Sunday, October 08, 2006
Why the South votes Republican
It is easy to say that it is only racism that gets Southerners to vote Republican. "Scratch a Republican, see the white robes underneath", as I said in an earlier message. But it's more fundamental than that, and while racism is involved, it isn't the fundamental reason why the South votes Republican in national elections. The fundamental reason -- the reason that, amongst all other reasons, is most responsible for driving Southerners to vote for Republicans -- is a failure of hope.
From 1932 to 1960, national politics dominated by Democrats brought enormous gains to the South. The rural South gained electricity, telephone service, and indoor plumbing. The average Southerner went from being a subsistence farmer living in a tar paper shack under conditions reminiscent of the Third World, to living a somewhat normal American life.
And then the progress stopped -- with life in the South still being one of comparative poverty and deprivation compared to that in the rest of the nation. With Southern children still receiving an inadequate education, and Southern politicians still using electoral corruption and rigged laws to make sure that a small elite continued to control Southern politics. And since 1970, things have even started sliding backwards somewhat in the South, as factories close and move to China and elsewhere. And the response of the Democrats on a national level was... [crickets].
The fact of the matter is that Southerners have simply lost faith in the national government and its ability to build a better life for all. When Democrats make promises, Southerners look at those pretty promises and say, "Yes, I heard those same promises from LBJ." Southerners have simply lost faith in the ability and willingness of a Democratic Party dominated by big cities in the North and Pacific coast to address their needs. Thus they vote for the party that promises to drown the national government in a bathtub. At least then they won't be paying as many taxes to be misgoverned, the thinking goes.
Democrats will re-gain power in Washington some day, unless the Busheviks engineer a coup and declare the end of the Republic. If nothing else, the reaction of the ruling oligarchy to continuing Republican misrule will insure this. But if they obtain power and still do nothing to improve living conditions for all Americans -- including those in the South who did not vote for them -- they risk seeing their experience in the South extending nationwide. A Party that does not keep its promises is a Party that is doomed to extinction. If after regaining power the Democrats do not implement a French-style medical system, address the loss of good-paying jobs and declining standard of living of a large swathe of America, and otherwise behave as a party of the people rather than as just another arm of the ruling oligarchy, they risk going the same way as the Whigs. Whether that will be enough incentive for the Democratic heirarchy to risk bucking the ruling oligarchs and bring in reforms that improve the life of the average American... well, that remains to be seen.
- Badtux the Hope Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 10/08/2006 07:29:00 PM
I don't understand racism at all, wasn't raised that way. And I don't understand Democracy other that the fact that it always keeps getting bigger and more complex, greedy, and powerful, until it destroys itself, or someone gets tired of it and destroys it. Such a system has never survived all that long. Not such a system as the American one anyway.
# posted by BBC : 8/10/06 8:41 PM
BBC, we've never had democracy in America, so it's no surprise that you don't understand it.
When asked what kind of government had been created by the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said "A republic. If you can keep it."
There is a considerable difference between a democracy and a republic, and frankly, given the fact that public opinion depends upon who most loudly proclaimed their position rather than upon reason and facts, I'd much prefer to live in a functioning republic led by informed representatives that I trust than in a democracy. Unfortunately, we currently live in neither -- we live in an oligarchy with trappings of a republic, where we get to vote for one oligarchical selection or another, but never for someone who actually represents the people rather than the oligarchs who pay for their election.
- Badtux the Civics Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 9/10/06 12:23 AM
Very well said.
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 9/10/06 1:16 PM
see, my penguin friend
doesn't matter who's in power - they are all rich, white men...and it doesn't matter what colors they wear...they all belong to the same club...
unlike most, i believe we need to be more thana 2 party system...we need at least 5 more parties to create a true democracy
# posted by azgoddess : 9/10/06 2:01 PM
electricity, telephone service, and indoor plumbing
A slippery slope to evolution and the dangerous terrorist subject al-Gebra
# posted by NewsBlog 5000 : 9/10/06 8:33 PM
It was the indoor plumbing that did them in. Much easier to contemplate reality in an outhouse on a 100 degree day.
# posted by Gordon : 10/10/06 1:10 PM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
View my complete profile
April 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 /
Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq