|New Civilization News: A Few Election Feelings|
Category: Ideas, Creativity
9 comments3 Nov 2004 @ 09:02 by jazzolog : Why The Working Poor Vote Republican
The New York Times
November 3, 2004
Living Poor, Voting Rich
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
In the aftermath of this civil war that our nation has just fought, one result is clear: the Democratic Party's first priority should be to reconnect with the American heartland.
I'm writing this on tenterhooks on Tuesday, without knowing the election results. But whether John Kerry's supporters are now celebrating or seeking asylum abroad, they should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting - utterly against their own interests - for Republican candidates.
One of the Republican Party's major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires. Democrats are still effective on bread-and-butter issues like health care, but they come across in much of America as arrogant and out of touch the moment the discussion shifts to values.
"On values, they are really noncompetitive in the heartland," noted Mike Johanns, a Republican who is governor of Nebraska. "This kind of elitist, Eastern approach to the party is just devastating in the Midwest and Western states. It's very difficult for senatorial, Congressional and even local candidates to survive."
In the summer, I was home - too briefly - in Yamhill, Ore., a rural, working-class area where most people would benefit from Democratic policies on taxes and health care. But many of those people disdain Democrats as elitists who empathize with spotted owls rather than loggers.
One problem is the yuppification of the Democratic Party. Thomas Frank, author of the best political book of the year, "What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," says that Democratic leaders have been so eager to win over suburban professionals that they have lost touch with blue-collar America.
"There is a very upper-middle-class flavor to liberalism, and that's just bound to rub average people the wrong way," Mr. Frank said. He notes that Republicans have used "culturally powerful but content-free issues" to connect to ordinary voters.
To put it another way, Democrats peddle issues, and Republicans sell values. Consider the four G's: God, guns, gays and grizzlies.
One-third of Americans are evangelical Christians, and many of them perceive Democrats as often contemptuous of their faith. And, frankly, they're often right. Some evangelicals take revenge by smiting Democratic candidates.
Then we have guns, which are such an emotive issue that Idaho's Democratic candidate for the Senate two years ago, Alan Blinken, felt obliged to declare that he owned 24 guns "and I use them all." He still lost.
As for gays, that's a rare wedge issue that Democrats have managed to neutralize in part, along with abortion. Most Americans disapprove of gay marriage but do support some kind of civil unions (just as they oppose "partial birth" abortions but don't want teenage girls to die from coat-hanger abortions).
Finally, grizzlies - a metaphor for the way environmentalism is often perceived in the West as high-handed. When I visited Idaho, people were still enraged over a Clinton proposal to introduce 25 grizzly bears into the wild. It wasn't worth antagonizing most of Idaho over 25 bears.
"The Republicans are smarter," mused Oregon's governor, Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat. "They've created ... these social issues to get the public to stop looking at what's happening to them economically."
"What we once thought - that people would vote in their economic self-interest - is not true, and we Democrats haven't figured out how to deal with that."
Bill Clinton intuitively understood the challenge, and John Edwards seems to as well, perhaps because of their own working-class origins. But the party as a whole is mostly in denial.
To appeal to middle America, Democratic leaders don't need to carry guns to church services and shoot grizzlies on the way. But a starting point would be to shed their inhibitions about talking about faith, and to work more with religious groups.
Otherwise, the Democratic Party's efforts to improve the lives of working-class Americans in the long run will be blocked by the very people the Democrats aim to help.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
3 Nov 2004 @ 09:24 by vibrani : Work more with religious groups?
So much for separation of church and state. This country is becoming more of a mess BECAUSE of religion and those politicians who use it to propogate the lies and fears inherient in religion to get votes - just like Bush has done. I don't think it's smart to drive this country down the drain through this path that plans to keep removing more of our civil liberties. No wonder the Democrats want to stay away. There is no way to talk to many of these religious groups because they're just as extreme as the radical Muslims who are only interested in their own view and nobody's else's - a perfect mirror to themselves. Do it my way, or else...
3 Nov 2004 @ 09:44 by jazzolog : How Well-Trimmed Are Grassroots?
I looked up at Democratic headquarters the other day, and said outloud, "There must be 25 Phd's in here." Sitting across from me, also researching people's phone numbers, were 2 psychiatrists. One of them said, "Well, I'm one of them." Another woman turned around and said, "Not me. I got 2 Masters degrees, but I dropped out of my doctorate at Yale." I don't think I saw a regular working guy---union or not---helping us out in the entire 4 or 5 months.
People here think of liberals as tax-and-spend. Americans don't consider taxes as a way to sponsor necessary social programs---programs that corporations never would profit from and therefore invest in. We think of taxes as lining the pockets of politicians (crooks) and bureaucrats.
The working man often is a single issue voter. Abortion, gays, guns. Well, Kristof's 4 G's up there. I can't tell you how often I heard during this campaign, "I'd love to vote for Kerry, but my church won't let me." Maybe the general intelligence of the gene pool finally is taking its toll. Is that an elitist thought?
3 Nov 2004 @ 10:05 by dempstress : How strange
for a Brit such as myself to hear the term liberal used not only as an insult, but to describe one who is dangerously leftie; a sort of re-birrh of the red under the bed. Our liberal party has long been seen as the wet, middle of the road choice (an increasingly difficult role to play as Blair encroaches on traditionally right-wing areas), the sandals and hand-knitted jumpers brigade, and probably stripey jumbers at that.
3 Nov 2004 @ 13:26 by jazzolog : In Case You're Confused
or haven't been following my entries about Ohio, here is the story at the moment~~~
U.S. Election Doesn't Yield Winner; Courts May Decide (Update1)
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. election system failed to choose a winner on voting day for the second straight presidential contest, raising the possibility that the courts may have to break a deadlock between George W. Bush and challenger John Kerry.
Bush was leading Kerry in a race that may hinge on Ohio and not be decided for at least 11 days, when provisional ballots are counted. Excluding Ohio, Bush had 254 electoral votes, 16 short of the 270 required for victory. Kerry had 252 electoral votes, according to network projections. Results for New Mexico and Iowa were delayed, officials said.
The impasse may delay decisions affecting the Iraq war, such as a possible U.S.-led attack on insurgents in Fallujah, and legislation including a bill to revise the U.S. intelligence system, said Charles Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute in Washington.
``It may not be politically feasible to do some things, and until we know the outcome everything is on hold,'' Pena said.
The lack of a decision may be bad for U.S. financial markets, said David Gilmore, a partner at Foreign Exchange Analytics in Essex, Connecticut. A ``delay erodes confidence in U.S. markets because of the uncertainty,'' Gilmore said.
The dollar rose against the euro and the yen after Bush took the lead against Kerry, and Andrew Card, the president's chief of staff, said it was statistically impossible for Kerry to win Ohio. ``The dollar gets stronger when the market perceives there will be a clear winner, which at the moment looks like it will be Bush,'' said Neil Jones, a director of foreign-exchange sales at BNP Paribas SA in London.
Ten-year Treasury notes, which had posted their biggest drop since July as the Kerry campaign said their candidate would win Ohio, trimmed their losses. U.S. stock futures rose.
The main issue is as many as 250,000 provisional ballots -- those cast by voters whose names didn't appear on registration rolls -- in Ohio. By law, the validity of those ballots must be determined and all eligible ones counted.
With 99.9 percent of the votes counted, Bush led by 134,000 votes in Ohio, which has 20 electoral votes. The secretary of state's office had an unofficial total of 135,149 provisional ballots, with 78 of 88 counties reporting, spokesman Carlo Loparo said in a statement. The 10 counties yet to report accounted for about 10.5 percent of the valid provisional ballots in 2000, he said.
Democrats refused to concede. ``John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election, every vote would count, and every vote would be counted,'' North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Kerry's vice presidential running mate, told supporters in Boston at 2:30 a.m. Eastern time. ``Tonight, we are keeping our word, and we will fight for every vote.''
Card, Bush's chief of staff, claimed victory for the president. ``President Bush has won the state of Ohio'' and the election, Card said at a rally at about 5:40 a.m. in Washington. Bush won at least 286 Electoral College votes and also was the first presidential candidate since 1988 to receive a majority of the popular vote. Bush led in the popular vote, 51 percent to 48 percent.
`Kerry Will Win'
The major television networks disagreed on Ohio. NBC and Fox called the state for Bush, while CNN, CBS and ABC said Ohio was too close to call.
The president won 28 states to get his 254 electoral votes. Kerry, the four-term senator from Massachusetts, won 19 states and Washington D.C., taking 242 electoral votes.
For the first time in a presidential election, all states are required to let voters cast provisional ballots if their registration status was in question.
``A lot of people tried to vote last time and ended up not being able to,'' said Vikram Amar, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California and a former Supreme Court clerk. ``This time they won't be shut out entirely.''
Kerry didn't make any public appearances after the polls closed. ``There are more than 250,000 votes to be counted'' in Ohio, Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager said in statement before Card's comments. ``We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio.''
If the eventual winner's margin of victory in Ohio is a quarter percentage point or less, an automatic recount is triggered. In addition, either side can request a recount in any state, and disputes over recounts might end up in court, as happened in 2000.
``I'm sure the lawyers will say there are some legal issues, but we will see how that unfolds,'' said Herb Asher, a political science professor at Ohio State University in Columbus. ``People will be raising questions about the long waits and whether people were deterred and all that.'' Some Ohio voters waited in line for hours, according to press reports.
In 2000, the election wasn't decided until the Supreme Court stopped a recount in Florida, in effect handing the state's electoral votes and the presidency to Bush, who lost by 537 votes in the popular vote.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 5 percent between election day and Democratic contender Al Gore's concession on Dec. 13. Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 5.26 percent from 5.87 percent as investors seeking safety bought bonds, and the dollar dropped 2 percent against the euro.
``A clean, clear win for Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry would likely boost both the dollar and the stock market,'' said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. ``An uncertain outcome would have the opposite effect.''
Unless the additional Ohio counting delivers the presidency definitely to Bush or Kerry, the decision may end up in the hands of state courts, and perhaps ultimately the Supreme Court or House of Representatives.
While the highest court's membership is unchanged from 2000, when it voted 5-4 in favor of Bush, Chief Justice William Rehnquist's absence from the court this week because he is being treated for thyroid cancer would further complicate matters by making a 4-4 vote possible.
If the courts can't settle the issue by Jan. 3, the matter will be left to the House of Representatives, where each state has one vote based on the results of the 2004 election.
That would likely mean the re-election of Bush as Republicans extended their decade-long control of the House by beating four incumbent Democrats in Texas and picking up a seat in Kentucky. The Republicans have 227 seats in the House to the Democrats' 198.
The last time the House chose the president was 1824, when John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts was chosen over Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. Jackson garnered more popular and electoral votes than Adams in the general election, but failed to win a majority of electoral votes, throwing the election into the House.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Simon Kennedy in Washington Skennedy4@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Glenn Hall at email@example.com
Last Updated: November 3, 2004 06:51 EST
3 Nov 2004 @ 14:01 by vibrani : seriously lacking brain cells
A man leaped into a lions den at the Taipei Zoo on Wednesday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity, but was bitten in the leg for his efforts.
Jesus will save you! shouted the 46-year-old man at two African lions lounging under a tree a few meters away.
Come bite me! he said with both hands raised, television footage showed.
One of the lions, a large male with a shaggy mane, bit the man in his right leg before zoo workers drove it off with water hoses and tranquilizer guns.
Newspapers said that the lions had been fed earlier in the day, otherwise the man might have been more seriously hurt ... or worse.
3 Nov 2004 @ 20:33 by dempstress : So sorry
...for you and indeed for the rest of us. At least you know that you and yours did all you could, and then some.
3 Nov 2004 @ 21:07 by ov : Americans have made their choice
Just heard on the radio that George won the election with the largest popular majority in the history of US presidents.
They all knew what they were voting for, and appeals to innocence or ignorance aren't going to get any sympathy. I've always had to hedge and hum around and say that I'm not anti-American, I'm against American foriegn policy. Well, time for a little honesty on my part, for the few Americans that join the underground resistance movement I wish you well, and to all the rest may you reap what you sow.
11 Nov 2004 @ 00:23 by Quinty @220.127.116.11 : Dennis Kucinich
on the vote:
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