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Old 02-04-2004, 08:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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South Carolina Primaries

I was watching the primaries last night and this occurred to me.....

The top concern amongst Democratic voters in South Carolina was overwhelmingly the economy. I'm not sure about the rest of the states but this seems to be in large part true for the majority of Democrats.

My question is this: If we are no safer today than we were before the war on terror, and this war is misguided, how do they have the luxury of being most concerned with the economy?

I think this is very telling. They feel safe, because the war on terror is making significant progress. They have one man to thank for that....George "He's not my President" Bush.
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You might credit the president for the economy surpassing national security as the main issue on voters' minds. A lot of people believe the president (whether or not he deserves it) is responsible (to some extent) for the economy.

Has he made us safer? Mabye, mabye not. Nobody doubts that another 9/11 could happen tomorrow, and there might not be anything we could have done to prevent it. Fighting terrorism is hard because there's very little room for error.

Terror attacks on the scale of 9/11 don't happen that often. The last one is fading in our memories, and we're looking at issues of security much closer to home. Economic security is important to voters in this election. Something like 2-3 million jobs have been lost.

Is the emergence of this issue the result of a well executed war on terror? Probably not. Is it the natural result of an economy that actually is bad? I sure think so.
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Old 02-04-2004, 12:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Seeing that i'm from SC, lemme splain somethin to ya

I walked in the 2002 elections and in recent primaries on get out the vote campaigns in the upper regions of the state, including Chester, Lancaster, York, Spartanburg and Greenville, Rock Hill, and a few very very small areas. We went door to door giving out pamphlets, election materials, registering people to vote who were not registered in the area, etc. We also had to talk to everyone to find out their major concerns with the elections and what issues were on their minds. Now, we were supposed to be pushing for certain candidates, but i'm a bit jaded on everything and i'm intensely curious about everything so i would just talk, follow their lead, and find out what really were their concerns and find out who they were wanting to win. It was lots of fun and i'm hoping to do the same again this year and turn in a paper for publication in early jan of next year showing my findings and results.

Anyway, while doing all that, i found out quite a few things that may shed some light on what you are talking about.

1. The war on terror: Most people are concerned with it, but they also blame Bush and Bush Sr for it. Clinton kept us out of war, people in SC rarely had to worry about terrorist attacks bc it's not a high profile area to target and not a large economy, etc. They blame bush bc their children were sent oversees for "Daddy's War" So, there really is no pressing urge for the war on terror, insofar as most South Carolinians don't worry about planes dropping on us or about poisonous chemicals being sent through the mail. Seriously, it's not a huge concern to most people compared to issues that directly affect them...
thos issues being:

2. Economy..seriously, it sux in some places. Take Chester as an example. 15,000 laid off in the main factory that was forced to shut down. That's not a lot of people until you consider that the area's full population is barely over 20/25,000...So yeah, extra jobs went fast and there were thousands left out of work. These were low income workers anyway, but they lost the only source of money they had within a month. That happened before the 2002 elections and still continues to be a problem.

Springs industries, one of the largest textile companies in SC has routinely been cutting thousands of jobs. The last cut they made put over 45,000 workers out of a job. Gotta consider that Rock Hill is one of the larger cities with a population of about 50,000 people. The 45,000 put out of work were across several of the factories, but still, that's the equivelant of putting a top 5 city's population in the unemployment category.

People are honestly blaming bush, rightly or wrongly, for the economic woes the area faces. Is it justified..maybe. Most people i talked to recalled the days before clinton with an animosity and hatred, then the clinton years, they were able to get on their feet, then bam, they are out of work again. So yeah, they may have some unwarranted dislike for the president, but from their POV, it's very justified as their lives have been mostly "Republican=poor, democrat=working" as that is all they remember from the past 25 yrs. You aren't talking about national trends of economy or economic theories, you're dealing with the stark reality of a working class people who seem to be out of work shortly after a republican takes office..

The other part of this that is so confusing to most is how the area is "Constantly growing" according to city motto. There is a HUGE divide between the haves and the have nots. All of the tax breaks and family credits, etc, don't really mean much to those put out of work bc the only place they have worked all their lives shut down, but they do help out those who shut down the factories and those who open the new businesses in areas of very very cheap land and lax restrictions. (horrible sentence, please forgive) So, to the common worker, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" and again, they do blame bush for that, bush and the overall republican congress. Economic trends, downturns, theories, whatever, don't really matter to these people who can't afford to feed their families.

And before anyone says, "Why don't they move, why don't they find another job, etc" i advise you to take a look into some of the areas that are hardest hit. Again, Chester falls right into this category. The whole town is based around a factory. Area businesses pop up in response to the needs of the people who work in the factory, so you don't get many shopping mallls or service related businesses beyond the local dry cleaners, laundromat, theater, and various fast food restaurants. Some service oriented businesses, law offices, doctor offices, etc, come in during peak times, but they are often the first to leave when workers are laid off.
Now, throw in the fact that most of these workers have just started families within the past 10 yrs bc they thought they had a stable job with enough money and benefits to be able to raise a family and you have utter chaos when the central core of the area's economy is shut down and moved oversees. So, the area is littered with families with small children and no income and a mortgage on the house..

So, based on just areas that i have personally witnessed, i can honestly, unabashadly say, "YES" the economy really does concern people more than terrorism.

Hope all that made sense. If not, just ask and i'll try to clarify, this was just a bit of random thought based on some of the notes and experiences over the past few years
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Old 02-04-2004, 12:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think your point is very telling. Obviously the fearmongers would love us to consider terrorism above all else- it pays the bills of all the major defense contractors. They'd also like you to hate the Middle East, so we can be morally okay with stealing their oil. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Everyone seems to forget this was not the first attempt on the WTC... and we had several American terror attacks in the years prior to 9/11. Oklahoma City, anyone? McVeigh likely woulda been ecstatic to kill 3,000 people and turn the country into a bunch of scared sheep. How many of you feared for your life following the Oklahoma City bombing? Really? Now contrast that to the number of you that have feared for your JOB over the last few years.

It sucks, a bunch of folks died. I live in Los Angeles, which is a great big capitalist target, and like most of America, I went to work on 9/11, did my job, paid my bills, lived my life. My friends knew folks who died that day, but I don't live my life in fear... as I didn't before that day. The economy means something to everyone. Twenty years from now, there will be more blood, more war, more ridiculous violence... and I'll be concerned with putting my kids through college and grad school. Capitalism breeds capitalists, it's in my nature.
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, i watch the news constantly, and it's like everyday, we get updates of what the terror alert is, what happened on capitol hill, what is happening in iraq, iran, n. korea, syria, etc, and then people go right back to the everpresent question of, "What are we going to eat for dinner" bc world events, national events, and even state events affect us, but ultimately, we have to worry about day to day life. Dying from starvation and dying from a terrorist attack have the same effect on a person..you're dead either way..

So while we do care about what happens in the nation and what's a large issue, we are still deeply concerned about how we are going to feed our families or pay the rent. (we meaning people in SC)
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