The American People?

Who are these “American People” who want the Republican leaders, the President, the teabaggers to do all the things they are supposed to do. “The American People elected us to cut taxes and spending.” “The American People want us to ensure the social safety net and  create jobs.” ” We must do the will of the American People.”  Who are these “American People” who have such diverse needs? Cut taxes. Cut Defense Spending. Cut All Spending Except Military. Invest in infrastructure. Cut Government. Invest in Job Creation. Stop Obamacare. Reform Health Care. Increase taxes on the wealthy. Cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy. 
Both Political parties invoke this sacrosanct mantra “The American People” as automatically and effortlessly as chewing sugar-free gum. This small near-religious ejaculatory utterance, “the American People,” has become the go-to phrase that politicians inject as their “closer/winner”, their “word of god.” 
Although it is difficult to compare Presidential voting patterns with Midterm voting results, in the 2008 Presidential election, about 63% of eligible registered voters (213 million) actually voted. Thirty three percent of those votes were Democrat (70 million) and about 28% (60 million) voted Republican. 
In the 2010 Midterm elections the voter participation rate was only 35% of the total registered voters (estimated 213 million). (In the United States, it has been common to report turnout as the sum of votes for the top race on the ballot, because not all jurisdictions report the actual number of people who went to the polls.) Democrats, who President Obama said took a “shellacking,”  represented about 16% (34 million) of the total eligible voters (213 million) and Republicans were approximately 18% (37 million) of the total who could have voted. (About 4.5% of registered eligibles voted “other” than Democrat or Republican)
So with about 37 million or 18% of “American People” voting Republican in the 2010 Midterm elections, Republican leaders boldly proclaim they are carrying out the will of the people. Yes they are. At least the will of about 18% of those who voted. The point is that invoking the will of “the American people” to anchor your policy arguments and decisions is disingenuous but mostly meaningless. But Democrats and Republicans (Teabaggers) do it without challenge. It’s what the American People want them to do.

1 thought on “The American People?”

  1. Got a kick out of Gore Vidal's “An Evening with Richard Nixon” where the “American People” were a bunch of dummies on a cart pulled back an forth across the stage depending upon the political wind of the moment.


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