Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Voting Myths: Or How Not To Win Friends and Influence Voters

I'd imagine that the handful of readers I still have are totes familiar with the myths (lies) those on the right spin. We all know that when they are disdaining Welfare, they are talking about single, black mothers even though most people on Welfare are white women. We know that when they say voting fraud they mean "how many legit voters can I disenfranchise" since voting fraud is not a thing that actually happens unless Rethuglicans are doing it. We know their racist dog whistles and call them out on it.

But it ain't just the right dog whistling. OH NO. Dems have their own shitty lies they tell about the people who don't vote for them. There's a reason why the Rethuglikan sneers about elitism stick, it's because of the snobbery, the disdain, the dripping condescension handed out by Dems in the middle of their "WHY DON'T THEY VOTE THE WAY I TELL THEM TO" tantrums. For example:

"Voting against their own self-interest" - this is phrase trotted out by liberals regarding poor, usually rural, whites who vote for the other legacy party. But here's the thing. No one votes against their own self-interest. Poor whites who vote for Republicans do it for god and racism. They see, accurately, that the Dems don't really have anything to offer them. The Dems aren't bringing back middle class jobs, making college affordable for their kids, etc. etc. But what the Dems are (ostensibly, in the most shallow ways) about are anti-racism, which removes the one privilege poor whites have, and anti-fundy bible thumping with the sex ed and "gays are people too" and the "wanton sluts should get birth control". Racism gives them a real benefit and religion gives them the same kind of empowered feeling that liberals get from reading the NY Times and bitching about flyover states.

There's another shitty layer of shitty to the 7 layer dip of awful that is "voting against their own self-interest" . We know that the Rethuglikans are the party of freedom from control over your own life unless your rich, white, straight and male. The Dems like to frame themselves as the alternative to that. "Oh we will let the ladies have control over their own naughty bits as long as it doesn't cost up anything". They aren't. See Welfare Reform, the virtuous foodies who think every family can eat nothing but organic fruit and veg on a food stamp budget, and that phrase "voting against their own self-interest".

Now see, I believe that short of bad cases of mental illness, people are rational creatures who act in their own self-interest. It's like Elizabeth Bennet says to Lady Catherine, a rich old shit monster who is trying to meddle and browbeat Elizabeth "I am only resolved to act in a manner which will constitute my own happiness without reference to you or to any person so wholly unconnected with me." I trust people to understand their own lives better than I, an outsider, could. As long as what you're doing doesn't hurt someone else, I don't give a fuck. You shouldn't either. It ain't about you. But that fucking "voting against their own self-interest" bullshit is just a way of saying "You there, poor and stupid person, let me choose who will govern you, for you are surely to ignorant to be allowed to choose for your self". 

Of course this isn't the only liberal way of dog whistling "poor and stupid". See also "Low Information Voters". Whenever someone uses this phrase, feel free to kick them in the shins and call them a classist shitmonger. Ok, maybe not with the kicking. I know some of y'all are pacifists. But yeah, CLASSIST SHITMONGER screamed in all caps 2 inches from their face is a good plan. I asked the boyfriend if there was a way to just troll the interwebs and have an audio file of me screaming  autoplay
every time someone uses that phrase. He told me it would just require some tweaking of the software spambots use to leave comments. "This an excellent blog of the most excellent quality. I am glad to have found such a blog. I have also posted on this same topic. Please click this link to.... CLASSIST SHITMONGER." Should I ever win the lottery, I may pay spambots to do this for me. 

Now both legacy parties can't understand why the underclass of the other party votes the way they do. Poor blacks and latinos are more religious than poor whites, yet they vote for the separation of church and state party. Poor whites have more in common with poor blacks and latinos than with the rich old dudes who run the Rethuglican party exclusively (and the Democratic party, slightly less exclusively). When really, for the bottom 20 percent, the choice between shit sandwich and shit sandwich with pickle isn't much of a choice. 

Now what no one is asking (because the right doesn't care if you vote and because the left (ha) can't imagine why anyone wouldn't vote for them) is why do we have 46% of the voting age population that couldn't be assed to cast a vote in 2008? Sure the left will trot out pipe dreams about needing election day to be a national holiday. They will, rightly, accuse the right of illegally purging voters. But that doesn't cover the vast majority of regular folks who really don't see a difference in voting for shit sandwich, shit sandwich with pickle since President Sans Pickle is doing the exact same shit the President Pickle did. Neither party will address that, because it's not in their best interest. A president maybe a president of 100% of the population, but neither Mittens not Obama give a flying fuck about the needs of the disillusioned 46%,

Maybe they are all just low information welfare queens who are (not) voting against their own self interest?