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|Thu, 11-08-2012 - 12:05pm|
Ah, the hand-wringing and finger-pointing has begun. According to Bill O'Reilly, the dip in voter participation by White People from 74% in 2008 to a measly 72% in 2012 is proof that us White Folks have become a "Minority" in the United States. He went on to say that the election results mean that 50% of Americans voted for President Obama because they want 'stuff' that Obama has promised to 'give' them. (I wonder if he was present at the Romney fund raiser where the infamous 47% quote originated?) And that jump in registered Hispanics from 9% of voters to a whopping 10% of voters is surely behind this wholesale disenfranchisement of "traditional" (O'Reilly's word) Americans.
What makes this assertion that Americans are voting so that the government will give them more 'stuff'' just plain silly are the actual demographics of our country. The Electoral maps of the last few elections have a certain recognizable shape of Red and Blue areas. And there is no real correlation between the the relative percentage of 'people of color' in a state and it's tendency to Vote Red or Blue. But there are some other correlations, if you do some simple map overlays.
Try overlaying this map of national poverty levels by County with the national Red/Blue electoral map (darker areas are higher poverty areas): http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:US_Poverty_Rates.svg&page=1 (For a more in-depth view of povery in the US, check out this map that breaks down Poverty, Child Poverty, and Extreme Poverty by state): http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/poverty_data_map.aspx )
Now overlay the US Census map of percent of State populations with High School or higher Education levels (Lighter areas have a higher percentage of HS and college-educated citizens): http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p20-566.pdf
These demographic correlations are clear. The Blue states have generally higher educated populations, and they also have generally lower percentages of people living in poverty (that's not really surprising). The Red states have a relatively lower general education level of their population, accompanied by higher poverty rates. So, how does this compare with Bill O'Reilly's assertion that the 51% of Americans who voted for President Obama were 'takers' who want to keep their supply train of 'stuff'' from Big Government running? It's simply False. The percentage of people in the Red states who are dependent on getting 'stuff' from the government - like Welfare, and Food Stamps, and Housing Assistance, and Medicaid - is higher than it is in the Blue States.
This is the dirty little secret of the GOP 'base'. The Conservative GOP Harvard-educated capitalist thinkers, who are attempting to guide the United States towards an Ayn Randian vision of an Economic Darwinism Utopia, are dependent on large numbers of poorly educated (Evolution & Global Warming are Hoaxes, women's bodies can 'shut down' pregnancies when they're raped ... ), superstitious (Creationists, the earth is 10,000 years old, 'rape' babies are a 'Gift fom God' ... ) citizens, that are more likely to be recipients of government handouts than their Blue state counterparts.
States with lower numbers of those types of individuals, largely voted to re-elect the President. NOT because they are disproportionate recipients of 'stuff' from the government, BUT because they believe that their fellow citizens - PARTICULARLY the CHILDREN - deserve to have full bellies, and roofs over their heads, and don't deserve to be turned away at the doors of the Hospital, even though they are in dire economic situations. They believe that the children of immigrants deserve a chance to succeed in a country that has a long history as a 'melting pot'. And they also believe that those who benefit the most from our society have a responsiblity to commensurately bear the costs of keeping it strong and healthy. IMHO, it is in our belief in equity, and compassion, and understanding, that we show the true Greatness of our democratic society and what it stands for -- not in our GDP, or our big-threatening-military, or the number of Billionaires our economy produces.
That's Songwright's View