After eternal arguments, constant bickering, regular re-phrasing of the “real issues,” and heroic attempts to frame the dialogue in different terms, it really is about this: the Republicans are the party of the rich, and the Democrats are the party of the poor. By the statistics, the poor far outnumber the rich, so, theoretically, the issue becomes one of making sure the poor vote. In these conservative times, the Republicans have done several things to protects their power.
They pass restrictive laws about who can vote. This under the guise that there is voter fraud, despite the reality that it is virtually non-existent. They create a media that promotes and fans distrust of the mainstream media that “used to” represent everyone. And this medium becomes the mouthpiece for the rich, disguised as a vehicle for wealth for the poor. Again, this is despite the lack of real data to back it up. The economics are structured such that one might have better luck playing the lottery. And the Tea Party is a curse of the Rebuplicans’ own doing – it is just the extremist wing of the bogus, self serving complaining they have been spewing for years now.
The Poor hate to be labeled that way, nor are they alright with the “Haves and the Have-nots.”(See the latest Pew research on the topic http://people-press.org/2011/09/29/no-consensus-about-whether-nation-is-divided-into-haves-and-have-nots/?src=prc-headline.) And in fact, poverty in America in the 21st century doesn’t usually mean a serious lack of food or home, though it does sometimes. The average person in poverty has food, a television, and a place to live. According to the Pew research, “By two-to-one (29% vs. 15%), more Americans think the Obama administration does more to help the have-nots than to help the haves, with a plurality (45%) saying it treats both groups about equally. Public impressions of congressional Republicans are quite different: 47% say they are mostly helping the haves, while just 7% say they are mostly helping the have-nots; 32% say Republicans are treating both groups the same. Current assessments of the Republicans in Congress are similar to 2004 opinions of which group George W. Bush’s administration was doing more to help (47% the haves, 4% the have-nots, 42% both about the same.” So, opinions toward the government and its role in helping people have changed little. Most of us remain partisan.
The Dems have a PR problem (and that is not news, either!). To be the party of fairness, representing the poor, it all lacks flash and luster. Wouldn’t you rather join the party of The Donald, and leave Al Sharpton in the ghetto? Who wants to be enlightened, when you can rub shoulders with Newt Gingrich’s wife? And the Right has values: Pro-life, anti-tax, sacred family definitions, traditions in yachting. The Left had seat belts and bra-burning, now they have Dennis Kucinich and better relations with Muslim countries.
We need the Dems to have cooler aspirations! The party of great promise! A better life for everyone! Health care that works! A Kindle Fire in every pot!
I dunno, I’m still working on it.