One thing too many “political junkies” don’t seem to have in their repertoire is perspective. They think, because they have all the time in the world to obsess over politics and read, watch and listen to everything that tickles their “political” sensibilities, every voter has the same luxury. They immerse themselves in the opinions of people who think like they do, and they show scorn to those people who don’t “know” things they claim to “know.” (Note the quotes; most political junkies don’t know as much as they think they do.) They cannot even begin to understandhat the vast majority of voters – especially those they claim to care about most, like the poor and minorities – have neither the time nor the inclination to follow the news and the politics as closely as the “political junkie. They can’t even conceive of the notion that most average voters may ask about the candidates running perhaps a week or two before the primary they’re expected to vote in, and they may engage with a general election a few weeks before. All the rest of the time, while the political junkie is engrossed in opinions of “journalists” who don’t know much more than they do, but who know exactly how to attract attention, the non-junkie voters are working and paying bills and living life.
This is important.
Most voters also don’t care about your favorite catch-phrases, political junkies. They hear phrases like “income inequality,” “Wall Street” and the “Koch Brothers,” and it makes them yawn. However, the reason they even care about most “issues” the way you do is a good one; they are LIVING most of it. In other words, while the “political junkies” are immersing themselves in the “news” and absorbing so many opinions that match their own, a large number of voters are actually living this shit and they know more than you. Another thing; they’re smarter than most “political junkies.” Yet, most “”political junkies” are dazzzled by their own brilliance, to the point that it’s embarrassing. Whereas the (mostly white) “junkies” believe government is the solution to everything under the sun, they also act like the government can never get anything right, unless it’s filled by people exactly like them.
And they can’t accept that such a thing will never happen.
That shouldn’t be surprising; “political junkies” don’t know shit about many things. The problem is, they tend to be very loud and very strident, and they make the rest of us white liberals look bad. They use phrases like “low information voter,” even though they seem to be projecting. Most voters understand the importance of climate change, but they expect the government to do something about it and they have no desire to run around like Chicken Little, shouting, “The sky is falling.” In what way does that make them “low information”? Because they don’t panic constantly and think the best way to fight climate change is to panic and scare the shit out of people? If you think about it, the com approach is rational; running around like Chicken Little does absolutely nothing about climate change.
The average voter’s view of the electoral process is pedestrian; they don’t go onto Google and research every candidate’s view on the issues; they listen through the grapevine and they get their impressions of the candidates from what they hear. And no, that does not mean “the media.” It means they listen to people they come in contact with and they listen to the enthusiasm about candidates and parties. And like most rational people, they won’t listen to anyone shouting to or at them.
Again, most people are inclined to vote for Democrats, and the reason is obvious. Democrats are serious and Republicans are running a clown show. That said, although Democrats are the only party that isn’t batshit crazy, and isn’t trying to tear apart the social fabric of the country, who do you expect them to vote for when they think Republicans are nuts, but the rhetoric from is constantly reiterating that Democrats and Republicans are largely the same, or that Democrats are just as corrupt and incompetent?
It would be one thing if such rhetoric was true, but it’s not even close. In fact, such rhetoric reached Trump level bullshit. At this point in history, there are absolutely no similarities between the two major parties right now.
And when I say none, I mean none. You can whine and cry about Blue Dogs all you want (by the way, that’s another meaningless identifier thrown out there by “political junkies;” most voters just hear “Democrat”), but the fact of the matter is, at its peak, the Blue Dog Caucus never worked in unison to prevent any Democratic legislation from getting to the floor of the House, which is what the “Freedom Caucus” is doing right now. In fact, with the Blue Dog caucus at its peak, in 2009-2010, House Democrats were able to pass 375 bills that were defeated by a Republican minority in the Senate. They also passed the Affordable Care Act. Ironically (?), their staunchest opposition was white liberal “political junkies.”
During Barack Obama’s first two years as president, these white liberal “political junkies” inexplicably trashed Democrats and Obama for two solid years. And FYI, of the 40 current members of the Freedom Caucus, 35 got there by defeating Blue Dogs. In 2010 and 2014, every single defeated member of the Blue Dog caucus was replaced by a teabagger. So, whenever I hear or read “Progressives” brag about defeating Blue Dogs, I wonder how progressive they really are. Every member of the Blue Dog Caucus voted with Democrats 80% of the time, save one, and he voted with them two-thirds of the time. Voting in teabaggers is not an improvement, it really isn’t. Hell, just TODAY, I listened to a “political junkie” trash Joe Manchin, in a year when Democrats absolutely must take the House and the Senate, where the margin for error is very narrow, since only eight Republican seats are available. Their complaint about Manchin? “He votes with Republicans 33% of the time.”
How stupid is that? The answer is VERY. Here is a guy whose seat we really need to keep, if Democrats are to take back the Senate, and he’s in one of the reddest states in the country. He’s up for reelection, and his best chance to win would be to be a Trump lover; yet, he OPPOSES Republicans two-thirds of the time and he hasn’t changed parties, which would have guaranteed reelection.
The truth of the matter is, “political junkies,” Manchin shows more principles than any of you. If he loses, that makes it more difficult to take the Senate back for Democrats. That means a hell of a lot more than making some sort of idiotic point about 33% of votes with the GOP. A majority means progressives will head every Senate Committee and we can force Lord Donny to veto shitloads of bills and/or reveal that he’s not really a Republican, which will doom him in the long run. And besides, if Manchin is replaced, the teabagger who will replace him will likely vote with the GOP 100% of the time. Of course, the GOP won’t be the majority, so fewer GOP bills will even come to the floor. Nothing about working against Joe Manchin is in any way “progressive.”
The current incarnation of the GOP is the craziest and most dangerous political organization in the history of this nation. They keep engineering the near-destruction of our economy, they block any and all attempts to create jobs and bring the economy all the way back. Worse, it’s practically “rinse and repeat” every time they get a majority. They want to kill everything that costs money and they don’t think deficits are a big deal. They are destructive. Their “defense” posture seems to be to bomb anyone who looks at us funny or who says bad things about us. They want us to have the biggest baddest weapons available, and when I say “us,” I don’t just mean the military. They do nothing about guns out of fealty to the NRA, even though even most gun owners know gun laws have to be stricter.
The current incarnation of the Republican Party is crazy, and they need to be stopped. But we can’t stop them if we don’t increase voter turnout in every election. Hear that, “political junkies”? Republicans win because of you because you and your “superior political skills” keep making Democrats seem just as stupid and pointless as Republicans. Democrats lose because these “political junkies” keep pushing a false equivalence between the two parties. Going against Democrats now is nothing short of madness. Common sense says we should be putting the best politicians available into office everywhere. The key word is “available,” and there is no Republican right now who is the “best available.” Stop equivocating and use the sense you’re supposed to have. Right now, it’s all hands on deck; even the worst “political junkies” have to be pro-Democrat for a while. I know it sucks for many of you, but it’s the only way to save this country.
There is a side benefit; the only way the GOP will become less batshit is if they keep losing. If they lose for a while, the rational Republicans who are left will wrest control of the party from the crazy “base” and a lot of conservative Democrats will go back to their natural party. That will move Democrats left, which is what white liberal “political junkies” claim they want. The question is, do they have the principle to actually see it happen?
Also published on Medium.