Romney wins food stamp districts


The 2012 election was an exercise in surrealism. On the heels of massive unemployment caused by a deregulated financial sector gone mad with greed, Republicans put forth an accomplished corporate raider who had thrown untold numbers of people out of work. I suppose we’re lucky he wasn’t quite Republican enough, that he had the bad judgement to be born into a prominent Mormon family, but Mitt Romney came way closer to the gold last November than he should have by all that is sane and right.

It turns out he had allies in the most surprising of places:

Bloomberg — As the U.S. economy recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression, the explosive growth of food stamps remains a lingering legacy. And now the program comes with an irony, as the Republicans seeking to cut it also represent vast numbers of recipients.

Among the 254 counties where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Republican Mitt Romney won 213 of them in last year’s presidential election, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. Kentucky’s Owsley County, which backed Romney with 81 percent of its vote, has the largest proportion of food stamp recipients among those that he carried.

I’m reminded of a Thomas Franks-Orwellian movie plot. Shoulder to shoulder the poor, the old, the sick, those living out their last few days shivering in cardboard boxes, marched fearlessly over the armed guards trying to hold them back. The mob broke down the fancy gates and ground the hissing, zipping electrified barbed wire with their own flesh. As if they were no longer human, a living lahar of giant soldier ants on the hot scent of a fresh kill.

Standing as one outside the landscaped rows of bushes and manicured lawn of the largest estate, some raised their fists, others torches and pitchforks. A deafening roar so loud it shattered third-story bay windows for miles around shook the ground and sky alike: “We Are Here To End Medicare & Cut Your Taxes!” they screamed …


  1. says

    Probably should insert (white) somewhere there and everything would become clear.

    Especially in Owsley County, Kentucky — 99.22% white.

  2. Robert B. says

    I think you might have meant “on the heels” rather than “on the hells”, but leave it as it is. You win the Today’s Best Typo award.

  3. unbound says

    I’ve noticed that many non-rich Republicans have a habit of thinking that they are not the problem; they are just a one in a million exception that actually needs something (like food stamps, abortions, etc). But everyone else is just a scumbag that is on the dole.

  4. Trebuchet says

    @#1: You beat me to it. It’s not that hard to convince undereducated unemployed whites, particularly in southern or border areas, that it’s all the fault of the Mooslim, Kenyan, N*****r boogeyman.

  5. dmcclean says

    In fairness, these aren’t really “food stamp districts” in the sense I expected from reading the headline. The districts “where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011” aren’t necessarily, and I suspect aren’t in practice, the districts where the highest percentage of people receive SNAP benefits.

    We need to apply the same “wait, huh?” skepticism to statistics whose apparent import meshes with our politics as we do to similarly concocted, hyped, or (in this case) mislabeled statistics that the right has come to love so much.

    Romney’s “moochers” attitude is the rankest bullshit, but this excerpt isn’t really evidence of it. It is possible in theory, based only on what is written here, that this statistic could be completely true AND that Obama carried the 300 counties where the highest percentage of people receive SNAP benefits. My point isn’t that this is the case, and I don’t think the data are even out yet , but it would be fully compatible with this statistic.

    WaPo has it that “Nine of the top 10 agriculture subsidy counties voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and nine of the top 10 SNAP participation counties voted with President Barack Obama.”

    A graphic in the same article indicates that SNAP participation was 15.7% in counties that Obama carried and 14.2% in counties that Romney carried.

    And all of this is subject to the often unstated caveat of the ecological fallacy, which unfortunately applies of necessity to any attempt to compare government statistics with voting because of the essential anonymity of voting. A quick search didn’t turn up an exit polls that asked, which is probably for the best all things considered.

    To reiterate, Romney’s views on “mooching” are unsubstantiated as to the facts, morally weak, and pragmatically insane.

  6. unbound says

    @5 – you are absolutely correct, and I really should kick myself for not thinking about that myself.

    I remember an article in USA Today about 2 decades ago that showed a graphic of the most racist states colored based on minorities getting rejected for loans. I was surprised that North Dakota was bright red. North Dakota has some issues, but it isn’t particularly racist. Looking at the data closer I noticed that the number of applications put in by minorities that year was 3. Since either 1 or 2 were rejected, it put them in the red. Of course, with only 3 applications, the data for the state should have been thrown out since the sample size is too low.

    In this case, a doubling could be from 1% to 2%.


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