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February 02, 2004

Through the Looking Glass

Godless posed the question of whether people are rational voters in this post.

I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that voter's ideology, in addition to their rationality, seems to be confused.

This post in the NY Times reports on the Tax Foundation's Special Report on Tax Burdens and Expenditures By State. Here is the news release.

The highlights as explained in the NY TImes are that:

The Democrats' electability predicament comes into focus when you compare the map of Giver and Taker states with the well-worn electoral map of red (Republican) and blue (Democrat) states. You might expect that in the 2000 presidential election, Republicans, the party of low taxes and limited government, would have carried the Giver states while Democrats, the party of wild spending and wooly bureaucracy, would have appealed to the Taker states. But it was the reverse. George W. Bush was the candidate of the Taker states. Al Gore was the candidate of the Giver states.

Consider:

78 percent of Mr. Bush's electoral votes came from Taker states.

76 percent of Mr. Gore's electoral votes came from Giver states.

Of the 33 Taker states, Mr. Bush carried 25.

Of the 16 Giver states, Mr. Gore carried 12.

Juxtaposing these maps provides a new perspective on the political landscape. (Interactive moment: Color in the blue and red states then you'll get the full picture.) Republicans seem to have become the new welfare party their constituents live off tax dollars paid by people who vote Democratic. Of course, not all federal spending is wasteful. But Republicans are having their pork and eating it too. Voters in red states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are some of the country's fiercest critics of government, yet they're also among the biggest recipients of federal largess. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in the coastal blue states the ones who are often portrayed as shiftless moochers are left to carry the load.

If the ideology of each party is what sells, yet the reality on the ground is diametrically opposite of the ideology, then on what basis do people make their decisions? Are fiscal concerns the least important of political identifiers?

What does it really mean to be a Republican or a Democrat today?

Posted by TangoMan at 06:19 AM