“How can anyone in their right mind vote for these people?”
It’s a question I’ve heard quite a lot in the past fifteen months, especially from family members and friends who live in blue states and jurisdictions governed by Democrats. As the news from these places gets crazier and crazier, the folks who are forced through circumstance to stay put are visibly and verbally more animated about what goes on all around them. Public policy is often a subject of heated debate, but it used to be that all -- or almost all -- of us could agree on the desirability of good schools that teach the basics, safe streets and neighborhoods and sufficient economic activity to allow for the pursuit of the mystical American Dream.
I’m hearing from some of these exasperated Americans that they’ve had it and will move far away at their first opportunity. I’m hearing it from citizens who’d worked much of their lives to relocate to these states to chase career goals or the excitement that the locale offered and then discovered that the place was a cesspool of government neglect and corruption. I’m also hearing it from lifelong residents of these areas who previously swore they’d never leave it.
Never is a long time. But it’s reached a point for them that there’s no hope for things to turn around. It’s that bad.
Democrats believe they have a messaging problem with voters, that the issue isn’t them, per se, it’s the fact they’re unable to articulate their policies in such a way as to convince skeptics that what they’re doing really benefits the masses. Take climate change as an example. Democrats see the eventual elimination of fossil fuels as a worthwhile goal that will stop and perhaps even reverse the trend (according to them) of the earth warming, which, if left unchecked by universal mitigation measures, would supposedly bring disastrous consequences. Tunnel vision prevents liberals from seeing the big picture, however, which includes out-of-control fuel prices, electric car batteries made of materials manufactured by China and ultimately, inflation that’s so high ordinary citizens are priced out of basic necessities, let alone luxury items.
A majority of Democrats aren’t bad people. Some are. But there’s a reason why so many “normals” (as Kurt Schlichter would call average folks) see them as wacked out freaks with an agenda, uncaring souls who only crave political power to wield it for sinister purposes.
Is it the Democrat message that’s holding them back, or do they just not get it? Maybe both. In a piece titled “How Orwell Diagnosed Democrats’ Culture War Problem Decades Ago” Politico’s Jeff Greenfield wrote last week:
“Democrats have another problem that Orwell might have recognized; its ‘messaging’ is increasingly crafted by people who are too much like me: born and raised in the big city, product of an elite law school, a working life whose tools are words, ideas — not hammers and nails. To say that my friends, colleagues and I are distant from the life of ‘regular’ Americans is a significant understatement.
“Former Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has described the image of his party this way: ‘coastal, overly educated, elitist, judgmental, socialist — a bundle of identity groups and interests lacking any shared principles. The problem isn’t the candidates we nominate. It’s the perception of the party we belong to.’ ...
“[F]or decades, Democrats have seen these advantages on policy disappear when ‘cultural issues’ dominate. Some of these were and are unavoidable. ... But the danger to the left that Orwell described remains, as Democratic polling warns, ‘alarmingly potent.’ An electorate where many find the party ‘preachy’ and ‘judgmental’ will falter on this side of the Atlantic now, just as it did thousands of miles away and decades ago.”
(Hat tip to Daniel Flynn at The American Spectator who highlighted this story in his always excellent daily newsletter last week.)
Greenfield’s entire article is well worth a read if you have time. I don’t agree with the author that Democrats have necessarily had superior and more popular policy prescriptions over the years, but some of their politicians -- such as the bulbous nosed, lip biting Big Bubba Bill Clinton --have been awful proficient at selling containers of liberal dog droppings and had people believing the mixture really smelled like potpourri.
Greenfield’s -- and Orwell’s -- point about the average person’s reaction to socialism is spot on, however. While some Americans are drawn to the notion of big government umbrella social programs -- Yay! Free Healthcare! -- it’s largely because they remain uneducated as to better and less costly alternatives, which are usually found in some Republican’s issue agenda.
I’ve never understood, for instance, why a majority of Americans supposedly support Democrat healthcare policy X or Y when the simple solution is something like health savings accounts or selling policies across state lines, which would accomplish the same goals -- to ensure everyone -- but at a much lower cost. Even if government fully covered the basically uninsurable, it still would be cheaper than lumping everyone into one large pool like Democrats want to do. Medicare for All? Does anyone realize how much it would cost?
Nevertheless, Democrats persist in their fantasies. Freaks? Weirdos? Socialists?
In my experience, there are a number of different types of Democrats. Most, I would say, are unwilling or unable to have below the surface conversations about policy without experiencing some sort of emotional breakdown and freakout. Talking with Democrats is like watching the so-called “conservative” cast member of “The View” take on Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and the others without any backup support. It feels not unlike a lion tamer without a chair and a whip.
In no particular order, there are:
--Liberal True Believers. These are the Democrats who believe their own rhetoric and marinate in their self-righteousness. They think their policies actually help people and their activism and contributions to entities like Planned Parenthood demonstrates their commitment to assisting the downtrodden to rise out of their situations and at the same time extend a middle finger to the wealthy and powerful. These people quit school to join marches and “movements”. The problem is they’re usually just as wealthy, powerful and connected as the subjects they despise. Hypocrisy is a chronic disease for them.
Think “Beto” O’Rourke. Or Cory Booker. Or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
--Limousine liberals with a vendetta. These judgmental elitists delight in telling others what they should believe and how to behave and don’t pay any mind to the fact that they exist on islands of privilege well apart from “the other half.” They vote Democrat because the party supposedly helps poor people and the underrepresented -- or at least that’s what they were told by their liberal parents and/or professors. These snobby cultural lecturers get particularly angry when they see racial minorities, religious discrimination (other than against Christians, of course) and any attempt by “normals” to place limits on LGBTQ+ (whatever it is today) and transgenders’ “rights”. Oh, those awful conservatives! Gov. Ron DeSantis was said to be a “negligent, homicidal, sociopath” for lifting the mask mandate for Florida schools, remember? To this sick person, Republicans are akin to Adolph Hitler. Limousine liberals are particularly nasty and phony. And vindictive. Grudges are us!
Think Joy Behar and Nancy Pelosi and Chucky Schumer. Wouldn’t having dinner with them be fun?
--"I’ve always been a Democrat and that’s the way it’s going to be”. This group is populated by aged folks who grew up in working class families with parents who voted Democrat and believe today’s party politicians are just the same as FDR, Harry Truman and JFK. They’ve never changed their party affiliation and don’t seem to notice that Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley don’t share any of their beliefs. They love America but also think Black Lives Matter is the contemporary extension of the civil rights movement. The major part of their day is lying to themselves that Democrat policies actually help people. They truly believe in the party, but where do they get their facts?
Think Jimmy Carter. And Joe Biden.
--Genuine “I’m going to get my slice” grifters. I once rode a field trip bus with my kid’s school group and found myself seated next to a teacher who happened to be African-American. This gentleman was fascinated that I outwardly identified as a conservative, acting like he’d never met one before, a real “Republican”. We had a friendly conversation about politics, whereby he said he’d voted for Obama because, “He would make sure we get our slice of the federal pie.” The “we” was black Americans, I presumed. Pretty simple explanation, actually. It wasn’t about being the first of his kind in Obama’s case. It was about what Democrats could “get” for the people who voted for them. This category is probably larger than most people realize. Public employee unions fit in here as well.
Think “Peggy the Moocher”, Maxine Waters, James Clyburn, Sheila Jackson Lee, Cori Bush… basically the entire membership of the Congressional Black Caucus. A number of liberal RINO Republicans could also work in this slot.
--Socially liberal libertarians who distrust conservative institutions and Republicans. These folks harbor what we would consider some fiscal conservative views but would never consider voting GOP because they don’t trust the police (whom they see as conservatives), despise the military (who, again, they see as conservatives) and stereotypically think all Republicans are like George W. Bush. They profess not to believe in abortion but wouldn’t dream of taking it away from women. They’re more than okay with gay marriage as part of “Live and let live.” They believe government spends too much but wouldn’t cut social programs, lest it hurt some welfare dependent somewhere.
Think… no one at the congressional level comes to mind. A dying breed.
--Bitter leftist individuals who grew up in a conservative family and are taking out their animosity on conservative or Republican institutions. They rebel from church and are more likely to heavily sympathize with homosexuals and transgenders. To these people, traditional culture is oppressive and heavy-handed. They vote Democrat because Democrats always side with rebels and outcasts, no matter how strange or anti-establishment and atheist they may be. Some of them might’ve been wronged by a Republican spouse or family member and assume all conservatives are the same as the perpetrator. They’re shallow and uninformed -- sounds like a prime Democrat voter target!
-- People who cannot think for themselves and project the views of prominent Democrats (like Hillary Clinton). These people see Democrats as champions of a demographic group. Yay, she would be the first woman president! “I think it’s time we had a black woman Supreme Court Justice.” What about members of the animal kingdom? Don’t they deserve representation too?
--Seriously bat-crap crazy losers. I once had a self-identified socialist professor tell me: “I supported Jesse Jackson in the Democrat primaries because he would treat all people equally… I liked living in Berkeley (California) because they don’t mistreat their homeless.” How would you possibly answer this person?
Conservatives have a hard time understanding liberals, and the primary reason is because Democrats don’t make logical sense. Their motivations are completely different and are often individually and personally determined regardless of facts or evidence. Add it all up and you get a disjointed collection of policies that Democrats can’t sell.
The rest of us can’t wait until November.
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