If you consider yourself a liberal/progressive, you’ve probably often wondered why so many conservatives seem to vote against their own self interests. After all, there are millions of poor and middle class Americans who vote for a party that literally advocates for policies that help no one but the rich, at the expense of everyone else.
I can’t count how many times I’ve met a conservative who relies on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or some other government program to survive who still continues to support a party that desperately tries to cut or flat-out eliminate many of these programs. Not only that, but it’s comically hypocritical for someone who’s living off a program such as Social Security to claim that they don’t need the government to do anything for them.
But while it’s undeniable that this phenomenon is maddening, it’s really not all that complicated to figure out. Republicans are masters at distracting their voters with “shiny objects” so that many of them will never really think about all the damage their own party is doing to not only this country, but to their own personal lives.
So, I thought I’d list 5 of the issues Republicans often use to distract their voters into voting against their own interests.
1. Religion: This one is a no-brainer. Throughout human history religion has been the go-to method for manipulating large groups of people the easiest. Basically, if you want the most effective way to control people and get them to act completely irrationally, religion is your best bet – which is exactly what the GOP does.
2. Abortion: While this one is sort of tied in with religion, it’s really more about controlling women. Because I can promise you this much, if men were the ones getting pregnant – there wouldn’t be any “debate” over the legalities of abortion. It would be legal and most Republicans would happily embrace it. Not only that, the “debate” over abortion was decided over 40 years ago by the Supreme Court. Republicans just use this abortion rhetoric to get people worked up over an issue that was decided almost a half century ago.
3. Anti-poor propaganda: It’s amazing how Republicans are quick to vilify the poor who rely on government programs to survive, often playing up rhetoric that typically goes something like, “Your hard-earned tax dollars going to some moocher who doesn’t want to work” – yet they never seem to mention that some of the biggest and wealthiest corporations in this country receive a massive amount of benefits from the government via loopholes in our tax code or federal subsidies. When you get right down to it, these are essentially just various forms of corporate welfare. But, yes, by all means let’s continue to focus on the small percentage of Americans who abuse programs like SNAP or Medicaid – just please don’t ask how these highly profitable companies got away with essentially paying no income tax.
4. Guns: In this country we can’t even begin to have a reasonable debate about gun violence because Republicans are too busy selling the idea that, at any moment, Americans are going to need our 300 million+ guns we currently have in our society so that we can rise up and defend ourselves against burglars, Islamic radicals, the U.S. military or pretty much anything else they can use to terrify people. Meanwhile, they push the ridiculous idea that guns make us safer – even though we lead the modern world in gun violence and have the most guns of any comparable nation. So, if guns truly made us safer, we should rank last in gun violence – not first.
5. Traditional American values are under attack: This is basically code for “straight, white Christian males are slowly losing their dominance over the rest of society.” The truth is, this county doesn’t have any “traditional values.” We’ve always been a nation of progress and growth – even if it happens at a much slower pace than what many of us would like. From ending slavery, to women’s suffrage, to desegregation to legalizing same-sex marriage – we’re always evolving from our not-so-great “traditions” of the past.