Something I’ve pointed out from time to time is that once any political party has a solid majority in a district or state increasing the size of the majority within that district or state doesn’t help it a great deal. In terms of election results it doesn’t make much difference whether Obama wins New York by 51% of the vote or 100% of the vote. Megan McArdle has a post in which she points out the problem that running on income inequality has for Democrats:
New York’s new mayor swept into office on a campaign against inequality. President Barack Obama has made any number of speeches about the rich who don’t pay their fair share. And yet, nationwide, this has not translated into big gains for the Democrats who are pushing it. Why is a phenomenon that keeps being heralded as the defining issue of our time such weak tea at the ballot box?
As a new article from Bloomberg News explains, Democrats aren’t benefiting from hammering on inequality because almost all the areas with the worst inequality are already controlled by Democrats…
Here’s another interesting observation:
You can make a case that the difference between the Republican and Democratic politics of wealth lie in the difference between who tends to make up “the wealthy” in their districts. The rich of America’s affluent urban areas tend to be the beneficiaries, one way or another, of a global tournament economy in which markets are often close to “winner take all,” and vast sums can flow to people who are just a little bit better than their competitors. The wealthy in Republican districts, on the other hand, are more likely to be competing in local or national markets, not glamour industries, where sales are ground out one at a time. Because the sums involved are smaller, the wealth gap is also smaller — and business owners are less likely to be sympathetic to the idea that their success has a huge luck component.
What bugs me about income inequality as a political issue is that nobody who’s emphasizing it seems to have a solution for it and, worse, the solutions being proposed don’t really ameliorate the problem.