Random Thoughts

US Elections and The Hell Shaped Curve

Once again it is time for the two year test of the philosophy and intellect of the American electorate. I could end this analysis right here by quoting a famous columnist Walter Lippman, that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public, but that would be an extreme and generalized derogation, though not far removed from the truth. Instead let us look at the socioeconomic map.

The upper two quintiles of US households consist of 45 million households earning over 55,000 dollars per year and to garner their vote, the markets are making new highs. This is a dual strategy. First it will energize them to vote and vote Republican. Second, the market will fall after the election and more so if both houses are lost to the Democrats. Then sundry partisan pundits will scream from the rooftops to remind the voters and non-voters of the perils of voting for Democrats.

The unthinking and uneducated will be discouraged from voting by the tirade against liberals and some talk that both parties are the same and their vote doesn't count. The poor and uneducated Democratic partisans will be blocked from voting by tricks of erasure from voter lists, increased obstacles to registration, ambiguous ballots and lack of verifiable paper trails. The unthinking zealots will be riled up to vote on moral grounds for Republicans because of straw issues like abortion, gay rights, immigration and crime, making them oblivious to the war, economy and administration's and congress majority's malfeasance, lies and crookery.

It is about time that the electorate learnt to vote for third parties and if they are against the war, to vote against any candidate who voted for the war. At a minimum if the Democrats do not win the House and Senate, a reasonable analyst is likely to conclude, as the Europeans did after the 2004 election, that the US voter either once again failed the IQ test or subscribes to the philosophy of the Shrub.

Considering the preponderance of the wealthy and the Christian right in combination, it is wise not to build up one's hopes. The public pronouncements of McCain of the Republicans and Hilary and Biden of the Democrats leave little hope for a reasonable sane foreign policy or a sensible course to the Iran quagmire, only a grim future. The American voter has been reduced to the status of a Pavlovian dog, a totally captive creature of conditioned reflexes, manipulated by the whims of the experimenters, the political ruling class including the parties, the media and the wealthy owners.

Many graphs of various entities are Gaussian and follow what is a Bell shaped curve, a central hump narrowing to thin tails on either side.. The voting patterns of the US public are more like half of the above curve with a thin tail of sensible liberal voters ascending to a plateau of aggressive, non-liberal, rich and brainwashed, imbued by jingoistic chauvinism. This is what I call the Hell shaped curve. That is why the US public was dragged into the first world war by Wilson, the second world war by FDR, the Korean War by Truman, the Vietnam War by Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, the Cold War by Truman to Reagan, the first Iraq and Panama War by Bush Sr. and the second Iraq War by Bush Jr. ( Read the book 'Hubris' by Corn and Isikoff), all of them under false pretexts with unnecessary loss of blood and treasure. The abolishment of the draft has silenced the opposition and protests of the middle class and removed the fear of chicken hawks, who can now make the desperate poor's children cannon fodder, without political consequences.      


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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