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Voting Against Their Own Interests: The Common Story of the Republican Voter

womenteapartyI want to tell you the story of Susie Q. Conservative.

Susie’s parents were from the rural South.  They were raised in households that had strong religious beliefs, opposed sex education and preached waiting till marriage before having sex.

Of course, as it is with many young people, Susie’s parents didn’t wait till marriage.  They were young, in love and one night just after graduating high school, one of their sexual encounters resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.

Coming from the background which Susie’s parents came from, abortion was never an option.  Instead, these two young individuals got married and prepared for their upcoming baby.

Susie’s father decided to drop out of college to work more, but still struggled to make enough to pay all of their bills.  Susie’s mother worked for a short time, but after a few months into her pregnancy, health issues became a factor and she was no longer able to work.  This left Susie’s father as the lone bread winner, which made financial situations even tougher for the couple.

Susie’s parents had no choice but to seek out government programs to help them pay for prenatal care, medical expenses and even food. Unable to afford 2 vehicles, and being that Susie’s dad was always traveling to work (on public roads), her mother relied on public transportation to often run errands and get to her doctors appointments.

Then the day arrives when Susie is born.  While still on cloud nine after the birth of their daughter, Susie’s parents quickly realize the financial burden of being new parents to an unplanned baby is overwhelming.  They turn to Medicaid to help pay medical expenses and utilize almost all means of welfare available for low-income new parents.

Luckily for them, having a child provides them with a plethora of tax deductions Susie’s parents can utilize to gain incredible tax breaks for their family.

After a few years, Susie is now ready to start school.  Her mother hasn’t been able work since she was born due to the incredibly high costs of daycare, but she has managed to take a few classes thanks to Pell Grants she received.

Susie attends public school her entire pre-adult life, where she usually rode the bus to school and received free meals for lunch.  Soon after Susie started school her mother worked on finishing an Associates Degree from a local community college and eventually got a job with the city.

Her father continued to work for a blue-collar wage, only a few dollars more per hour than he made when she was born.  He’s an honorable man who should be paid more than he is, yet his lack of an education — due to the fact he’s had to constantly work his whole life because he fathered a child at a young age — prevented him from ever getting an education.

Finally, Susie is off to college.  She first attends the same community college her mother attended, qualifying for Pell Grants due to her family’s extremely low level of income.

After 2 years, she transfers to a state university where she continues to use Pell Grants, as well as federal student loans, to help pay for her educational expenses and her cost of living.

While away at school, Susie uses Interstate Highways to travel back home to visit her parents.

During her senior year of college her dad suffers a tragic accident at which he is left disabled and unable to work, relying only on disability benefits to survive.

Soon after graduation, Susie gets a decent paying job working for the state and becomes involved in politics.

One day, Susie is asked to give a speech which went like this:

“I, Susie Q. Conservative, stand before you today an independent woman.  A woman who sees the evils of the invasive government.  I see the liberal agenda which seeks to make Americans dependent on the system and replaces hard work with a government handout.  I stand before you today a self-made individual.  Through hard work and dedication I made it to where I am today on my own.  I’ve never once needed a government handout nor asked for a free ride.  Our government spends too much and far too many depend on the system instead of taking personal responsibility for themselves.  It’s time we stand up to government and declare once and for all, “We can do it on our own, we don’t need your help!”

Susie—doesn’t understand a damn thing.

About Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

  • Sanguinocrat

    Classic story. I see it all day long.

  • dennisbohner

    While I do despise the intellectual minority, how big of a straw Goliath did you toss into your pissy fire.
    Find, at least, a real anecdote to expound on. Bad BS makes no cases.

  • Dale Blackstock

    Clarence Thomas benefited from Affirmative Action, but he votes to do away with it. And, he probably had other govt. programs that fed him, housed him, etc. Now, he sits on his ass and does absolutely nothing but sit on his ass and take money from us and will take a lot of money after he leaves govt. service. If pay was based on merit, he would be destitute. A boil on the butt of humanity.

  • jrieves

    If you wanted to write something that makes progressives feel better about being smarter than those working-class dopes who vote Republican, this was great. If you hoped to write something that might actually reach some working-class folks and persuade them to think about what they’re doing, you missed the mark…, by a long shot. My family pretty much fits the profile of the one you described except both of my children were planned. But, I didn’t go to college, had a blue-collar job (firefighter), my wife stayed home for the first few years and things were very tight. As tight as it was, there were no food stamps, no Section 8, no Medicaid I earned just enough not to qualify for any of those things Of course, I didn’t make enough as a firefighter to pay all the bills. Which meant I had to work a second job, putting in as many 80-90 hours a week (total). When it came time for my oldest to go to college, there were no Pell Grants and I couldn’t afford to pay for it out of pocket, so she got student loans and a buttload of debt. Public transportation sucks in where I live, so that wasn’t any help. Did I do all on my own? Of course not. I went to public school, drove on public highways, even collected a paycheck from a gov’t job. But, I still worked my ass off for what I got. Do I vote Republican? I used to, but not anymore.

    I tell you all this so you’ll where I’m coming from when I say white, working-class people vote Republican because the Republicans listen to them. They listen to their woes and tell them it’s not their fault. They tell them that the Democrats are taking their money and their jobs and giving them to minorities.They tell them that liberals don’t care about you, but we do. They tell them that if they keep working hard and voting Republican, they can be rich one day, too. Of course, it’s all bullshit, but it’s bullshit they want to hear. And, I gotta say, things like this, which is a long way from the reality of most working peoples lives, is not an active countermeasure.

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