What if one day all “likely voters” in the U.S. woke up (so to speak) and instantly became 30% more disinterested, as in “detached,” as political participants and observers? Maybe 30% wouldn’t be enough to change how most voters respond to and behave in our Pseudocracy (the rule of falsehoods). I don’t know, but I like the thought-experiment.
From a layperson’s point of view (I’m an academic humanist, not a social scientist and certainly not a political scientists), it seems that the two Parties, with the subset of the Tea Party on the GOP side, depend upon a concentrated group of adherents and most especially donors. Such concentration and “loyalty” seem more than ever not to depend on what the Party can seem to do for you, but on how the Party can make you feel toward the other Party and unpleasant, risible, dispicable people (real or imagined) whom you associate with the Party.
Thus, Bill Maher, to take one example, sometimes doubles as a flak for the Democrats, although he can be critical of them. He and his show seem to help concentrate Democratic voters, donors, and adherents by associating strident believers in God and Christianity with the GOP. He ridicules anyone who believes in God and assumes that they all believe a little old man with white hair who lives in the clouds controls their lives (his phrasing). Apparently this little old man is also a straw man.
Upon further disinterested inspection, however, more than few and close to a lot (watch the humanist do statistics!) of Democrats seem to believe in God. Also–and speaking of accepting reality, something Maher’s image of God seems to urge–billions of people worldwide and millions of people in the U.S. will continue to believe in God.
So might it be better to accept that fact as a social reality and tailor political appeals to that reality? Might it be better, instead of mocking all believers, to ask questions of believers, such as how they reconcile capitalist views with Christian ones. I don’t mean “how” in a rhetorical sense (“How can you possibly . . .?”) but how as in, Tell me your thoughts about this, President Obama and Congressman Ryan [and, if possible, don’t bullshit].”
But Democratic politicking seems to depend on the figure of the Christian Right or Radical Christian Right.
Similarly, GOP/Tea Party politicking seems to depend increasingly on the figure or image of the lazy loser who depends on government hand-outs.
A disinterested view might recall that some if not most “government programs” are funded by people who work and pay taxes, who may lose their jobs or their health or their youth, and therefore must inquire about assistance from the government. Social Security, unemployment insurance, disability insurance (via Social Security and otherwise), food stamps: a disinterested one might legitimately ask what % of recipients of same paid taxes to support such programs at some point. The answer might well suggest that these programs = not a handout. –That, largely, these people do not = losers, slackers, and scammers.
But toning down the rhetoric, surrendering some assumptions, following data, boycotting the Pavlovian response, allowing some in “the opposition” to retain their complexity, and so on: not what Parties need or want, correct? Not good for the rule of falsehoods.