To Slap the Faces of Americans: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Who is Somebody

Barack Obama:

“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”[i][i]

How could any President show such disrespect for Americans?

Mitt Romney:

“I don’t think the president understands what makes this country great.”

Speaking against the backdrop of more than a dozen mechanics, Romney pointed to the repair shop as a symbol of the businesses that have kept the American dream alive.

“This is the kind of place that has put people to work over the years, over the decades. … Someone else isn’t responsible for what he did here,” Romney said, referring to the shop’s owner. “This is not the result of government. This is the result of people who take risks, create dreams, who build for themselves and for their families.”[ii][ii]

Now which candidate would you guess made the following comments following the remarks?

“And so the reason that I continue to have confidence is because when I look at you, I see my grandparents. When I see your kids, I see my kids. And I think about all those previous generations — our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. Some of them came here as immigrants, some were brought here against their will. Some of them worked on farms, and some worked in mills, and some worked in mines, and some worked on the railroad.

But no matter where they worked, no matter how times were tough, they always had faith that there was something different about this country; that in this country, you have some God-given rights: a life in liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a belief that all of us are equal — (applause) –and that we’re not guaranteed success, but we’re guaranteed the right to work hard for success. (Applause.)”[iii][iii]

Is that what we want?

Despite what we hear and read in the media; despite whatever spin is given to these words, which shows a lack of appreciation and respect of the American Dream? Mr. Romney is correct that the repair shop owner does not owe his or her success to government. The individual probably worked hard and without visiting the shop, I feel confident saying that they poured gallons of sweat, and maybe spilled some blood in building their success.

Who is Somebody?

Even so, that shop owner benefitted from the work of “Somebody.” The “somebody” is that individual from the past who through action or inaction created the opportunities and in some cases burdens for the next generations. It’s a blow to our ego, but if we are successful it is because someone else gave us help. That help might not have been in our lifetime, but the blood, sweat, and tears, spilled and shed by individuals long before us, our parents, grandparents, and so on provides the environment where we live today. Aside from the George Washingtons, James Madisons, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelts, Alvin Yorks, Booker T. Washingtons, Clara Bartons, Audie Murphys, and other “famous” people, we have those individuals who like most of us will not be remembered outside of our name on a genealogy tree generations after our deaths but who made the decisions and sacrifices which affect us the most personally today.

Let’s Be Real…

Other modern concerns involve the lack of respect in schools, problems in education, and the level of crime and corruption. One solution bantered is having that discipline and respect instituted in the home by the parents of the child. Another solution is that we all pour gallons of sweat in working to the best of our ability no matter what our occupation happens to be. Will everyone do that? We do not live in a utopia, so of course everyone will not. Those that do, however, do so because they witnessed, experienced, were bestowed upon, or were taught those ideas, ethics and habits either intentionally or unintentionally. How many of us have been inspired by watching or just knowing that someone else overcame an obstacle?

“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.” How is that not the American Dream or American Spirit? Individual initiative which is ability, even harder work, is not dismissed or even diminished in the President’s statement. “But also because we do things together:” a business needs customers to be profitable, consumers need businesses for goods, we need transportation systems, and we need sound educational systems. We are not individuals unaffected by the actions of others whether those actions are good or bad.

How and Who?

More importantly think about this “government” = “It.” Hogwash! Government equals “We the People.” It was the people who won independence from England. It was the people who almost saw that independence implode under the Articles of Confederation which lacked a strong governmental presence and therefore drafted the Constitution. It was the people who later added specific safeguards to our governmental document, an addition we call the Bill of Rights. It was women through the course of generations who did not accept being regarded as chattel but fought to be heard with later generations carrying on the fight to have the right to vote and later generations fighting for equal treatment. It was people of African ancestry enduring the experiences of slavery, “separate but equal” and true discrimination for the civil rights of future generations. It was farmers, the Populists, in states like Illinois who after experiencing unfair treatment by both Democrats and Republicans formed their own political party. While the Populist Party died, we take many of the liberties they listed in their 1892 presidential platform for granted as “guaranteed rights from the Constitution.” Lest we forget, it took over 100 years after the creation of the United States for the majority of citizens to have those rights.

Do We Remember?

Would newspapers and other publications exist without the prior works of Benjamin Franklin; without the stance taken by John Peter Zenger; without the work of those who decided to begin the individual publications, many long before anyone working there now was born?

Lest we forget the sacrifices of those before us; lest we forget that we have the freedom to disagree; lest we forget Fascism did not prevail in WWII and neither did Totalitarian Communism in the Cold War. Critics talk of the US becoming like Europe or toss labels of socialism. Well everyone has received something from the government. At times government may be too involved; at times we want greater involvement. The Articles of Confederation did not work for lack of real power. Thomas Jefferson pushed for Congress to pass an Embargo Act which stifled the economy at the time, and he later urged Congress to pass a Force Act to punish those who ignored the law. Fortunately, however, Congress did not give in to what may have created a dictatorial totalitarian state. Theodore Roosevelt as President urged Congress to enact many of the Populists reforms and to assure Americans a “Square Deal” as they worked with big businesses. Franklin Roosevelt in essence took power away from Congress to funnel enormous amounts of funds into the economy. Did the New Deal end the Depression? No it did not, but somehow America survived through those times and reemerged to defeat not only Nazi Germany in Europe but Japan. These victories resulted from many sacrificing their lives in the European and Pacific Theaters; many more people of all ages, genders, races, and religions sacrificing on the home front for the continuation of the American Dream and American Way of Life.

Can We Agree on Anything?

Is spending out of control? Is it in many cases wasteful? I think a majority of us would say yes. The problem, however, is that it is easier to blame “government” like it is some other body than to accept the fact that we have the ability and responsibility for our government to function better. Taxpayers are the ones who are doing the allowing, not as suggested by some as “should be,” but ARE DOING. The problem is that it is only a small number of taxpayers are truly involved in the decisions being made by government. As of today, 19 July 2012, Open Secrets.org list that Super PACs have already spent $105,772, 784 in support of specific presidential candidates. Sheldon Adelson, who lost over $25 billion in 2008 and almost declared bankruptcy for his Las Vegas Sands Corp., has stated his intent to spend $100 million this election cycle.[iv][iv]

Who allows government to control?

Taxpayers, regardless of if they call themselves Democrats, Republicans, other Parties, or Independents, are doing the allowing. The media and public opinion, however, wants to blame “government” instead of asking the tougher questions of who is allowing the government. There are returns on the donations by a few, or should that be investments, in these campaigns. Instead, the focus is bashing the incumbent President, who regardless of party lacks the Constitutional authority to take the degree of action needed to solve all domestic issues. Then we praise the opposition, who if in office would be in the same state of uncertainty. We are similar to a feeding frenzy of sharks smelling fresh blood in the water. We by our own actions take for granted or diminish the sacrifices of those in the past who allow us to have the freedoms to bash or praise the Chief Executive in ways that would have brought punitive actions on those of the past. We do so without any fear of the types of reprisals they encountered. Sadly, what many consider discrimination, punishment, or reprisals today would be regarded as advancement by those who sacrificed for us to have those rights.

What is the American Dream?

Who supports the idea of the American Dream and the work ethic that made the United States into a World Power? President Obama in the same speech for which he is being labeled as anti-American, socialist, and being of accused of “not knowing what makes this country great” seems to promote the historical interpretation with these remarks “And so the reason that I continue to have confidence is because when I look at you, I see my grandparents. When I see your kids, I see my kids. And I think about all those previous generations — our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. Some of them came here as immigrants, some were brought here against their will. Some of them worked on farms, and some worked in mills, and some worked in mines, and some worked on the railroad.

But no matter where they worked, no matter how times were tough, they always had faith that there was something different about this country; that in this country, you have some God-given rights: a life in liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a belief that all of us are equal — (applause) –and that we’re not guaranteed success, but we’re guaranteed the right to work hard for success. (Applause.)”[v][v]

Ignorance, Insecurity, or Stupidity?

To regard the President’s statement, even when edited out of context, that someone helped you or me achieve any degree of success as anti-American is not merely a slap in the face, but a desecration of graves, and a display of no appreciation, recognition, or respect for those who built this country, sacrificed their lives, and spilled their sweat and blood, to leave a foundation upon which we of this generation can continue to build for future generations or consume for our own selfish and egotistical insecurities in taking responsibility for our own actions.

Why are we taking the American Dream for granted? It is not a weakness to have appreciation for those before us.  It is a selfish arrogance that we deserve through no effort on our own the very liberties and opportunities that past generations suffered and sacrificed to earn those privileges for you and me today.  How many of these freedoms would we have today if we had to endure the same trials and tribulations of past generations to earn the same ones we consider our rights?

[i][i] Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia, Roanoke Fire Station #1, 13 July 2012. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

[ii][ii]Romney: Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ comment ‘wasn’t a gaffe’, Holly Bailey, 19 July 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/romney-obama-didn-t-build-wasn-t-gaffe-192957340.html

[iii][iii]Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia, Roanoke Fire Station #1, 13 July 2012. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

[iv][iv]GOP super PAC receives major donation from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Chris Moody, 16 July 2012.  http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/gop-super-pac-receives-major-donation-casino-mogul-202343022.html?_esi=1

[v][v]Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia, Roanoke Fire Station #1, 13 July 2012. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “To Slap the Faces of Americans: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Who is Somebody

  1. I guess I view the American dream as being somewhat different. I think that most people would define the American dream as the ability to climb the economic ladder. That our destiny is not determined by our class at birth but rather by how hard we work. If this is, indeed, the American Dream then I would posit that the American Dream is becoming quite un-American. There are many Western countries today in which the ability to rise (or fall) in income classes is much easier than in the U.S.

    • Jim, you make an interesting point which does not differentiate from the above position in my opinion. It is a specific example within the broad context. The concept or attempt to define “American Dream” is not stagnant but continuously flowing and evolving. There are numerous studies of that contention whether academic or not from an historical basis of time periods, a regional basis, cultural, and any other stem of personal beliefs. I would argue that the idea of bettering oneself economically is within that fluidity. Being reared in a community where a large part of the area was built by Hungarian immigrants and having neighboring communities with other ethnic backgrounds such as Italian, French, and German, I have known people who came to the US for financial opportunities, some to escape the destruction of war, both before WWI and more so between the World Wars. I think the key element of the financial ladder idea and not being limited by predetermined factors is an example of opportunities and freedoms not found elsewhere. Regardless of what area one focuses upon, opportunity and the freedom to have that opportunity is at the forefront. I agree that other states today do harbor a quicker range of possibilities to rise or fall on the economic ladder. Can that rapidity however be compared to the rate of growth of a child to an adult with the rate of growth from age 50 to 60? Or do we have a stunting of growth here in the US by either internal or external factors? Is it a combination?

  2. Except that I am comparing the US to certain European countries which have been around a lot longer than us. So the US is the teenager in this analogy. A couple of changes that would make us more of a meritocracy are the elimination of legacy admissions at universities and the raising of estate taxes.

  3. Here is an interesting article on this subject I just read in The Week magazine:

    Why is America a nation of growing inequality? asked David Brooks in The New York Times. The yawning economic and cultural gap between the well-to-do and the working class—now wider than at almost any point in our history—has academics and pundits searching for explanations. Now, a new Harvard study provides an illuminating—and “horrifying”—insight into what’s going on. The affluent and the working classes, the study found, are raising their children in “starkly different ways”—virtually dooming the poorer kids to a life at the bottom. In recent years, college-educated parents have massively ramped up the amount of time and money they spend on activities that enrich their kids’ education, brainpower, and social skills, from reading to them at night to spending thousands on after-school activities and private tutors. Working-class parents aren’t keeping up. As a result, their kids’ grades and test scores are lagging, and their chances to move up the ladder are dwindling.

    So are their chances of growing up in a traditional family, said Jason DeParle, also in the Times. A stunning 60 percent of births among non-college-educated women now occur outside of marriage; among college-educated women, it’s just 10 percent. Single moms are often overwhelmed by work and family responsibilities, and kids suffer as a result. A mountain of research shows that single-parent kids are “more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty, act up in class, become teenage parents, and drop out of school.” So it’s time liberals stopped promoting the lie that all families are equal, said Jonathan Last in WeeklyStandard.com. If the Left really cares about inequality, it needs to accept that “married parents are more likely to have prosperous, healthy, stable families than single parents.”

    Most liberals long ago conceded that point, said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. But family structure is only half the picture. Today, social mobility is greater—and inequality less stark—in countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Canada. “What do these countries have in common?” They guarantee health care to all, provide more-affordable college educations, and levy higher taxes on the wealthy. Their government policies deliberately seek to level the playing field, and to give everyone equal opportunity. Unless we follow these successful societies’ example—and adopt policies “to offset the radical redistribution toward the very rich”—the American dream will be doomed.

    • And you trust the government with the power to take all of one’s wealth and give it to another? I tell you what … things as bad as they are here, aren’t looking much better in Europe … and I think it’s the over-powered centralized governments that are to blame. Innovation does not happen there … we got what … that bagless vacuum? Europe is not the place of opportunity. Sure I agree that the American dream is seriously compromised if we can not narrow the increasing gap between the haves and have nots here, but bigger government with the right to redistribute and destroy capital incentive has been tried again and again … and often with short-term successes they always ultimately fail. Remember… it’s far easier to grow government that shrink it … and that’s why Europe is facing such a mess.

      • My point regarding raising estate taxes was not to use that revenue to redistribute wealth. Indeed, the money could be spent anywhere, including paying down the debt. My point is that a high estate tax prevents wealth from being passed from one generation to the next. Having a low estate tax ensures that being born into a rich family will make you rich as well. This is the opposite of a meritocracy in which the idea is, if you want wealth, you have to work for it. And that is the formula for economic mobility.

        By the way, I agree with you that things are worse in Europe than in the U.S. But that is an argument for more government spending, not less. The outlook for Europe has dimmed as they have undertaken austerity measures and shrunken government spending. Once again, Keynes has been proven correct.

  4. Even in the global age and what I believe accurate predications of things such as the pebble theory or butterfly effect where every world event will have at least a minute impact in other areas, the history professor side of me always finds difficulty when comparing the US to other European countries in an “apple to apple” manner. I actually agree with both commenter’s, but my point is that the foundation of the US is different in that there has been and still is today a wide variety of cultures and beliefs within the borders yet the political system since the ratification of the Constitution has always been a two-party system with the sole exception being a brief period following the War of 1812. With all of the remapping of Europe throughout the years, countries, regions, or people can still find pluralities in a particular historical identity. That is not the case in the US as what is an American? In many “free” political systems in Europe you have a multitude of political factions which necessitates a different line of thought for the ruling party to maintain power.

    I am not in favor of a redistribution of wealth whether conducted in a Huey Long fashion or that of a Robin Hood. I am for a balancing of power. Many, not all, but many of the financially powerful received government help through various programs and incentives. An oversimplification from our time-period would be the Wal-Mart phenomenon or not too long ago in my home Parish the Bass Pro controversy. Through volume Wal-Mart could offer lower prices than the local Mom and Pop and main street businesses. As time passed, those businesses closed and Wal-Mart had established a virtual monopoly. Today, the perception of having a new Wal-Mart has changed in many areas. Bass Pro at this particular location received a number of tax credits and incentives to build. The issue was that other businesses selling the same merchandise never received the same credits and incentives. Even if they did match prices, their tax liabilities cut any profit. In many areas, the level of employment did not increase as those who had owned or worked at local businesses which closed went to work at the larger business but at a lower salary and with fewer benefits.

    Some may argue, Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest, but because government provided incentives or breaks helped create the fittest is it a “free market” by the popular not accurate definition. Is government involvement in assisting big business or providing disaster relief “socialism” again by the popular and not accurate definition? Personally, I find so many similarities to the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Supreme Court’s decision in Northern Securities did not kill business but established a precedent to limit the power of oligopolies. The breakup of Standard Oil did not cripple and neither did laws such as Hepburn and Adamson. Likewise, post WWII was one of the most innovative and prosperous eras in the history of the US yet the tax rates were significantly higher and did not restrict economic growth.

    I do think the tax code needs to be simplified in terms of credits and deductions. A flat tax might look good on paper, but in reality would not work just as ideas of having only a national sales tax or something similar will not work. People argue that the wealthiest pay a higher percentage of taxes collected. The focus, however, should not be on percentage of what is collected but what percentage of one’s’ assets one pays. If I had $10,000 it might sound worse if I lost 90 percent of that but I’m still happier than if I had $100 and lost only 10 percent of that. That’s not an argument for redistribution; it is a variable on how that money was obtained. Did I benefit from a government program to increase my gains or lower my obligations?

    For me the key is rooted in some Progressive ideology in that we do not need bigger government or smaller government but a more efficient government. Yes there are some who want something for nothing and take advantage of the system at the low end. On, the high end there are also those taking advantage of the system. Why should someone with a net worth listed above $50 million receive government benefits in excess of $200 thousand per year to not plant crops on land which has not been farmed for at least 50 years? Why are groups with a primary activity being to influence voting through the usage of television spots and other media able to be considered nonprofit? Why do we have virtually no restrictions or accountability on bundling with the establishment of Super PACs?

    Can a utopian country exist? No, but a recognition that abuses take place at both extremes of the economic spectrum would help the American Dream. Attempts at trying to fix the issues from the middle out have only widened the chasm while previous attempts at fixing issues from the bottom up result in saving drops of water from a crack while gallons are wasted from an open end.

    Do I have solutions? No, and I don’t think anyone else has either as things are too complex. Can the problems be decreased? Yes, but only if we (government and people) accept and recognize the problems instead of concentrating on either who to blame or what is often the case of working on solutions which only affect the symptoms or what’s readily visible. In today’s world would any major national infrastructure program have a chance? Even with all of the issues, positive and negative, post WWII the Interstate Highway System began. Sadly, I doubt our political climate today would allow an undertaking that would promote better opportunities of earning the American Dream unless a favored group could be assured of receiving more financial gain than other groups in such a Federal undertaking.

    • “Sadly, I doubt our political climate today would allow an undertaking that would promote better opportunities of earning the American Dream…” Richard, I certainly agree with you but I would like your perspective on why our political climate has become so polarized. Is it due to gerrymandering? A polarization of the electorate as they increasingly get their news from sources that support their views? Or the Republican Party moving farther away from the Democrats as a result of the influence of the Tea Party?

      (from Jim Yates (for some reason I can’t use my Facebook login))

      • Jim, this modern polarization is something hard to grasp from an historical perspective. Traditionally in our 2 Party system we have seen each Party “evolve” where they begin to embrace the stance of the opposition in future elections until the next cycle of issues develop. Personally, I do not believe gerrymandering to be issues at the national level as newly drawn Congressional lines favoring one Party or the other are for the most part balanced out with one Party benefitting in a state with increased representation and the other benefitting in a state that loses a seat. The Party with the gain or lost simply results from which has the majority in the state at the given time. Also, the Senate is not subject to gerrymandering. At state and local levels, however, gerrymandering can play a significant role in polarization whether it is by Party, race, economics, and even mappings based on religious affiliations. Roger would probably disagree with me, but that county is a prime example of polarization that hurts everyone and everything.

        The death of journalism with the emphasis of getting the story out first instead of getting the whole story plays a role as does the highly polarized media outlets relying upon shock and emotion to increase their audiences. The Republican Party has moved farther to the right at a faster rate than Democrats have moved to the left. A case can be made that many Democrats are what would have been termed as Centrists in the past. When looking solely at numbers and platforms without attributing those figures to an individual, it amazes some in regards to Obama. Some of my friends have tested both undergrads and grad students using those methods and quite a few Obama haters actually supported his positions while an almost equal number of Obama supporters had issues with the positions he has taken as President. Many people will not admit it, but I’ll argue that race does play a factor. Given the atmosphere in 2008, some will favor the President regardless of actions while a similar number will criticize even if he follows their ideology to the letter.

        I do not have enough data to make an academic argument, but I’ll add two additional factors to the increased polarization. First is the watering down of education systems, especially K through 12. Teachers are not given an opportunity to educate, and the system has few allowances for necessary training to enter a profession. I’m referring to universities and not CCs here, but the same polarization about whether it should be training or critical thinking based also exists. My view is that the most successful regardless of major or future occupation has a combination and not an either/or of the two. Systems, however, are moving more rapidly to one idea or the other depending upon their foundations and alumni. Succinctly on the academic argument: too many people only repeat what someone else has told them instead of taking the time to study different sources to make their own opinions.

        The second factor is the demise of the “Solid South.” Before Reagan, a Republican in the South was still regarded as a carpetbagger, scalawag, or was affiliated with some extreme radical group. While every Southern state delegation was Democrat, there were wide ranges of political ideology within the Party. If you look at older Congressional Records, you will see the majority of contested legislation passed being on a regional basis or some factor other than Party. Practically every Congress had a Democrat majority, but some of those Congresses would be regarded as more conservative today than all but the most extreme Tea Party individual. Given the atmosphere, the key to passing any legislation was a Congressman’s ability to compromise and make deals to get the necessary votes. Just in the 10+ years that I was not directly involved in government legislation at the state level, the term compromise has gone from expected and understood to “what’s that mean” to today’s definition of “radical, possibly Satanic, and a threat to whatever you personally deem as acceptable behavior.” Also, it is sickening how quickly someone here in DC states one position for the camera but then does everything possible behind the scenes to make sure any discussion of that position does not reach the floor of either House or Senate. Louisiana is currently beyond rational comprehension.

        The term “Blue Dog Democrat” is more modern, but it and “Boll Weevil Democrat” are a couple of monikers you can look up to better understand the ideological mix among Southern Democrats beginning in the 20th century.

  5. I enjoyed reading your comments on education and the Solid South. I had not heard these arguments before.

    I thought, however, that the issue with gerrymandering was the following. If a party has a safe district then that party’s voters in the primary do not have to worry about the issue of electability in the general election. Therefore, they are more likely to vote for a more extreme candidate than they would do otherwise. This leads to more conservative Republicans and more liberal Democrats being elected and, hence, more polarization in the House.

    • Jim, I would argue that you are correct on that aspect of gerrymandering benefitting the more extreme candidates. While not a result of gerrymandering, the 1991 gubernatorial election in LA is an example of the idea. At the time LA still had a system which I favor: if a candidate receives a majority vote in the 1st election the candidate wins office; if no candidate receives a majority the top 2 finishers compete in a runoff election. Political party affiliations did not matter. Everyone competed in the 1st race against one another and a 2nd race took place only if needed. That election featured a number of candidates regarded as moderate such as the incumbent Buddy Roemer. It also had the extreme radical right represented by David Duke. Former Governor Edwin Edwards who was the last true Governor in terms of being a Long Democrat (part of the Huey and Earl Long legacy) taking on the anti-Long Democrats (sometimes regarded as Reform Governors such as Robert Kennon and Jimmie Davis) sought to avenge his loss to Roemer. Essentially, the middle candidates split their votes which allowed for a head to head matchup between Edwards and Duke which Edwards won easily.

      For a short intro: http://www.nola.com/175years/index.ssf/2012/01/1991_david_duke_and_edwin_edwa.html

      For an atmosphere you just need to watch the opening remarks in this debate:

      Even with that extreme benefit being true, I think that today’s climate is influenced more by what is already taking place in Washington in terms of Party leadership and more importantly funds pushed to Congressional campaigns by Super PACs and 501c groups. Just my opinion, but I think the polarization has already developed to a stage on the right where a moderate faces an uphill battle to just combat the propaganda regardless of voting record if an incumbent or platform if seeking office. LA faced this same situation when Republicans became not the party of David Duke and similar, but an acceptable ideology of a Reagan or Bush Sr. Many members of Congress changed Party affiliation and Republicans became able to win at state and local levels. Many very conservative Democrat incumbents in the state legislature who chose not to change Party were labeled as Liberal solely because of Party. With the older electorate fading out, the concept of always “Strike the Rooster” often put more Liberal Republicans in office under the veil of Reagan Conservatism while the true Conservative Democrat lost solely from Party propaganda. (In Louisiana the Rooster was the dominant Democratic Party symbol with a huge debate in the Presidential election of 48 on whether Thurmond or Truman would have the Rooster symbol).

  6. Your gubernatorial election example is a good example of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem.

    • Good reminder to find my old copy of Decisions and Elections; Explaining the Unexpected. Jen is teaching a cross discipline course this semester with a math prof: Counting Votes and Making Votes Count. I’m guessing they will be getting into Arrow.

Comments are closed.