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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Are "Moochers" More Democrats?

The term "moocher" appears to be much more popular in the political lexicon, particularly among self-described conservatives who wish to deride the irresponsibility of political opponents (liberals? progressives?) and/or recipients of various government subsidies.  The term is often attributed to Ayn Rand's seminal novel Atlas Shrugged, although in my reading of her work I've come across a far-less-used term of "looter." 

The nomenclature of the various sides (and there are many more than two, as political alliances are shifting) is open for debate all over the political spectrum. However, the common wisdom is that "moochers" vote Democratic and moocher-haters vote Republican.  But I ask: Does this voting preference accurately reflect the role of "moochers" and suggest they are a natural liberal-Democrat constituency?

Underlying the question is a challenge to the paradigm holding that moochers are natural opponents of Republicans and thus moochers cannot be opponents of Democrats because Democrats are also the natural opponents of Republicans.  I wonder whether moochers are more of a threat to Democrats than to Republicans, despite their relatively closer voting affinity.

I start my challenge with a plea to approach this issue on a post-partisan basis. Dispense of the political party identification for a moment.  Please put down the other ideological identifiers (e.g., conservative, libertarian, progressive), and put on hold the premise that the identifiers are even definable.

First, I need to define the moocher for purposes of this debate.  The moocher is the person who supports the expansion of the entitlement state to a point where government controls everything, is everything.  He is for entitlements uber alles.  Entitlements as far as the eye can see, no matter what the expense or who is the victim.  To cap it off, strategy dictates the moocher supports any other cause (social, geopolitical, etc.) which weakens the support of any political opponent.

I might just be describing the most radical wings within the Democratic Party voting bloc (if not the party establishment), perhaps even elements of the Organizing For America (nee Obama For America) movement. 

However, should my theory be accurate, is that a good thing for the Democratic Party?  Do moochers pose more of a threat to Democrats?

And can traditional Democrats retain their power -- either in elected office or even in party positions -- when (as is further explained below) their character and values are being undermined and attacked by a moocher class upon which the Party increasingly, desperately relies for its margin of victory?

Consider that any serious political campaign needs serious financial support plus organizing acumen.  These elements come, one way or another, from people who can be called "achievers."  And achievers, regardless of political affinity, are almost by definition a minority in society.  Most people do not achieve; they may work, they may own cars and houses, but they survive, they exist, but this is a far cry from leading, from achieving, from having an impact on those around them.  

But one thing about achievers: they are the opposite of moochers.

The people who get ahead in politics, in any part of the spectrum, are either achievers or very skilled manipulators. (Some are both.)  Assuming for the sake of clarity that the Democratic Party leadership consists of achievers, the party's increasing reliance upon moochers for votes suggests a growing separation between the natural interests and perhaps even of personal character of the party leadership and its voting base.  This means that the party has grown and continues to grow more dependent (or desperate) on getting votes from the moocher class whose values, attitudes and behavior conflict with and even undermine the values and accomplishment of the "old-line" Democrat achievers who had to actually work hard to get where they are today.

A different way of viewing this intraparty divide is to dispense with ideology and instead view self-interest and class consciousness as the driving factors.  Moochers vote with unabashed, shameless self-interest: I will have what I want...or else.  Traditional Democrats have an ideology.  Moochers could care less.  Accordingly, their loyalties may be shallow.

If this theory is correct, it would hold that moochers pose a threat to the overall society by their I-don't-give-a-damn-about-anyone-else-but-me attitude, but that politically their threat is not at all to the Republican coalition (for whom moochers have no use and the feeling is reciprocated).  Rather, their most dire threat is to the mainstream Democratic Party which faces revolution from within from radical elements eager to use this mercenary moocher anger to win party primaries and force the party far to the left.

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