As a voter you are entitled to use any reason or no reason for choosing who to vote for. Typical reasons could include voting for the candidate you like the most or the candidate who has a narrative you find emotionally comfortable, or the political party you grew up supporting.
If your only goal is to feel good about your vote any of these options will work.
But if your goals include contributing toward the long term stability and health of our country that approach turns serious policy decision making into a popularity contest where clever marketers control elections. There is so much money in politics, particularly to get elected to a national office, that political parties who control the purse strings control who gets elected, and the policies the Federal government pursues.
A wise long term vote strategy for voting is to understand what parties have done when in power and then vote according to what history says about their effectiveness in producing good results.
Here are some basic facts I ask you to consider.
Basic Fact #1 — Democrats controlled the Federal Government from 1933 to 1980. The highest Federal Income tax rate (applying only to income at the top end of the richest americans) was above 70%. Although that may sound unfair, in fact it produced four decades of unprecedented prosperity. It evidently changed rich peoples behavior to encourage production rather than speculation. During that period we pulled out of the Great Depression, paid for WW II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and sending a man to the moon, and in 1980 the National debt was 30% of GDP, exactly where it was in 1933. In addition to paying for wars and a moonshot, the US economy during that period grew at nearly 3% per year. The number of people who could buy a house rose steadily, poverty and homelessness nearly disappeared.
Fact #2 — The Republican party has dominated the Federal Government since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. One of his first actions was cutting the top federal Income tax rate to below 40%, it has stayed below 40% ever since. The National debt has grown every year since. Between 1981 and 2022 the National Debt has grown faster than the economy. In essence our country is stagnating. That stagnation is reflected in the huge rise in homelessness, and home ownership increasingly out of reach of many people
Cutting taxes on the wealthy has become the signature policy for Republicans, it is the first thing they have done when they get control of Congress ever since. Both Clinton and Obama raised tax rates on really high income slightly (but not above 40%) — both increases were reversed as soon as Republicans gained control again.
Fact #3 — Beyond exploding the National Debt, here is what Republicans have done with their control of government in the last 42 years:
1. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress from 1995 through 2006 and the tax changes they enacted in 1996 converted the housing market into a speculative casino, and made broader speculation more attractive than production. We have been in a continuous boom or bust economic cycle ever since, we are in our second major housing market collapse, third major stock market collapse, and first bitcoin collapse — even as the national debt has continued to rise and growth has been anemic.
2. Republicans stacked the Supreme Court with folks who made decisions based on ideology rather than data or historical fact. Two of the most ridiculous examples:
a. Our current massively expensive elections are a product of the absurd finding of the Supreme Court (Citizens United) that the Founding Fathers, who were all long dead before Corporations were invented, intended for the first amendment to protect Corporations right to influence elections. The notion the founding fathers could have intended to include organizations that did not exist when the constitution was adopted, and only exist since because later laws create and define their powers, is nonsense. Our elections today are swamped with money of indeterminate source poured in Corporate political organizations. Are China and Russia funneling money to candidates they like? Who knows?
b. The Supreme Courts recent reversal of Roe v. Wade ignored one really basic fact. When the Constitution was adopted abortion was legal in every one of the 13 colonies, and had been during the entire lifetime of every delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Abortion was a non issue, so, no surprise, the founding fathers didn’t talk about it. It was one of the inherent rights they grew up with. But the Supreme Court ignored common sense and historical fact to indulge their personal religions beliefs.
3. Republicans have stifled all efforts at control of our epidemic of mass shootings, to protect the massive influxes of money from the gun industry to those Republican political organizations.
4. The scorecard for Democrats since is much simpler. Twice in the last 42 years they controlled Congress with a Democratic President for two years. The first time put all their energy into a failed attempt at comprehensive healthcare legislation, the second time they passed Obamacare. Before Obamacare the US had the most expensive healthcare in the world, while our system ranked lowest among developed nations in keeping people healthy and alive.
Beyond those two periods where Democrats had two years of control, if the Democrats did not control both houses of Congress Republicans took great pride in blocking virtually everything the Democrats sought to do.
It is not political ideology, it is simple history that says voting for Republicans is undermining the long term health of our Democracy. Please, consider these facts before you vote.