Why Does the Republican Base Vote Against Their Own Self-Interests?

SelfInterest

For decades, the Republican base has voted for representatives that do not serve their interests. We are at the tipping point right now on a number of issues. Issues like Climate Change, Healthcare and Income Inequality. These are all issues that are made worse, not better by Republicans in office. I am not saying that Democrats don’t, but Republicans are far more skilled at fucking over the American people.

I am not sure why the Republican base continually votes against their own self-interests. My guess is it has to do with laziness and taking the word of politicians and / or Fox News. We, as concerned Americans, need to take the time and do the research before we blindly vote for our representatives. Look at their history and their voting record. Voting is a Constitutional right in American, but it is also a very important right that effects every citizen, immigrant and visitor in the United States. We should treat it with the respect and importance it deserves.

Climate Change

Four of the five states that will be most impacted by Climate Change are Republican strongholds. Mississippi is already showing the effects of Climate Change with coastal flooding, drought, wildfire and extreme heat. In Missouri, the next 40 years will see significant increases in heat, drought, wildfires and inland flooding. Texas is a Republican stronghold that is expected to have the greatest threat from drought and wildfires by 2050, as well as extreme heat and coastal flooding. Arkansas ranks third in a report for future inland flooding risk, it also has a high risk of wildfires, drought and extreme heat. Nevada, the only non-Republican stronghold, even though it was one up until 2008 (Obama’s first run), is also at a high risk of wildfires, drought and extreme heat.

Healthcare

Healthcare has many aspects to it that affect different states at a different level. I will start with states that will be affected most in regards to pre-existing conditions if Trumpcare passes. According to a 2016 study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, the top 5 states with the highest percentage of pre-existing conditions are West Virginia at 36% (392,000 non-elderly adults), Mississippi at 34% (595,000 non-elderly adults), Alabama 33% (942,000 non-elderly adults), Kentucky 33% (881,000 non-elderly adults) and Arkansas 32% (556,000 non-elderly adults). Notice that all 5 of these states are Republican states.

Another aspect of the effects healthcare poses is in the form of the tax credits that will be lost if Trumpcare passes. According to Business Insider, the five most affected state in regard to loss of tax credits are Alaska (-$10,243), Oklahoma (-$4,642), North Carolina (-$5360), Alabama (-$4,293) and Wyoming (-$4,183). Again, notice that all 5 of these states are also Republican states.

While pre-existing conditions and tax credit losses are important factors, to me the true atrocity of Trumpcare has to do with how it disproportionally affects the elderly, the poor and minorities.

Income Inequality

Every state in the nation is affected by income inequality. Since the 1970s, the gap has widened between the top 1% and the bottom 99%, but the biggest increases in income inequality started with President Ronald Reagan and his Trickledown Economics. Every Republican president since has pushed this theory that has been completely and totally proven to not work.

The basic theory of Trickledown Economics says that if the rich corporations have more money, the wealth will “trickledown” to the workers and the poor. In reality, the richer the corporations get, the bigger the container that holds there wealth gets and wealth never trickles down to the workers and the poor. Right now, the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 90%.

Here are the top 5 states in regard to income inequality:

Florida has the fifth largest level of income inequality with the average income of the top 1% to bottom 99% ratio being 34.7 ($1.27 to $36,169 earned per year). To be part of the 1% in Florida, a person must earn at least $385,410 per year. To be part of the top 0.01%, a person must earn $9.5 million per year.

Nevada has the fourth largest level of income inequality with the average income of the top 1% to the bottom 99% ratio being 38.3 ($1.39 million to $36,169 earned per year). To be part of the 1% in Nevada, a person must earn at least $311,977 per year. To be part of the top 0.01%, a person must earn $10.9 million per year.

Wyoming has the third largest level of income inequality with the average income of the top 1% to the bottom 99% ratio being 40.6 ($2.1 million to $52,196 earned per year). To be part of the 1% in Wyoming, a person must earn at least $368,468 per year. To be part of the top 0.01%, a person must earn $16.3 million per year.

Connecticut has the second largest level of income inequality with the average income of the top 1% to the bottom 99% ratio being 42.6 ($2.4 million to $56,445 earned per year). To be part of the 1% in Connecticut, a person must earn at least $659,979 per year. To be part of the top 0.01%, a person must earn $18.7 million per year.

Finally, New York has the largest level of income inequality with the average income of the top 1% to the bottom 99% ratio being 45.4 ($2 million to $44,163 earned per year). To be part of the 1% in New York, a person must earn at least $517,557 per year. To be part of the top 0.01%, a person must earn $15.8 million per year. Income inequality is worse in Manhattan (New York County). The ratio there is 115.6, making it the fourth largest county level of income inequality. The county with the largest income inequality is Trenton, Wyoming with a ratio of 233.

Conclusion

These are only 3 of the large issues facing America. With the way that just these 3 issues affect the Republican base and how it is mostly Congressional Republicans that are pushing the legislation that perpetuates these atrocities, why does the Republican base keep voting against their self-interests? Maybe we need a support group for them or, at the very least, an intervention.

Speak Truth to Power

Stacey Walker

Tuesday night at the Polk County Central Committee Meeting I was privileged enough to hear Stacey Walker, the Lynn County District 2 Supervisor, talk. Maybe it was because he wasn’t campaigning to us, but one of the things that I truly enjoyed was his openness and honesty, he told it like it is. I long for politicians to be more like Stacey Walker.

In this day and age, politicians will do and say anything to pander to their constituents and then do whatever they want after winning. The sad thing is, we allow it to happen. Rather than doing the research on the candidates before we take what they say at face value, we choose to be oblivious to our elected official’s track record and then become incensed when they do the opposite of what they said they would do, even though their track record reveled that they would do exactly what they did.

When I say to do your research, I don’t mean watch your favorite news channel and take their word for it either. We all have that crazy relative that watches nothing but Fox News. I mean to actually do the research using reputable sources, or if you are too lazy to read, at least watch a variety of news channels and make your own decision on what the actual truth is.

None of this would be necessary if we had more politicians like Stacey Walker who are open and truthful with their constituents, but that is not the world we live in. Perhaps I am just naive in thinking that it is even possible for this to be a reality, but at least I am smart enough to know that it isn’t a reality now and do the research before giving away my vote.

Respect is Earned

Respect

I am sick and tired of people telling me to respect Trump. Just because he is President of the United States does not earn him my respect. I was always taught that you have to give respect to get respect. The alternate is true, if you give disrespect, you have earned disrespect. I am not disrespecting him just because I don’t like him or his politics, I show disrespect because he has earned it by disrespecting millions of Americans, a lot of whom are friends of mine.

How has he earned my disrespect you ask? Since I am not interested in writing a book on this issue, I will only cover the top 3 items that directly impact people that I know and love. Lets start with his “Repeal and Replace” plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), aka Trumpcare. This is not even remotely health care legislation. This is a gift to the health insurance companies and corporations. Trumpcare will take away healthcare from 23+ million Americans, including many of my family members who did not have healthcare until The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, was passed. Obamacare is far from perfect, but it helped millions of Americans purchase health insurance that they wold otherwise not be able to afford. Trumpcare would take that away from them and many other Americans.

Trump’s Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,  is looking to restart the war on drugs. This is a horrible plan that will imprison millions of Americans for low level drugs crimes while increasing drug induced death rates. Look at Portugal, they decriminalized ALL drugs. As a result, they now have a drug death rate of 3 deaths per one million citizens. Compare that to America’s 147 deaths per one million citizens. I have family and friends that were taken too soon due to drug overdose. If drugs were decriminalized like they are in Portugal, they may have been able to receive the help they needed and could still be with us today.

Trump’s racism, misogyny and sexism have effected many of my friends and family. The day after Trump won the election, I had LGBTQ and Muslim friends and family who called to tell me they were scared and asked what could be done. These are good, hard working people that deserve respect and the ability to achieve the American dream just as much as anyone else. Trump and his rhetoric is very damaging, and if he has his way, gay marriage will be reversed and Muslims will be detained and refused in a manner we haven’t seen since Japanese detention during WWII.

So, while people are telling me that Trump deserves my respect just because he is President of the United States, I respectfully disagree. Republicans showed less than zero respect for President Barack Obama, a President that earned the respect of the American people for his accomplishments. Trump, on the other hand, has earned the disrespect he is receiving in spades. I have zero admiration for Trump’s abilities, qualities or achievements, I actually have disdain for them instead. Seeing as this is the definition of Respect, it is obvious that Trump has not earned my respect.

Decriminalize Or Legalize?

Decriminalize V Legalize.PNG

There is a debate happening in America right now on what should be done about marijuana and all other illegal drugs. Should we decriminalize or legalize? In my opinion, we should decriminalize all drugs and legalize marijuana.

Here in American we have an epidemic of drug abuse, specifically opioids. Most of us know someone that addicted to or has overdosed on some illicit drug. Personally, I lost a cousin to heroine addiction. The problem that most people have with their addiction isn’t that they don’t want to quit, it is that they can’t get the help that they need because they are afraid of the legal repercussions of their addiction. Decriminalizing all drugs would solve this problem.

Sending someone to prison for their addiction does not solve their addiction, it only succeeds in ruining their life, pushing them back towards addiction and costing the American people millions of dollars annually. Rather than sending drug users to prison, we should allow them to get the help they so desperately need. Portugal has already done something similar to this. Initially, there was a small increase in drug users, but after a while the numbers started to decrease, especially among the young.

As for marijuana, I believe that it should be legalized and regulated like alcohol. There are a number of reasons that I hold this belief:

First off, compared to alcohol, marijuana is a much safer recreational drug, both to the user and the bystanders.

Second, while marijuana is a schedule 1 narcotic, most of what is required to be a schedule 1 narcotic is not applicable to marijuana. One of these is a high potential for abuse. There is a higher degree of abuse of alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal. Another requirement to be a schedule 1 narcotic is that there is no current accepted medical treatment, meaning that there is no medical use for the narcotic. This is also false. There are studies that show marijuana helps relieve chronic pain and helps with cancer treatment.

Third, due to legalization in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado, we have seen that legalizing and regulating is extremely economical for state taxes. In 2015, Colorado collected over $70 million in taxes on marijuana sales alone, nearly double what was collected from alcohol sales ($42 million).

In conclusion, I believe that we need to decriminalize all drugs so that addicts can seek the help that they need without fear of imprisonment and we need to legalize marijuana, both medical and recreational.

Apology, Smology – We Must Unify Now Revisited

clinton-sanders

Back in December 2016, I wrote an article titled “Apology, Smology – We Must Unify Now” that discussed how the Democratic Party needs to come together to fight the upcoming disasters that Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans were bound to force upon us.

Since the writing of that article, we have united on some key issues; The Women’s March, The March for Science, and multiple other protests and rallies. However, since Hillary Clinton emerged from the woods and “joined the resistance”, the division has widened again.

Here is the thing, THE 2016 ELECTION IS OVER!!!! The Bernie Sanderes / Hillary Clinton infighting is doing nothing more than splitting the Democratic Party and making it more difficult for us to fight the Trump / Republican agenda. Yesterday Republicans in the House passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and replace it with something that will likely kill 43,000 people per year due to lack of insurance, being under insured or pre-existing conditions. With any luck at all, this bill will not make it past the Senate.

We have had a number of horrible pieces of legislature pass on the state level here in Iowa; voter suppression, destruction of collective bargaining rights, etc. We need to be united in order to fight back against these horrible pieces of legislature. As long as there is still infighting between the Sanders and Clinton factions, we are not united and will face a tough uphill battle when it comes to fighting back.

In addition to fighting back against what is happening now, we need to look forward to the 2018 and 2020 elections. It is highly unlikely that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will run again in 2020, so the infighting between the two factions is completely irrelevant and needs to stop. This infighting is a large part of what put us in the situation we are in now; a self-absorbed, misogynistic man-child president and Republican controlled House and Senate on both the national and state levels.

We, as a party, need to grow up and put the past behind us so we can move forward. I have said it many times and I am sure I will say it many times more, the “old guard” (mainly Clinton supporters) have the experience and knowledge while the new guard (mainly Sanders supporters) have fresh, new ideas on how to move forward. We need to unite the old guard and the new guard to build a juggernaut of a Democratic Party so we can fight back the horrible atrocities that Republicans are trying to force upon us.