The Big Think

January 23, 2015

Things in Common

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:54 am

This surprised me: “Given that nine in ten African-American women voted for Democrats in 2014, it may be no surprise that a focus group of urban, female, African-Americans had mostly contempt for all things ‘Republican’ or ‘conservative.’ But what was shocking is that this group also, unprompted, uniformly opposed both extended unemployment benefits and a minimum wage increase, and volunteered conservative economic and moral arguments about their potentially destructive impact on job creation, costs, and conduct.

The focus group, done by the Polling Company on behalf of Independent Women’s Voice in the lead up to the Louisiana runoff U.S. Senate election, confirmed what we already know about the GOP’s brand:  These women see the GOP as a clique of rich, white people seeking to consolidate wealth and power, indifferent to and uncaring about people like themselves.  Characterizing something (a policy) or someone (a politician) as ‘Republican’ or ‘conservative’ immediately poisoned the well, even when it was a fellow African-American making the case.  At best, the participants would consider any ‘Republican policy’ with skepticism. 

Yet their discussions of policies apart from political labels revealed more fundamental conservative instincts than the initial conversation—or conventional voter behavior—would ever suggest.”

The rest of the article is very revealing: a lack of support for extending unemployment benefits, a disagreement with raising the minimum wage, etc, from the very constituency we are told is demanding this. In their own words:

Ashley, a thirty-one-year-old, never married mother of four, said, of raising the minimum wage, “It will raise the cost of everything else more than it’ll increase what I get paid… We will end up even further behind.” Another participant pointed out that it would do nothing to help the unemployed get a job, and might even make it harder. Still another seemed to speak for many when she said that giving more money to someone who doesn’t have the skills to handle it is a waste. These women saw a higher minimum wage as leading to even less employment opportunity in their communities.

It’s very opposite of what the conventional wisdom expects.

I wonder what is causing their antipathy toward the parties that espouse the things they themselves agree with?

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