Monday, November 07, 2005

 

National Divides

They're starting to show up on the local level. From MiNewsRoundup comes this gem about rifts forming between old friends. It's no suprise to me that cracks are starting to form in the Republican coalition. The race that the article details is one between Shaula Johnston and Rosalynn Bliss for the 2nd ward Grand Rapids City Commission. Bliss is pro-abortion, pro-labor while Johnston is anti-abortion, anti-labor. The surprise here is that the pro-labor group actually backed the pro-labor candidate, despite the fact that their memebers are mostly anti-abortion.

Could this be the start of something new? A society where people vote for their interests instead of their beliefs? Times are getting rough, it wouldn't be that big of a shocker. Here's a snip from a questionaire:

Rosalynn Bliss, 2nd Ward: Bliss is in support of this—she called it a “family living wage.” She support incentives for diversity as well and believes that the money would stay in the community. She described the payment of higher wages as a way of valuing families and said that you cannot balance the City budget on the backs of the working class.

Shaula Johnston, 2nd Ward: No, she will not promote a living wage at this time. Her goal is to save money and not spend it.

This is a race to watch.

Comments:
Bliss isn't "pro-abortion". She's "pro-choice". Similarly, I don't think it would necessarily be fair to characterize Shaula Johnston as "anti-labor"; she's backed by corporate and business interests (like the GR Chamber) which tend to have interests in opposition to labor. Journalistic shorthand can be a dangerous thing.

The "Right to Life" movement (and in fact the abortion issue) should have little to do with this election given that it's highly unlikely that any abortion-related issues would ever be taken up at the City Commission level. In fact, the only reason the anti-choice interests are involved is because they think Bliss has aspirations for higher office (and have spread lies to that effect; claiming that she's interested in Rep. Kooiman's seat - which isn't even her district).

It shouldn't be surprising that the labor interests would support Bliss in spite of a majority of them being anti-choice because it's an irrelevent issue to this particular election. If a candidate votes your way on 90% of the issues - you support them (unless you're a zealot wholly invested in a single issue like the "Right to Life" crowd).
 
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""A society where people vote for their interests instead of their beliefs?""

Jon, I have to take issue with that comment. Since I'm a middle class guy, many democrats say that I "vote against my interests" since I have a litmus test on the Second Amendment.

My beliefs are my interests. You may agree with them. You may disagree with them, but I always vote my best interest.
 
I wouldn't call the terms "pro-abortion" and "anti-labor" journalistic shorthand, they are accuate reflections of what the candidates think. Anti-labor means you don't favor work, you favor something else, in this case, making money (they're quite different). Pro-abortion means you want abortions to be legal. While I would agree that abortion has little to do with this race, labor does. Bliss is for a living wage for city contractors and Johnston is against it. This is clearly a proposal that is good for "labor" and to oppose it is to oppose "labor." You are right that abortion has nothing to do with the race, but that hasn't stopped right to life from taking a lot of interest in these races over the years. Labor usually doesn't conflict with them, and this time they did.
 
You have a good point, I suppose what I mean is a society where people stop confusing their interests. People vote on gay marriage when they are stuggling to pay for food and medicine, that seems pretty silly to me. People seem to vote on things that don't hit home. Guns do make sense to vote on if you care about owning them, but I kinda figured that issue has been mostly abandoned (gun control doesn't really make any sense anyway).
 
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