Recently, Colin McAuliffe and Sean McElwee discussed whether areas that vote Republican receive more government assistance and concluded:
There is no doubt that there is a sizeable number of people who rely on government transfers but vote for Republicans. The best example of this is elderly white people, who turn out in huge numbers and overwhelmingly support the party that wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. For the nonelderly, the story is much more complicated, but there is truth to it nonetheless.
Since the article is titled “The Chart That Broke Our Brains”, it implies that this doesn’t make much rational sense: voters reliant (or soon to be) on Medicare and Social Security shouldn’t be voting for candidates who want to cut those programs. Leaving aside various sorts of stupidity (e.g., magically, only the money going to those people will be cut, etc.), this makes a lot of sense if one is working under one explicit or implicit assumption: Democrats will protect you from your own stupidity. As some asshole with a blog put it:
Which brings us to a particularly annoying genre of news story, the one that describes a Republican voter who is suddenly surprised Republican officials are planning to do all of the things they said they would do, such as screw up healthcare*. One recent example are the Iowa policemen who are shocked that Iowa Republicans are conducting a frontal assault on public sector unions. Apparently, they believed they could have it both ways: they could indulge their Palinist impulses and vote for the candidate that represents their values (i.e., Make America White And (a Certain Kind of) Christian Again), while avoiding the awful Republican policies that would nail them in the pocketbook.
A major reason they believe this is that Democratic officials, despite their myriad faults, have attempted to plane off the sharpest edges of Republican policies–and, since the devil typically takes the hindmost, unlike to Democratic voters, who often really need this crap, Republican voters are less likely to be harmed.
Republican voters are about to learn what happens when there are no Democrats in a position to protect Republican voters from themselves. They wanted conservative values in government. Now these bozos are going to get conservative values good and hard.
In other words, Republican voters, to use a metaphor that is designed to anger, get to have both the mistress and the wife–needless to say, I don’t approve on many levels. They usually don’t pay a cost because Democrats protect them from the consequences of their actions (though occasionally this strategy does backfire).
So I don’t think this is irrational at all. They get the best of both worlds, Republican policies, except for the few Democratic policies they like.
Who says Third Way politics are dead?