In the previous post, I talked about the reality that while Republican governors and legislatures have succeeded in implementing their political philosophy in their states, that philosophy has been a miserable failure when it comes to actually delivering what they think it will. In fact, it has been a disaster for their states. Besides that, while we like to talk about the economic recovery that the country has seen under President Obama, the sad reality is that it’s been an uneven recovery, particularly for those same states. That has led to a lot of very angry people who are upset with the Republican Party for not delivering the economic boom they were told they’d have, and as result have been the reason why Donald Trump has had so much support in the primaries.
That phenomenon was detailed over a decade ago in the book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” It’s been even more pronounced since 2009, when President Obama took office, as Republicans have been pulling out the stops when it comes to convenient scapegoats and distractions. Gun control, immigration, terrorism, abortion, marriage equality, Obamacare, you name it, the scare tactics were given full play. While that enabled Republicans to either tighten their control of some states, and take over others, the economic theories were also given full tryouts. Cut the taxes, remove regulations, stop unions, reduce or remove workplace and environmental rules, and all sorts of jobs would spring forth in an economic boom. The results? Anything but.
It turns out that “low taxes, low regulations” don’t actually cause businesses to relocate very often, and didn’t result in a major job boom. What jobs that were created tended to be low-paying ones. Even worse, what jobs that were being created weren’t in the areas that were the most in need of them. The result was massive state deficits, decaying roads and declining schools, and now cutting people from Medicaid and SNAP benefits to balance a budget. But there’s always another scapegoat that the Republican lawmakers will happily point to, to distract from what is happening.
What the distraction is from is that it’s not just “other people,” i.e.; blacks, browns, gays, Muslims, etc., who are getting hurt by these cuts, it’s them. Any rural, mostly white area often has a high percentage of people reliant on benefits of one sort or another, they need infrastructure funding, and they need aid for schools. Everything that Republican’s would like people to believe are only a “big city slums” problem, when the data says something quite different. Because they’re only seeing the scapegoats, they don’t see it’s not some hypothetical urban minority who is “too lazy to find a job,” it’s their friends, neighbors, and relatives who are bearing the brunt. The “promised land” of jobs and booming business never appears, no matter how low the taxes get, or how few the regulations are. Instead, they’re looking at fewer jobs and a poorer quality of life.
That’s been obvious for years now. Each election cycle, even when the country is in an economic boom, their areas still lag behind, and fall further when a bust hits. But over and over again, they will march into a voting booth, and elect (or reelect) politicians who will keep enacting the very things that have hurt them. No matter how much they get hurt by Republicans, they still go back to them. It’s almost like a case of domestic abuse.
The reason I said that, and where part of the title comes from is from what I said to a subordinate some 30 years ago. She seemed to be irresistibly attracted to men who would beat her. One day, after getting told of yet another police report, and seeing her again with bruises, I called her into my office. In sheer frustration, I asked her “Do you enjoy getting hurt? I really have to wonder.” In looking at the Republican controlled states, the same question comes to mind about Republican voters. Do you enjoy getting hurt? I have to wonder, because you keep electing Republicans when all they’ve done is hurt you. Over and over again. Maybe you should stop that.