Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Voting Our Principles

Here is a fascinating observation from Tom Perriello of Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good.

One of the things people are saying that I think is incorrect is that the Democrats won this election by running a bunch of conservatives and by running a bunch of moderates. If you actually look at who it was that was swinging in this vote, it was actually that there was massive turnout of a lot of people who were motivated by some of the deepest principles of progressive thinking, even in the red states.

What you had was, for example, people like Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown essentially ran as what one person called “ethical populists.” You had people who were not running to the middle, but actually running to their principles. And what we found with religious voters is that they care much more about right and wrong than about right and left, which means that you can have some centrist candidates who do well, but you can also have some very progressive candidates that, by sticking to their values, they actually gain more than they would by running to the middle. Tim Cain won as governor in Virginia last year, which is my home state, by opposing the death penalty in a pro-death penalty state, because people cared a lot more about him standing for his principles than they cared about the issue.

So, I think when you look at the groups that really helped swing this vote, we’ve got to be -- the Democrats should be very wary of understanding who delivered this. So when they set the agenda for Congress, issues like the minimum wage, issues like healthcare and a new direction for Iraq are going to be key, if they want to lock in and sustain some of the victories they saw this year.

- from Democracy Now on Friday 11/10


David J said...

Actually Ian, I think there were several dynamics. First, the war in Iraq. There was a combination of people who #1 didn't believe in it and #2 were dissapointed with the way it was being waged. Also, there's the cost factor. Many folks see this as a huge expenditure and they can't see tangible results. So I think you had a mixture of some strange bedfellows unknowingly working together.

The democrats have a real opportunity to be better managers and to inspire hope in people that feel let down by their government.

Hollands Opus said...

Time indeed will tell. The spinsters hope to reveal the mind of the voter. I do not think it is that simple. One thing is certain - frustration at the way things are, espcially in Iraq. And of course, it is unseemly for one party to credit another, so the voices of commendation for positive things in will be silent. Some real good came from the present administration, despite the colossal failure of ethics and breech of public trust.

Pres. Bush does well to focus on terrorism, but too other things get excluded.

In my house, I pay the bills and do the heavy yard work. My wife homeschools and works part time, and is just a powerful example to me of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity. But we complement one another.

Would that Elephants and Donkeys could do likewise! Perhaps only in the end of days - like when the lion lies down with the lamb, and children sit on asps nests without being hurt! (I will leave it to our respective imagination and sarcasm as to which personifies each party!!!)

As for the minimum wage, nobody talked about that in the election. I would welcome good arguements from both sides, and I hope that happens without posturing and emotional exploitation. I remain the optimist!

Hollands Opus

David J said...

You know, I usually do not support increases in the minumum wage, but the current wage has 1955 buying power, and that has not kep up with inflation.

My wife works for McDonald's and she works extremely hard for poor wages. These types of jobs would see way more loyalty if they paid better and offered benefits.

Ian said...

I do think that reading the mind of the voter is a tricky business that spinsters take to much too quickly. I posted this man's comments because I thought his take on the issue of people voting their values was from a different perspective than the one we have been hearing.

I agree that the issues can make for strange bedfellows and I promise to share the covers! Seriously, I'm glad to see issues be the reason to vote instead of the personality of the candidate.

As for minimum wage, it may not have been an issue locally, but a number of states had referenda on their ballots to raise the minimum wage and all of them won easily.

Hollands Opus said...

Might anyone suggest a concise source summarizing the pro and con of minium wage?

David J said...

I think the pro, is obviously more pay in theworker's wallet. Which means more buying power, which means less government reliance. It also gives the worker freedom to make better choices.

The con would be it may hurt small businesses.

mkz said...

Hello Ian, I have request unrelated to you subject. As we share some theological differences, yet are brothers in Christ, I would value your comments on my recent post, those so far have been a blessing to my perspective.

mkz said...

Davidj, it may be possible that the increased buying power you noted, could become a boon to small businesses. People with more to spend may feel more inclined to support smaller merchants, thus further strengthening the economic base of our nation. This has to be preferable to the desperately sought cheapness of Wal-mart!

David J said...

Wow! Thanks for the link to my lowly blog! I guess we really are finding common ground!

David J said...

Re-reading your post it occured to me that your analysis, although mostly on target, neglected the fact that Democrats certainly moderated their tone. They did run as rabid pro-choicers. They didn't run as "progressives", but rather as alternatives to the issues that have sunk W. I think Barak Obama has got it right when we understands how conservatives think and feel-and then crafts positions that allow for debate and moderation. That is a winning combination, because it gets things done.

David J said...

I meant "didnt" run as rabid pro-choicers...