Edwin Lyngar’s story: “I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame”

Here’s a snippet of Edwin Lyngar’s story. Lyngar shares his account of being a die-hard conservative until he woke up and realized he was voting against his self-interests by voting for Republicans.

To make up for my own failures, I voted to give rich people tax cuts, because somewhere deep inside, I knew they were better than me. They earned it. My support for conservative politics was atonement for the original sin of being white trash.

In my second tour of duty, I grew in rank and my circumstances improved. I voted for George W. Bush. I sent his campaign money, even though I had little to spare. During the Bush v. Gore recount, I grabbed a sign and walked the streets of San Francisco to protest, carrying my toddler on my shoulders. I got emotional, thinking of “freedom.”

Sometime after he took office, I watched Bush speak at an event. He talked of tax cuts. “It’s the people’s money,” he said. By then I was making even better money, but I didn’t care about tax cuts for myself. I was still paying little if any income tax, but I believed in “fairness.” The “death tax” (aka the estate tax) was unfair and rich people paid more taxes so they should get more of a tax break. I ignored my own personal struggles when I made political decisions.

By the financial meltdown of 2008, I was out of the military and living in Reno, Nevada — a state hard hit by the downturn. I voted libertarian that election year, even though the utter failure of the free market was obvious. The financial crisis proved that rich people are no better than me, and in fact, are often inferior to average people. They crash companies, loot pensions and destroy banks, and when they hit a snag, they scream to be rescued by government largess. By contrast, I continued to pay my oversize mortgage for years, even as my home lost more than half its value. I viewed my bad investment as yet another moral failure. When it comes to voting and investing, rich people make calculated decisions, while regular people make “emotional” and “moral” ones. Despite growing self-awareness, I pushed away reality for another election cycle.

In 2010, I couldn’t support my own Tea Party candidate for Senate because Sharron Angle was an obvious lunatic. I instead sent money to the Rand Paul campaign. Immediately the Tea Party-led Congress pushed drastic cuts in government spending that prolonged the economic pain. The jobs crisis in my own city was exacerbated by the needless gutting of government employment. The people who crashed the economy — bankers and business people — screamed about government spending and exploited Tea Party outrage to get their own taxes lowered. Just months after the Tea Party victory, I realized my mistake, but I could only watch as the people I supported inflicted massive, unnecessary pain on the economy through government shutdowns, spending cuts and gleeful cruelty.

I finally “got it.” In 2012, I shunned my self-destructive voting habits and supported Obama. I only wished there were a major party more liberal than the Democrats for whom I could vote. Even as I saw the folly of my own lifelong voting record, many of my friends and family moved further into the Tea Party embrace, even as conservative policies made their lives worse.

I have a close friend on permanent disability. He votes reliably for the most extreme conservative in every election. Although he’s a Nevadan, he lives just across the border in California, because that progressive state provides better social safety nets for its disabled. He always votes for the person most likely to slash the program he depends on daily for his own survival. It’s like clinging to the end of a thin rope and voting for the rope-cutting razor party.


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21 thoughts on “Edwin Lyngar’s story: “I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame”

  1. The usual transition is from liberal to conservative, so I guess this aberration is somewhat newsworthy.

  2. Great post. Another good read is “Deer Hunting with Jesus”, I forget the author, about how poor folks in a small town in VA consistently vote against their own best interests.

    Denis: I would disagree. I am living proof, as are most of my old red-neck, PBR drinking buddies from the ’60’s.

  3. Well, the normal trend is for people to be naive and idealistic and liberal when young and, with age, experience and wisdom, become more conservative. Not everyone follows that path of course. Admittedly, a brain soaked in PBR from the sixties onward might have lost too many cells necessary for the transition. Just kidding old baldy. I have knocked back a few as well.

    1. Not when that “virtue” is based on BS. Like voting against welfare benefits. “because they only go to the lazy unemployed minorities” when it is more likely to go to a single white mother with a low-wage job. Or voting based on the failed idea that “lower taxes = more prosperity for me,” when the last 35 years of lower taxes shows otherwise.

      Burke sees past her own nose, and deals with RESULTS and REALITY. Angry poor white guys are not basing their vote on either. That’s the difference, Dicky.

      1. Apparently I missed the shrinking of government that has been going on for 35 years. My bad.

        1. Apparently you did miss all the deregulation and privatization of the last 35 years, and the massive debt increases that have followed in tandem with the lower taxes.

          You also missed answering my point about how poor white people vote GOP based on misinformation and racism because they don’t want to admit the GOP’s system screws them. Try again, kiddo.

          1. Sorry Jake. The size of government at the federal level for sure has increased and likely has in most states and municipalities as well.

        2. Expanding government is your big concern Denis? You mean like the American embassy in Baghdad, the largest embassy in the world? Or the fact that there’s always enough taxpayer dollars to build a new county jail or state prison? Why is it guys like you never gripe about that kind of government expansion?

          1. It is a big concern, yes Steve. Space and time limits prevent a full list of complaints about overspending. Why would you assume I favor a huge embassy? I am sure there is plenty of opportunity to reduce spending on prisons as well. Speeding up the execution process would help.

            1. I assume you support the expansive military/so-called diplomatic presence overseas Denis because I’ve never seen you comment against it. And commenting that speeding up the execution process would help reduce prison spending is strong confirmation that you’re not an individual to be taken seriously.

              1. I have mixed and or conflicting views on our engagements overseas Steve. I am generally supportive of those who view Islamism as a serious threat that must be dealt with militarily in many cases. I have little faith in President Obama’s leadership however. Hence the conflict.
                Re executions, I do believe that some criminals should be executed and that our current process of lengthy appeals etc…. is far too favorable to guilty criminals. I understand that those who oppose the death penalty would probably disagree. Leaving aside your views pro or con on the death penalty, do you think endless and costly litigation is smart public policy? We should either end the death penalty or follow through with the punishment. Why should such a view not be taken seriously?

  4. On a serious note old baldy, why is it considered virtuous, rather than selfish, to vote always for ones own best interests, so long as you vote Democratic? It would be in my financial best interest if Mary Burke promised to liquidate Trek and deposit the money in my account. Ok, that is an extreme obviously fictitious scenario, but is voting supposed to be about what I can get for me? The problem, a bipartisan one I might add, is too many people voting for their own financial self interest at the expense of the public interest.

  5. You sneaky flaming liberal you, now you’re calling for tax increases for already profitable corporations and business owners so they can fairly and equitably contribute to maintaining the public infrastructure they and their customers need to function as regulated free market enterprise entities. Tomorrow you’ll be calling for regulation of campaign contributions. I knew common sense was finally taking its toll on partisan fantasy.

  6. You are reading WAY too much into my comment nq. Self interested voting should not be viewed as a heroic act. This viewpoint should not be interpreted as a full fledged, or even part fledged, endorsement of lefty ideas.

    1. You interject a completely emotional and individually subjective qualification of,”heroic,” which is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion. Another straw man to protect you by distraction from your very own previous comments. Feeble groveling for words, logic, or substance with only that rancid taste of your foot in your mouth. Priceless.

      No one could ever possibly read too much into any of your comments.

    2. Denis,
      Would ya knock it off with your logical rants of reality? You cannot succeed against the likes of Wile-e-quixote.

  7. I can’t help but notice that you made no attempt to answer my question notquite. Far from irrelevant either. Books have been written about this notion that people are voting against their economic self interest when they vote Republican. I believe this is an appropriate venue to discuss whether ones own self interest should trump a broader, more enlightened interest when voting. Sadly you apparently have no ability to weigh in on the matter.

  8. Being more than obliging those with an obvious reading comprehension deficits, one answer you either missed or are just ignoring:


    If I happen to see a question from you based in reality and not on made up crap scenarios and bogus suppositions, I’ll possibly consider it. As you can see I also hold out hope for redemptive enlightenment from abusive personalities by even answering. Must be a remnant of my protestant ethic that prevents me from calling asinine jerks out for what they really are. Keep digging though, you and the guv.

    1. Thanks for not calling me an asinine jerk notquite. And I will refrain from calling you a complete fucking asshole.

      1. Sorry for the swearing bloggingblue folks. It was used only to illustrate the absurdity of notquites “protestant ethic” that supposedly prevents him from engaging in personal attacks.

        1. Nice to see that you are selectively capable of paying attention and of course we are more than generous with the word counts you can get paid for with your trolling. As you know, lefties don’t like to see anyone who is financially down on their luck suffer, kind of warm and bipartisany. Can we expect a thank you, a xmas card?

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