Bring It On!

Why People Vote Republican

September 12th, 2008 | by Windspike |

This is a very, very interesting perspective on the titular question and helps us understand why the GOP Faithful remain so despite evidence that they should not (if you dare click over, it’s a long but worthy post):

…We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany’s best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world…

…But with pleasure comes seduction, and with righteous pleasure comes seduction wearing a halo. Our diagnosis explains away Republican successes while convincing us and our fellow liberals that we hold the moral high ground. Our diagnosis tells us that we have nothing to learn from other ideologies, and it blinds us to what I think is one of the main reasons that so many Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by Democrats…

…Unity is not the great need of the hour, it is the eternal struggle of our immigrant nation. The three Durkheimian foundations of ingroup, authority, and purity are powerful tools in that struggle. Until Democrats understand this point, they will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing so.

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  1. 26 Responses to “Why People Vote Republican”

  2. By Badtux on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    Indeed, that is the secret of Republican success: They tell the simple, comforting lies that people want to be true. The only way the Democrats will be able to compete with that is to come up with a bigger lie, a bigger dream, for what is a dream but a lie with better propaganda? Without a competing lie, a dream of a better nation for all that can compete with the simple reassuring lies that Republicans dole out, the Democrats will always have trouble connecting to a general public that wants to believe.

    - Badtux the Dream Penguin

  3. By steve on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    I am voting Republican because I like McCain better than Obama. What does that have to do with good vs. evil? Propoganda or moralism? My choice is simple. I think McCain is going to do a better job for me and my family than Obama.

    I voted for Clinton in 1996 because Dole talked in third person and that arm creeped me out. And Clinton had got me more money for my education by offering more student loan programs available for me.

    WTF is a Dream Penguin?

  4. By Windspike on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply


    Sounds to me like you base your decision on rather ephemeral criteria. A bad arm isn’t going to indicate that Dole would have been a bad president.

    Do you have a real credible argument as to why McCain would be a better president than just that you think he would be?

    Are you not offended that McSame is lying to win the election?

  5. By steve on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    Lying? Huh? Your source is… other blogs???? I don’t even see the MSM talking about the “lie” that you guys are supposedly accusing him of.

  6. By Ken Grandlund on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    Here’s some MSM for you Steve:

  7. By steve on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    The biggest lie in that whole article as something to do with economic policies.

    Bush’s economic policies did not cause a few things:


    Tidal Waves


    The housing bubble and subsequent crisis

    You guys are a bunch of crazy armchair politicians that need to see more sun and get out into the environment you want to protect.

    And Ken, that is an Op Ed piece. We have no idea how the bridge to nowhere thing went down… We just found out about Sarah Palin a week ago and somehow everyone that hates her is a freaking expert about her. It is kind of ludicrous if you ask me.

    We know Obama because he has been running for PResident since 2004. We know Biden said Obama wasn’t ready and now you all think he is such a great pick. Biden is gonna get tore up about the statements he made about Obama in the next few weeks. Biden is long winded and brash. He’s a hot head. Y’all think you got one over on Sarah with him. I think not…

  8. By steve on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    And what is wrong with someone that believes in God and reads the Bible once in a while?

  9. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    The reason I vote Republican is because the only viable alternative is Democrat and, gosh, K just disagree with Democrats more than I disagree with Republicans. It’s really as simple as that.

  10. By Dr. Forbush on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply


    I don’t trust your judgement. After all you voted for Bush and look how that turned out….

  11. By Dr. Forbush on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply


    The point of the article happens to ask: Why is it that people like you continue to vote Republican even after George W Bush and the Republicans have proven that they can’t lead. They had the opportunity to prove what they could do, and they squandered it. The article asks why people continue to be disillusioned with their lies even after they proved their incompetence. Some people continue to hope that their lies aren’t really lies… I guess that’s just another kind of hope!

  12. By Dr. Forbush on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    It is really sad that the country has been swayed by the likes of another ignorant governor - another George W Bush. This time he’s wearing a dress.

  13. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    And I answer, because I agree with Republicans more than I argee with Democrats. I am disillusioned by the lies by ALL politicians. I don’t have a choice between a lying politician and a non-lying politician. I have a choice between two lying politicians. All I can do is sus out, as best I can, what the two lying politicians will do and vote for the lying politician with whom I come closest to agreeing with. That’s the Republicans in this (and frankly pretty much every) election cycle.

    And, by the way, in spite of you liberals trying (lying) the best you can to convince the world that John McCain IS George W. Bush it’s simply a lie.

    Nor is it logical. That Bush has proven incompetent is exactly no evidence that John McCain is incompetent.

  14. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 12, 2008 | Reply

    I’d say, “Nice try!” but it wasn’t really a very good try.

  15. By steve on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    thanks dr forbush.

  16. By Paul Watson on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    Well, except that John McCain voted for 90% of Bush’s policies. So either he didn’t believe in them and voted for them anyway, or he believed in them and will therefore do similar things when he’s in office. Given McCain portrays himself as straight talking, the former would make him a liar even by the generous standards with regards to truth most politicians use, therefore his record means there is some substance to the charge that if you vote McCain you’ll the for more years of the same policies.

  17. By Paul Watson on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    It’s also interesting to note that this thread proves the second quoted paragraph in the post completely true. And that’s also a little concerning.

  18. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply


    Well, Paul, voting with is not existential identity with. You know that. Furthermore, if we’re talking about who is more competent, you might consider that the favorable numbers for Democratic led Congress is even lower than the numbers for Bush so, really, who is more competent? It seems Bush has had much more success against Congress since the Democrats took over than Congress has had against Bush. So who’s the more effective leader? Bush or Congress? The question answers itself.

    Again, this isn’t a race between one liar and one truth-teller. It is a race between two liars so I don’t take lying into consideration. I take basic political philosophy into consideration and I find the Republican philosophy to be more in line with my philosophy, even though individual Republicans may be better or worse at fulfilling that philosophy. In a contest between Obama and what I think I know about him and McCain and what I think I know about him, I’ll take McCain…if for the Supreme Court picks alone (and at this point, that’s about all the election is about for me).

    But, again, Palin is a big obstacle for me and I may not be voting at all in this election. McCain was already far from my favorite Republican in the race and with the Palin pick, he’s just about bottomed out with me.

  19. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    McCain voted 90% with Bush. Wonder of wonders! One Republican voted nine out of ten times with the leader of the Republican party! Imagine that! That’s surprising!

    But, dig! He didn’t vote on Bush’s policies. He voted on long, complex bills presented in Congress. Any Congressman will tell you that they vote on and for lot’s of bills with which they are not totally satisfied. This is because bills are, by definition, in an establishment of hundreds of different members, with opposing philosophies, representing different districts and states with differing expectations of their members, matters of compromise. It is likely that no member has ever been 100% satisfied with ANY bill that he has voted for. Likely, there have been aspects of bills that he voted against that he (or she) would have liked to vote for.

    I don’t see voting records with Bush or with Pelosi/Reid as being all that significant. Most congresspersons vote with their party most of the time. It’s not just because they are Republicans or Democrats, it is the other way around: they are Republicans or Democrats because they agree with the Republican or Democrat philosophy more than with the other philosophy. I mean, if McCain had voted more often with the Democrats and against Bush, he would not have been chosen to be the Republican candidate.

  20. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    But from a simple math equation point of view, it is alleged that McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time. That means, of course, that 10% of the time, McCain voted against Bush. Explain to me, then, how it could be that a McCain that voted against Bush 10% of the times could possibly equal Bush? McCain = Bush * 0.90. Therefore McCain =/= Bush. any other answer and the teacher marks it wrong.

    Furthermore, since McCain voted against Bush 10% of the time, wouldn’t it be important to know what those 10% votes AGAINST Bush were all about? If they sere serious disagreements on serious issues, that would make McCain more of a maverick than the mere 90% with Bush votes would tend to indicate.

  21. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    For instance, from Wikipedia’s article on John McCain, on the torture issue:

    Owing to his time as a POW, McCain has been recognized for his sensitivity to the detention and interrogation of detainees in the War on Terror. In October 2005, McCain introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005, and the Senate voted 90–9 to support the amendment.[168] It prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by confining military interrogations to the techniques in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation. Although Bush had threatened to veto the bill if McCain’s amendment was included,[169] the President announced in December 2005 that he accepted McCain’s terms and would “make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad”.[170] This stance, among others, led to McCain being named by Time magazine in 2006 as one of America’s 10 Best Senators.[171] McCain voted in February 2008 against a bill containing a ban on waterboarding,[172] which provision was later narrowly passed and vetoed by Bush. However, the bill in question contained other provisions to which McCain objected, and his spokesman stated: “This wasn’t a vote on waterboarding. This was a vote on applying the standards of the [Army] field manual to CIA personnel.”[172]

    So McCain fought and won from Bush concessions on one bill. Good for him. Then he voted against another bill, one that would have outlawed waterboarding but he voted against it for a different reason. As I explained, legislators find themselves voting against all kinds of bills that contain provisions that they would like to see passed and they vote for all kinds of bills in spite of containing provisions that they favor.

    Illustration: John Kerry voted against a bill for $87 billion to equip troops in Iraq. He voted against it, as he explained, not because he was against equipping the troops but because of how it was funded. Likewise, McCain’s vote against was in spite of the fact that he is against waterboarding. One can perhaps fault the political calculation that McCain made on that vote but I don’t think anyone who has paid attention to McCain’s position on torture and waterboarding and harsh and demeaning treatment of detainees can conclude from that vote that he is in favor of keeping waterboarding legal.

  22. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    Here’s the Wikipedia article.

    Here’s another example of McCain v. Bush:

    Meanwhile, McCain continued questioning the progress of the war in Iraq. In September 2005, he remarked upon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers’ optimistic outlook on the war’s progress: “Things have not gone as well as we had planned or expected, nor as we were told by you, General Myers.”[173] In August 2006, he criticized the administration for continually understating the effectiveness of the insurgency: “We [have] not told the American people how tough and difficult this could be.”[150] From the beginning, McCain strongly supported the Iraq troop surge of 2007.[174] The strategy’s opponents labeled it “McCain’s plan”[175] and University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato said, “McCain owns Iraq just as much as Bush does now.”[150] The surge and the war were unpopular during most of the year, even within the Republican Party,[176] as McCain’s presidential campaign was underway; faced with the consequences, McCain frequently responded, “I would much rather lose a campaign than a war.”[177] In March 2008, McCain credited the surge strategy with reducing violence in Iraq, as he made his eighth trip to that country since the war began.[178]

    Now McCain supported the Bush surge but one must remember that McCain was pushing for more troops in Iraq long before (since 2003, in fact) Bush came on board. Thus, the Bush surge was really an example of McCain fighting Bush on troop level until Bush came on board, not an example of McCain blindly following Bush’s policy. It’s the other way around.

  23. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    The formatting of that last comment is screwy due to my putting the blockquote tag around the last paragraph rather than the paragraph before. It is the paragraph beginning, “Meanwhile…” that should be blockquoted, not the last paragraph.

  24. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    Interesting, according to RealClearPolitics, McCain is beating Obama on InTrade: 50.5 McCain; 48.6 Obama. InTrade follows, as I follow it, the betting line on who will win in November. If I get it, more people putting money on the line on this issue think McCain will win.

    “McCain-Palin ‘08: The Smart Bet!”

    Forget why people VOTE Republican, let’s find out why people BET Republican!

  25. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    And maybe people vote for Republicans because Democrats, dumber than a sack of shit, put out ads that bash McCain for not using email. Why dumber than a sack of shit? Because it reminds people that McCain can’t use email because of his injuries sustained during the Vietnam war make such actions as typing on a keyboard very difficult.

    So maybe people vote for Republicans simply because Democrats are just too damn stupid to be allowed to run the country. Please, Democrats, please keep bashing McCain because of things that remind voters that McCain spent his youth serving his country while Obama spent his youth doing cocaine. I’m sure that’ll be a winner for you.

  26. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    Maybe they vote Republican because the Democrat picked “a human verbal wrecking crew” rather than the second most popular candidate for President among Democrats to be his vice presidential running-mate. By doing so dissed Clinton and her supporters, pissed-off Clinton so that, now, she doesn’t seem all that interested in the attack-dog role — the one traditionally given to the v-p pick, but of course, Obama didn’t pick Hillary — especially against the woman that the Republican presidential candidate DID pick as his vice presidential running-mate to break the glass ceiling.

    As I illustrated earlier, one could construct a bunch of pro-McCain ads just out of Biden’s attacks against Obama’s experience during Biden’s run, his praise of McCain, whom he once said he would feel comfortable running either with or against because no matter who won, the country would be in good hands, and now, with Biden saying that Hillary Clinton might have been a better v-p pick for Obama. I mean, he’s the gift that keeps on giving…to the Republicans.

    But of course, non of that could possibly be the reason people support Republicans. It MUST really be that people are too stupid to realize that Republicans are incompetent. Yeh, that must be it.

  27. By Liberal Jarhead on Sep 13, 2008 | Reply

    Damn, Craig, do you use a full-auto keyboard? Your rate of fire is way beyond semi-automatic.

    Actually, McCain has voted with Bush 95% of the time, not 90%. So McCain = either 0.95*Bush or 1.05*Bush. Neither of those sounds good.

    Look at the policies both parties have pushed starting with Nixon. If we go with the apparently reasonable thought that people who vote Republican do so because they agree with what they hear from Republicans, people who have voted Republican have done so because they are homophobic, fundamentalist, misogynistic, sexist, racist, and/or mentally lazy.

    If they prefer candidates who have actually served their country instead of merely talking about it; are in favor of equal rights for all regardless of race, gender, or religion; favor a tax structure that serves the middle class rather than corporations and millionaires; care about the environment; want open and accountable government; and are willing to do enough homework to find out what people actually do as well as hearing what they say, then they have voted Democratic or independent.

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