How the GOP Tricks the Poor into Voting for A Party that Cares Nothing for Them

In 1953, Russell Kirk wrote the Conservative Mind a basis for today’s Republican Party. Kirk was later a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think tank still influential today. One of the basic tenets he advocated is “a respect for the political value of prudence”. It means basically giving as little away as possible (to the poor and needy).

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Charles Dickens

From the French Revolution to the Tea Party, conservatism has been a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace. We’re talking about unions, funding for children and the poor and social security as the reason for the economic downturn. This is the message the GOP is pushing. They’re not blaming the banksters and Wall Street Hedge Fund gurus who made out with trillions! They blame the working poor. How do they get away with this garbage?

Let’s go back to 1843 to Dickensian England. A society where the landed gentry controlled a small middle class and a veritable majority of indentured servants. There was a maximum wage you could pay people, to prevent them from rising. People had no voice so they were stuck as veritable indentured servants of corporations. Sound familiar? Mitt Romney is against raising the minimum wage. His “I’m not concerned about the very poor, the social safety net will take care of them” comment was pretty harsh. Yes, we’ve finally gotten rid of Gingrich in the race. The guy who wanted kids to become janitors subsequently getting rid of child labor laws. All of these clowns seem to think the Ryan Budget, a budget heralded by Catholic bishops as “immoral”, will solve the problem. The budget will drastically cut programs to the poor while giving obscene tax cuts to the very wealthy and giant corporations. Of course the Ryan Budge will add $3.27 TRILLION to the deficit! Even Forbes Magazine touts the Ryan Budget A Mistake of Epic Proportions. These deficit hawks are sure not reading this budget they support.

But how have they convinced the poor to vote this way? Since World War II, and especially since the cultural wars of the 1960s, social “wedge” issues related to race and religion now play a more important role in voting habits than practical economic concerns. Take a look at Justice Roy Moore, the 10 Commandments Judge who helps demonize anyone who doesn’t believe in these Christian “Laws” and trounces on the principle of religious freedom.

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They’ve convinced the people that everything is going to be good in America. All our problems are going to be solved. There will be no more illegitimacy, no more divorce, everything’s going to be fine if you follow our religious model. Partly because preachers tell them that the Democratic Party is a godless party. It’s also because the Democratic Party is made up of a large number of African-Americans, and working class whites just shouldn’t vote that way.
But it’s a religious comparison of convenience, not one that makes sense. Take a look below at this satirical portrayal of Obama vs Romney. How is it these evangelicals will line up, albeit reluctantly, behind Romney now? Simple. President Obama’s the black guy, the bad guy of the South, the enemy of everything the Confederacy stands for.
As preposterous as this may seem, is it so far fetched? I don’t believe it is. The Religious Right will cast all aspersions aside, hold their noses vote and for Romney just to get rid of that foreigner in the White House

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5 thoughts on “How the GOP Tricks the Poor into Voting for A Party that Cares Nothing for Them

  1. Well you are very correct on your view here. What is really sad is the lengths the RWNJ Brigade has been willing to do to stop Barack Obama from being a second term President. From the pathetic assault on his citizenship, which still has not ended, to deporting immigrants, to making voter registration a nightmare for people. What is really sad here is the huge amounts of people who voted for the President and who sat on the sidelines in November of 2010. This of course just allowed the GOP/Tea Party to not only gain control of the house, but it also gave them majorities in the individual states. All we have to look at is the mess that got created in Wisconsin. If you look at the amount of effort that has been done on the recall effort and pain on the people of Wisconsin by Scott Walker, it is pure proof how important each vote is. Just how much easier would it have been for those folks to show up at the voting booth to prevent Walker from getting the job in the first place versus all the demonstrations and huge efforts trying to undo such a bad decision? 10 minutes versus untold months of recall effort.

    Yes we can always assume that the South will be Republican, especially now, due to racism and this brain washing by religion. The only people who should technically vote for Republicans are the rich and slow dimwits in the South. No offense to the smart people in the South who know better.

    In the earlier episodes of this season of Survivor there was this young openly gay man named Colton and at one point on camera he said this … “I’m a Republican and I don’t believe in handouts…” Considering how badly the GOP treats gay Americans, I was appalled by this ignorant statement. This man throws his support behind a group who cannot stomach him, and if that is not the epitome of stupidity, I don’t know what is.

    • My husband made a analogy that is sad but true. The GOP has been masterful in creating a divide between Black and White poor and Workingclass Americans. They have convinced White Americans that “your just like me” its those Blacks/latinos/Hispanics/Gays/Lesbians/Women who are the problem. Just vote for me and I’ll release enough of my wealth into the economy and one day it will flow over to you. When the reality is the poor/workingclass have much more in common with each other. They have kept us so busy in this mock power struggle with each other we fail to notice how they have set the laws/regulations to favor the rich and have increased their weath throwing many of us into poverty. In 2008 we broke through those barriers and united to elect a president who cares more about people than making a buck. So they committed what I believe to be treason and fought everything this president has tried to do for us and now again our using the same old playbook to try and divide us. People please research the internet on Mitt Romney, knowledge and truth are power. The same austerity Mitt plans for you is what they did in Greece and France and look at the results. One man said they voted out the austerity of the conservatives because they were tired of living like beggars in the streets. The GOP is telling us that we must suffer the pain of austerity to balance the national budget, but I ask you do you see any of the Republicans suffering in the name of this same austerity? France has elected a man who committs to taxing their rich at 75% and President Obama only asked the rich here for 5% and the GOP is telling you they would rather throw more Americans into poverty than to pay their fair share.think about what we have been through and where we are going America. You can go back to what didnt work or move forward into the practical.

  2. As DH Fabian, an Alternet regular posted, which I agree with:

    “Historically, one of the most successful political strategies has been that of “divide and conquer,” and this certainly worked well in the “war against women.” We were deeply split apart on the issue of class. The majority of our poor are women. The hardest-working people (whether formally employed or not) are the poor. Yet this generation drank the “anti-poor-women” poison. Women (such as Hillary Clinton) led the way in taking an ax to the proverbial ladder out of poverty, especially for mothers who “failed to keep their men” (single mothers). This generation scapegoated those women who didn’t (unlike their partners) run away from their responsibilities for their own children, in spite of conditions that have become incredibly harsh. We don’t even mention anyone worse off than “working poor,” and there has been no public discussion of the loss of fundamental human rights by women below a certain economic line. That chunk of the population – women in poverty – was simply written out of the public discussion. Divide and conquer.”

  3. I agree with much of the article. But it left something out, that ugly elephant in the room that no one wants to look at: The callous discarding of “poor white trash” (my social class) living in abject poverty by conservatives and liberals alike. One of the most effective anti-poverty programs (besides Title X funding for birth control) was CETA, which provided subsidized employment training and job placement for the poor and socially underprivileged of ALL races, ages and genders.

    CETA fell to the axe of Reaganomics before any other social program for the poor was eliminated, and this was carried out with a fully complicit Democrat-controlled Congress. Progressives were silent while conservatives played the race-baiting game of spoon-feeding toxic pablum to poor whites by telling them/us that our poverty and disenfranchisement by “limousine liberals” was because of the “reverse discrimination” of affirmative action. Liberals should have called those liars out loud and clear — PUBLICLY — and told them that it was their elimination of CETA followed by the fast-tracking of NAFTA that left poor whites marginalized — NOT poor blacks in the same boat as us. But in order to tell that inconvenient truth, progressives would have to shed their fear of being slapped with the Commie label.

    The upper-middle class in general never gave a shit about the poorest of the poor — my social class, who has been ill-fed, ill-housed, ill-clothed, and under-educated for two generations (85% whom are women and children) — until their own comforts and privileges fell under the fire of capitalism’s Hotchkiss guns within the past couple of years. It was affluent women and men alike who decided that the basic human rights over one’s own body was a social class privilege that only SOME women “deserve” but not others.

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