Thursday :: Feb 24, 2005

Social Security and Red Staters: A Love Story


by rayman

Lately, I've been trying to think of a Unified Theory as to why the Social Security phase-out has proven so extraordinarily unpopular among those rugged individualists in the Red States. Fortunately, Legal Fiction does the heavy intellectual lifting for me, and the answer is revealing:

One thing that people don’t understand about the Red states is that Social Security is not a wedge issue there for the Dems. Quite the opposite in fact. Despite their social views and the opinions on national security, Red Staters love them some Social Security. And it makes sense why they should – the Red States are often poor and rural. People there depend on Social Security to avoid poverty, which is something Grover and the Club for Rich People can’t empathize with. Republicans have won the votes of the Red State elderly and working class by stressing cultural issues and national security. To stray from this tried-and-true formula for success is a gamble – one with great possible rewards, but great risks too.

That’s why Bush’s post-SOTU tour of Red-States-with-Democratic-Senators was so fundamentally misguided. Bush can wedge these Senators on almost any issue, yet he chose the one issue that every Democrat in every region of the country can rally around. Hell, if you ask a (white) Democrat in Mississippi why they’re still a Democrat, they’ll probably cite Social Security. It’s the one issue where every Red State Democrat has infinite political cover to support the national party’s platform.

With this in mind, the USA Next assault on the AARP becomes somewhat more understandable. One of the primary goals is to break through the solid wall of support for Social Security among the rural elderly by dishing out some tried 'n' tested left-baiting. Do Red State seniors love their monthly Social Security checks more than they hate the decadent, bicoastal librul elite? We'll find out.

rayman :: 5:55 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!