Monday, September 21, 2015

Do American Voters Really Favor Plutocracy Or Oligarchy Over Democracy?


Maybe I'm reading this wrong-- though I don't think so-- or maybe it just hasn't become a motivational priority yet for voters, but it looks like the zeitgeist is indicating that Americans are fed up-- angry even-- that super-rich donors are running American politics. Voters don't seem pleased that the political elite-- of both corrupt Beltway parties-- are taking as much money as they are from the super-wealthy and giving them the unlimited "access" that they demand in return.

From a NYTimes/CBS poll in May

Reuters ran an innocuous enough piece Sunday-- Democratic donors urge Biden to challenge Clinton in U.S. 2016 race. Bad message intros kind of an anti-Establishment climate; screw what "a group of prominent Democratic Party fundraisers" wants. Biden's hideous Senate record speaks for itself-- a record that was great for the corporate donors who are eager to get him into the race and stop Bernie as Clinton's campaign unravels. Better message-- on Bernie delivered in August to Democratic voters in Clear Lake, Iowa:

And now let me tell you something that no other candidate for president will tell you. And that is no matter who is elected to be president, that person will not be able to address the enormous problems facing the working families of our country. They will not be able to succeed because the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of campaign donors, is so great that no president alone can stand up to them. That is the truth. People may be uncomfortable about hearing it, but that is the reality.
That's not happy talk. But for most Americans neither is this Washington Post story from this weekend: Political parties go after million-dollar donors in wake of looser rules. Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger know exactly what this kind of lede will engender among their readers: "The national political parties are urging wealthy backers to give them 10 times more money than was allowed in the last presidential election, taking advantage of looser restrictions to pursue ­million-dollar donors with zeal. Under the new plans, which have not been disclosed publicly, the top donation tier for the Republican National Committee has soared to $1.34 million per couple this election cycle. Democratic contributors, meanwhile, are being hit up for even more-- about $1.6 million per couple-- to support the party’s convention and a separate joint fundraising effort between the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. In return, elite donors are being promised perks such as exclusive retreats with top party leaders, VIP treatment at the nominating conventions and special dinners organized by contribution rank at this month’s RNC finance committee gala."

Does that sound like bribery to you? Or something uncomfortably close to bribery? OK, let's imagine that Florida is a typical state filled with typical voters-- I know, I know, but it is a purple state and pretty close to 50/50 in national elections. PPP just finished polling there last week and the "top line" is that most voters support a broadly progressive policy agenda.
Floridians continue to be firmly supportive of Medicaid Expansion- 63% of voters in the state favor it to only 31% who are opposed. Democrats (87/11) are almost universally for it, a majority of independents (52/35) are, and even Republicans (41/52) are relatively split on it. This is just the latest in a long run of our poll findings about how popular it is in the Sunshine State.

73% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, with only 13% thinking it should be kept where it is and another 13% who think it should be eliminated altogether. 95% of Democrats, 69% of independents, and 52% of Republicans support an increase to a minimum of $10. This is an issue where the Republican base is a lot further along than the Republican Presidential candidates.

We continue to find that background checks on all gun purchases are universally popular across party lines everywhere we poll. In Florida there's 88% support to only 7% opposition, and backing for them comes from 92% of Democrats, 88% of Republicans, and 82% of independents.

Marco Rubio may not want to do anything about global warming, but 63% of his constituents support the EPA Clean Power Plan to only 29% who are opposed to it. 84% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and 39% of Republicans express support for it.

The reaction to gay marriage being legal in Florida is mostly 'no big deal.' 76% of voters in the state either say that it's had no impact on their lives or a positive one, with just 24% claiming it's been a negative. Even among Republican voters 71% say it hasn't been a big deal.

So... what does that Florida polling say to me? Basically that voters don't see the connection between policy objectives and elections. In Florida, for example, all the state-wide offices-- except for Bill Nelson's U.S. Senate seat-- are held by Republicans who are working against what most Florida voters say they want. And the state legislature-- which is also against everything the respondents said they prefer-- has 25 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the state Senate and 80 Republicans and 39 Democrats in the state House. Florida is currently sending 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats to Congress-- and two of the "Democrats," Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy vote with the Republicans against progressive legislation almost always. I don't mean to single out Florida for abuse; their voters are pretty typical of much of the country-- incapable of connecting policy preferences to voting habits, for a variety of reasons ranging from brainwashing by GOP media to a pervasive thought that it just doesn't matter because wealthy campaign contributors decide what's going to happen anyway. And this can only lead to one thing: support Bernie Sanders' campaign... before it's too late.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home