The hyper-religious Tea Party Republicans in the House are on their way to their 41st vote to repeal Obamacare. Why? Because they can! But more than that, their constituents demand it. Now, let’s be honest, their constituents are rarely known for solving complex problems with sophisticated solutions. OK, let’s call a spade a spade: the far right are the intellectual infants of the American species, and now there is some data to prove it.
The states most hostile to Obamacare include Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi. These states share a couple things in common: they are states of the Old South, and by nature they are home to the most extreme elements of the Christian Right; and with the exclusion of the comparatively more enlightened Virginia, they are states with the lowest high school graduation rates in the nation. Further, when you consider that no southern state places in the top 15 for IQ, it’s fair to say the South continues to keep America as an intellectual two-speed nation.
Since the 1970s, corporations, particularly companies whose products depend on an assembly line, have flocked to the South to take advantage of this endless supply chain of low-educated labor. Not only cheap, but labor that is unprotected by unions thanks to Chinese modeled master-serf labor laws found predominantly in the Dixie states. What point am I driving at here? States with predominantly undereducated, low salary workers, and thus workers who are at a greater risk of sustaining a workplace injury, thanks to the absence of labor protection, are not only the states most in need of Obamacare, but are the states most against it. Not to mention the fact that these states are home to the hungriest of hippos in the nation, which ultimately leads those living in the old Confederate states to become prone to all kinds of obesity related illnesses. In fact, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2011 report, eight of the ten most morbidly obese states are in the South.
It’s a pitiful irony that those states under permanent Republican control, thanks to the enduring support of religious conservative voters, are the states with the most individual suffering. Take Mississippi, for example, the most Christian state in the Union, where 32 percent of its children suffer in extreme poverty. The primary reason for abject poverty is that more than a third of the state’s children have parents who lack secure employment, decent wages, and healthcare. But thanks to religious ideology and support of far right Republican policies, these poor saps continue to vote for the party that not only aggressively dismantles worker’s rights but also rejects Medicaid expansion.
One of Obamacare’s chief goals is to expand the rolls of Medicaid, qualifying millions of the working poor – those who earn too much to qualify for the government’s health-care coverage today but can’t afford private insurance. In other words, directly benefiting most of the labor force found in the states most hostile to Obamacare.
A new study by the University of Rochester suggests that the legacy of slavery is what leads white people in the South to vote Republican. The message from this is clear: if progressives want stupid white people to support a progressive policy that was designed by Republicans and implemented first by a Republican governor, then Democrats need to name their policies better. If the Affordable Care Act were named StromThurmondCare, it would be wildly more popular in the low-education states of the Confederacy. Until then, highly religious and low-educated voters will continue to vote against their own economic self-interests.