The Enigma

2018-04-18_08-28-11I am starting yet another series this week about the giant enigma of our times. Just so we are clear on what I mean, I will give you a definition. For you who are observant, I’m sure you have already figured it out from the new header above. The Republican party was one of Will Rogers favorite subjects. He just couldn’t figure them out a hundred years ago, and not much has changed in that respect with them since then. In this series, I will take Will’s words about the GOP and see how they fit with today’s party.

canstockphoto31485978The GOP has almost always been about the most affluent among us.  There are probably hundreds of reasons for that, but I kinda think that funding politician’s careers is near the top of the heap.  Why grovel for ten thousand $10 contributions when you can get the same amount from just one person.  All you got to do is to promise that you will look out primarily for that guy and he will open his overstuffed wallet.

But the thing that really gets me about all of this is how so many folks who struggle through life are strangely in the GOP camp? It just doesn’t make sense to me.  That question will be one of the driving factors in my study of the GOP enigma in the coming weeks. In reality, I don’t think this enigma will ever end anytime soon. It will just have to be pushed aside by the rest of us.

I hope you enjoy my attempt at explaining an unexplainable enigma…

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15 thoughts on “The Enigma

  • It all depends on where you grew up? The Democrats in my area of birth were always about the unions. The unions, in my area, were all about the money and keeping people from working who were not union (including the poor and illegals). The Republicans were about right to work and the ability for any person to get a job. The Democrats were about keeping everyone dependent on the government and the Republicans were about keeping everything open and neighbors caring for each other. These values are not as important where I live now. I can see why different areas of the country vote very differently.

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  • Many voters are single issue people. Pro-guns, anti-choice, anti-immigrants. These points of view will lead one to vote Republican every time. Nothing else matters. Democrats in general are more willing to negotiate on most matters. Republican politicians have been very smart to adopt wedge issues. I strongly suspect some of the Republican leaders do not personally believe some of the issues they support. Winning is everything. Do you really think all of the Republican politicians that claim to be evangelical Christians actually are? I wonder how many do not even believe there is a God. I personally don’t care what they believe. I do care when you misrepresent your beliefs in order to win an election.
    It has always surprised me how many working class people support the party that has promised from the beginning to destroy Social Security and Medicare. These same peoples lives would be destroyed in their older years without these two programs. They would not be able to better handle their finances if they received the SS and Medicare funds deducted from their checks. Ample proof is supplied by the percent of Americans that have little or nothing saved for retirement.
    Most likely nothing changes until more of us Boomers die off. The younger generations will probably show more common sense than we have.

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    • You cover a lot of ground here W Fred and much of it pertinent to the questions at hand. Single issue voters are unfortunately becoming too common. I know it takes work to try and see the full picture and it is just easier to latch onto a small segment of the issues. But it that really what our country needs right now. I do agree with you that those who vote Democrat or are Independents are more open to change. That is obvious when you see that the majority of the very conservative Evengelicals live in the hinterland. There is a lot to discuss on this single issue.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

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  • I hope you stick with this venture. From my experience the more religious one is, the more likely they are republican. And the wealthier they are, the more likely republican. The more inclusive and truly caring for the poor and desiring free education and reasonably priced good health care for all, and not anti immigration, they are more likely to be democrats.

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    • On the surface of things Mary, I think you are right with your observation. You three have certainly given me a lot of food for thought. I just wonder if there is something we are missing that makes people either knowingly or unknowingly cling to a political idea that in the end is more detrimental to them than the alternative. I hear so many seniors who say they believe the Republican mantra but when I ask them “well, does that mean you have chosen NOT to take Social Security or enrolled in Medicare?” I have never gotten an affirmative reply. What is it that makes so many seniors say the things that keep them out of the poor house is bad for the country?? An enigma indeed!!

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  • One more point…the poor use to always be democrats but that changed with Obama and certainly trump. I hate to say it, but poor whites are often racist and religious fundamentalists. So Obama turned them offs he was neither. Then along comes trump representing all the ugly things that he does that appeals to this poor white group.

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    • Mary, I’m sure there is a racist element in it but is it one of the top factors?

      I would like to believe that at least part of it is those stuck in the past and fearful of the future vs those who look to the future and think that we can always do better then we have.

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  • Also I knew Episcopalians that were usually definitely Democrats and Southern Baptists that were almost always republicans. Why is that? I think it has to do with a literal interpretation of the Bible or not..
    All this is just my 2 cents of my own experiences and of course there are always exceptions to the rule.

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  • Civil rights was the big switch for the south. Prior to that the south was mostly Democrats. LBJ said the Democrats would loose the south for a generation with the passing of the civil rights bill. He underestimated how long that would last.
    That was also when southern whites with money started up countless private schools. An end run around desegregation. That was probably the foundation of the call for school choice and home schooling.
    The civil rights bill was absolutely the right thing to do. The price for it was a second underground civil war. We are still fighting it.
    RJ perhaps you will find some of your answers in this portion of history.

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  • From my reading we tend to misunderstand what many people’s “best interest” is.
    For many white poor ( who you think would be interested in financial help) it is oriented on maintaining superior position over people of color and immigrants. (I do not have the URL of where I read this – I have been reading a lot since the election- so I am unable to provide the exact source.)

    They also think being “on the dole” (without being disabled or something such as this) show a lack of pride and they don’t want hand outs. They want jobs.

    I think the book “Hillbilly Eulogy” goes into this I’ve only read excerpts.

    Anyway investigate down this path and see.

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  • I think the answer to the enigma is: wealth by association. They are hoping that the ‘trickle down’ will eventually become a stream and then a flood and they, because they voted the right way, will receive the largesse.

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    • Thanks for the thoughts Marquita. I am beginning to think that there are multiple of reasons for the enigma but the primary one is probably fear of one thing or another. I will tell you that this post got more than its share of hateful replies which I deleted because of language and civility. Of course, that is the modus operandi for many of these fearful folks so it was not unexpected.

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  • RJ-

    This column was in the Sunday Indy Star and may help explain one aspect of the enigma.

    Conservatism’s high calling is to humanize change
    Michael Gerson on Apr 27, 2018
    WASHINGTON — Trying to explain Trump voters has become something of a cottage industry, both for those who want to exploit them and for those who want to marginalize them. They were motivated, we are told, by rage. They were motivated by being left behind in a modern, skills-based economy. They were motivated by racism. They were motivated by contempt for a particularly off-putting Democratic presidential nominee.

    One of the more compelling accounts comes from University of Pennsylvania political scientist Diana Mutz. Looking at changes in voting behavior between 2012 and 2016, she finds little evidence for pocketbook interpretations of Trump support. “Change in financial well-being had little impact on candidate preference,” she explains. “Instead, changing preferences were related to changes in the party’s positions on issues related to American global dominance and the rise of a majority-minority America.”
    Trump voters, in this interpretation, were convinced that America is losing status abroad and that the American way of life is changing beyond recognition at home (symbolized by the country’s increasing and, for some, disorienting diversity). Both of these fears were confirmed, in the eyes of many Americans, by the presidency of Barack Obama.

    As Mutz describes it, a group that is losing social standing has some predictable reactions. It longs for a more stable, hierarchical past. And it is increasingly negative toward out-groups. This is not, Mutz concludes, “racism of the kind suggesting that whites view minorities as morally or intellectually inferior, but rather, one that regards minorities as sufficiently powerful to be a threat to the status quo.”

    Mutz’s case has the ring of truth. The centerpiece message of the Trump campaign, after all, was a return to lost greatness. Trump’s rhetoric was (and remains) organized by resentment for outsiders — violent migrants, suspicious Muslim refugees, exploitative Chinese. American military dominance must be reasserted. The American way of life must be restored to its proper, pre-PC form. In many ways, Trump unleashed the political power of nostalgia — in this case, nostalgia for a time when Trump supporters had more control over the political and social priorities of the country.
    If this interpretation is correct, what are the implications?

    First, America is experiencing not just an ideological disagreement but a cultural showdown. When liberals speak of gun control, many conservatives hear contempt for their entire manner of living. When liberals speak of diversity, many conservatives hear reverse discrimination and the promise of oppressive speech codes. To his supporters, Trump does not merely hold their views; he takes their side in a social conflict. Even if Trump betrays his ideological commitments, it is unlikely to undermine the support of 35 to 40 percent of Americans. Tribal loyalties are not broken over policy disagreements.

    To honor the copywrite I cannot republish the entire article.See the rest here: (I’m using the Tulsa World link as it was easier to find on the web)
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/michaelgerson/michael-gerson-conservatism-s-high-calling-is-to-humanize-change/article_8803f01b-d4bb-5014-a0f8-f2e8db05c840.html

    ========
    Michael Gerson’s email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.
    (c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

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    • Thanks for the article Bob. There is a lot of info here to digest. But of course we must also recognize that this is just another opinion and should not take it all as fact. Question Everything … ha

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