Political analysts on the Left often wonder how some of the poorest areas of the country vote Republican in nearly every election. The prevailing thought is that there is racism at play--or that those folks are voting with their Bibles. Liberals like to say those people are "voting against their own self-interests" by supporting candidates that openly call for trimming public entitlement programs.
An article in the New York Times looked into this phenomenon and discovered that the political analysts are getting it all wrong. There are actually two factors deciding those elections. One--those who are on the dole tend not to vote at all--thus not taking the one action they have that would "preserve" their benefits. And two--those who have just worked their way out of the "Social Safety Net" are the ones who support its trimming the most.
The Republican voters quoted in the story were people who had fallen upon hard times--due in large part to the economic downtown at the end of the last decade. They entered into the programs like Unemployment, Food Stamps, WIC, free job training, free child care, etc. And while they were trying to work their way out of "the system", they became familiar with those who are making no effort to get out of "the system". Those who are turning the "Social Safety Net" into a "Social Safety Hammock". And those trying hard to make it on their own don't take too kindly to those sponging off of them.
It is those voters who don't buy the favorite phrase of the Left: "through no fault of their own" to describe those who have, in fact, made a number of choices that first put them into social programs and who continue to make choices that keep them there. Like the Republicans they now vote for, those working their way back up don't want to eliminate public entitlements--but they want to spend only what is necessary to provide help to those that truly need it. They don't define "success" as how many people can we give money to--even if they could be earning it themselves.
And as for those who are making no effort to get to the polls. That says a lot about how much they really "appreciate" our help.