It’s the economy, stupid

Two weeks until Election Day

It’s the economy, stupid…

The issues are complex, for sure, with the lingering and predictable (and unpredictable) effects of a global pandemic and Putin’s war and climate change impacting economies across the planet. But if you think Joe Biden caused inflation, I suggest you take a quick Econ 101 online course. Turn off Fox News and brush up on Supply & Demand and Supply Chain Management (SCM) before you head to the voting booth.

In fact, the US economy is faring far better than most countries, in part due to actions by the Biden Administration.

Never mind all the important looming issues for which politicians can actually have more of an impact, e.g. reproductive rights, police reform, global warming, wage inequality, voter rights, education, Ukraine (there’s a tyrant in Moscow right now threatening nuclear strikes, btw)… it is inflation (if you believe the polls) that is by far the most important issue on the minds of American voters.

If that’s the case, in a perfect world we would elect really smart people committed to working together in Congress to come up with innovative ways to ease the burden on American citizens (more things like lowering the price of meds and reducing student debt and releasing more barrels of oil from the stockpile to lower prices at the pump) until the economy bounces back, which it will.

But it’s far from a perfect world and we’re probably going to get the likes of Hershel Walker, instead. Because it’s not about problem-solving and solutions, it’s about winning and sticking it to the other party and controlling Congress so as to obstruct anything the other side might want to accomplish.

Hershel Walker? Dr. Oz?

Qualifications are irrelevant to the GOP, so backing celebrities is a good strategy since name recognition gives them a jumpstart even if the candidate is a quack or couldn’t pass a simple eighth-grade Civics class or lacks a smidgen of creative problem-solving abilities or intentions. Here in ‘Merica, we love our celebs.

The things serious Republicans (I don’t include Hershel Walker or Dr. Oz in that category) say they’ll do to fix the inflation President Biden “created” will just make it worse. Refer to former British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ ill-fated supply-side trickle-down debacle. See Kevin McCarthy’s plan.

Republicans have no creative ideas. They’re just using the “it’s the economy, stupid” playbook for votes. Sadly, it seems to be working.

It’s the racism, stupid…

Meanwhile, the rural south will continue to vote against its own interests and pull the straight Republican lever like always in all the states that have hovered near the bottom of every category of well-being for generations. Why? Because racism trumps all in the old Confederacy. It’s built into the DNA of the poor, white, southern voter.

For generations following the Civil War, Southerners were loyal Democrats because Lincoln, a Republican, freed the slaves and put an end to the Confederacy. As Jim Crow lingered on, the party wasn’t racist enough for their liking so they devolved into Dixiecrats with the likes of Strom Thurmond and George Wallace leading the way. They finally flipped to solid GOP when Democrats started pushing Civil Rights legislation and integration. And became unhinged when Obama was elected. Follow the racism.

Note: the Republican Party today looks nothing like the party of Abraham Lincoln (or Nelson Rockefeller or William Buckley, Jr. or George Will or George Bush or Mitt Romney, for that matter). A faction of lawless, nationalist, toxic, racist, election-denying MAGA insurrectionists stormed the GOP and took control.

I think there’s still more of us than them. But it’s close. Vote. The fate of US democracy hangs in the balance on Nov. 8 and momentum seems to be trending in favor of the insurrectionists.

Final note: to my “normal” Republican friends who don’t fall into the racist, MAGA, insurrectionist category whose party has abandoned them: there’s room over here for you… as long as you care more about school children than AK-47s and women more than blastocysts and planet earth more than big oil companies and the rights of humans who may not pray, love, or look like you (even the ones whose pronouns confuse you, even the ones crossing the border), and you believe a cancer diagnosis shouldn’t mean bankruptcy and average Americans ought to be able to afford insulin and rent, etc… we’ll take you in.

Just know you have a lot of unlearning to do. We’ll probably need you to read some books you thought ought to be banned in Middle Schools. And allow your NRA membership to lapse.

Your first assignment: go vote for a Democrat on Nov. 8.

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Stephen Raburn

Stephen Raburn is a writer, daydreamer, activist, and father of two amazing daughters. He lives in Durham, NC.