Weâ€™ve been having an interesting discussion within and beyond my ZNet blog (which you can access off this page) about how and why many lower-middle and working-class Americans now vote for the Republican Party, which happens to be more militantly opposed to the pocketbook interests of non-affluent people than the Democratic Party, even if the latter partyâ€™s commitment to a populist economic agenda is frayed and swamped by its own longstanding corporate takeover.
Before you start blaming the next blue-collar worker or waitress you see for the next monumental crime of heightened inequality and empire committed by Bush and his fellow Radical [-ly Regressive] Republicans, however, please review the following exit-poll breakdown of the 2004 presidential vote by annual family income:
Under15K: 63% Dem and 36% Rep
15-29,999K: 57%Dem and 42% Rep
30-49,999K: 50%Dem and 49%Rep
50-74,999K: 43% Dem and 56%Rep
75-999K: 45% Dem and 55% Rep
50K and up: 43% Dem and 56% Rep
100K and up: 41% Dem and 58% Rep
200K and up: 35% Dem and 63% Rep
Source: â€œHow Americans Voted: A Political Portrait,â€
New York Times (November 7, 2004, section 4, p.4)
Those who said their familyâ€™s financial situation was worse today than 4 years ago went 79 percent Dem and those who said it was better went 80 percent Bushcon.
Ok, who experienced financial improvement despite the Clinton-Bush recession and subsequent jobless recovery? Look to those at the filthy rich top of the nationâ€™s savagely unequal economic hierarchy: theyâ€™ve been grooving with special glee on boy-Georgeâ€™s â€œmiddle-classâ€ tax cuts even as the number of black children living at LESS THAN HALF of the nationâ€™s notoriously inadequate â€œpoverty levelâ€ rose from less than 700,000 (bad enough at the peak of the Clinton boom) to more than a million by early 2003.
So the poorer you are the more likely you are to have voted Democrat and the richer you are the more likely you are to have voted Republican. At the bottom (15 K and less) itâ€™s two-thirds Democrat and at the top (200 K and up) its two-thirds Republican. Insofar as the two parties can still be relatively identified with different economic agendas, with the Republicans being clearly plutocratic (beneath all their pseudo-populist â€œmiddle classâ€ rhetoric) and the Democrats still relatively more social-democratic (I know, itâ€™s far short of what we think would be even remotely adequate), people are still â€œvoting their pocketbook interestsâ€ to a certain degree.
Keeping in mind that the wannabe Republicans in the high corporatist councils of Democratic mis-”leadership” have themselves actively lost/abandoned much of the working-class votes (giving 49 percent of the 30-49 K crowd to the Republicans to no small extent), please continue to direct the majority of your resentment over Bushcon excess at those who deserve it the most: the Rich Bastards.
Contemplate that the outcome might have been different had the big Kerrymods (who were mainly Really Rich Bastards themselves, including Kerry himself, thanks to an upwardly mobile ketchup marriage he managed to cook up) been willing to really mobilize the people most victimized by Radical Republican policy and thereby challenge the shockingly low voter turnout rates at the bottom of the steep American socioecononmic pyramid.
And please remember that really really rich white folks who live obscenely sumptous lives of luxury and global indulgence tend to rig the â€œdemocracyâ€ game in countless powerful ways that include but go far beyond the nationâ€™s stunningly plutocratic campaign finance system. Media ownership and control is pivotal I think.
Here are some other divisions to keep in mind in assessing the apparently somewhat imperfectly counted (Iâ€™m so surprised) outcomes of an admittedly limited-spectrum electoral extravaganza:
Whites: 58 percent Rep, up 4 points from 2000
Blacks: 88 percent, I said 88% Dem, though down (interestingly given the profound threat to black civil rights posed by a second Bush administration) 2 points from 2000
Latinos: 56 percent Dem, though down significantly from 67 percent Dem in 2000 and 72 percent Dem in 1996 (interesting, yes?)
18-29: 54 percent Dem….the only age group that did not vote majority Rep, earning youth a â€œYou Rockedâ€ from Michael Moore.
Men: 55% Rep
Women: 51% Dem (I know women are smarter than men but I thought they were more smarter than that)
Married: 57% Rep
Unmarried: 58% Dem (interesting gap)
Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual: 77 Dem….(does the gay community get a â€œYou Really Rockedâ€ from Mike?)
Size of Locale
Cities over 500,000: 60% Dem
Suburbs: 52% Rep (interesting….I thought that would have been higher)
Rural: 59% Rep (no comment)
Protestant: 59% Rep
White Protestant: 67% Rep (wow…see its not just evangelism…itâ€™s white evangelism; the black community is full of evangelical mainline and storefront churches whose members believe and vote
Catholics: 52% Rep (not so bad, even with the abortion issue)
Jews: 74 percent Dem….(Mike…they need a â€œYou Rocked”)
Attended Church at Least Once a Week: 61% Rep
Edge-oo-caysh-un (Dubyaâ€™s pronounciation) Not a high school graduate: 50% Dem College graduate: 52 % Rep
Oh, by the way: the millions of Americans who are disenfrachised because of a felony record (a group that is very disproportionately black and poor) vote Dem about 7 to 1. They would have made the difference by far in the 2000 election and they might very well have been critical in 2004 (those numbers are still being crunched I believe).
Itâ€™s a great country and we have rich white Protestants to thank for it all more than any other cohort as far as I can tell.
His just released book Empire and Inequality: