conservative America it's very difficult to understand just how severely self-limiting and delusional the groupthink is there. You can look at it from the outside and try to justify why they make stupid choices or admonish others for treating them children or idiots. But, that doesn't mean you have a clue about what these people are really thinking and what their motivations really are.

These are my people and they embarass me. Intellectual laziness, desperate clinging to superstition and propaganda, a hysterical belief that a "real American" must think, act and believe exactly as they do or else it's a plot by commies, muslims or atheists to destroy America is only a part of what drives them to vote as they do. Bigotry is a huge part. Anyone who is different than them, even if they're trying to help, is the enemy.

Spending tax money to help people is bad, unless it's for themselves because they're patriots and deserve it. Spending it on education and health care is a socialist plot to destroy America, so we need to spend it on the military instead b/c without that, America would fall to the ever growing number of enemies that are intent on destroying democracy and who are infiltrating our gov't in the form of democrats and liberals.

The ignorance is astonishing. The self-righteous, self-deluding chanting of propaganda is turning our country into a true Idiocracy.
 
 
+1 # coberly 2012-05-28 08:18
Achee

you are right about those people. what you may not realize is that the "left" suffers from the same style of thinking. the only thing different is their reference group. this is not a put down. it is just a fact about human cognition. the answer is for those of us who think we have thought a little deeper is to find a way to reach those who have not. so far my own efforts have not been brilliant. but that's the way the world works.
 
 
+2 # tonywicher 2012-05-28 15:59
All Americans do indeed have common interests as Americans and human beings. Unfortunately the country is being run by unelected people, namely bankers, who do not have their interests at heart, and both Democrats and Republicans work for them. It's just a matter of whose rhetoric you prefer.
 
 
+5 # captain communist 2012-05-27 15:08
as long as we continue our imperialistic wars, nothing will get better. it's the use of our army to feed the pockets of the bushes, rumsfield, cheney, and oil companies, who are obama's democratic contributors, too. democrat, republican, what's the difference?
 
 
+2 # oneofshibumi 2012-05-27 23:02
When you write, “It was Bill Clinton who cut welfare, introduced the North American Free Trade Agreement and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act - which helped make the recent crisis possible.” I question the assumption that “Clinton who...” in your sentence. The “cut welfare act” or the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA)” was a cornerstone of the Republican Contract with America. While it is true that Clinton ran on “changing welfare as we know it,” the Republican never accepted Clinton’s welfare plan and always pushed a plan with more draconian cuts. Clinton vetoed two previous Republican welfare plans, but under heavy political pressure (and media pressure) Clinton signed (PRWOA) which was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL). To claim that “It was Bill Clinton” who cut welfare is not backed up by the facts.
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 04:13
Thanks for pointing out the complexity of welfare reform.

I was highly skeptical of reform until two social workers I know who work intimately with welfare recipients convinced me that it's actually working. People have been forced to get training and find work. They share the same far left politics as myself.
 
 
+2 # oneofshibumi 2012-05-27 23:31
Negotiations for NAFTA started under President Reagan, in 1986. President George H.W. Bush signed NAFTA into law on December, 1992, in San Antonio, Texas. If President Clinton did not start the negations for NAFTA and did not sign the treaty, how do you defend your statement? The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bli ley Act (notice that all three names are Republican representatives ) was finally signed by President Clinton, but it was conceived by Gramm back in 1996. Once again, Clinton cannot claim credit or take blame for a Republican idea. Clinton can be blamed for going along with a Republican idea. Unfortunately, your three examples do not support the argument you put forth.
 
 
+2 # coberly 2012-05-28 08:20
oneofshebumi

what you are not considering is that "the devil made me do it" is part of the charade we call politics in this country. i have no doubt the R's and the D's really do compete... the way poker players at the country club compete. but when it comes time to get serious, neither of them is going to give the "help" a raise, much less let them "into" the club.
 
 
+3 # coberly 2012-05-28 08:29
trying again:

all of the comments here are about people voting against their own self interest, and decrying the "ignorance" of the other voters.

i offer an example: Social Security is under serious attack today. The attack comes from "the right" who have always hated Social Security and spent a billion dollars telling lies about it, and controlling the "news" so that all you hear are the lies, and all "everyone knows" is the lies.

the "progressives" on the other hand, seem to think the answer to this is to "fix" social security (it ain't broke) by turning it into welfare by taxing the rich to pay for it, and even to make it cost even more.

the rich won't pay for it. and if they did it would only be so they could "own" it and destroy it later.

i don't know how to explain this to you, but you could find it out for yourself if you read CBO Options for Social Security number 2.

SS can be "fixed" if the workers raise their own payroll tax about 40 cents per week each year to cover the cost of their longer life expectancy. Understand that and the "SS crisis" disappears.

Or you can stand around and shout sound bites at each other.
 
 
0 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 04:15
Good points. I do believe that Clinton does deserve responsibility for any agreement he signed into law but it's far more complicated than the article suggests.
 
 
+1 # futhark 2012-05-28 01:44
Bageant's "Deer Hunting With Jesus" is the book to which the article refers, I think. I can't imagine why this information was omitted. The book is a must read for those wanting to understand the paradox of economically challenged white people embracing the politics of the very elite that is holding them down.
 
 
+4 # sandyclaws 2012-05-28 02:12
I wonder what would happen if all ballots did not designate whether a candidate was Democrat or republican? There are so many lazy ill-informed voters that just go in and mark as to party and have not a clue about the candidates or issues.
 
 
+2 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 04:20
When Republicans have sworn an oath of solidarity and obstructionism, the Senate minority leader admitting to this proudly, I see no need to know much about a conservative candidate. They represent a cult that seems to have lost all individuality, any Republican who shows some sanity, a willingness to debate facts, is labeled a RINO and kicked out of office.
 
 
+6 # carioca 2012-05-28 03:24
I read this article, and I came away feeling like I had just read an article in the Economist. No point, whatsoever.

My sister was on Medicaid, Medicare, in and out of hospitals her entire life, and she was a staunch Republican all the way.

Oh, and I did I forget to say. She was a totally indigent ward of the state.
 
 
+1 # carioca 2012-05-28 03:25
Old Joe Bageant passed away about one year ago.

Bless his almost redneck heart.
 
 
-1 # Lucius 2012-05-28 07:03
1. "I vote against my economic interests when I support parties that favour wealth redistribution..."
Sure, but here in the US, that is called Socialism. And socialism is the kissing cousin to communism. And communism is godless. End of story.

2. "What they [the poor] need is a party that represents their interests." Sure, but the State and Federal laws that make it difficult, if not impossible, for a viable third or fouth party to emerge in this country must be changed for this possibility to become a reality.

3. "None of this means all Republican supporters are racist. But it does suggest they make their appeal on racial grounds and, as the poll shows, it is effective." Not all, certainly, but racism is exactly what the evidence suggests. Racism is at the heart of the Republican Party, especially in an era of teabagging social conservative fundmentalism. Joe Wilson would never have dared interrrupt the President and call him a liar during a State of the Union Address had it been anyone other than Barack Obama, but he could and did because Obama is a black men.

It's easy to vote against your own best interests when your are a white cracker and the choice is between a black man or a rich 1%er. Or, imagine, a xtian fundmentalist who would raise taxes on the working poor and cut them for the wealthy versus an atheist who would slash taxes for 99% of all Americans and cut subsidies for Big Oil. Who would Republicans vote for?
 
 
+3 # Third_stone 2012-05-28 08:55
Communism is godless? Maybe there is some confusion here. While what we have called communist governments, such as the Soviet Union and China, are without a formal religious dogma, the form of government in those places is dictatorship, not Communism. Cummunism and Socialism are economic systems that can exist in a democracy as well. The US has known a good deal of socialism through the years. Roads, for example, are rarely private in America today, although there was a time when a man could build his own bridge and charge you to cross it. Social Security is a socialist concept. Some of our earliest medical insurance companies were started by cooperatives and financially guaranteed by the government. Those were recently "privatized", which means management took control from the members and sold off stock, enriching themselves but serving no others. We have always been a nation based in socialism to some degree, as are most of our allies, such as the European countries. It is the christian concept, you are your brother's keeper. Americans gather together and move forward as a group. A devil take the hindmost economic system is a short term plan that begets profit for a few, but the pie keeps shrinking when the few take it all. This does not mean we must carry the lazy, but that society does not advance when it is every man for himself.
 
 
+2 # Lucius 2012-05-28 13:54
Did I miss something here or has
'godless communist' not been a catchphrase for self-righteous xtian Americans since the '50's? And to distinguish ourselves from these atheistic heathens the Congress added it to the Plege of Allegiance and adopted "In God we trust" as the official motto of the United States in 1956. That's what I was referring to.
 
 
+3 # fliteshare 2012-05-28 20:11
Sorry to correct you there buddy
Socialism is an economic system:
(distribution of the resouces on the basis of NEED)
Communism is a political system:
(dictatur of the proletariat)
 
 
+2 # tbon 2012-05-28 09:48
The poor, dumb, white sector of the American electorate will never vote Democratic. For them Democrats are synonmous with Higher-Ed liberalism, gay marriage, and minorities, particularly blacks, taking over the country.

Their prejudices trump their self interest.
 
 
+2 # shraeve 2012-05-28 12:17
I am amazed. In the entire comments section there is not one mention of one of the most significant factors in the poor white anti-Democrat vote: guns.

Obama did not endear himself to many voters when he said that working class people "cling to guns or religion". He reinforced the view of many that he is an elitist, condescending liberal who will take their guns if he gets half a chance. That view may be wrong in Obama's case, since gun control does not seem to be on his agenda. But, apart from Obama, the gun controllers are almost entirely on the side of the Democrats. That, much more than racism, is the reason many poor whites feel a deep antipathy toward Democrats. There are many African-America ns who treasure their guns, such as the Deacons for Defense, who used guns to protect their communities from the Klan. We will gladly make common cause with them.

I voted against Al Gore in 2000 only because he participated in the Million Mom March. I was at the counter-demonst ration a few blocks from the White House when I saw that elitist's police convoy shoot past, sirens blaring and lights flashing. If I were faced with choosing between an African-America n candidate who pledged to protect our gun rights and a white candidate who supported gun control, I would without hesitation vote for the African-America n.

It is not that we cling to guns or religion. For many of us, guns ARE a religion.
 
 
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-29 04:31
The fear that Democrats are going to take your guns away is nothing but a belief in propaganda based in lies. There is a tiny minority of progressive politicians who support what might be defined as 'draconian' measures but they have no real power. Gun control is a non-issue of the culture war that keeps millions of people voting against their economic interests.

The NRA has extreme power and it's driven by money, not principle. When surveyed, the majority of gun owners support some very sensible gun control legislation to help law enforcement but the NRA will attempt to destroy any politician who tries to advance this same legislation and most conservative voters refuse to question their actions.

Your post only validates Obama's moment of truth which was not a threat to take away anyone's gun or religion.
 
 
+2 # elmont 2012-05-29 06:22
Well, you may have any number of reasons to vote against Dems, and you should of course vote as you see fit, but I can sure tell you that voting that way because of concerns over gun control is unnecessary. No Dem, Obama included, has lately made any effort to control or limit guns. Why? Because the NRA has won the battle, years ago, and everyone knows it. The gun culture is now part of our national culture. If you think Obama is okay on the other issues, vote for him. The gun fight is over--you guys won. Feel free to buy more guns. No one is going to take 'em away.
 
 
+3 # wfalco 2012-05-28 14:54
"Not all Republicans are racist." I disagree. It is as simple as that. To older white, retired working class people they desire a return to the "good old days." Sometimes they will conveniently forget much of their fortune may have been a result of union memberships and nice pensions. They have forgotten who they are and where they came from. Perhaps this older demographic of white voters (and these people definitely vote)see Democrats as not necessarily for the "white" working man-but a promoter of "affirmative action." Now that they are older they no longer care about important spending needs-such as the public schools.
Moving on to the younger folks-much less political and, hence, much more difficult to reach with rational argument. Their belief system is deeply ingrained by a 20-30 year bombardment of right wing radio and news. These news outlets meet their entertainment needs much more than anything that might be reality based. It is so much easier to blame others when one's own life is going badly. Who to blame? The old stand bys-Blacks and other minorities who appear to be more in favor of "big government."
 
 
0 # tonywicher 2012-05-28 15:15
This article does indeed make a very valid point. The Democratic Party has totally betrayed the working class and the poor, so why should they vote for Democrats? The Republicans cut their throats while the Democrats stab them in the back, that's about the only difference. They really don't know where to turn, and neither do honest Democrats such as those posting here who are equally betrayed and misled by their leadership, which does NOT stand up to the bankers as FDR and JFK did but rather does the will of the bankers while pretending to be on the side of the people.
 
 
+7 # tonywicher 2012-05-28 15:31
Could we all agree that we really need Glass-Steagall to be fully reinstated, which means that the two quadrillion dollars of credit default swaps and other Ponzi schemes and their related debt has to be cancelled, the big banks have to be taken into bankruptcy and triaged with the pensions, etc. being returned to their original owners, and replaced with a credit system for infastructure and job creation? That is what FDR would do. But Obama won't, because he is a banker stooge. He is a Wall Street Democrat who brought in the very people instrumental in repealing Glass-Steagall - Larry Sommers, Timothy Geithner, the whole crew.
 
 
+1 # wilma 2012-05-29 04:16
I agree wholeheartedly with Bikewriter who stated, "The Dems are not the party they once were". They have managed to raise millions in campaigne funds and at the same time see to the banker, car manufacturer and corporation interests. While promising the middle-class change in the form of managing their mortgages, better schools, jobs, etc.etc.infinit um nauseaum. It is for certain no mortage bailouts were awarded to the beleagered middleclass as two of my friends have lost their homes since the last election. Others that I know either had to conduct shortsales or completely bail out. Where is the justice in that? There's your reason for party jumping during an election. While I am not in any economic trouble for now, I do feel the system rewards the big winners: bankers, large corporations, the military, etc. and penalizes ordinary tax payers. There is some truth in stating that an assistant may pay more taxes than the Executive in the corner office down the hall. This is a travesty. So one wonders why these heavily taxed payers swith parties? That's simple, they feel betrayed by the Dems.
 
 
-1 # RFScalf 2012-05-29 08:16
How can someone write a sweeping 'analysis' of this sort and not even mention the information/dis information/pro paganda issues at play? Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and literally hundreds of right wing radio programs; and then the power of fundamentalist religions and the very right wing leanings of those institutions. Goodness! Are these intentional omissions? Either way this writer cannot be taken seriously.
 
 
+2 # b_niles57 2012-05-29 09:29
Dems are simply worse at the game of politics than Reps.

Reps have been incredibly effective at hammering home the four following points:

1. Gov't action= Gov't take over/Communism
2. Taxation= taking my money
3. Any issue that didn't exist before 1700's and that is not included on the scrap of paper called the Constitution is not a valid area of government action
4. Scientific and economic facts are leftist propaganda and should not be trusted because of media and elites.

Until Liberals can effectively counter these ideas with EFFECTIVE and CONSISTENT messaging, we will ALWAYS have this problem.
 
 
+4 # MylesJ 2012-05-29 10:14
Just listen to the smartest man in the room. When LBJ signed the Civil rights act he said he was consigning his party to 30 years in the wilderness. Now that was a man that understood politics.
 
 
-5 # Noni77 2012-05-29 13:23
The poor whites tend less to be Socialists or Communists not having gone through that indoctrination in college and they recognize the change from when Blue Dog Democrat WAS the norm to now when the DNC is just a shill for the Communist Party of The USA. They are down to earth with strong values, not shallow and trendy.
 
 
+3 # Old Man 2012-05-29 16:22
The uneducated public has always been duped by the right-wing. They need to keep these people in their place so the fascist machine can continue to run, it's like a collective. After they have been suppressed for so many years these people are told that education is their enemy along with government, taxes, FDA, regulation, globe worming and much, much more.
Who are he real terrorist of the Country?
 
 
+2 # Annalois 2012-05-30 21:05
Bob Dylan wrote in 1963: They deputy Sheriff, the soldiers get paid. The marchells and cops get the same but the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool; he's taught in his school from the start by the rule that the laws are with him, to protect his white skin, to keep up his hate so he never thinks straight about the shape that he's in; but it aint him to blame, he's only a pawn in their game!
 
 
0 # tiggerkenwood 2013-07-24 11:47
It's all about education, I think. I am poor because of a nerve disease, but I have a college degree. I talk to many other people online in the same situation I am in. Those who have degrees, but are low income vote Democrat. No wonder why Republicans cut Education expenses. It is too their benefit.
 

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