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Thread: Why Do People Vote Against Their Own Interests?

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    Why Do People Vote Against Their Own Interests?

    recent BBC piece from the perspective of a Democrat campaigner (so might annoy some of the conservative americans here ) but basically nothing factually wrong with the piece IMO.
    The article was accompaning the first of two short radio broadcasts the content of the programme is completely summarised by the piece;

    The Republicans' shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US.

    Political scientist Dr David Runciman gives his view on why there is often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

    Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.

    What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

    Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

    But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.

    In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

    Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

    Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

    Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies?

    It might be tempting to put the whole thing down to what the historian Richard Hofstadter back in the 1960s called "the paranoid style" of American politics, in which God, guns and race get mixed into a toxic stew of resentment at anything coming out of Washington.

    But that would be a mistake.

    If people vote against their own interests, it is not because they do not understand what is in their interest or have not yet had it properly explained to them.

    They do it because they resent having their interests decided for them by politicians who think they know best.

    There is nothing voters hate more than having things explained to them as though they were idiots.

    As the saying goes, in politics, when you are explaining, you are losing. And that makes anything as complex or as messy as healthcare reform a very hard sell.

    In his book The Political Brain, psychologist Drew Westen, an exasperated Democrat, tried to show why the Right often wins the argument even when the Left is confident that it has the facts on its side.

    He uses the following exchange from the first presidential debate between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000 to illustrate the perils of trying to explain to voters what will make them better off:

    Gore: "Under the governor's plan, if you kept the same fee for service that you have now under Medicare, your premiums would go up by between 18% and 47%, and that is the study of the Congressional plan that he's modelled his proposal on by the Medicare actuaries."

    Bush: "Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers.

    "I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the internet, but he invented the calculator. It's fuzzy math. It's trying to scare people in the voting booth." ( )

    A clear difference in the type of language used, even though Mr Bush, too, went on to talk numbers:

    "Under my tax plan, that [Gore] continues to criticize, I set a third -- the federal government should take no more than a third of anybody's check. But I also drop the bottom rate from 15 percent to 10 percent because by far the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder.

    "If you're a family of four in Massachusetts making $50,000 you get a 50 percent cut in the federal income taxes you pay. It's from 4,000 to about 2,000. Now, the difference in our plans is I want that 2,000 to go to you, and the vice president would like to be spending the 2,000 on your behalf."

    Mr Bush won the debate. With Mr. Gore's statistics, the voters just heard a patronising policy wonk, and switched off.

    For Mr Westen, stories always trump statistics, which means the politician with the best stories is going to win: "One of the fallacies that politicians often have on the Left is that things are obvious, when they are not obvious.

    "Obama's administration made a tremendous mistake by not immediately branding the economic collapse that we had just had as the Republicans' Depression, caused by the Bush administration's ideology of unregulated greed. The result is that now people blame him."

    Thomas Frank, the author of the best-selling book What's The Matter with Kansas, is an even more exasperated Democrat and he goes further than Mr Westen.

    He believes that the voters' preference for emotional engagement over reasonable argument has allowed the Republican Party to blind them to their own real interests.

    The Republicans have learnt how to stoke up resentment against the patronising liberal elite, all those do-gooders who assume they know what poor people ought to be thinking.

    Right-wing politics has become a vehicle for channelling this popular anger against intellectual snobs. The result is that many of America's poorest citizens have a deep emotional attachment to a party that serves the interests of its richest.

    Thomas Frank says that whatever disadvantaged Americans think they are voting for, they get something quite different:

    "You vote to strike a blow against elitism and you receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our life times, workers have been stripped of power, and CEOs are rewarded in a manner that is beyond imagining.

    "It's like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy."

    As Mr Frank sees it, authenticity has replaced economics as the driving force of modern politics. The authentic politicians are the ones who sound like they are speaking from the gut, not the cerebral cortex. Of course, they might be faking it, but it is no joke to say that in contemporary politics, if you can fake sincerity, you have got it made.

    And the ultimate sin in modern politics is appearing to take the voters for granted.

    This is a culture war but it is not simply being driven by differences over abortion, or religion, or patriotism. And it is not simply Red states vs. Blue states any more. It is a war on the entire political culture, on the arrogance of politicians, on their slipperiness and lack of principle, on their endless deal making and compromises.

    And when the politicians say to the people protesting: 'But we're doing this for you', that just makes it worse. In fact, that seems to be what makes them angriest of all.
    [[original]]

    the second programme discussed inheritance tax, claiming that most of the public oppose it even though it impacts primarily the 'super-rich', but it was used by Republican (US) and Conservatives as a 'public issue' to claw back some 'respect' from the voters, and the emotive labelling of it as 'death tax' was a key part of this. (GB) shadow chancellor George Osborne was soundbited on inheritance tax: 'hits the aspirational' 'hits people passing on to their families' (I also wrote in my notes 'vomit inducing rhetoric', so I guess the way he said it was exceptionally dumb or something but I didn't get that down) - however, only 3% of estates qualify for inheritance tax yet this still struck a chord with the general public.
    the point was made that 'data didn't matter, but the stories that people could tell about the tax did.'
    (I tried to make notes on the programme while listening to it but got lazy and now my notes don't make much sense when I'm making this post 1 month later, so I'll just copy & paste and comment )
    'Drew Weston' - author of 'the political brain', expert on emotion.
    says Conservatives are coming from a business background and UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF MARKETING. So better at it.
    quote: "they understand the importance of marketing, and understand that people aren't in fact primarily making rational decisions, what they're doing is sizing up candidates and policies from a standpoint that says 'how does this make me feel?'
    - I thought this was an important point, highlighting how modern democratic politics are essentially a commercial marketing campaign to 'herd the sheep' into 'buying your product', rather than the people leading policy with their own 'rational free will' and votes (this assumption is wrong and the #1 problem at the moment with today's 'individuality' and 'free will'-centric idelogies IMO).

    left fought back and switched people off by 'explaining'. what are needing are 'stories'.
    eg Gordon Brown fought successfully back with 'class war' stories/rhetoric...
    ...
    'in some ways trying to satisfy the electorate can be more like trying to deal with teenagers then rational utility maximisers.

    Didn't put down who said the final quote but I put it there because I agree with it, of course (and again, thinking of people as 'rational utility maximisers' is a mistake IMO).

    It's worth comparing the 'realization' of the above leftist authors to a magazine article by Italian Fascists in the 20's;
    The mysticism of Fascism is the proof of its triumph. Reasoning does not communicate, emotion does. Reasoning convinces, it does not attract. Blood is stronger than syllogisms. Science claims to explain away miracles, but in the eyes of the crowd the miracle remains: it seduces and creates converts.

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    Liberals are so clueless. We don't want more power for the aristocracy, we want less power for the marxist idiots and more for ourselves.

    And by the way, any White person who votes democrat in this country is voting against his or her interests, because democrats, like labour in Britain, are fervently, psychotically, anti-White. Not that the emasculated PC republicans are any better, though.

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    And that makes anything as complex or as messy as healthcare reform a very hard sell.
    Well, this topic is a two sided sword. I think people do indeed realise that it could help them, and that it would probably be worth the pay.

    Still, when America is clever, they reject it, for several reasons. When you want to learn where such a system ends, just look at Germany. We are robbed of about 65% of our income, to pay health insurance, retirement insurance, unemployment insurance, care insurance and different levels of taxes (according to income level, which meanwhile means here that the rich pay almost none and the lower income levels carry the lion share; madness: many people with a job get additional welfare to survive), plus 20% VAT on everything you buy, plus 16% insurance tax for all the other insurances you "need" (car insurance, legal protection, private retirement, life insurance...), plus ridiculous extra taxes on some goods. An earned Euro is worth about 10 Cents.

    All these insurances doesnt lead to that you dont pay medicine or other things still yourself. There is a practice fee when you visit the doc, there is your share when you're delivered into hospital, there is a prescription fee or you pay some medicaments anyway yourself. When you need care you get a small part of your costs paid by the insurance, of course there are lists that state the "worth" of any service done, toilet 1,60, bathing 3,10, feeding 1,20 or something.
    Really everything is "budgeted" (not only health care but really everything), and when you're unlucky and you need a service that has run short of budget for this year, you just dont get it.

    This is where such an established system ends, when it runs for 60 years.

    And in case of America there is another problem. While people might indeed regocnise a certain value for themselves, does it really outweigh the fact that most of those payments would be spend on (illegal) immigrants? I dont think so. And it is this what messes up the in itself not that bad system here too. Due to massive spending of money collected for these purposes to immigrants, who have never and will never add anything themselves back into the system, the costs explode, fasten the export of actual jobs to cheaper countries (burdening the systems more and reducing the influx at the same time). This has set up a spiral that goes down in highspeed.

    This is a system that works fine in a healthy and homogenous country with a strong economy and almost no unemployed people. Such a system in a country with open borders is the dead shot to economy though.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
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    If a stranger offers you candy you are unlikely to take it even if the candy looks tempting. If the person offering you candy is known by you to be an immoral jerk you are also unlikely to accept it. Accepting "help" from someone you despise is difficult, you'd rather be without it and instead try to do it yourself.

    Why people would be voting against what is known in leftist circles as "their interests" is difficult to explain. It depends on so many variables. How knowledgeable is the person about politics in the bigger picture? Does he get the concept of there not being any such thing as a free lunch and is basing his opposition on this fact?

    If the person is disinterested and doesn't connect any dots nor views things within a larger framework of thinking then to reject something that benefits him directly might be considered irrational as such a person would have very little reason to not jump into the arms of the first person promising economical improvements. But to say how many individuals this applies to is impossible without any data.

    If they are doing it out of principle, in defence of the American way of life, then I can only applaud them for not buying into the leftist scam of wellfare coupled with marxist cultural poison, dependance instead of independence and a crippling of the economy.

    "Class interest" is how marxists gather support for their insanity. Convince people that it is in their interest to support the left because then the state will take care of you and your children and grand children from the cradle to the grave. All you have to do is to give up everything you are, everything you were and will ever be. The left then dictates what the nation will look like, what the people will look like, what the culture will look like and what the future will look like. It comes in a package, you can't pick the raisins out of the cake, you must buy the whole lot.

    Therefor I consider any opposition, on any level, against socialism to be a sign of mental health and strenght, something to be applauded and supported.

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    Why do people vote? They must be daft.....

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    I understand that most democrats are not evil people who try to screw you, but those suggestions don't come from them but in the case of health care it came from a jew. Everyone who reads his biography and thoughts should be rightfully scared. Democrats are only used to bring that peace of sh.... among the people and sell it as the golden cow to people they all can benefit from.

    The best idea would be to control insurance companies and force them to offer different insurances (as most already do) so that people can afford at least some insurance.

    America had medicare (California mediCal) which worked holter di polter but because of its vast regulations it contained a lot of injustice.

    I personally won't fight a reform in healthcare which earns this name and which would be really beneficially for most people. But with this reform it is only a plot to make big pharmacy and healt insurances richer.

    Even Doctors are against the healthcare.

    What is clear is that America has one of the highest health care cost in the world. (don't know Germany's but I think they are close). To find measures to reduce the cost is something I would expect not something to rev up the cost for ordinary working folks.

    The reason why people voted against the socialist healthcare plot because they have a clearer mind then most undying liberals who have a heart for minorities, illegal immigrants and so on.

    People simply know that they are getting screwed and they are getting angry. And I hope they are getting by far more angry.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    some sort of pathological guilt

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    Because!
    Heartland Americans do not support, Eastern Establishment Jews, anymore than Estinain, or Ukrainians, or Serbians or Finns supported the Bolshevik Jewish Communist Leadership of the USSR in Moscow.

    One thing we should point out though is that it was the Democrats that have been on a drive to use the Heath Insurance Company's to drive up the cost of health care in the US since the 1990's when the Clinton introduced "Hillery Care".

    So it depends on your definition of who is an American, the descendants of the US founding Fathers, who were mostly Anglo Saxons. OR Eastern European Reform Jewish communist.

    In my opinion Eastern European Semitics are not Americans, nor have they bothered to fit into the culture or obey the constitutional Law.
    So in reality they are just another version of "Illegal" who have wormed there way into traditionally American institutions, because of a lack of controls to keep them out.

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