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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Put the nation first in the voting booth

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unless something of biblical proportions occurs, the 2012 elections will clearly revolve around the crumbling economy that now faces this nation. Granted, the discussions will also touch on foreign wars, immigration, education, etc.

But at the end of that proverbial day, it will surely be the economy that dominates all debate.

Here's what puzzles me. Without exception, every national poll indicates that an overwhelming portion of Americans are disgusted with the current economic policies of this administration. Yet those very same polls give President Obama higher approval ratings than he deserves or you would think possible given the state of the economy.

Now why is that the case?

One possible conclusion is that Americans still hold the President in fairly high regard on a personal level - despite disliking his solutions to our current mess.

Another potential conclusion is that many Americans - even after three full years - still believe that the President remains somewhat at the mercy of prior administrations and it's taking longer to unravel the economic chaos than expected.

Yet the most logical conclusion is that some segments of the population will forever vote in favor of this administration regardless of the economy or another other issue. Those are the self-interest votes that are virtual guaranteed year in and year out.

Despite no improvement in the poverty rate and, in fact, a massive increase in those eligible for food stamps, for example, minorities will still cast somewhere upward of 90 percent in favor of the President.

Union membership will vote overwhelmingly disproportionately for this administration regardless of the jobless rate.

Hispanic voters will cast two-thirds of their votes for the President on the prospect that his immigration policies will be more favorable for their population.

Rush Limbaugh and others on the right argue that no one is assured of an automatic 40 percent of the vote regardless of the economic realities of the day. Add just the union membership, the black minorities and the Hispanic vote and you came nudge up to having 40 percent of the vote in your pocket regardless of any other factor.

And it's those obvious self-interests that divide this country.

OK, so the GOP too has their interest groups who will vote strongly in favor of the Republican agenda regardless of outside factors such as a dismal economy. But the GOP lacks any group - Big Oil, religious right, military, etc. - who will vote blindly at those astronomical levels.

Voting blindly is an appropriate term for the 2012 elections. And when some population groups vote blindly for their self-interests over the interests of this entire nation, don't expect a positive outcome for the country.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen