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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/11/12

Low Information Voters - the Republican Electoral Base

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The Republican Party has become the nation's repository for low-information-voters (LIVs). Its evolution into its present form started in the late 1960s when it initiated its "southern strategy"; i.e. after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 it started to wean southern segregationists from what had been the Southern Democratic party's "Solid South" - the "Dixiecrats."

These new Republicans were often "single-issue" voters. No matter what other concerns they might have they would tend to support the candidate who, through overt or covert signals, validated their own biases.

Over the years other disgruntled groups were brought into the Republican fold; anti-abortionists, creationists, homophobes, anti-immigrationists, and others. The addition of these groups expanded the party's platform to include their concerns as planks. LIVs are today's counterpart of the Nativists and "Know-Nothings" of the 19 th century

But one shouldn't conclude that inclusion of the concerns of the LIVs has in any degree caused the power structure of the Republican Party to moderate its longstanding goal of privatizing every Federal program that could conceivably result in a profit for some wealthy interest. Rank and file voters are simply warm bodies to provide votes to elect candidates who will do the bidding of the oligarches.

The big kahuna of government programs to be privatized is Social-Security/Medicare with 3 trillion dollars of current assets and scores of trillions of dollars of future income to be controlled by a very small group of oligarches, primarily multi-billionaire Wall Street bankers and investors.

The Postal Service is another multi-trillion dollar business that's on the table for total privatization (its current status is that of a semi-private corporation tightly controlled by specific Federal laws). We have recently seen congressional Republicans enacting provisions that will result in dissolution of the Service as a government managed operation and its reestablishment as a privately owned company much like UPS or FedEx.

Other privatization objectives include the privatization of prisons, National Parks and forests, TVA, the Intestate highway system, dams, bridges, schools, water supply systems, ... even large parts of the military; in short any government operation that somebody might be able to make a buck from - a system of potentates and peasants.

Republican LIVs are continually bombarded with propaganda from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News (among many others) to the effect that government is wasteful, inefficient and self-serving while the "invisible hand of the free-market" is almost magical in its power to make life pleasant for anyone willing to strive to improve his condition. Ask most LIVs whether government or business is more efficient and their knee-jerk response will be: "Business, of course".

Ronald Reagan (the "great communicator") was a key spokesman for this attitude. We recall his oft-quoted witticism, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" For Republican LIVs their reflex response is a droll "How true!" while rolling their eyes.

The attitude that government is "bad" is something that LIVs claim to agree on without thinking about it. It's something like saying the Lord's Prayer or the Pledge of Allegiance; the words just fall from their lips without ever giving a second thought to their implications. A large part of LIV's eagerness to minimize or even eliminate government is rooted in taxation; they resent their money being taken from them for services that they don't understand, disapprove of, believe are incompetently managed or don't see how they personally get any benefit from. Interestingly they seldom raise much objection to hundreds of billions of dollars spent on military adventurism and spying.

The idea that "we're all in this together" is discouraged by two thirds of the Republican party's self-proclaimed "intellectuals" in corporation-supported propaganda mills such as the Heritage Foundation (now headed by that intellectual giant, Jim DeMint!), the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and others. LIVs are encouraged to effect a "You're On Your Own" (YOYO) attitude toward social relationships. They end up believing the myth that people are poor because of their lack of character; they get pretty much what they deserve. Paradoxically they often loudly proclaim their love of the one who told a rich man, "...go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (... like his LIV counterpart, the man didn't!) - Mark 10: 21-22.


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Bob Regl Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bob is a retired engineer and lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He contributed significantly to the post-Challenger redesign of the solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle.
He has taught engineering at several universities and was (more...)
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