Poor People Don’t Vote

Bernie is right, actually. Poor people don’t vote.

This is what makes me nuts about the whole “people voting against their economic interests” meme. Actually, no. As the New York Times explained last November in “Who Turned My Blue State Red?”, those people are not voting at all:

In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

Early in the campaign, Bernie Sanders talked about how he was all about bringing these “disillusioned and disengaged” voters back into the process. This was part of his “revolution” spiel. And then he did absolutely nothing to make that happen. Zero. Nada. He gave speeches about it but did nothing to make his vision happen. There was no organizing, there was no field game, there was nothing.

This simply reinforces my disparaging view of Bernie Sanders. It’s incredibly frustrating to see someone who clearly recognizes the problems but doesn’t seem interested in solving them. Complaining is not a solution.

His career has been one endless kvetch. He didn’t even think to tell his supporters to register to vote as Democrats in closed primary states? How lame is that?! Part of this may be due to the fact that he never thought he’d get this far, so back in the fall when those deadlines were looming he wasn’t focused on the actual mechanics of winning. But if you’re running for president, you’re running to win, or else you’re a fraud. If the only reason he was running in the first place was to have a bigger megaphone, then he just wasted everyone’s time. If all you want to do is kvetch louder and longer without following up with any tangible action then I have no use for you. All those thousands of eager kids at your rallies, did you have any organization to harness that energy? Get people registered to vote? Do some outreach to the disillusioned and disenfranchised? No. Bernie is supposed to be a man of the people, but it seems like his campaign has been all about the man, less about the people.

It is also far too simplistic to write off the country’s growing divide into merely Wall Street vs Main Street. As the New York Times piece illustrates, it’s more like Main Street vs trailer park or Main Street vs Skid Row. Any populist campaign that fails to speak to this issue is one focused too much on two-dimensional bogeymen, not reality.


Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, poverty

19 responses to “Poor People Don’t Vote

  1. Kathleen

    On a related note, the purity ponies who accuse Democrats of being “spineless” are wrong. In the 60’s, it took guts to be willing to write off their reliable Southern white voting bloc with the passage of Civil Rights legislation. And it took guts for them to support and pass the ACA. Those of us with memories remember those hateful town halls and opposition from anti abortion groups (my then Democratic congressman at the time received death threats from “Right to Life”) and the media tut tutting sympathetically about poor white angry people while doing its best not to actually inform people about its benefits. But the members of the Cult of St. Sanders are the real victims because they’re called “dudebros”.

  2. Jill Meyer

    I really can’t stand Bernie Sanders. I like some of his ideas, but you’re right, he’s done nothing to remedy the ills he’s railing against. Do something, Bernie. Inspire your followers and give them something to do with your rhetoric. Start a registration drive.

  3. It also bothers me that he’s still fundraising, when clearly there is no path to victory for him. He’s taking money from those who can least afford to send it. Wake up and smell the grift.

  4. “This is what makes me nuts about the whole “people voting against their economic interests” meme. Actually, no.”

    Actually, yes and no. No, poor people don’t vote. But yes, someone is voting these assholes into office and it’s not the rich 1%. There ain’t enough of them. There’s plenty of evidence of people voting against themselves right here in my little village of Maryville. I see them at the poles flipping the switches for whatever the republican asshole flavor of the moment happens to be.

    • Right, it’s the people just above the poors on the economic ladder, as that NYT piece explains. The people who are the teachers and nurses and whatnot. I’ve seen it myself with a lot of folks I know up in KY. They see the people just below them as leeches on the taxpayer. It’s an element of the “class war” that no one is really talking about because it’s been portrayed as the top 1% against everyone else but from what I’ve seen, it’s the poor dependent on benefits and the people just above them. How many of us actually know a 1% anyway? People like Trump are admired in this country, not despised. It’s, “someday that might be me.” But people on food stamps and needing unemployment are despised because, again, “someday that might be me.”

  5. Bitter Scribe

    I’ll never forget the WaPo article about the newly elected Republican governor of Kentucky. It quoted some fool who really depended on Obamacare but voted for the Republican “because he’s a businessman.” (He had a job in his family business, which makes bells or some other damn thing.) What a surprise, John Q. Fool was kicked off his health care plan. Too bad he didn’t get a brain transplant first.

  6. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    Actually, poor people do vote — not enough, but they do. Bernie may deny this, because the ones that vote Democraic share two things in common, they vote predominantly for Hillary and many of them are black. And, yes, I am suggesting that this is one of a series of comments that has disturbed me about the Sanders campaign and blacks. Thus the Hillary victories in the South shouldn’t matter much because the South is the most ‘conservative’ part of the country, followed by a celebration of Bernie wins in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Alaska — equally or more conservative but much less black. (And the poorer white Republicans are coming marching back to the polls — and passing Bernie by as they wave their red hats.)

    Sadly, that’s just one of the many problems I am seeing the closer I look, not just with the supporters, but with the candidate. And I am going to do something uncool and link to the first part of one of my semi-regular columns on JOBSANGER — part 2 should be out tonight after midnight. Given the length it took to say what I was trying to say (and Part 2 is twice as long) it is hard to compress it for here. There’s a lot to say, and more and more of it is becoming unfavorable.

    I’ll even praise his more rabid fans for forcing me to take a closer look at their candidate. (And among the lesser charges I make is that he has taken a large group of young people who should be the building blocks of tomorrow’s party, built up their expectations, and will crash their spirits so badly they may revolt from politics altogether, more for the ‘did not vote’ list.)

    I’d appreciate comments there and here, and sorry for breaking a rule, but didn’t know how else to say what I wanted to say.

    • Thus the Hillary victories in the South shouldn’t matter much because the South is the most ‘conservative’ part of the country…

      That bugs me, too. Like Oklahoma is a bastion of liberalism or something.

      • Prup (aka Jim Benton)

        Zandar had predicted this ‘throwing minorities under the bus’ strategy some time ago, The old familiar ‘well, where else do they have to go.” I’d denied it, but it does seem to be happening in the Sanders campaign.

  7. Perry Aubric

    You have been great at exposing these Bernie Brats and their false prophet. He has no clue about how he could possibly govern, how he could enact any one of his grandiose promises, or how he could deal with foreign policy since he is absolutely unqualified to be commander in chief for leader of the free world. Sanders has yet to offer a gracious concession speech, and instead we can expect excuses, whining and some sort of unfounded conspiracy theory talk Tuesday night when Hillary wins big in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He is a con man on par with Donald Trump.

    I have been pointing out for months that Berne Sanders, a blowhard egomaniac, is no and never has been a Democrat, has spent his career bashing the Democratic Party, doesn’t give a single damn about the Democratic Party or Democrats down ticket, refuses even now to commit to support Hillary when she is nominated or to campaign for down ticket Democrats. The Bernie Brats get on blogs (where, evidently, they actually believe elections are won or lost), repeat FoxNews/Rush Limbaugh lies about Hillary Clinton, and demonstrate what clueless nitwits they are when they claim they will never vote for Hillary because “she’s just the same as a Republican.” (The Supreme Court alone tells you different, you petulant entitled little shits. Want to overturn Citizens United or guarantee that gay marriage endures? You know, what you claim you want to do? Well, elect a Democrat to the White House and replace Scalia. Just that simple.)

    Unlike others, I refuse to beg these infantile cultists to vote Democratic or try to reason with them. You cannot reason with unreasonable people; it’s like bargaining with a drunk. For every BernBot who sits out the November election pouting, two or three Republicans will be sitting out the election or voting for Hillary Clinton because they just cannot stomach Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. She wins either way, and she can tell this bunch to stick it. And I hope she does.

    • Bob Fischer

      The reason there is no concession speech is that the primaries are not over and it looks as if neither candidate will take the necessary delegates to the convention to win. When one competes, one realizes that running out the clock, while certainly a valid strategy, lends itself to upset. If Ms. Clinton decides it’s in her best interest to tell all Sanders supporters to stick it, I suppose we’ll just have to find a way to deal with the heartbreak and move on.

      • Bob, poor dear Bob. Bernie is finished. There is no mathematical way he can win enough delegates. Hillary has over 200 more pledged delegates than Bernie and that’s not even including superdelegates, where she has a commanding lead.

  8. Bob Fischer

    Technically, the super delegates are uncommitted. They can vote for whomever they please. Hillary will not go to the convention with enough pledged delegates to win with them alone. Whether or not a first ballot victory based on super delegates would be political suicide for the super delegates would be dependent on what kind of candidate and/or president Hillary turned out to be. What this means is that the party platform comes into play. While I certainly don’t speak for all Sanders supporters, I can honestly say if Hillary adjusts her position on certain issues, Citizens United, a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, the reinstitution of Glass-Steagall, banking and pension reform in general, an increase in the social security tax based on raising the cap, and a public education policy that extended through college or post-secondary training come to mind off of the top of my head, I would support Hillary whole-heartedly in the general. And if indeed she adjusted her position and told us Sanders supporters to stick it enough of us would politely keep our mouthes shut so she could campaign to the rest of America and get her points across without the obstruction of the intellectual left.

    I don’t know what to tell you about rabble-rousers. Every candidate has them.Whether or not Sander’s become an asset or liability is likely based on how Clinton or Sanders handles him/her self in between now and the nomination.

    And the math, though unlikely barring a major unforeseen circumstance, is still open for a Sanders nomination. This is a policy based campaign and ultimately its success or failure will be determined by the platform presented to the voters and the institution of that platform by the next president. As long as the individual elected puts forth a good faith effort to institute a good platform, the actual person winning is of secondary concern.

    The future and politics is a funny thing. I can’t help but remember that a sandstorm cost Carter the election in 80 to a candidate who didn’t have the capacity to unseat an unelected president from the most scandal ridden presidential term just four years earlier. Elections are funny things and one never knows what the future will hold.

    • Bernie is a superdelegate. LOL. They don’t appear to be switching their allegiance to Bernie and the idea that superdelegates supporting Hillary would be committing political suicide is hilarious.

  9. We’ll know for sure after today, won’t we?

    I’d like to see more voter registration and getting-documentation-for-voter-ID drives, actually.

  10. Democommie

    On a totes unrelated note, is it true that The Dongald will be publishing his memoirs, “The RED Badge of Fauxtrage” after the elections?

  11. Democommie

    I gotta wonder if the sTRUMPet stole the “UUUUUUUUUUUUge” thing from this guy: