‘Why are people in the south Republican when they should be fiscally liberal?’

HUMAN 1
1. Lack of education means a lot of people can’t actually determine what economic policies are good for them or bad for them.

2. People who can’t discern the effects policy decisions will have on them latch onto any explanation that sounds adequate by people they trust and believe.

3. Politicians who wish to manipulate the uneducated and ignorant tell these people what they want to hear rather than present sound policy decisions because these people do not understand policies.

4. Once people have heard a politician tell them what they want to hear they will associate the policy decisions these politicians advocate for as being good for them.

5. When no one understands the effects certain policy decisions will have you can pretty much argue any policy decision as being good for anybody as long as you sound convincing. For example: “We should lower taxes to create jobs. With lower taxes more companies will have more money to create jobs.” People want to hear how they will get more jobs. Lowering taxes does mean companies will have more money so they could hire more people this ought to work.” Then people assume the job tbey get will be a good job so they don’t worry about social programs since they won’t need them once they have a job which lower taxes will get them.

If you’re saying education, you’re missing a step.

Southerners could have improved their school systems long ago.

White Southerners, and rural people in general, are voting for their interests. They’re just voting for their interests relatively instead of absolutely.

To feel like you’re doing better, you need to be doing better than someone else. It’s more important to put a floor under you and have people in a status you can never descend to—a status they can never climb from—because then you have security.

You can be as stupid, poor, criminal, drunk, etc., as you want, but at least you ain’t a ———. ‘I’m white trash, sure, and I’m a redneck, but I sure as fuck ain’t no ———.’

And that’s why you don’t want more government programs.

In the past, you could cut black people out entirely. You could make sure the minimum wage didn’t apply to them nor Social Security, and you could invest in dams that brought your part of town electrification but kept their ghettoes in the dark. Whatever. As long as the government is giving people like you things and not people like them, it’s just fine. If single-payer health care only applied to whites, we’d have a National Health Service tomorrow. You’d have to dress it up some, maybe, but if that were the underlying reality, there’d be no problem.

In the past, there was this enormous outpouring of government-directed funds and projects during the Great Depression, continuing with the Second World War, and even the Interstate Highway System. If black people had owned cars at the same rates as whites then and legally been allowed to stop at any gas station or eat at any restaurant they wanted, to stay in any town they cared to after dark, there might have been a fuss kicked up.

‘Why is the government trying to make it easier for these ———  to go wherever they damn please? Who knows what they’ll be up to? By the time you find out, they’ll be half a state away.’

Instead, the Interstate was an artery that allowed for easy travel by white people who didn’t’ need to buy a special green book to find out where they’d be safe to piss or eat a meal they hadn’t already prepared. Instead, the Interstate was used to drive down housing prices and dismember urban communities. (White communities had the representation and pull to get the arteries re-routed; then people could live outside of cities where it was ‘safe’ and drive into town when they needed.)

It’s only really when Lyndon Johnson started up his whole Civil Rights nonsense and making sure the Great Society applied to everyone that rural people and Southerners stopped liking government money coming in for things. Because now it was going to get spent on black people, too. FDR made a show of wanting inclusion, but Johnson gave those ——— a right to vote, and put them into our schools, and into our swimming pools. ‘Big dark bucks practically naked splashing around with our sweet little girls. What’s this world coming to?’

That’s when you saw the shift to privatization.

‘How come black people don’t swim at pool parties?’ It’s a joke right, except that for decades, black people weren’t allowed to go into white-only public swimming pools, and when the government said you either had to have pools open to everyone or no pools at all, the white power structure said ‘Fine then,’ and now almost all pools are private, gated. Just like the communities.

Southerners are voting for their interests because even poor whites have, on average, a lot more wealth coming their way than black people. Back in the day, your ancestors were able to get a good-paying manufacturing job and you didn’t need no unions because everybody agreed no ——— was smart enough to sit on an assembly line. Those people had to do some kind of nearly migrant labor or work six months a year in the prison to pay off a fine for vagrancy—that they had picked up just around planting season, that ran out just around harvest.

So you may be poor as shit, but grandpappy owned that land developers want, and when Mamaw dies, some of the proceeds are coming to you. Which means if you make sure everything stays privatized you might just be able to afford sending your kids to the good private school some day. You might just be able to snag a new house with a pool in the backyard, or at least move some place with neighbors who have one. And that’s something you never have to worry about the blacks taking away from you, so long as you make sure the public schools are shitty, the public transportation is awful so you have to be able to afford a car to get around, and the cops will make sure to stop someone with ‘tinted windows’ or who ‘drifted from the center lane’ regular enough that the blacks keep the municipal lights on through fines.

Basically, conservative Southerners were always pro-business and anti-labor, but they hated Northeastern business and massive corporations, which have been central to the Republican Party since the Civil War. By default, black people stuck with the party of Lincoln till the Great Depression, when they folded into the New Deal Coalition. For 30 years there was tension in the Democratic Party, especially after the end of WWII and Korea when black servicemen. who had achieved some equality in federal service returned to the same old bullshit. Southern conservatives stuck with Democrats on party votes in spite of social justice issues (like actually prosecuting lynching) till Kennedy and Johnson chose black and brown people over white racists, jettisoning them into George Wallace’s and Strom Thurmond’s explicit arms. That shift really went into high gear when Nixon actively courted the Klan types, but with enough subtlety not to call for a return to segregation, enough subtlety that whites in other parts of the country could safely ignore it without recalling Emmett Till, and then those whites who needed someone else as a floor to have a secure self-worth and protect them from competition with jobs, found themselves in the arms of big business who wanted no regulations, no taxes, no investment in poor people. So long as it was all hurting blacks more than it was hurting them, they figured they came out ahead in the deal.

To re-work the common saying about Trump supporters, white supremacists will put up with smelling shit so long as they know it’s in someone else’s mouth.

If single-payer health care existed but only for households without a felony conviction in them, the South would be whistling for it, and start arresting black people on felonies with probation sentences as quickly as possible.

HUMAN 2
I didn’t read that, but I’m sure you brainstormed a way to lovingly entice more Southerners over to the liberal side in future elections.

If you do want to bring over white Southerners, what you have to do first of all is drawl a lot. That’s your Trojan Horse to get in.

Next, you have to harness anger by redirecting it. White Southerners are going to be mad about something. Get them mad at people who just been handed shit their whole lives. ‘I don’t mind if somebody works his ass off and wants to have nice things. That ain’t none of my business. But if you wanna be rich just ’cause you picked yer daddy real good then waited to stand in the right place with your palm out, that ain’t right. Daddy put you in all the best schools even when your grades weren’t no good and gave you a job at his company twiddling your thumbs and talked the judge out of puttin you in jail when you wrecked the sports car he gave you. You don’t need no more of Daddy’s money. People who ain’t got a dad or whose dad spent their school years in prison need some of that so they can get an education, and start their own business, and be able to take care of their own kids.’

Or: ‘Listen, I don’t care if some feller comes up from Old Mexico to get a job some place. Why should I care? He can’t speak English any good, he ain’t gonna work as hard I’m gonna work or do as good. Who’s gonna pay somebody the same as me just to get less out of him? But if some boss man tries to bring in anybody, I don’t care if he’s from Guadalupe or Nicaragua or Boston or Timbuktu and pay him less than he would me? I care about that. And if that guy is willing to work full time without benefits, why should I care unless the boss man lets him? I don’t care if that guy wants to work overtime, but I care if the bossman don’t pay time and half cause he know the guy can’t call the cops or nobody. You throw the boss man in jail for payin somebody who shouldn’t be here, or payin em too little, we ain’t gotta worry about anybody comin here for a job who aint supposed to. You slap a fine on the company from Connecticut for havin em doin it, hell, we’ll have em paying to get the roads resurfaced, too.’

That’s not going to work for everybody, but you’re reframing it as hard work, as those fat cats somewhere else that are trying to cheat the system instead of letting people like us play fair. Or in the previous example, it’s not about a wealth tax, it’s an estate tax. You’re taxing people who already got everything handed to them so people with nothing have boots and workgloves. Etc.

You talk about using the Postal Service as a bank because Wells Fargo don’t need any more of my money, especially when they’re hitting me with a $50 fee for the right to make 12 cents interest. The fact that this would disproportionately benefit black Americans who tend to lack banking in majority-black neighborhoods must not be mentioned at all. You have to have policies that provide real economic change in people’s lives, but talk about it as if racism doesn’t exist and hard work is the only thing that matters once you get ‘banker fuckers’ out of the way.

But then at the federal level, you have to prosecute civil rights violations as a priority. Whatever expansion of the Justice Department would have to be going after Wall Street and upping Civil Rights protections at the same time, probably by just having the equivalent of a federal internal affairs department for every police involved shooting nationwide as well as use-of-force complaints. It would be easy to tie that to federal funding but harder to mandate it I think.

You need to have real, severe penalties law enforcement without the incentives of local prosecution to ignore misdoings by their essential co-workers.

I don’t know how many people you’re going to fool or peel away with this sort of stuff, but you basically have to be the People Party of the late 19th Century and protect yourself from race wedge issues that bring that out into the open by always talking about inherited wealth, the big guy taking advantage of the little guy, and so forth. What goes unstated is who that big guy tends to be versus who the little guy is.

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adavidjohnson

A David Johnson, of many. The (poorly) recovering journalist of West Texas extraction one.

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