No matter what the media tries to convey. No matter what the Republicans try to sell us, the United States is not evenly divided on most issues important to us.
The media meme is that we are a divided country. To the average citizen, that sounds like 50/50. We are not 50/50. Divided could also be 55/45, 60/40, 65/35, or even 75/25. But it serves the media’s purpose to project an even split.
This blog is about digging into the numbers that prove that we are not a 50/50 country.
You may say, but the Senate is 50/50. Our founding fathers in their infinite wisdom, 18th Century style, institutionalized that each state would have two senators. In 1750, less than two million lived in those original colonies — 90% were farmers. For representation purposes, a slave counted as three-fifths of a person, increasing the southern states’ power.
But here we are. Currently, Senate Democrats represent over forty million more of us than do Republicans. In terms of eligible voters (nearly 260 million), Democratic senators represent 150 million and Republican senators represent 110 million. That is not 50/50. Thank you founding fathers.
Even in lieu of the Mississippi versus Dodd abortion ruling, today, the top issues are economical, the overall health of the economy and inflation. Though unemployment is at all-time low, record-setting hires begun in 2021, and the number employed is now higher than pre-COVID employment, people are still nervous. While average wages are up, inflation is eating that up, and more. There are a myriad of reasons for the inflation, gas prices being just one — supply chain issues and Putin’s war are others. Biden has done about all a president can do regarding gas prices. Regardless, voters will blame him and the Democrats. Republicans are banking on that.
Gas prices spiked at one point during Trump’s term, and this blogger did not blame him, and I despise Trump. Presidential powers have limits.
I wrote in an earlier blog, Why Do We Think Our Presidents Control The World? We ascribe to them powers they do not have.
The Eurozone (the 19 countries where the euro is the currency) just reported inflation reached 10%. Biden’s fault?
Regardless, this country will always vote their pocketbook over any other issue. Inflation will come down, the Federal Reserve is seeing to that, but not by November 8th. A recent poll says that the top two concerns by voters are inflation (82%), and crime (72%). I’m not sure where that crime number is coming from.
Polls also say that the country is going in the wrong direction. But if the pollsters broke that answer down by respondent, the reasons would be vastly different for Democrats and Republicans. As a Democrat, I would agree that we are going in the wrong direction. But my main reasons are that our Democracy is in peril, and January 6th, 2021.
With this framework, let’s look at the polling on many of the issues. In no particular order, here we go.
Expanding Medicaid via the Affordable Care Act
In states that have rejected the funds and not expanded Medicaid, 75% of voters prefer expansion. Republican governors and legislatures have blocked covering more people who can’t afford healthcare.
Stricter gun laws are favored by 57–38%.
Raising the minimum wage to buy a gun is favored 74–24.
Requiring background checks is favored by 92%.
Banning assault weapons is favored 50–45, down from 67–29 in February 2018. Not sure why, but there it is.
Approval of labor unions is at 71%, a 57 year high.
Two-thirds support a national minimum wage of $15.
Support for same-sex marriage is at a new high, 71%.
Negotiating Drug Prices
Support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with drug companies is 68%. I have no idea why people would not think price negotiation is not a good idea.
Two-thirds think the government should do more on climate change.
Taxing the wealthy
Seventy-one percent favor raising taxes on the top 2%. Support for a so-called Billionaires Minimum Income Tax proposed by Biden is at 74%. This tax would begin with households worth of over 100 million and would be capped at 20% of annual income.
Prior to the Mississippi versus Dobbs ruling, 64% opposed over turning Roe. If a women’s life is in danger, 87% favor abortion. If incest or rape was the cause of the pregnancy, 84% approve of an abortion. If the child would be born with a life-threatening illness, 74% approve of an abortion.
Affordable Care Act
Support for the Affordable Care Act now stands at 55%. It is the widest separation by party of almost any issue. Over 90% of Democrats support it, but only 11% of Republicans.
Support for the infrastructure bill was 65%. Support for one of its main components, new spending for roads, bridges, etc., was 80%.
Inflation Reduction Act
While the components of this bill are popular with a majority, like Medicare negotiating drug prices, a slight majority is skeptical that it will reduce inflation.
Over 80% oppose banning books from schools that discuss race, or criticize U.S. history. Removing books from public libraries is opposed by 71%.
How is it that a very large majority of Republicans running for office take positions opposite to what the majority of us believe?
Because they can still be elected anyway.
· Two million, mostly conservative residents in North and South Dakota have four senators, while 39 million, mostly liberal residents in California have two senators.
· They gerrymander — not only Congressional districts, but also they gerrymander districts within their states, thereby controlling state legislatures.
· If they control state legislatures, they can change voting laws and procedures at their whim; the Supreme Court has codified that. It was former Republican operative Stuart Stevens who said, “You do not change voting laws if you think you are winning.”
· They can zero in on one or two issues that matter more to the voters at any particular time, like inflation, or crime, (though not white-collar crime), or immigration. The Republican mantra is, “Be afraid. Be very afraid,” of something.
See my latest blog, They Are Coming For Your Votes, for their latest voter suppression tactics.
Perhaps the scariest strategy (and the one that ends our Democracy) that may be codified is a case to be heard by the Supremes this November — Moore vs. Harper. If Republicans get their way, state legislatures will be the final arbiter of who wins a state’s presidential election — not the voters, and not the state courts. As Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “If the court embraces this bizarre argument, known as the ‘independent state legislature’ theory, then state courts would be powerless to stop even the most egregious violations of the law.”
As of 2022, Republicans control all of these swing state legislatures: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. If greenlighted, those state legislatures will create their own slate of electors, much like Trump tried to do in 2020. If all swing states go to the Republican presidential candidate in the Electoral College, game, set, match to the Republicans. Ponder that.
As for the rest of us, we must continue to express our opinions at the ballot box on the issues highlighted earlier. We must weigh in on social media. We must volunteer at polling places. We must get out the vote, especially in swing states. And we must protest by the millions, in the streets, as a last resort.
There is simply no excuse to not vote. There is always a choice. Always.
And as for those who refused to vote for Hillary, enabling Trump’s three Supreme Court appointments, I may have to take more medication to control my blood pressure. The 2016 election is still sending shock waves never seen before.