Dear Mr. Robert Reich,
I have always respected your opinion, so when I read your recent blog post on Huffington Post entitled “Fear Is Why Workers in Red States Vote Against Their Economic Self-Interest”, I had to address it. Bear in mind, that what I am saying is based on statistics, not opinion. The same statistics, sir, which Democrats have been ignoring for the past 20 years against their own best interests.
Let me start by redefining a “Red State”. A red state is a state where the majority of people who choose to participate by voting, vote Republican. It is NOT a state where the majority of people who live in that state are Republican.
In red states, there is a much higher percentage of non-participation in voting than there is in BLUE states. There are all kinds of theories why this is. Some statistics link it to what people eat and drink. Some statistics suggests that it is a less educated populace. Those are all theories though.
This is a fact. Poor people don’t vote against their interests. Poor people don’t vote. When poor people do vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic, not Republican. However, if you break down voting habits by income, you will find that 8 out of 10 upper income members vote while only 2 out of 10 lower income members vote. Middle income goes about 5 out of 10 vote and again this follows income with those making more voting more than those making less.
Now the Republicans understand this. This is why they pander to the rich and assault the programs that help the poor. Let’s be blunt. Why the hell should the GOP help poor people? Poor people don’t vote. They don’t have money to donate. Hell, according to the GOP they don’t pay taxes. Why do anything for these people who overwhelmingly don’t care enough to participate?
The pundits appear to ignore this fact. I think it plays better for them to play it down because it makes better copy to have a divided America. And Democrats just don’t seem to get it. When it comes to this issue, they appear to have a blonde moment (I’m blonde so I can use this analogy).
Let’s use Texas as an example. The 2012 election saw the lowest percentage of registered voters actually vote in a Presidential election since 1993 and only because that’s as far back as public records go. In a state pushing 32 million people with at least 21 million potential voters, LESS THAN 8 MILLION PEOPLE ACTUALLY PARTICIPATED BY VOTING. Ted Cruz was elected by 4.4 million people in a state of over 30 million. That’s 16% of the population.
So if Dems want to win in Red States, they have to get these people to vote. However, they can’t and won’t do it, running the same old traditional campaigns. No amount of money spent will get these people to vote because they believe that there is no difference in the candidates and that their vote doesn’t matter.
But their vote does matter. They matter to their home state. They matter to their country. Their non-voting effects other people particularly when their non-participation results in electing Aholes like Ted Cruz. More people voted against Cruz by non-participation but unfortunately that doesn’t matter. Because if people don’t vote, they don’t matter. That is reality.
So please, Mr. Reich, stop wasting your time by writing stupid stuff about poor people. If you want to do something to make a difference, help me convince the Democratic Party to invest in getting poor people to the polls. If we can get these people participating in the process, if we can convince these voters that their vote does matter, if we can empower these voters and get them riled up, then there would be no such thing as a “Red State” and America would be able to start moving forward again.