Poor White People Don’t Vote Against Their Interests Because They Don’t Vote

An important point as we all sit around and talk about why the dumb hicks are being dumb hicks: 

Meanwhile, many people who in fact most use and need social benefits are simply not voting at all. Voter participation is low among the poorest Americans, and in many parts of the country that have moved red, the rates have fallen off the charts. West Virginia ranked 50th for turnout in 2012; also in the bottom 10 were other states that have shifted sharply red in recent years, including Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.

In the spring of 2012, I visited a free weekend medical and dental clinic run by the organization Remote Area Medical in the foothills of southern Tennessee. I wanted to ask the hundreds of uninsured people flocking to the clinic what they thought of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, whose fate was about to be decided by the Supreme Court.

I was expecting a “What’s the Matter With Kansas” reaction — anger at the president who had signed the law geared to help them. Instead, I found sympathy for Mr. Obama. But had they voted for him? Of course not — almost no one I spoke with voted, in local, state or national elections. Not only that, but they had barely heard of the health care law.

Nobody is talking to them. Nobody. I’m goddamn sick of hearing the condescending crap that poor white people vote against their own best interests. NO THEY DON’T. They don’t vote, period, because nobody has made them a priority. Not Republicans and not Democrats who are trying to act like Republicans, not for the last 40 years at least. Nobody has given a shit about these people since RFK and we’re gonna sit here and talk about how they’re just too dumb to know they’re going to get screwed? Thank you, no.

Where exactly are they supposed to get their information, by the way? If these people have been abandoned by politicians they’ve also been abandoned by news organizations that are supposed to be making a good faith effort to inform them. Who covers poor communities? I used to do it and I’ll tell you who does it: No one. Unless there’s a shooting, a convenient lesson to package up as a cautionary tale for scared rich suburbanites, no one covers the poorest communities in America. There’s no advertising to be sold there, no subscriptions, and certainly nobody there is signing up for the newest hyperlocal app, so fuck those places and those people, they don’t deserve the news.

This ignorance isn’t about anything other than we threw these people out and we get mad that they don’t care about what we care about. It’s nonsense. When is the last time a presidential candidate spoke to them? When is the last time a campaign put resources where it never had before and got poor people to vote? When is the last time anyone fought for them?

I mean it. When?


6 thoughts on “Poor White People Don’t Vote Against Their Interests Because They Don’t Vote

  1. Saw your headline in my Feedly, and said Ugh not again, another asshat saying “oh that’s why” and wiping your hands of it. Thanks for looking past the report headlines and mentioning that no one is actually trying to get these forgotten people to vote.

  2. …and those same poor white people, with missing teeth and eyeglasses held together with surgical tape, who do not vote, will bitch and complain about our good president. And…even though they are dirt poor, they will still put the one percent on a pedestal……Oh…and they will spend the few dollars that they DO have to take a trip to Disneyworld. Instead of purchasing glasses and saving for a dentist and taking the time to vote–they will trek to Orlando.

  3. Considering it’s getting to the point that the middle class is having trouble affording Disney, I doubt that. Even if they do, what does it hurt to have the pleasure, at least once in a lifetime, of going?

  4. @Catherine: It’s their fucking money. Who the hell are you – policing their choices? Did you even read the damn post before you decided to jump all over them? Do you realize the cost of a “trek to Orlando”? What you wrote is complete bullshit. STFU.

  5. I recently reconnected with First Draft after having lost touch, you are as good a writer as ever and still making important points.

    One of the reason that poor white folk don’t vote is because they are so demoralized over their depiction in the media controlled by the rich, college educated whites. Most of them don’t find FOX encouraging, a lot of them know that those people are as bad for them as they are for anyone else. Most poor white people aren’t fascist tire biters, they are decent people who are discouraged and who will not blame poor black people or poor Latinos. The supposed liberal elite have been telling poor white people that they are trash and they’re not wanted and should shut up pretty much since the 1960s – those big brains apparently think that’s how to win their support.

    Nothing will change as long as the snobs are the dominant voice of what passes for liberalism, the snobbery that is the dominant voice of what substitutes for a real left under a secular regime of thought. I used to think it was possible for them to learn that what they did was stupid but they find it too gratifying to think better of themselves to learn just how stupid it is. The past fifty years of failure of their liberalism has not taught them that, they need to be dumped.

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