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View Diary: How to win Red States in 2014 (21 comments)

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  •  That's one possible contribution (0+ / 0-)

    I'd suggest another, although it's immediately an impression formed from one man's experience overseas.  Different groups of people may adjust to life circumstances to such an extent that they personally do not considered themselves living in discomfort, let alone suffering.  If we were to take this "interests" argument to its logical conclusion, you could make the case that NGOs seeking to protect and preserve indigenous cultures--for example--are actually doing a great injustice.  You'd have to naively compare incomes and outcomes of undeveloped, indigenous societies to their neighbors, but you could make that case.

    Obviously in the US there's a far greater degree of social interconnectivity, but if you're making $25,000 and living on a ranch in Wyoming you might be quite satisfied with your lifestyle--even if you don't live as long or as healthy as a comparably fit urban dweller.  Or, in admittedly rarer cases, you might actually live a healthier lifestyle, but one that someone typical to the Upper West Side would find depriving.

    My point is that it's ridiculous to pin simple answers as to why lower income whites aren't as supportive of Democrats as we'd like, or to pretend certain aspects of our program aren't mortally threatening to interests as perceived by members of that identity group.

    •  The above comment is correct (1+ / 0-)
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      rduran

      The reality is that most southern whites that we would consider "poor", simply do not think of themselves as poor or deprived.  Ever watch "My Big Fat Redneck Wedding", or "Honey Boo Boo", or "Duck Dynasty"?  Well, I don't either, but I've seen them.

      These people LIKE being the way they are.  They revel in it.  They live for monster trucks, army boots, and Skoal hats at their wedding (and mud, for some inexplicable reason), and poor grammar, and having an ass-kicking attitude.  It's their basic identity, and they LOVE it.  They don't feel deprived at all, even the ones that collect road kill, and don't have two pennies to rub together.  After all, if your identity isn't defined by the desire to build a McMansion, buy a foreign car, wear $200 sneakers, and vacation at the beach, you wouldn't be inclined at all to start climbing up the income ladder, with all it's pitfalls.  The idea of taking a job where they might have to wear a tie (or even not wear a hat) everyday is anathema to them.  THEY DON'T WANT THAT JOB, no matter how much it pays.

       These people don't make any money.  They don't have any money.  But, they also don't spend any money.  Buy a used pick-up truck, rent a run-down trailer to live in, and save up enough cash to go fishing or drinking with your buddies on the weekend, and that is all you need. For a lot of them, they hardly notice a drop-off in income or standard of living when they go on Social Security and Medicare.  You might be surprised, but this could be a pretty low-stress life.

      These people see Democrats looking down their long noses at them, judging their lifestyles, and offering to "lift them up".  They don't want that, especially if it means they now have to rub elbows with, and show tolerance for, blacks, gays, war protesters, and bra-burners.  Yes, there is still an element of racism here, but it's more bigotry toward the "other" or "different" than it is just pure black-white racism.  

      This may sound condescending as hell, and it is.  But, the next time you're on your southern beach vacation, venture off the beaten path a little to rural South or North Carolina, or Texas, and see how "unhappy" those folks are.  It's like another planet, but it's their planet, and they like it just fine.

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