Do you think it is just fine for the American government to represent only 38% of Americans,? Do you think the minority rules? That is a recent polling number for Trump supporters. If you are one of the 38% you probably figure that this is perfectly fair and your reaction is “na-na-na-na-nah-nah”, because Trump supporters like to show plenty of attitude. *
But if you are in the other 62%, the part of America that sees every little victory falling to the minority, (the Conservative Way), then it looks like there has been a coup and we have been shut out of our own government. If Congress is controlled by Republicans, which it is, and if they vote with Trump 90% or all of the time which they do, that leaves 62% of Americans without representation. Legislating used to be a matter of hashing out policy that would offer something for both Republicans and Democrats. Now even when Democrats are invited to participate in drafting a bill, as the President likes to say that he wants them to do, he changes his mind when an end product actually materializes. (The Lucy and the football syndrome.)
I have a local representative, John Katko, who did win his election and probably will again. But John Katko feels no need to represent the 62% of American voters who see governing a different way than he does. He, and most modern people who are elected to represent us, does not consult all of his constituents, only those who agree with him. He feels that he knows what is best for America and for his local voters. He doesn’t listen to the 62% unless he sees that they feel so strongly about something (like the food stamp cuts in the Farm Bill) that he could hurt his chances to be reelected in 2018. But with all that Republican donor money behind him he has deep, deep pockets and may be able to buy his seat back anyway. Republicans also have excellent skills for confusing voters when elections are near.
My Senators are both Democrats but many Americans have been taught to hate Democrats by Fox News and the Tea Party and the far right wing which now controls the party. Even Democrats find it hard to find anything good to say about Democrats it seems. This means that my two Senators who have served well are offered no respect except by the resistance, which is not enfranchised in Washington. Democrats are relatively powerless at the moment. But if you do not want to be a serf, or live in a police state or see an America with no heart abandon the poor, the sick, and the old then you should give your vote to Democrats, because the Republicans have become a cold-hearted sink-or-swim Party. They are busy lining their own pockets and getting reelected, over and over again.
Republicans will say that they won and that elections have consequences, but they did not win fair and square. They cheated. If you think the Democrats ripped off Bernie, that is nothing compared to the way Conservatives (Republicans) have ripped off America. (See my last article: https://www.thearmchairobserver.com/republicans-broke-voting-and-trump-helped/
Republicans will tell you that rural Americans are getting a bad deal. (From here it looks like Trump has been far worse to rural Americans; has asked them to bear the brunt of his “trade wars”.)
This message that urban voters are cheating rural voters is bogus. We vote person by person (or we did before money got to vote). If metropolitan areas have far more people they get more votes. We don’t vote by land mass. When you see how the liberal vote hugs the coastlines it looks so uneven. But when you look at where most people live it makes sense that metro areas have lots of influence on American governance. Or they did. The Republicans want to turn this calculus around. They are fighting for rural Americans they say – (except they are not).
Republicans always fall back on an old and tired “State’s Rights” argument. They have convinced rural states that decentralized power will be good for them but in order to make the federal government smaller they must forgo things their constituents need like the Medicaid Expansion. They must stand tough while tariffs on soy beans and other farm products make them “temporarily” poor. They must accept subsidies (hush money) from the very federal government from which they cannot accept health care money.
If rural people have been exploited by anyone it is the Conservative/ Republican Party and their propagandist media, Talk Radio and Fox News (which is not news). For decades Conservative talkers have given rural dwellers opportunities to learn about the supposed unfairness of the federal government and then to vent their anger at the mostly false favoritism of the federal government for urban areas. They have operated like bad shrinks who heard all the local gossip and then used it to come up with political strategies that would keep them in office while offering their peeps few actual remedies for the unique difficulties that accompany life in rural places (which are supposedly offset by other satisfactions). They have pitted rural voters against urban and suburban voters.
Voting is not a pity party. Voters choose (when they have not been brainwashed) representatives that will look after their needs and interests in Washington. We don’t usually tell New York City voters to consider rural folks when they vote. They have their own issues. If rural poverty was real and not exaggerated by state government policies, and if urban voters knew rural dwellers were suffering terribly, human compassion would nudge them to keep rural voters in mind. But what we hear from “flyover” country is lots of anger and mumbling about changes in our culture that even urban dwellers have no control over. Has it become necessary to subsidize life in small town America? Will we have to pay extra to people who like to live in rural spaces? How would we do that if they do not even want to have their health care paid for?
Let’s see if government rights itself in 2018, if the 62% once again have voices in Congress, and not only in the streets and the media. Will freedom of speech go away because our President feels journalists are “enemies of the people” or will the 62% be enfranchised once again? If it were up to me what I would do is make the Republican Party take a time out – a long time out.
- Disclaimer – I know that polling changes all the time. I am using 38% and 62% but these number could vary in size and with time. I also know that not everyone in the 62% is a Democrat, but I assume that if they are not their interests are not being served by this administration either.
Maps from Google Image Search – Brilliant Maps, The Economist