Why the GOP can walk all over its voters–and get away with it

The GOP finally got their bill to repeal and replace the ACA out the house. It’ll now go to the senate, where it’s pretty much doomed. If it doesn’t collapse altogether, it’ll be sent back as a much different bill. Regardless, pundits and experts are predicting that the AHCA has shown the republican hand, namely that they care more about tax cuts for the rich and not at all about your health.

That’s certainly true.

The bill sees hundreds of millions of dollars cut from medicaid and a corresponding tax break for the wealthy. It also allows insurers to drop you if you become ill or have a pre-existing condition. It’ll raise premiums for the elderly. It’s just an awful, awful bill. Which is why pundits are predicting a major backlash against the party come 2018.

I don’t think we’re going to see that.

Ultimately, a few red districts in blue states may flip, but it won’t be enough to shift the balance of power. Because I don’t think that this will perturb republican voters. History has shown, time after time, that they’ll vote against their own self-interest and I don’t think that this moment in history is an exception. Many of the deep red states have had republican governors, legislatures, and courts for 30+ years. And yet things keep getting worse for those states. If republican voters were ever going to finally wake up to the fact that they’re voting against their own interests, it would have happened by now. In fact, it’s probably never going to happen.

Here, take a look at this:

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Every single one of those states is solid red, and every single one voted for Trump. And every single one of those voters with a pre-existing condition will see their insurance either disappear or skyrocket in price. But I’m willing to wager that come 2018 they’ll still vote for the very same congressman who voted to strip them of healthcare. Why? Because many republicans are single issue voters. And what is that issue, you ask?

Abortion.

As long the GOP continues to be the party that opposes abortion and wants to overturn Row v. Wade they can pretty much do whatever they want to voters and still get re-elected.

59% of republican voters think abortion should always be illegal. Even among moderate or ‘liberal’ republicans, 41% think it should always be illegal. And that number has shifted up from where it stood in 1995; 20 years go, republicans were split almost evenly, 49%/48%. In the last two decades, republican voters have only become more conservative on this issue. In 2015, 21 percent of Americans said they would only vote for a candidate who shared their abortion views, up from 13 percent in 2008.

Particularly ironic, given that the AHCA isn’t friendly to pregnant women or babies and children. But I digress.

Economically, many conservatives align with progressive values. 52% of republicans with family incomes <$30,000 say the government has a responsibility to provide healthcare coverage for everyone, up from 31% just last year. And in a recent Gallup poll, 45% of republicans said they think the wealthy don’t pay their fair share in taxes. They hate those free trade deals that sent their jobs overseas–something Bernie Sanders talked about extensively during the election.  In other words, conservative voters know that they’re getting screwed over economically. As time goes on, they seem to be getting more progressive economically.

And yet…when it’s time to step into that voting booth, they always pull the red lever. And what does it get them? Healthcare? Gone. Overtime pay? Gone.  Clean water and air? Gone, too. Taxes? More income redistributed from the middle and lower classes to the donor class.

But hey, abortion, right?

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Vote your conscience, you idiots

So tomorrow marks the day that all the electors in the electoral college get together to formally elect the president of the United States. Lots of people are hoping that these electors will see Donald Trump as unfit for office and vote someone–anyone–else into office instead. Which they could technically do, because they’re not constitutionally bound to vote for whoever won their respective states. Unless of course you ask the electors themselves.

With only a handful of exceptions, most of the republican electors plan to vote for Donald Trump, even if they think he is unfit to be president. Why? Well, just ask this idiot from Texas: “Each of us signed a pledge that, as electors, we will support the nominee when called to Austin on December 19.” You hear that a lot when they interview these electors. “Well, you know, I just have to serve the will of the people.”
NO YOU DON’T YOU FUCKING TWAT. That’s the entire point of having an electoral college. So that when people DO elect someone who isn’t fit for office, you can nullify the whole damn thing.

Which makes the whole entire process pretty useless huh? If that’s your view, then why even have an electoral college at all? Why not stick with the popular vote if all you’re ever going to do is reaffirm “the will of the people”?

Not that that would be a bad thing. If we went by the popular vote, Clinton would be taking office right now and we’d all be fondly remembering president Al Gore. But that’s a subject for another blog.

Right now I’d like to focus on the electors and the fact that they apparently aren’t even aware of their own role in the damn process. Which begs the question: how the hell do people become electors in the first place?

They campaign for it. Then there’s a vote by the state party. That’s it. So any dumbass can become a member of the electoral college simply by showing up to meetings and throwing their name into a hat.

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No special qualifications–just pure, unadulterated party loyalty! Which seems to be why the whole goddamn system is fucked up the first place–people voting party over substance and policy. So sure, I guess it only makes sense that the electoral college isn’t immune to the bullshit that permeates every aspect of our society.

If we are going to have an electoral college as a kind of check or balance against populist idiots like Trump assuming the mantle of the presidency, then you’d think that there would be at least SOME qualification for choosing the president other than your ability to fill out paperwork and show the fuck up to the vote.

Like…a civics class! Or some demonstration of critical thinking. Or at LEAST an understanding of policy. Hell, far be it from me to defend the system that gave us Bush v2.0 and now Trump, but the whole point of the electoral college was to ensure that we didn’t have direct democracy, because the framers of the constitution thought that the masses were stupid enough to elect an idiot to office. Which apparently they are. But the very system that was designed to protect us from that eventuality wound up being populated by the very idiots that the founders didn’t want directly choosing the president.

I fully expect the electors to honor their pledges. Which pains me to write. It pains me that the very people who toss out sentences like, “I have to vote for the will of the people,” are going to elect the man who didn’t win the most vote–in essence, who WASN’T the choice of the people.

Maybe it’s because America is full of idiots. Or maybe it’s because we let the idiots run the place.

Mid-terms, incumbents, and congress–oh my!

Another election cycle. Time for more ads to flood the airwaves, radio, and billboards. And for what? Does anything in this country ever really change? Not really, no. We tend to get the same shitty results no matter which party is in control of the government. You literally could blindly pick between republican and democratic candidates and you’d end up with the same lame results. Why? Because special interest groups run the two main political parties in this country.

And that’s why I don’t care anymore. People say that not voting is a waste of a vote. I would counter by saying that voting for someone who isn’t going to represent your best interests is also a waste of a vote. Either way your vote doesn’t matter. For a smattering of reasons. The aforementioned purchase of members of congress is a big one. But voters are also stupid. Consider this.

Congress has an approval rating of just 15% as of July 2014. That same poll reveals that 22% of Americans believe the best way to fix this problem is to vote everyone out of congress. But that won’t happen. Because people are stupid. How else can you explain the fact that despite congressional disapproval, 90% of incumbents won re-election last cycle? It seems pretty clear that most Americans hate institutions, but aren’t willing to hold individual members of those institutions accountable for their less-than-stellar results. Because…I don’t know why. Maybe because most Americans don’t know enough about civics and how the government actually functions (or is supposed to function). Maybe it’s because only 35% of Americans can even name their member of congress.

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Which ultimately reminds me of something George Carlin once said. I won’t quote the entire bit, but it essentially amounts to this: if you have stupid, ignorant citizens, then you’re going to have stupid, ignorant leaders. Shocking, I know. Sometimes I stop and think, “Well, I guess this is the best America can do.” We’re a culture obsessed with money and material goods. We value celebrity over intellect. We sit on our asses and watch TV while shoveling Cheetos into our faces until we get heart disease and diabetes. We run up crazy credit card debt. We hate scientists and de-fund and gut education programs. Is it any wonder that our elected officials are incompetent morons?

There’s still some part of me that thinks that voting can make a difference, though. We just have to stop electing cookie-cutter morons. Stop electing people whose campaigns are bought and paid for by super PACS and special interests. From now on in every election I think I’m just going to vote for whoever the third party candidate is. They certainly haven’t been bought and paid for. To me, if a super PAC or special interest group isn’t interested in backing someone, it probably means that this person was overlooked because they’re actually a bright, conscionable person who would represent the interests of the people–not the interests of the PACS and other corporations and people trying to buy legislation. At the very least, they certainly couldn’t do a worse job than the idiots in congress right now.

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