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Some voters put prejudice before their own interests in US midterms

Victor A Dixon

Monday, November 12, 2018

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The 2018 midterm elections in America proved that some voters lack the political consciousness to make choices to benefit themselves, let alone the country. The politicians whom they vote for know this and exploit it for their own political purposes.

These examples illustrate this:

District 3 West Virginia

This is a deep red, predominantly white district, which encompasses the poorest counties in the country and is being decimated by an opioid epidemic. The Democratic candidate was Richard Ojeda, an army veteran who was born and grew up in the district and dedicated his life to giving back to his community. As a state senator he won a pay increase for teachers and sponsored legislation to legalise medical marijuana. He emphasised his working class background and asked for a chance to go to Washington to fight “Big Pharma”, and the opioid problem.

His Republican opponent was Carol Miller, a Donald Trump lackey, woman of privilege, multimillionaire, and a big stockholder in one of the big pharmaceutical companies that is dumping their opioids on the community. In her campaign she avoided public appearances, refused to have debates, and was nicknamed “Hide and seek Carol Miller”. However, President Donald Trump campaigned for her and called Ojeda “wacko”, “crazy” and “socialist”. On election day the mantra was “Anyone but a Democrat” and Carol Miller won.

The question that the voters overlooked was how can you put your faith in someone to do something about the opioid epidemic if she is profiting from it. And how do you expect her to understand the problem of poverty if she could not even face the people whom she was asking to vote for her?

Florida

In the governor's race the Democrats put up Andrew Gillum, the young talented mayor of Tallahassee and a likely presidential candidate of the future, who ran a near-perfect campaign focusing on the issues. As an African American he was feared by his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis and met a barrage of racist attacks from him, such as saying that Florida voters would 'monkey this up' by voting for Gillum, and referred to him as 'articulate'. The former term is part of the history of racist references to African Americans in the national folklore as monkeys and apes and the latter is a condescending referral to education in the black community.

The US Agricultural Secretary, Sony Purdue, at a DeSantis rally, referred to the importance of the Florida governor's race as 'cotton-pickin', and Trump referred to Gillum as a “thief”', terms that stereotype black people and are reminiscent of their lives as American slaves in the 19th century.

Five polls in the last week of October gave Gillum a lead outside the margin of error. This is where the 'Bradley effect' kicked in. According to this theory, white voters lie to pollsters that they will vote for a non-white candidate over a white one for fear that they will be accused of being racist. It produces a skewed result.

In the end Floridians could not bring themselves to vote for Gillum, however well qualified, and the racist politics of DeSantis prevailed.

In the Senate race the people voted for Republican Rick Scott, who in 1997 had to pay US$1.7 billion in fines after admitting to 14 felonies concerning fraudulent billing and practices against Medicare, and who is estimated to be worth US$255 million. But it gets worse.

Two Republican House incumbents, Chris Collins (New York) and Duncan Hunter (California), who are under federal indictment for insider trading and wire fraud respectively, were returned to Congress. This begs the question: If they go to prison are they going to continue to get their salaries and benefits at taxpayers' expense? As a matter of law, a person under federal indictment for alleged crimes committed while in office should not be allowed to seek re-election.

Migrant caravan

Since the election has anyone heard anything about the 'invasion' of migrants from the south interspersed with Middle Easterners and criminal gangs, paid and brought in by the Democrats to overrun this green and pleasant land, take our jobs, and be given cars and the right to vote? I thought that it was a national crisis necessitating the deployment of 15,000 troops on the border, and that there would be fire and brimstone and the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The calculation was that fearmongering worked for Trump in 2016 and that it would work again. It did; Carol Miller and Ronald DeSantis aligned themselves with him and they won.

When people vote for people like Carol Miller, Rick Scott, Duncan Hunter, and Chris Collins it shows that they lack the political awareness to be able to tell the difference between what is good and what is not good for themselves or the country. They are blinded by their own prejudices. And when they vote for people like Ron DeSantis it shows that they still accept the racist identity politics that far-right populists like Donald Trump are so quick to seize on.

What does it say about US democracy?

victoradixon@yahoo.com

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