Have you read Goldy's piece in the paper this week, on the rural republican welfare queens of Washington State? You should.
Indeed, if Washington is a welfare state, it is residents in these mostly rural, mostly Eastern, mostly Republican counties who are the biggest beneficiaries, while taxpayers here in the blue parts of the state are left footing the bill. And while your typical liberal Seattleite might be neither surprised nor disturbed at this revelation, the degree of the gap between who benefits from state government and who pays for it may come as a bit of a shock.
Goldy goes on to elaborate, with numbers and figures, the sheer extent of this disparity—Liberal King County only receives 62 cents on every dollar sent to the state, rural republican ferry county devours $3.16 for every dollar they send to the state. Goldy lays out the central paradox here: The very voters about to suffer the most from cuts in the State government are voting with fanaticism for these same cuts. He attributes this voting pattern, implicitly, to ignorance on the part of rural voters.
I have an alternative hypothesis. Rural voters vote against the State out of spite; they'd rather see the entire enterprise fail than Seattle succeed.
In the Odyssey of my medical education over the past few years—taking me, among others, to deeply red Southern / rural King County and Alaska—I've been slowly recognizing this pattern.
A good chunk of the country, particularly the deep red parts, feels a genuine and deep despair about their role in the new world that is emerging around us. A good many of rural and suburban Washingtonians feel like the world is leaving them behind—with some accuracy in their assessment.
In contrast, Seattleites are relatively well positioned for the globalizing world: Multicultural, multilingual, highly educated and plain old competitive on a global stage in a way that rural America has fought against at every step. Much of this advantage comes from the very programs cut or being cut right now, thanks to the troglodyte voting patterns: King County's exemplary public health system, a well developed refugee integration program, high quality and low-cost schools from Kindergarden (previously full-day) to graduate school, a world-quality public hospital (Harborview) and cultural institutions.
Put yourself in Ferry County—with all seven thousand or so of your peers. How optimistic would you feel about your future prospects? A glorious future for your offspring in the meth production and consumption industries? Fuck 'em all, you might think. If I'm going down, those liberal assholes in Seattle are going down too.
Mark Ames and I agree on this. In a lovely essay, recently updated, Mark lays out the case for spite with damning precision.
Why do so many working- and middle-class white males vote against what is obviously their own best interests?
I can tell you why. They do so out of spite. Put your ear to the ground in this country, and you’ll hear the toxic spite churning...
Spite-voters also lack the sense that they have a stake in America’s future. That’s another area that separates the spite-bloc’s way of thinking from the progressive-left that wants to help them. There is something proprietary implied in all of the didacticism and concern found in the left’s tone—and they do all have that grating, caring tone, it’s built into the foundations of their whole structure. But consider this: The left struggles to understand why so many non-millionaire Americans vote Republican, and yet they rarely ask themselves why so many millionaires, particularly the most beautiful and privileged millionaires in Manhattan and Los Angeles, vote for the Democrats.
I can answer both. Rich, beautiful, coastal types are liberal precisely because their lives are so wonderful. They want to preserve their lives exactly as they are. If I were a rich movie star, I’d vote for peace and poverty relief. War and domestic insurrection are the greatest threats to their already-perfect lives—why mess with it? This rational fear of the peasantry is frequently misinterpreted as rich guilt, but that’s not the case. They just want to pay off all the have-nots to keep them from storming their manors and impaling them on stakes.
You should read it all.