I'm not too optimistic about those few remaining votes in Ohio. Happy to see Democrats finally coming out of the woodwork, but it's still not enough. It's a lot easier to work the system when you're already in charge of it. And also have loads of money.
It seems a bit ironic to me that parties can pour incredible amounts of money into campaigning and ads in certain states, but can't be bothered to spend that same money on improving the lives of underprivileged people in those states. Why? Because pouring money into ads is about remaining in power, which is about increasing wealth and privilege.
Helping others won't accomplish that; in fact, it will undermine it. Can you imagine what it would be like if corporate America and rich donors were willing to pour that same kind of money into improving lives of people in their own locales?
Knowing how few people are actually benefiting from this administration, I can't believe how many others are willing to support it. Are we really that dumb? It's the have-nots vs. the haves-and-wish-they-could-haves. And all this crap about "moral values" being the reason to vote that way. Give me a freaking break. If your gay neighbors are just living together rather than married, how the hell is that making your life better?
I don't think we're dumb; I think we've been led to be afraid.
In the course of all this work I've been doing, one thing I've had to do is thoroughly scan [not skim!] the history of research in the area of prejudice and discrimination. A very prominent thread is that of Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). One study I read investigated how personality traits are related to voter propaganda response.
In a very small nutshell, people who were high in RWA were likely to respond to threat-based advertising (Your kids will become perverted! Communists will take over your neighborhood! Bombs will fall on your local Dairy Queen!), while people who were low in RWA were likely to respond to improvement-based ads (Improve health care for grandma! Increase your state's attractiveness to employers!). Voting out of fear leads to Republicans in power!
I had a guest speaker in my class yesterday: one of our professors who has done a lot of research about gay rights issues. She described ways that anti-gay campaigns are likely to affect the day-to-day functioning of one's gay clients (or non-clients for that matter). Respondents in her study frequently used "Nazi" references in their descriptions of how they felt ("When the amendment passed, I felt like I had woken up in Nazi Germany.")
When research on prejudice first began, it was essentially because researchers wanted to figure out how people in Germany could have allowed things to go so far, and one of the things they came up with was this Authoritarianism business. It certainly played a big part in that system degenerating into such wickedness. So these references to Nazism are not at all out of place in the current political atmosphere. We are high in RWA and we are responding to threat-based political propaganda--fear!
I can't help but remember the seemingly far-fatched conclusion reached by Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine: that an undercurrent of fear in the U.S. is creating all kinds of social ills.
In light of what I've seen lately, I think I'm beginning to agree with that.