Americans treat elections like sports. I suspect many nations do. We have favorites, not for logical reasons but for the emotion we have applied to them.
I loved Roosevelt because everyone did. What did I know? I was only ten years old when he died. Later, I learned about the SS St. Louis and his not bombing the railroad tracks to the concentration camps. I stopped even liking him.
I liked Truman until I learned about his antisemitic wife. I still like him, but less.
I liked Ike a bit. I felt he was more a politician than a leader, both in the military and as President.
I loved Kennedy until I learned about his private life.
I hated Johnson. Later, when I added up all he accomplished, I decided he was one of the top three Presidents in U.S. history, though Vietnam killed his reputation.
I was ambivalent about Nixon and soon decided he was pretty good. At least he was more intelligent than most. Today, his support for a burglary would have been defended by 100% of the Republican party, and he never would have been forced from office. Back then, the GOP really was the party of law and order.
I thought Ford was weak and later decided he was strong. I think he could have become a fine President, given time.
I hated Jimmy Carter and still do. I like him more for his post-presidential work than for his Presidency.
I loved Reagan, but now I believe he was a phony.
I liked the elder Bush until he foolishly raised taxes after correctly promising not to.
I liked Bill Clinton until I realized his federal surpluses killed the American economy and caused the Bush II recession.
As for Bush II, eh. Eight wasted years. He attempted self-promotion and was terrible at that, too.
I was massively disappointed in Obama. I had thought he cared about the poor, but he was a proponent of federal austerity. I hope his library never gets built.
As for Trump, even before he was elected President, I wrote articles saying he was the 2nd coming of Hitler. Thank heavens he was dumb and lazy, or he would have been Hitler. I hope his library gets built in an underground bunker, where he is forced to live out his miserable life.
Finally, contrary to the pundits and the majority of Americans, I predict Biden will be remembered as one of our most effective Presidents, who despite a fascist GOP, will have accomplished more than any President since Johnson.
Because I’m aware the federal government has infinite money, and federal spending does not cause inflations, I lean more liberal than conservative. It will require a Democratic Congress and President to give us Medicare for All, Social Security for All, College for All, and the end of hunger in America. The Republicans won’t do it.
Before I became a permanent resident of Florida last year, I was a Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks fan, but now care nothing for any of them. I still am a fan of Andy Pafko, however, though he stopped playing many, many years ago.
All of this came to mind what a friend told me she was an ardent Republican.
I asked why, and a puzzled look crossed her face. She hadn’t thought about why. Her family had voted Republican for ages.
Again, I asked why, and she had no idea, but said she probably would vote Republican, again.
I was a Cubs fan though the Cubs never did anything for me. So why was I a fan? Because I was a Chicagoan? Sure, but they were terrible, with Andy and without him. What made me scream with delight when they infrequently won, and why was I so blue all those times they lost. How did their wins and losses affect my life?
Looked at objectively, the Cubs were a terrible team, unworthy of anyone’s adulation. Looked at objectively, the Republicans are an awful party, which does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of Americans. It clearly is the party of the rich, along with being the more immoral and dishonest of the two major parties. Their unwavering support for an obvious traitor is disgusting.
And Donald Trump, who unquestionably is the least honest, least intelligent, least patriotic, most dangerous-to-America of any past President, received over 70 million votes, mostly from people who “always vote Republican.”
There is no logic, but there is a reason: We are programmed to root. We root for our home state and city, our school, our sports teams, our friends and relatives, our company, and our favorite celebrity. But why?
Do other animals root?
Perhaps, as we’re social animals, we gain an evolutionary advantage if a member of our group wins in some way.
Could it be that if you consider yourself a Republican, you sense you have an evolutionary advantage if a Republican wins? That somehow, this strengthens your group, and this makes you safer?
It still begs the question, “Why do you consider yourself a Republican. What has the GOP done for you or those you care about?”
Consider the case of Herschel Walker. He received about half the votes. Half the votes! Do all those people really believe he would have been the better choice for Senator? Do they really want him to be their leader or representative?
We tend to vote for those who are like us. Whites tend to vote for whites; blacks tend to vote for blacks, Hispanic for Hispanics, Jews for Jews, men for men. The list goes on. But Herschel Walker is an immoral, brain-dead, nincompoop, who can’t put together two meaningful sentences.
Does that mean half the voters in Georgia are immoral, brain-dead nincompoops, who can’t put together two meaningful sentences? In what universe does even one intelligent person vote for Herschel Walker to represent the interests of Georgian people?
H. L. Mencken wrote:
“No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have searched the records for years and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.
“Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby. The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”
Mencken surely was talking about Donald Trump / Herschel Walker / Greene GOP voters. Right?
I suspect Mencken was wrong. It’s not lack of intelligence; it’s some other force. Plenty of intelligent people vote for Republicans.
I suspect there are several reasons for illogical voting:
- You wish for acceptance. If you have one group where you have friends and relatives, you will drift to that group.
- Changing groups is hard. Once you have committed to a group, staying with that group takes no effort. It is comfortable. Changing groups requires effort plus the admission you were wrong.
- Changing groups requires you to be an alien, which is uncomfortable.
- Your status has changed. Perhaps circumstance has made you poorer, but you hate to admit it. So, you stay with your former group. It would be like quitting your country club because you lost money, and no longer can afford the dues.
- You aspire to be in a group, so you do the things the group does. You so want to be rich you join a group you can’t afford, so you can be among the rich.
- You aren’t actually voting for anyone. You are casting “against” votes, the lesser of two evils.
The sad lesson for both political parties is to put forth candidates whom the voters wish to emulate, not necessarily candidates who will do the better job.
A classic example for the Democrats would be Jack Kennedy, a relatively inexperienced politician who people wished to copy. He was a mediocre President, but he lived an attractive lifestyle. He was loved for his charisma.
Donald Trump seems charismatic to his base, though now that he has proved himself to be a repeated loser, whiner, and criminal, that sheen may be dulling.
It would be a blessing for America if we could prove Mencken wrong, but we are far from there. The votes cast for the likes of Herschel Walker, Marjorie Taylor Greene,, Jim Jordan, and indeed the majority of the Republican Party, leave me doubtful about future voter intelligence and sanity.
And if this post makes you angry, you have proved my point.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
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The Sole Purpose of Government Is to Improve and Protect the Lives of the People.