I just got back from my corner newsstand, where I overheard three women discussing the price of a soda, which one of them mistakenly thought was $8. She said, “Inflation,” and then “Joe Biden,” as if a) Joe Biden was responsible for inflation and b) that was the hysterical punchline to a joke. It took all my self-control not to scream at that woman, “You fucking idiot! Do you even know what causes inflation?!” But I didn’t. They were probably tourists and they didn’t strike me as intellectuals. (The rest of their conversation was about a bag of gummy bears.)
I’d be surprised if they even bothered to vote.
This morning, a friend of mine, a former New Yorker who now lives in Virginia, texted me, “I take it that Eric Adams is not well liked in NYC?” to which I responded, “Huh?” This was news to me and I live in New York City. When I spoke to my friend later on the phone, I said, “Where did you hear that?” And he said, “The media.”
Everywhere I look, I’m hearing “crime, crime, crime,” and my reaction is, “What crime?” I haven’t been the victim of a crime, nor do I know anyone who has.
Today’s New York Times, in fact, has two articles which seem to contradict the running narrative about inflation and crime.
The first article’s headline is “Job Data Stays Strong, Despite Inflation Curbs” (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/04/business/economy/october-jobs-report.html) and the other’s headline is “High-Profile Subway Crimes Overshadow Riders’ Low Risk” (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/04/nyregion/new-york-subway-safety.html).
Why are so many people taking the Republican narrative about inflation and crime at face value and why aren’t the Democrats fighting back?
I suppose part of the reason is that everyone’s living in an information bubble these days, so if you watch Fox News or read the New York Post, all you’re seeing is stories about inflation and crime. Missing from those stories are several important facts.
First of all, inflation is a worldwide problem that’s primarily caused by three things: 1) the lingering effects of the pandemic and the resulting snag in supply chains 2) the war in Ukraine, which has tightened the supply of oil (from Russia) and grain (from Ukraine) and 3) price-gouging from companies (primarily oil companies), who are experiencing record profits.
As for crime, a large factor is the widespread availability of guns in this country. (There are more guns in America than people.)
And perhaps the most important fact is that Republicans don’t have a plan for either of these things beyond cutting taxes for the rich and making guns even more available.
I know the polls are predicting that Republicans will win the House (and possibly the Senate), but democracy itself is on the ballot this year. Why are so many Americans willing to give up democracy just to save on their gas or grocery bill (two things over which neither party has much control)?
Bill Maher had a devastating “New Rules” segment on Real Time with Bill Maher last night about what will happen if Republicans win (and democracy dies). Here’s a link: https://youtu.be/HKVBvooZ2c8
I would urge every American to watch it—and then vote Democrat.