Opinion

Getting rich, one vote at a time

To the editor:

Why do voters vote against their own self-interests?

Take Anita, a mother of 2, who has a job at “Any Name” corporation. She makes $6.50 an hour, just under the poverty level. She needs a raise she says to herself. Voting day is just a month away. A  Democrat is for raising the minimum wage to $15, while a Republican is against it. She tells herself she will vote for the Democrat for sure.

But then the robo calls start –– that Democrat happens to be pro-abortion, or he’s pro-immigrant, or for gun control. Anita being strongly anti-abortion and anti-immigrant eventually votes for the Republican. Later, that Republican votes to pass a bill lowering taxes on corporations — the minimum wage never gets increased. Corporate profits increase and the CEO’s take home million dollar bonuses. Anita gets nothing. Now multiply this millions of times.

Why did Anita vote the way she did, you ask? Good question, as millions of other voters do the same (63 million voted for Trump).  

It’s no secret Republicans like to accumulate wealth for themselves, while Democrats like that wealth to be distributed fairly among the many. For the last 50 or so years, the Republican Party, with the help of lots of oligarchic wealth, and one vote at a time, has waged a war of attrition on 90 percent of Americans to amass humongous wealth. Trillions of dollars lie in offshore accounts, not a dollar ever to be seen, taxed, or ever used by the typical American citizen. And the transfer of wealth continues at an ever accelerating rate. For example in 2017, 340 million citizens have a combined wealth that totals $94.7 trillion. The top 1 percent (3.4 million people) controls 40 percent of the wealth ($38 trillion) while the bottom 80 percent of the population (272 million people) controls only 7 percent ($6.65 trillion), while 19 percent (65 million) has the rest ($50 trillion). This is a humongous gap in wealth and getting ever bigger for the 1 percent and less and less for the rest.

This is nothing new: “For whoever has will be given more and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Matthew 25:29. Sound familiar?

Republicans have this down to a science. They target and selectively manipulate voters using their beliefs (abortion, religion), fears (Muslims, Mexicans) and hates (gun control or racism) against them. It’s a numbers game: all they need is one vote more than the opposition.

But why are voters so easily played, used and manipulated like this? It not only hurts them in the short term, but it will hurt their children and grandchildren in the long term, and not only a little. In just one generation, it can go from abundance to abject poverty. But yet they still vote against their own interests.

I don’t claim to have a ready answer but they need to be woken up fast.

James P. Chasse
St Agatha

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