Your Assignment for Today…

…is to read Don Knebel’s most recent post at the Center for Civic Literacy blog.

You need to read the post in its entirety, but here’s the lead-in, to whet your appetite:

When some American reporters described the recent election in India as a victory for the Hindu Nationalist Party, an Indian comic tweeted that Indian reporters should begin referring to the Republican Party as the “Christian Nationalist Party.” The tweet was sarcastic, but nonetheless close to home. As the primary defeat of Virginia Representative Eric Cantor emphasizes, the current incarnation of the Republican Party is increasingly both Christian and nationalistic.

Don notes that today’s GOP is most popular among citizens with the least education and the lowest incomes, and posits that those are the Americans who are also the most fearful– those most threatened by immigration and social change in general.  He also notes that those citizens are also more likely to be Christians. (I would add a few descriptors: older, white, male, heterosexual…). And he concludes:

Ironically, the Republican Party, long considered the party of the rich, seems increasingly to be the party of the poor or at least the working poor. While Republicans continue to advocate for lower taxes and less government spending, because of the correlation between a state’s poverty and its likelihood of voting Republican, eight of the ten states most heavily dependent on federal assistance also voted Republican in the 2012 Presidential election. Who would have thought?

Read the whole thing.


  1. Don Knebel’s analysis seems to stray off the mark in suggesting that because the poorer states vote Republican, the poorer residents of those states do as well. In such states the poorest of the poor and even most of the working poor vote democrat or don’t vote at all. The state goes Republican because of the vote of the middle middle class and upwards.

  2. Our own (Christian) Taliban. Did you how the Right Wing Media totally ignored the story when two of their TRUE Believers executed two police officers in Vegas? These folks are scary. When the right feeds crazy stupid people with nonsense for year after year, some of them are going to act out. Does that worry you?

  3. Sounds very familiar to me. Reflects much of the research I did in your independent study class!

  4. Standing before a white, poorly educated (although he may have a degree), heterosexual person who is frightened to death of the changes in his world are two people. The first is a poor person who needs help; the second is a very rich man. To whom will he gravitate? Who does he believe will come to his aid?

    And thus the desperate white guy votes against his real best interests to saddle up to a rich man who, in the end, will ignore him.

  5. One technology that has gained increasing sophistication and success is that of buying votes. We’ve left behind the tried and true buying the befuddled a drink and sending them to the polls armed with a list of who to vote for and funding for the next drink and replaced it with advertising to needy groups who are open to the suggestion that their enemies are our enemies. Of course this was famously employed by Herr Hitler and company in the lead up to “The Big One”. Such conspiracy is hard to uncover in data, it’s meant to be obscure, but it can be inferred by consideration of what is common among groups voting for an agenda, and who benefits from implementation of the agenda.

    The GOP has clearly replaced their national political mission with one of acting as the brotherhood of the entitled elite. They need votes because their mission only benefits the few.

    Enter the evangelical Christians, the NRA, the global warmers, the militias, the anti everything worshipers of the past when might made right. Those befuddled by modernity.

    Stir in modern advertising based on branding. You are one of us or nobody.

    Funding the voter recruitment effort is big bucks but small
    compared to the prize. Ownership of the third world version of the greatest power on earth.

    We, the people, are called by history to defend freedom, read true democracy, and the notion that freedom is the absence of power.

    It has never been easy or for the faint hearted.

  6. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street crowd have some issues in common. Some folks campaign on emotional social issues to distract voters from the economic conditions and solutions that might cause them to vote otherwise. David Brat won by combining the two to bring folks back to economic reality.

    Brat campaigned against Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable while also stirring the anti-immigration pot as a sop to big business wanting cheap labor at the expense of American workers. According to the New Yorker, Brat told a small gathering at the Life Church in Hanover, Virginia, “If you’re in big business, he’s (Cantor) good for you. But if you’re in any other group, it’s not good for you.”

    Brat said he was against “big business in bed with big government”, both of which he felt were cheating ordinary Americans. As examples, he attacked farm subsidies for helping agribusiness more than family farmers and flood insurance for helping ‘gazillionaires” with expensive real estate on both coasts. Brat reportedly was more upset over the STOCK Act than any other issue. On the act to address insider trading by Members of Congress, Brat charged that Cantor “gutted” the STOCK Act by including an exception for congressional spouses.

    If the Tea Party and Occupy Wall street folks ever coalesce, they can take over government at all levels.

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