For Romney, however, giving poor people health care represents “the power of incumbency.” Which is to say, it’s a political bribe. Romney said so more explicitly in a conference call with donors a week after the election in which he explained that Obama had used the “old playbook” of offering goodies to certain groups—“especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community, and young people”—to lure them to the polls. Romney, by contrast, had spent the campaign “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs, and so forth.”Romney isn't wrong in that elections are about gifts. Politicians have to deliver for their constituencies, and those who do the best job of delivering are the ones who get elected.
Whether Romney realizes it or not, the implication is clear: white and old people put aside self-interest to think about what’s best “for the whole country.” Young, black, and brown people leech off the government and flock to the polls to reelect the black president who helps them do so.
Where Romney might be wrong is the notion that only brown and young people want "gifts." All those corporate PACs aren't dumping millions into elections out of altruism. They want tax breaks and preferential treatment and policies that fuck their competitors and critics. Hence, Big Oil supports the party that will squash those Green Energy upstarts and refuses to do anything about global climate change. Wall Street wants to get those pesky regulations off their backs so they can continue making money off risky ventures, fully expecting to be bailed out next time they screw up (and there will be a next time). Defense contractors want more contracts for ships and planes and tanks that the Pentagon doesn't want, doesn't need, and have no place in modern warfare.
You see? Gifts!
Rich people want to be rewarded for their political largesse with tax cuts, special access to power brokers, and extra attention paid to their pet causes. Teabaggers want to be rewarded with crazies who scream nonsense about socialism, buy into bogus internet rumors, and engage in McCarthyist games, like Texas' Ted Cruz. Neocons want more wars, because senseless death and mayhem give them bizarre gratification. Theocons want their bigotry enshrined in law.
Gifts, gifts, gifts!
Democrats are winning because our gifts are more relevant to people's lives than theirs. We offer health care, education, a living wage, and a focus on building stronger families and communities. They appeal to the bigotries and self-interest of their shrinking base. But in both cases, it really comes down to gifts.
It's just that our gifts are better because, you know, they actually help people.