Jump to content
Jambands.ca

Why the poor vote Conservative


d_rawk
 Share

Recommended Posts

They aren’t ready to hear this yet, but the anti-poverty activists who work tirelessly to promote the interests of low-income Canadians need to ask why so many of them voted for Stephen Harper last week.

They won’t like the answers they get. They won’t understand how food bank users and social housing tenants could think the Prime Minister is on their side. They’ll be tempted to interrupt or object.

But their feelings are not the point. There is a serious gap in their knowledge.

Left unaddressed, it will trip them up in next fall’s provincial election campaign, the same way it did in this spring’s federal campaign and last autumn’s municipal race which propelled Rob Ford into the mayor’s chair.

It would be easy for the anti-poverty movement to argue that Harper’s victory was the result of vote-splitting, smear tactics and luck. He did benefit from the “orange wave†that began in Quebec and spilled over into Ontario, dividing the left-wing vote between the New Democrats and Liberals. The Conservatives did saturate the airwaves with attack ads, portraying Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff as an opportunistic outsider. And Harper was publicly endorsed by Toronto’s mayor, in a departure from tradition.

It would also be easy to stay the course, hoping the Conservatives will see the light. Despite the fact that Harper has announced his priorities — which don’t include poverty reduction — anti-poverty groups are busy writing articles and circulating studies that bolster their case.

But neither rationalization nor wilful blindness will get them far in the next electoral showdown. Tim Hudak, who leads the ascendant Ontario Conservatives, uses the same playbook as Harper and Ford.

After being sidelined twice in the past eight months, anti-poverty campaigners need to figure out how right-wing cost-cutters connect with voters — especially low-income voters.

My soundings are limited, but a few themes keep popping up:

• People in low-income neighbourhoods are the biggest victims of the drug dealers and violent young offenders Harper is promising to lock up. They want relief from the violence they can’t escape. They want to rid their communities of the gangs that lure their children into gun-and-gang culture. Crime crackdowns make sense to them.

• What Canadians struggling to make ends meet want most is a job; not government benefits, not abstract poverty-reduction plans, certainly not charity. Harper tapped into that yearning, promising to stabilize the economy and create employment. The New Democrats, aiming to beat him at his own game, said they would cut small business taxes.

• It angers low-income voters to see secure middle-class bureaucrats getting pay hikes. Those trapped in entry-level service jobs seethe when public employees who earn far more than they ever will are rewarded simply for showing up. Those living on public assistance — employment insurance, welfare, old age security — dislike being treated with contempt by government officials. In both cases, cutting the public payroll has a lot of appeal.

• Canadians fighting to stay afloat often have little regard for the anti-poverty organizers, professors and social planners who profess to speak for them. They don’t appreciate being lumped together and labelled. They don’t want political advice.

• Like most people, low-income voters mistrust politicians of all stripes. They don’t believe their promises and they don’t pay much attention to their rhetoric. Many don’t cast ballots. Those who do, opt for politicians who speak in plain language about issues that matter to them.

Some of these signals are contradictory. Some are counterintuitive. But they point to an anti-poverty movement that is out of step with its presumed followers. Its leaders owe it to those they claim to serve to take a painfully honest look at themselves and their vision.

These are hard lessons. They will require openness and humility. But the alternative is increasing irrelevance.

Goar

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lack of education has a lot to do with it. who reads the Toronto Sun (or the other Sun papers) for example? The Sun endorsed Harper (just as it endorsed Harris).

That's true, and should go on the list. When working factories when I was younger, the only paper anybody brought around was the Toronto Sun .. I assume because its reading level is so low (that isn't meant as an under-handed insult - many of the workers were new Canadians and hadn't had enough opportunity to develop theirs skills in English, and those who were native English speakers tended to be poorly and under educated). It is a mind-numbing publication full of the most serious breaches of critical thought imaginable. It ought to be criminal.

(And before anybody shits on me for being an arugala-eating elistist, please be sure that you have actually read the thing. Those in SoOn have regular access to it, but I don't believe that those of us in Ottawa do. It really is as bad as I have characterized it.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^

The Sun is brutal. I have a coworker who brings it in every day. Good guy and all, but once and a while I sneak a peak at the letter to the editor ... that alone makes my blood boil.

Promise the Sun readers (insert money give away, or easy policy change like taking away photo radar) and you're IN!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So basically this whole topic boils down to the working class/low income are people who aren't intelligent enough to vote "properly"? I guess I'm one of those folks.

I work in construction. More specifically, I'm a union electrician who primarily works in industrial settings. eg; steel mills, nuclear plants, hydro plants etc, and because I may read some meaningless rag like the Hamilton Spectator, Globe And Mail or Toronto Sun during one or both of my 15 minute breaks this deems a lack of education?

That article reeks of "looking down the nose" at the working class/low income folks and/or pointing the finger at for Harper being re-elected. By the way, could someone explain what makes The Star a more valid upstanding rag over any of the other one-sided newspaper out there? What is it, bigger words?

For what it's worth, I didn't vote conservative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So basically this whole topic boils down to the working class/low income are people who aren't intelligent enough to vote "properly"? I guess I'm one of those folks.

I hope not, but I thought it was a very interesting point that Big Wooly Mammoth made.

The initial topic didn't make mention of that at all, but I'm not sure that it is inaccurate.

and because I may read some meaningless rag like the Hamilton Spectator, Globe And Mail or Toronto Sun during one or both of my 15 minute breaks this deems a lack of education?

No, no. If you are reading the Sun it may indicate a lack of taste, but not necessarily a lack of education. If you did lack education, however, the Sun would likely be your go-to. And they do explicitly endorse the Conservatives, and arguably has as big of a hate-on for the Liberals as I (sometimes) do - unless they have changed their tune .. it has been years .. I'm in a different part of the country now.

That article reeks of "looking down the nose" at the working class/low income folks and/or pointing the finger at for Harper being re-elected.

That could be so, but I saw it exactly the other way. I saw it as being critical of the self-important-feeling 'Left' who presumed that they were doing the 'good work', but entirely misguaged the people they were trying to represent. And the Conservatives were more appealing, for all of the reasons mentioned. The intent wasn't to look down the nose at anyone, but rather to suggest that the anti-poverty folks are getting it a little bit wrong and should correct their course of action.

By the way, could someone explain what makes The Star a more valid upstanding rag over any of the other one-sided newspaper out there?

Couldn't make that argument even if my life depended on it. We don't get The Star out here, but as I remember it, their editorial section at least attempted to argue a point rather than just state it explicitly and presume that you would internalize it as fact, which is one of the problems that I always had with The Sun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the deal with newspapers is this. If you are reading one, and one only, you aren't doing yourself any favours.

Just like with TV news. If you're ONLY watching FOX you will be affected by their mandate/slant.

That goes for all.

If people spent more TIME getting information from multiple sources on their own then they WILL be more informed and intelligent when spouting off about certain topics.

We are living in the most ADD age ever. Shit, it's amazing how some people will base their whole decision on a topic simply from the headline in the story. Everything is taken in soundbytes and out-of-context twists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The initial topic didn't make mention of that at all, but I'm not sure that it is inaccurate.

Kudos and here I thought my "knee-jerk" reaction to reading this thread was hyperbole and better not posted, seems I should have posted it. Either way, I get it, us working class aren't very intelligent. Obviously we look at things in very different ways. Just to clarify though, what standard are we using to gauge this lack of taste and where did you find information that shows lack of education points to reading a specific newspaper? I'm really curious about that. Unless of course it just opinion and with that we'll just move on.

Out of curiosity what constitutes lack of education here? No HS diploma, no grad school, no college degree, no university etc? Helps in understanding the viewpoints here.

[color:red][edit to add]

(And before anybody shits on me for being an arugala-eating elistist, please be sure that you have actually read the thing. Those in SoOn have regular access to it, but I don't believe that those of us in Ottawa do. It really is as bad as I have characterized it.)

You do have access to it, it's called the Ottawa Sun - same paper, localized to Ottawa. Just like a few other cities across Canada

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Either way, I get it, us working class aren't very intelligent.

I really don't mean to suggest that. The working class are the backbone of the everything.

Obviously we look at things in very different ways.

Exactly why I thought the article worth posting.

What I thought interesting about it was that it made me think about things in a different way, and challenged my usual assumptions. I thought it good food for thought.

I don't agree with it 100%, but I thought it made some really interesting points that needed to be considered.

Out of curiosity what constitutes lack of education here? No HS diploma, no grad school, no college degree, no university etc? Helps in understanding the viewpoints here.

My experience is that the Sun appeals to those with a lower level of language comprehension than do the other papers of note. As I said, that experience is largely based on working with people whose English was not yet developed - which isn't a criticism, it just takes time. I *suck* at second languages, I'm certainly not judging. The Sun intentionally makes use of an elementary school reading level, while, say, the Globe does not. Not a problem, and in fact, good on them .. somebody has got to. It doesn't change the fact that this then attracts those of a lower language comprehension. Again, that does not mean that if you read the Sun and like it that you have low language comprehension or are any less intelligent than anybody else. It *does* mean that if you have a low language comprehension, your only option is the Sun.

You do have access to it, it's called the Ottawa Sun

True enough. I still hate it.

Just to clarify though, what standard are we using to gauge this lack of taste

This 'lack of taste' line was just me being cheeky, because I happen to disagree strongly with the usual editorial position - and manner of presenting it - of that publication. I thought I was being funny.

I'm being immodest in a way of jest. I personally hate the Sun. So I took the opportunity to poke fun at them. I also think that their editorial staff (again, unless it has changed) is irresponsible, but it is my personal opinion. I shouldn't be so cavalier about such things, but I am.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll tell you what constitutes lack of education:

It's the red-necked co-worker in the lunchroom who announces "Immigration causes crime. I read it in the Sun".

or: "If you buy that Jap car, you're supporting the Tal-ee-ban".

These are true quotes by one of my co-workers at a small manufacturing company in 2002-03.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can only go by what the students in my Critical Thinking class have to say, when they're given an assignment where they need to go point-by-point through a comparison of the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun, and a fair 98% of them end up opting for the Citizen, just because of the depth of the stories and the sense that they're not being pandered to by some news organisation that's telling them how their supposed to be thinking. I'm not even much of a fan of the Citizen, but I do think that this tells volumes about what the Sun is about, and how it reaches their audiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the record, I'm not defending the Sun. I'm arguing the assumption that everyone who reads it is of low intelligence or education. I personally don't buy it or really read it, but I certainly wouldn't judge a person based on what newspaper they bring to work. I have way more important things to worry about, like having a beer or getting laid.

I'm sure there is people out there who take it as the gospel, but in my work environment for example, there really isn't much time for perusing actual newspapers so bringing a nation post or the globe and mail really is pointless as you don't have any worthwhile time read them. The Sun on the other hand is a tabloid, cheap, quick read, no real articles much more then half page in length, so it allows for some quick reading, passing around the sunshine girl or some fun bullshitting topics when we head back to work more-so then how much education someone has or their IQ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Epoch Times is not a bad one too for those too-much-work-to-do so only a few minutes to squeeze in a read days, the bus, etc..

If the Sun had the editorial heavy-handidness excised from it, I think it would be a handy little rag. It's not just a "if we agreed on everything, then I would like you" thing, more of a "dude, you should know that you're being a dick right now" thing.

Like Esau, I will most certainly read it if it is around in the lunchroom or equivalent, but wouldn't buy it. And don't like it. I'll also read a Cosmo or a celebrity tabloid, though, if that's all that is kicking around, so .. back to taste :laugh:

Can't believe that I blanked on the Ottawa Sun, although I don't see them in any of the stores anywhere around here (probably just the nature of this sea-of-orange neighbourhood, I imagine they don't move many copies) Thought I should pick one up, given that I've been criticizing something I haven't read since I left Toronto. But dirty secret - it is apparently my gf's paper of choice, so I am going to have her bring one home from work.

I have way more important things to worry about, like having a beer or getting laid.

Now this is something we can all relate to and agree with for sure :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly wouldn't judge a person based on what newspaper they bring to work.

If one person subscribes to High Times, Guitar World, and Mad Magazine while his neighbor subscribes to MacLeans, The Financial Times and Forbes Magazine, it's possible to draw some generalities about their differing tastes, is it not?*

So if one person comes to work every day with an obviously left-leaning paper and another comes every day with an obviously right-leaning paper, isn't it clear that there is likely some fundamental differences in their views?

*I know, I know, it's profiling, and I'm wrong to do it. Now let's suppose one of the magazine recipients is a lawyer while the other is a tree-planter. You get one guess which is which and if you're right you get a million bucks. Now, no profiling...which is which?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If one person subscribes to High Times, Guitar World, and Mad Magazine while his neighbor subscribes to MacLeans, The Financial Times and Forbes Magazine, it's possible to draw some generalities about their differing tastes, is it not?*

So if one person comes to work every day with an obviously left-leaning paper and another comes every day with an obviously right-leaning paper, isn't it clear that there is likely some fundamental differences in their views?

I guess you could draw some "generalities" (personal opinions) of their taste, but not their intelligence. Although, I know of people who get those simply because they joined some mail order sub which included those magazines or they think it looks good on them when people see it on their coffee table. Personally, I've never inquired what the other guys at work subscribe to for home delivery. I have no idea how many bring their paper from home or simply buy one off the coffee wagon, probably since I've never really cared.

*I know, I know, it's profiling, and I'm wrong to do it. Now let's suppose one of the magazine recipients is a lawyer while the other is a tree-planter. You get one guess which is which and if you're right you get a million bucks. Now, no profiling...which is which?

Can you tell me which of them is more intelligent or was better educated first? Basing it only on your above criteria of course, so only one assumption guess and no profiling.

I get your point and all, but when I'm at work it really doesn't matter to me what side of the political spectrum the guy next to me leans toward or what paper he's reading. Politics on the job is like whining about your old lady. No one cares. I only care if the guy I'm working with is in his right mind and isn't going leave me hanging (literally) while I'm climbing a tower/structure/ladder or if he's got my back when I stick my arm in a charged panel. Like I said, I have better things to worry about then judge some one else based on what they read during break time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two builders go into the pub after a hard day's work. They're sitting drinking for a while when a very smartly dressed man walks in and orders a drink. The two began to speculate about what the man did for a living.

"I'll bet he's an accountant." said the first builder.

"Looks more like a stockbroker to me." argued the second.

They continued to debate the subject for a good while until eventually the first builder needed to use the toilet. On walking in, he saw the smartly dressed man standing at a urinal.

"Excuse me, but me and my friend have been arguing over what a smartly dressed fella like you does for a living?" the builder said to the man.

Smiling the man replied, "I'm a logical scientist."

"A what?" asked the builder.

"Let me explain" the man continued, "Do you have a goldfish at home?"

A bit puzzled, but intrigued the builder decided to play along, "Yes, I do as it happens."

"Well then it's logical to assume that you either keep it in a bowl or a pond. Which is it?"

"A pond" the builder replied.

"Well then it's logical to assume that you have a large garden."

The builder nodded his agreement. So the man continued, "which means it's logical to assume you have a large house."

"I have a 6 bedroom house that I built myself." the builder said proudly.

"Given that you have such a large house, it's logical to assume that you are married..."

The builder nodded again, "Yes, I'm married and we have three children."

"Then it's logical to assume that you have a healthy sex life."

"Five nights a week!" the builder boasted.

The man smiled a little, "Therefore it's logical to assume you don't masturbate often."

"Never!" the builder exclaimed.

"Well there you have it" the man explained, "That's logical science at work. From finding out that you have a goldfish, I've

discovered the size of your garden, all about your house, your family and your sex life!"

The builder left, very impressed by the man's talents.

On returning to the bar the other builder asked, "I see that smart guy was in there, did you find out what he does?"

"Yeah," replied the first, "He's a logical scientist.

"A what?" the puzzled second builder asked.

"Let me explain" the first builder continued, "Do you have a goldfish at home?"

"No" replied his friend.

"Well, you're a wanker then!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just saying it's possible to draw some conclusions about a person based on what they regularly read.

I never mentioned I thought one would be smarter than the other.

As a complete aside, back when I used to read the Sun regularly I had no idea that newspapers were biased.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...