Against Better Interests
Voting Against Their Wallet, etc
I have more than a few friends on Facebook, and I am surprised at how many of them are liking Romney.
The first one is how many people who would be by any standard part of the working class are backing Romney despite; his record with Bain Capital, his comments about the "%47", which includes many of them, and the radical policies of Paul Ryan. Of course, a lot of this might have to do with the fact that so much of the media has done a good job at convincing them that the "%99" are little more than a group of aimless and restless young people and not their allies.
The fact that Romney has any support among women is a mystery to me as well. His remarks on Planned Parenthood, and Paul Ryan's record on women's rights leaves much to be desired. This might have to do with with how many women have accepting religious beliefs that often seem to make them believe they need to surrender the rights to their bodies in the name of faith.
But getting people to override their better interests, be them economic or otherwise, is a common trait of right-wing movements. Whether it be the corporate state that seems to be part of the core of fascism, or the narrow interpretation of religious teaching that is at the basis of a theocracy, the power rests with a chosen few.
So the question is how to get people to vote for ideas that in reality are harmful to them in the long-term. How do you get a worker to vote for policies that will allow their job to be shipped overseas where labor is cheap and exploitable, or allow a corporation to cut salaries and benefits for workers while their CEO, etc are making huge profits, Or get a woman to vote for policies that will keep her a second-class citizen.
One way to do this, as I have stated before, is to create an outgroup. You find a group to scapegoat; women, Jews, Native Americans, Hispanics, Homosexuals, Muslims. You set groups against against other; public sector workers against private sector, young against old. As long as they are not united against those doing the manipulating, all is well.
A second strategy is to create a "wedge issue", divide people along ideas of lines. The best example of this in America might be guns. The National Rifle Association and other 2nd Amendment absolutist groups have perhaps managed to pit urban areas against their rural counterparts. The issue of equal rights for Homosexuals is another dividing line. This could be a case of dividing by age. Younger people who see Ellen DeGeneres selling makeup, or hear Adam Lambert on the radio, or cheer on Megan Rapione may not see a problem with homosexuals having the right to marry. An older generation on the other hand, may be more resistant to such ideas.
I still insist one major accomplishment of the Occupy Movement is that Americans are waking up to the reality of class. What started on the streets of Wisconsin continues to this day. The question now may be where Occupy needs to head next.