Why We Are 50th

Why Democrats Lose Part 2: Ego

Which statement is more appealing: “All men are created equal” or “You are below average so we need the government to level the playing field for you”?

While anyone would support the first statement, it’s obviously not true. You can argue intent, philosophize, and equivocate all you want. If three hundred million Americans are born and raised identically and then they all play a round of golf will there be a three hundred million way tie? History has times where it favors one attribute over another and we must set out not to completely devalue certain attributes because they are not currently valued by the free market. The defense industry is a fine example of this. With that inarguable basis you can extrapolate measures to many different fields with varying degrees of necessity. Is it still in our national interest to maintain the current mining industry for thermal coal? Likely not. Is it in our national interest to maintain a metallurgical coal industry to facilitate self sufficiency in steel production? I would say absolutely. Yet in this example the efforts and the people supporting it would be labelled communists or any of the typical reductionist insults that haunt our political system. The democrats end up on the unappealing side of any way this issue rears up – if the market handles it’s a win for the market and if the markets don’t it often requires a depth of understanding that are traditional political losers.

Don’t forget the equally unappealing to message to the above average: you have been fortunate. How many people that worked their whole life will ascribe their success to luck? How many people are willing to cope with the thought of going to work every day for 40 years and it being up to chance whether that works out?

Surely no one believes the absolute dumbest person alive could become a doctor if they only worked hard enough yet we apply this is the demoralizing incongruity we force on many people. Worse yet there is no glory in being average, or hardworking, only in being rich – because in America if you work hard and pay your dues, you are rich.

So what happens when a person who, for their own personal pride and wellbeing, can’t believe they’re below average, works their whole life and ends up below average?

Overall, it seems the point being made here, or at least one side of it as I interpret it, is that it takes a certain amount of courage to commit to a change in status quo. The Democratic Party, at least for the past century for certain, have been pushing for social change as a core mission in different ways at different times. The idea that status quo becomes stale upon inception of a norm and must continuously be re-examined and refined to keep up with changing times. The challenge being, asking someone to change what may already work well enough in exchange for an unknown is a classic phobia that often falls back on keeping things familiar. The old, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” motto. The inherent issue in politics is, it all depends on from whose perspective the status quo is being judged. An extreme case in point: if able to ask an early 20th century African American citizen if living in Jim Crow era Southern US was a good time, the quick and short answer would drastically differ from D. W. Griffith’s response, whilst shooting the closing scene of “Birth of a Nation.”

To get to the point, Democrats choose a hard path of change and hope - that’s the sales pitch anyway. To go on a slight, but relative tangent, I’d like to paraphrase a chapter in the book “Freakonomics.” In the book, the two authors analyze all sorts of minor and more serious global issues and pop culture phenomenons. They justify Row v. Wade with reduced murder statistics in late 1980’s and early ‘90’s in a manner that would make Mike Pence faint into a pile of varied contraceptives. But, that’s not my point this go around. There is another chapter that discusses the World Cup of futbol, which I assume also isn’t saved on Pence’s TiVo.

Pence aside, the authors specifically analyze the failure rate of penalty kicks in extremely high stakes situations. They analyze hundreds, maybe thousands of these kicks from different games over time. Penalty kicks, for all intensive purposes and for a professional, aren’t that hard according to their findings. There are three choices: kick left, kick right, or kick middle. Nobody ever kicks middle. Also, there isn’t a chance in hell or Brazil that the goalie just stands still at center net, assuming the rare ripper is coming quick up the gulch. So, the goalie always simply bets on left or right - it’s the best he or she can do considering there is no time to react after the ball is kicked. The kicker knows the goalie will choose left or right. However, the authors found that despite the sure fire odds that a kick straight into the wicket would win, the kicker doesn’t dare stray from the status quo of the flanks in fear of looking like a complete imbecile if the goalie were to happen to stay front and center. The reason being is obvious: a respectful kick to either corner will never be scrutinized. The goalie just chose well if a refusal is made. The kicker goes home with his ego intact and a pat on the back for a good try on a bad day. Even the thought of nearly certain glory isn’t enough to risk pride and ego over a change in status quo.

So, in summary, if you’re afraid of change and don’t have a problem with how things are going - even when it could be better - perhaps a vote for a Democrat just isn’t worth the risk.

I created a new point called change because you’re right that is a major factor.

The point I was trying to make here which it seems like I should go back and rewrite is that throughout the socioeconomic spectrum you find between the premises of the two major parties the Republicans message is more appealing to personal egos.

  1. Unsuccessful people do not want to admit they need the government or policies to intervene on their behalf. Tied to this acknowledgement is an admission of “inferiority”. I believe this is why scapegoats like overregulation and immigrants are so popular – it explains a lack of success without this admission.
  2. Successful people do not want to evaluate the role unearned factors played in their success. People want to believe they got where they are due to their own hard work, determination, and exceptionalism. Being born a genius, rich, or in the right place at the right time are not nearly as appealing to consider. Democrats emphasize the unearned factors whereas Republicans focus on hard work and determination.
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