A friend of mine, Roger Thomas, brought this article to my attention. It is the best explanation I have read as to some voting habits people have, and explains to my satisfaction some puzzling choices people make over many years. Since I majored in psychology and sociology (with a minor in anthropology) as an undergraduate, I see that this article has solid basis in theory. Even if my student years are decades in the past, many theories still have currency. This article exposes some of them.
|Jewish World Review Sept. 28, 2010 / 20 Tishrei, 5771
If You Are Not a Leftist, Why Are You Voting Democrat?
By Dennis Prager
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com |All Americans, including conservatives, understand why any leftist would vote Democrat this year. The Democratic Party is now America’s version of a European Social Democratic or even Green Party. In domestic policy, there is no significant difference between the American and European parties.
So there is no question as to why those on the left would vote Democrat. There is, however, a legitimate question regarding non-leftist Americans — why would any of them vote for a Democrat this year?
The Democratic president and Democratic Party have expanded the American government to an unprecedented extent. Moreover, they have done so in unprecedented ways: Never before has such extensive society-changing legislation been passed without a single vote of the other political party; and unprecedentedly vast powers have been given to “czars” and their new federal agencies — with no congressional oversight. Add to this a level of national debt that is unsustainable — but meets the left’s great aim of redistributing wealth — and you have the most left-wing government in American history.
Why then would any of the vast majority of Americans who are not leftists vote Democratic this year?
The answer lies in emotion. For many non-leftist Democrats, it is emotionally impossible to vote Republican.
I can illustrate this best with a personal example that I often use in speeches to Jewish audiences.
I was raised both as an Orthodox Jew and a liberal Democrat. In my early 20s, not wanting to practice religious laws solely out of habit or fear, I experimented with religious non-observance.
I remember well the one time this yeshiva graduate ate ham. It was emotionally difficult.
I also well remember the first time this lifelong Democrat voted Republican. And it, too, was difficult. In fact, it was actually more emotionally difficult to vote Republican than to eat the ham.
Now, how could that be? How could it possibly have been more emotionally trying for a lifelong Democrat to vote Republican than for a lifelong observant Jew to eat ham? Isn’t religion a far deeper conviction than politics?
The question implies the answer.
Liberalism and leftism are religions. While I felt I would be sinning against God when I tasted ham, I was certain I was sinning against both God and man were I to vote Republican.
That is how liberals, not to mention leftists, think: It is a grievous sin to vote Republican (unless the Republican is a liberal). One is abandoning their faith, values, community and very identity.
But it is more than that. What keeps most non-leftists voting Democrat (and calling themselves liberal) has been the spectacularly effective saturation of virtually all media and all educational institutions with the message that the right is mean spirited and dangerous.
One of the first books I ever owned — in high school — was titled “Danger on the Right.” Throughout the world, people are fed the message “Danger on the Right” — and virtually never “Danger on the Left,” despite the left’s far bloodier and more totalitarian record.
The majority of people who vote Democratic do not have left-wing values. Only 20 percent of Americans even consider themselves liberal. But vast numbers of people with views that are not leftist have been effectively brainwashed (one cannot come up with a more accurate word) into fearing the right when the threats to their liberty, as well as to America’s standing in the world, its exceptionalism and its economic future all emanate from the left.
That is why nearly all Democratic and leftist reactions to conservatives and Republicans are to avoid argument (remember, on the issues the left has few supporters) and smear them as SIXHIRB, my acronym for “Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted.” It is almost impossible to come up with the name of a leading conservative whom the dominant media have not dismissed as one or more of SIXHIRB — and usually as a buffoon as well. This obviously serves the left and the Democratic Party in many ways. But the most important is to keep non-leftists in fear of anyone who opposes the left. In effect, the left says, and has been saying for a hundred years, “You may not agree with us, but our opponents are evil.”
The Democratic appeal to black voters provides an excellent example. In nearly half a century, the left has done nothing for black America. Leftists have ruined the cities they govern and most of the public schools they control. But they have mastered one thing — the ability to paint their opponents as racist opponents of blacks. So, blacks, many of whom have conservative values — from opposing same-sex marriage to supporting school vouchers — vote almost universally for the left.
The same holds true of most American Jews. Most live profoundly conservative lives but vote left. Why? Overwhelmingly because they believe there is “Danger on the Right.” It doesn’t matter how anti-Israel the left is and how pro-Israel the right is, or that liberal Time magazine has a mendacious cover story on “Why Israel Doesn’t Care about Peace,” while every major conservative periodical is passionately protective of Israel. For most Jews, voting Republican is a far greater sin, emotionally, morally and socially than eating ham.
That is why virtually every liberal columnist at The New York Times has described political opposition to Barack Obama as racist. The left cannot win on arguments. It must demonize its opponents. From Stalin calling Trotsky a Fascist to Frank Rich labeling the tea parties as mimicking the Nazis’ Kristallnacht, this has been the favored leftist method of achieving power. And that is why it remains so hard for most Democrats to vote what they believe and vote Republican — a lifetime of demonization has worked.