Liberals: You can’t hide your ride
Is it true that liberal Democrats are the least likely among us to buy products that are made-in-America? Not long ago while riding around in Washington, D.C. (which voted 93-percent Democrat) my own highly unscientific survey of 40 cars spotted not even one automobile made by Detroit’s Big 3. Now, two much more scientific studies indicate that liberal Democrats are not keen to Buy American, in general, and are very unlikely to purchase an American-made car, in particular.
In February, a USA Today/Gallup poll found that liberals are “the least likely to Buy American.” More recently, R.L. Polk & Company, the leader in global automotive intelligence, produced a map of the United States that correlates state-by-state car registrations with the results of the Electoral College of 2008.
America’s coastal states voted overwhelmingly Democrat in November, 2008. Car registrations in those states reveal that foreign-made cars are favored by a huge margin. By contrast, the Republican strong-holds, and mostly-interior states, prefer cars made-in-America by a whopping 74-percent over foreign-made cars.
Certain states that normally vote Democrat, but where the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) is strong, are the exception to the rule. Even the village idiot knows it is not a good idea to park a foreign-made car in the parking lot of a GM, Chrysler or Ford assembly plant. According to The Washington Times, none of the White House staff are driving American-made cars. So, before they go to supervise GM (AKA Government Motors) and Chrysler, they might be wise to rent some American-made cars.
While 22-percent of the liberal Democrats surveyed claim that they would never buy an American-made car, there is a segment of Democrat voters whose loyalty to American-made cars exceeds even that of the Republicans. Ninety-four percent of the conservative Democrats polled (Reagan Democrats and the Blue-Dog Democrats) say they will not buy foreign-made cars. Period. (Their aversion to foreign-made cars may be reflective of higher union membership and/or their “fly-over land” locations.)
Some pundits opine that liberal Democrats are better educated, have more money to spend on cars and probably read more consumers reports before they make car-buying decisions. If one believes that American-made products are inferior to foreign-made products, then the buying preferences of the liberal Democrats begin to make sense.
Last November, while driving from San Jose to Monterey and back, the deterioration of California’s roads was literally quite shocking. How can a state that has been on such a taxing and spending spree ever since Ronald Reagan left for Washington be in such bad financial shape?
Ironically, California could be the salvation of America’s auto-manufacturing industry. California, with its heavily-Democrat legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (a Republican-in-name-only), is thinking about issuing I.O.U.s to California’s creditors. My friend and fellow columnist, Rich Galen, says, “An I.O.U. is worth what people think it is worth.” (Such wisdom should put Rich in line for the Nobel Prize for Economics.)
What I am about to propose would require an Act of Congress and would be, mostly likely, unconstitutional (although that hasn’t stopped Congress of late); however, it might revive the American automobile industry: All foreign-made cars must be paid for with I.O.U.s. Domestically-produced cars must be paid for with cash or with a bank or credit-union loan.
For decades, car dealers have enticed buyers with offers of “cash-back.” Under this new law, dealers of foreign-made cars would have to try to attract buyers with offers of “I.O.U.s-back.”
Buyers would hand dealers of foreign-made cars bundles of I.O.U.s. and then drive off with their new foreign-made cars. In return, the dealers would stuff their buyers’ wallets full of “I.O.U.s-back” incentives. Then, all the foreign-car buyers have to do is find merchants willing to accept the car dealers’ I.O.U.s. It’s a scheme worthy of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Bernie Madoff.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
©2009. William Hamilton.