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Author Topic: Why do people often vote against their own interests?  (Read 2804 times)

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Offline GSOgymrat

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Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« on: January 29, 2010, 09:46:25 PM »
This is an interesting article that I think makes a lot of sense.



If people vote against their own interests, it is not because they do not understand what is in their interest or have not yet had it properly explained to them.

They do it because they resent having their interests decided for them by politicians who think they know best.

There is nothing voters hate more than having things explained to them as though they were idiots.

As the saying goes, in politics, when you are explaining, you are losing. And that makes anything as complex or as messy as healthcare reform a very hard sell...

[Westen] uses the following exchange from the first presidential debate between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000 to illustrate the perils of trying to explain to voters what will make them better off:

Gore: "Under the governor's plan, if you kept the same fee for service that you have now under Medicare, your premiums would go up by between 18% and 47%, and that is the study of the Congressional plan that he's modelled his proposal on by the Medicare actuaries."

Bush: "Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers.

 "I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the internet, but he invented the calculator. It's fuzzy math. It's trying to scare people in the voting booth."

Mr Gore was talking sense and Mr Bush nonsense - but Mr Bush won the debate. With statistics, the voters just hear a patronising policy wonk, and switch off.

For Mr Westen, stories always trump statistics, which means the politician with the best stories is going to win: "One of the fallacies that politicians often have on the Left is that things are obvious, when they are not obvious.

"Obama's administration made a tremendous mistake by not immediately branding the economic collapse that we had just had as the Republicans' Depression, caused by the Bush administration's ideology of unregulated greed. The result is that now people blame him."

This explains why Sarah Palin has done so well politically even though she is dumb as a stump.

Offline allanq

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 10:56:00 PM »
The fact that people don't want to be lectured to or patronized is one reason that people vote against their own self interest. But I think another reason is that most Americans do not want to deal with complex ideas or issues. If it can't be expressed as a slogan, they don't want to be bothered. That's why Sarah Palin continues to remain a force on the political scene.

Here's what the American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken had to say on this subject:

Because the plain people are able to speak and understand and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is folly. They dislike ideas, for ideas make them uncomfortable.
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Offline Basquo

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2010, 11:46:41 PM »
For the first time ever I plan to vote against my own interest...I will vote in the Republican primary for Texas' governor. I detest Rick "Hair" Perry, and am at odds with Kay Bailey Hutchinson because she was such a proponent of "traditional marriage" (along with Perry,) and now that other woman has some good ideas but came out against gay marriage  in the debates again tonight...I'm going to do the old trick of voting for the lessor candidate of the Rethugricans (thank you MtD for that term) so that I can later elect the Democrat for governor and hopefully have a better advantage.

Doesn't matter. My almost-relative Ann Richards only became governor because Clayton (Satan) Williams made a campaign-ending comment.  Doesn't matter that she was better. Doesn't matter that big-ass money got G. W. Shrub elected in the next term.

Ann loved the gays.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 08:56:30 AM »
There is this American electorate which shifts and moves mooing from a Super Bowl to a shopping mall to viewing another non-reality show with one eye pealed on the latest stock market numbers and the other on some titilatting sexual scandal, while paying lip service to (het) family values, whatever they are.

With the exception of relatively small activist/protest groups, if you want to find a public which is well informed about critical issues in American political life, you need to visit other countries in Europe and elsewhere. I've often found people there are much more likely to be up on what's going on in America and able to identify legislators by name, (which so many Americans can't do). They are  often bemused at our antics. They are up on what the incisive questions are to ask about what's going on, because they are also well aware that much of their own fates are affected by our actions and antics here.  

« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 09:00:59 AM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline frankt

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2010, 09:42:34 AM »
we can argue all day long about whose fault the collapse was but the fact is the FED bailed out Wall Street in mid 90s on several occasions. Hong Kong Collapse, Maylasia implosion, Mexico blowup , South America collapse and the Long Term Capital debacle. This easy money policy created the Stock bubble of the late 90s and (along with Clinton Real Estate Tax deduction)a real estate bubble.  The entire time the media and both parties deified Bin Greenspan. The market began its collapse  a year before bush won the election. This is the boom and bust cycle created by the Fed. The Fed than started easing again to reinflate stocks and real estate. Each bubble is bigger than the last and each crash is worse than the last. We are now in the midst of the Mother of All reinflation attempts. The problem is the only real growth is in government sectors which need more taxes to exist. There are no jobs being created in private industry because of uncertainty. No one knows what Obama and Dems plan to do on taxes. No one knows what the plan is for Health Care. No one knows if Cap and Trade scam is going to be in place. No one in their right mind is going to hire with so much uncertainty. You can argue the merits of each issue,but I would make the case if a decision was made either way it would be better than we are right now. Go back and check the Dow and you will see it began to fall immediately after Pelosi and Ried announced they would vote against the Bush tax cuts. We are still in limbo. Either raise taxes or lower them,just make a decision and US private sector will deal with it.

Offline mecch

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2010, 10:08:16 AM »
If anyone patiently explains to someone that there is a complex issue on the table and he/she MUST deal with the complexity, he will.  Everyone faces such issues several times in life, even if in our daily lives we prefer to avoid them.

Otherwise, I agree, most people don't want to deal with complexity or nuance or contradictions or unavoidable losses. 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Dachshund

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2010, 10:09:00 AM »
The similarity is just uncanny.

Offline randym431

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 04:59:30 AM »
Boy does this hit home...
My very liberal democratic mother just announced she would never in a million years reelect our current democrat governor, Chet Culver. Chet, like most governors, is trying to improve the state budget and cut costs to save money. Chet is up for re election 2010.
My mother says "all I hear from him is THE BUDGET THE BUDGET THE BUDGET. Im tired of hearing all that".
If she votes for the republican, Im selling my mom on eBay.
Headline: Delusional senior citizen needs happy home.

Chet has been very gay-friendly, supporting iOwa's gay marriage and not wanting it to go to a public ballot (we all know how that goes). EVERY republican seeking to run against Chet in 2010 has promised they will do whatever it takes to pass a ban on gay marriage in iOwa.
Chet says he supports the state supreme courts decission and it should stand.
So my mothers stance is not only delusional, its personally insulting.
And if a republican gets back in, well, don't miss my eBay sale.

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 05:57:10 PM »
I learned long ago in a public speaking class  that I should never attempt to put more than three (3) bullets on a slide presentation,  most of the people will remember the first and last and a few will remember  the second...   so if you want to push through something that you know nobody will remember then put in as many bullet ts as you want  and be sure the first and last are the ones you want to be remembered......

As hard as I tried I couldn't count the number of bullets in the 2000+ pages of the proposed legislation,  too many "points"  discussions, and "explanations". It got so bad that I couldn't find the first or the last point  because of all the BS in between...   I thought I heard Prz Obama say he read the proposed legislation....I am sure that was a a very brief "executive" summary of 100 pages......he never would get through that whole mess  without a major headache and total confusion.. since i believe none of the congressman read it either  I suppose if he actually tried it was a sort of an accomplishment...

those of you who buy an new Apple gadget should download the mess from the whichever site you can access both the the Senate and the House versions are available

have a nice calm dream of universal health care as currently proposed

remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
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Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 06:07:54 PM »
Has stupidity been ruled out?
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!

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Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 08:36:58 PM »
Here in California, some crackpot is trying to change the name of Mt. Diablo to Mt. Reagan.  I just joined the group against the name change.  I feel the name Ronald Reagan Post Office (in Forestville) which is located across the road from the empty field (downtown) is enough honor for that former Governor, President.

I would like to recall that when B list actor, whose only political experience was having once been the President of SAG (screen Actors Guild), he inherited a balanced budget, good highways and schools.  His Alzheimer's must have started early.  Jobs started leaving California during his term in office..

The election of B list actor Arnold Schwartzenegger as Governor of our state has proven, "California voters are collectively stupid."  I believe that was a quote from Tom Brokaw.   ;D  Have the best day

Offline Theyer

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Re: Why do people often vote against their own interests?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 04:00:15 PM »
 I think the position off people defining there self's by what they are NOT instead off clearly defining what they are feeds into this.

So working class peoples vote for ruling elites because they are not commies

The health care debate in the US and the town hall meetings often remind me off the McCarthy era a frenzy off fear whipped up to scare people into conformity and adherence to the status quo.

"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn


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