In Indiana, 51 percent of likely voters say Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is their choice for president, with 46 percent backing Obama. Indiana went for George W. Bush by 21 points four years ago; the Democrats have not carried the state since 1964.Never in my lifetime has a Democratic presidential nominee even been genuinely competitive in Indiana. And I was excited when my primary vote actually counted…!
It's amazing to me to see the shift toward Obama because of the economy specifically in response to this crisis, because I'm an economy voter—and I've never viewed the American economy as not in crisis. So long as the vast majority of the wealth is concentrated among a very few people, so long as corporations are granted personhood and workers' rights given short shrift, so long as we don't have universal healthcare and the other fundamentals of a solid social safety net, our economy is not as strong as it could, or should, be.
I've always been, and always will be, an economy voter, in no small part because I genuinely believe with the whole of my being that the economy lies at the root of every. single. issue. that's important to me as a progressive.
If there were well-funded women's health clinics with affordable contraception, including emergency contraception, in every town in America, abortion would not be the compelling issue that it is. If poor white evangelicals weren't struggling to survive, same-sex marriage would not be the compelling issue that it is—and race- and gender-baiting wouldn't be the effective political strategies that they are.
Most people are most inclined to be generous when they feel like they have what they need. Contentment and personal security allows people to open their wallets, but it also allows them to open their hearts and their minds. Conferring cultural privilege—whiteness, maleness, straightness, able-bodiedness, cisgenderness, etc.—is a way of mitigating the insecurity bred by classism. When a poor white straight man has nothing else but his sense of entitlement, he is reluctant to yield equality to others. That's why wealthy conservatives tend to be way more socially liberal in their personal lives than their politics would suggest; it's why John McCain figureheads a platform of intolerance, but has an openly gay chief of staff.
Clearly, a more equitable and supportive economy would not alone solve every social problem, but it would render many of them virtually impotent, stealing away the frustrations and furious feelings of injustice in which support for intolerance is bred.
That's why I'm an economy voter. Because I am a feminist. Because I am an ally to LGBTQIs and POC. Because I am a progressive. Because I care passionately about social justice—which is tied in big and small and inextricable ways to economic justice.
So even though I'm amazed that economy voters only seem to emerge in times of crisis, I'm thrilled to see them nonetheless. In my state—and across the rest of the nation. They might not know it, but I do: They're not just voting their pocketbooks, as the saying goes; they're voting for justice for all.