Thursday, July 09, 2015

Alan Grayson: Why Democratic Voters Stay Home


Jane Wyatt, formerly of Father Knows Best, as Spock's mother Amanda Grayson in the original Star Trek series. Does this mean Spock and Alan Grayson are future relatives? 

by Gaius Publius

Just a short piece on the stay-at-home phenomenon among Democratic voters. Many of us have written about it, including myself, as a rejection of the wealth-serving direction of the mainstream of the party. As someone said to me lately, "If Democrats want my vote, they should give me someone I can vote for."

I was therefore interested to see Alan Grayson's thoughts on the subject. Where does he fall on the implied Bernie Sanders question, about government serving only the wealthy? Read on.

(If you'd like to help make Alan Grayson the next senator from Florida, click here. You can adjust the split in any way you like.)

From the Huffington Post:
Why Is Everyone Angry? I'll Tell You Why

This is a short essay on voter anger -- its origin, its attributes, its meaning and its cure. Hint: Most Americans are worse off than they were a long time ago.

I started noticing voter anger around 2009. Initially, its locus was the Tea Party. They're the ones who would form a circle around a political event, holding hands, and start chanting expletives. I attributed this to the Tea Party's deep dissatisfaction with living in the 21st century. To them, basically, everything went south when Jane Wyatt stopped playing Robert Young's Stepford wife on Father Knows Best, and started playing Spock's mother, Amanda ... Grayson, on Star Trek. (Does that mean that Spock and I are future relatives? I don't know.) For them, things have never been the same since.

Generally speaking, the problem for Team Blue is not anger; it's apathy. However, by roughly the year 2012, Team Blue had caught up in the Anger Games, and the score was tied. 
An excellent start if you think living in "Piketty times" has anything to do with the problem. (Also, please notice the writing. Stylistically, this is very good work. This is not a congressman who can write. Grayson is a writer who's in Congress.)

Then he makes an excellent point about just support for Congress and support for its incumbents (not the same thing). He ties this back to Fast Track:
Politically, we then entered very interesting territory. For many years up to that time, polling had showed that even when Congress had a negative approval rating, most voters wanted to reelect their individual members of Congress. (It's as though Congress had become Garrison Keilor's Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.) No more. Now polls showed a majority in favor of voting out one's own member of Congress, a matter quite unnerving to one's own member of Congress. Moreover, polls showed that most voters wished that voting booths offered a magic Shakespearean "let's kill all the incumbents" button that would let them throw out all the bums by extending a single digit. (The middle one, I surmise.) And speaking of digits, Congress's approval rating sank into single digits.

Why? Well, the superficial explanation is that voters feel that elected officials simply aren't listening. We had a good example of that a few weeks ago, on the Fast Track bill. A GOP member of Congress confided in me that his calls and emails were running 100-to-1 against Fast Track. In some Democratic offices, the numbers probably were even more one-sided. (Many of the people reading these very words had something to do with that.) Nevertheless, in the Party of the People, 13 Democratic Senators initially voted against proceeding with Fast Track, and then voted for proceeding with Fast Track. So that gutless anti-egalitarian bill slipped past a Senate filibuster with no votes to spare. Then, in the House, 28 Democratic Congressmen broke ranks, passing Fast Track by only four extra votes. (Meaning that if four votes had switched, Fast Track would have been halted in its ... tracks.) From the voters' perspective, that's a very good example of "you're not listening to me!"
The bottom line comes next, in the middle (my emphasis):
But here is the deeper explanation for all of that anger: For most Americans, life simply is getting harder. ... The net worth of the average American household dropped by more than one-third in ten years. The decline from the 2007 peak was almost 50 percent, in just six years. (Most of that loss was in the value of one's home -- home is where the heartache is.)
Pretty straightforward. Also, pretty bipartisan. Almost all voters feel this way. And no wonder — look at what causes this reaction. The numbers are these: "median net worth had dropped by 36 percent, from $87,992 to $56,335."

That's not only painful to look at, it's painful to contemplate. Note that this is net worth (wealth), not income, another reflection of Piketty's analysis, which focuses on wealth inequality, not just income inequality. What this says is that not only are people's present lives more and more a struggle, but that the struggle is likely to continue into retirement. The result, as I see it, is a generation, presently in their fifties, who will retire almost immediately into poverty, and they and their families, their children, get that. More on those numbers later, but they are stark, as stark as the ones in Grayson's essay. There's more data like this in his piece; please do read.

Grayson closes with a plea to his party to get their heads straight on this issue.
[T]o sum it up, people's lives are circling the drain, and nobody's even talking about it, much less doing something about it. That's why everyone is so angry. And I'm hoping against hope that my party, the Democratic Party, wakes up and does something about it.

Speaking for myself, I'll try my best to do something about it. But you knew that already.


Rep. Alan Grayson
He focuses on the voters and the party, hoping the second will finally serve the first to a greater degree. He could also have examined causes, because I know that he knows them. For example, money isn't just disappearing in a fog of deflation. It's being taken from the many by the few:

And those who are taking it have far too much influence on the mainstream end of the Democratic party. (Why mainstream "end"? Because despite what they're called, most Democratic leaders, with just a few exceptions, are at the extreme end of where most voters are with respect to income inequality. Catfood and "free trade" Democrats want to increase it, unlike almost all voters.)

How much influence do people like Jamie Dimon have on the party? An Attorney General unenslaved to Wall Street, reporting to an actual populist president, would have put him in jail for the crimes Warren lists in the video above. Dimon gets bonuses for the same behavior instead, and for cutting sweet deals with Obama, Holder and their SEC.


P.S. Seems a good time for a song to lighten the mood. Enjoy.


See Howie's post earlier today.

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At 12:42 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Funny/sad thing about Fast Track: I saw almost all of our corporate press pushing for it (USA Today, The Washington Post, etc.).

And yet people know they're getting taken for a ride again.

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Democrats allow TPP to be passed, they can forget about active support of the people. After all, it's become very clear that the US is now a plutocracy.

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grayson is one of maybe only 10 of the good guys there.
The voters who would vote D know this... and it isn't apathy nor is it anger, really. My take is that it's pure disenfranchisement.

I'm not angry with the wealth whores in DC. If I magically were "appointed", would I hold out against that magnitude of bribery? I'd LIKE to think so... but I would also like to retire and own a nice home and have medical care and not have to eat ramen for the rest of my life.

I'm not even angry with Rs and their troglodyte voters. Every society has their Nazis, morons, fools, haters and shitheads.

But you presume that those guys are a minority. If society is to survive, they HAVE to be a very small minority. But they are not.

What it is is this: We who still think are coming to grips with the fact that we are powerless and have no voice. In fact, we haven't had a voice since ... well, probably HST in the '50s. JFK might have listened had he lived... but there you go.

We still had SOME hope (for change) until the assassinations in '68. It turns out that anyone who held out hope (for change) after '68 was just deluding themselves.

Nixon (and his treasons, unencumbered by democrats) paved the way for Reagan. And we've had an unbroken, unblemished run of Reagan clones ever since. Each one elected (or coronated by the supreme court) by a majority of voters (who show up) because 1 in 3 know there isn't anyone worth getting off the couch to vote for.

Soon it will be 5 in 12, then 1 in 2 then 3 in 4... eventually 99 in 100.

How long will it be before we dispense with the whole charade of elections and just have the fortune 500 CEOs appoint the corporate overlord du jour??? You know, each geographic enclave (no nations any more) will have a board of directors, CEO, CFO and so on... and every coupla years they'll shuffle around the same rich assholes between boards.

That's the vector. Unless Bernie, Elizabeth, Alan and just a coupla more can make D voters remove their melons from their sphincters and do something, that's the future.

More of us are aware of this every day.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you get to a fork in the road, stab it. Then take the potato.


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