The Right Resistance: How the working man (and woman) and the Republican Party found each other
“If you’re a blue-collar union member who wants a better life, vote Republican.”
I don’t blame you if this sounds a little odd. For longtime followers of American politics, merely suggesting that the regular working stiff’s existence would be greatly advanced by casting his or her lot with the party of Mitt Romney and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sounds like sacrilege. I was a political science major in college but I can’t remember a time in American history where the ordinary common man was regarded as fairing better in the GOP. Maybe during Abraham Lincoln’s time?
Republicans were anti-slavery and pro infrastructure back then, which meant they enjoyed widespread support from small farmers in the Midwest and shopkeepers in the major urban centers as well as industrialists and laissez faire capitalists. But even then, the immigrant heavy major cities in the mechanized north were beholden to the machine politics of the Democrat party. Union bosses could be bought -- and they also used money to control politicians. Unfortunately, it was the American way.
This aspect of American politics hasn’t changed much in over a hundred and sixty years, and probably won’t for the foreseeable future. Consolidated power likes big government, and vice versa.
The New Deal cemented the working class’s loyalty to the Democrat Party. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s massive boost in the size and reach of the federal government meant jobs to (some) people who couldn’t find one during the Great Depression. Then World War II arrived and the U.S.’s transformation into a war economy made it the premier industrial producer in the world. Manufacturing jobs were plenty. The workin’ man and woman became solid Democrats.
Heck, even my carpenter grandfather was a Democrat. And my dad, too, until he started voting. Funny how paying taxes tends to open one’s eyes. My small business owner grandfather in the Midwest was always a Republican. It made sense, didn’t it?
At any rate, as unbelievable as it would seem, the Donald Trump-led Republican Party now looks to be on the verge of an historic reshuffling of loyal constituencies. The GOP has become the party of the wage earners as well as entrepreneurs. Democrats are the intellectuals, elites, cultural progressives, Wall Street financiers, illegal aliens, drug addicts, woke scammers and union bosses (still). Republicans are hoping the conversion is complete by November of this year.
Mica Soellner reported at The Washington Times:
“House Republicans are taking a page out of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign playbook and rebranding the GOP as the working man’s party.
“On a range of issues from immigration to trade to mandates, Republicans say their party has become a refuge for blue-collar voters who are increasingly alienated by an elitist and authoritarian Democratic Party. ‘The left, which now controls the Democrat Party, has made them the party of the super mega-wealthy who live on the coasts and people who don’t work. The Republican Party is everybody else,’ Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, told The Washington Times.
“Republican leadership is giving the party’s image a makeover from one of corporate corner offices and country clubs to one that’s more truck stops and construction sites — and one that’s increasingly diverse. Over the last decade, Republicans made a 12% gain among blue-collar voters who now affiliate themselves with the party, according to a recent NBC News poll. The same data showed Democrats had an 8% decrease in support from blue-collar workers.”
Having studied American politics since the Jimmy Carter years, I’ve predicted the shift would come naturally. I’ve been surprised that it didn’t happen sooner, since Democrats are never anyone’s true friend, except for maybe for those who like the race baiters and neo-segregationists of the leftist civil rights movement under Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson combined with the limousine liberals in the Barbara Streisand mold and throw in the pencil-neck geek professorial class at American universities. Then there’s the massive federal bureaucracy. And state government employees.
Democrats hoodwinked the working man into believing Democrats had their backs by lying to them about the societal gains from card check and big benefits packages for public employee unions. What has a fat pension for a government employee got to do with a unionized skilled cabinetmaker in Alabama or steamfitters, welders and HVAC technicians in Pennsylvania? These folks just want plentiful jobs and compensation commensurate with their working abilities and experience levels.
In other words, the Democrat party has nothing to offer them.
Working class Americans are patriotic and pro-military. They want immigration laws enforced as a matter of fairness to themselves and everyone who toils for a living. Contrary to how Democrats depict this group, they’re not racists, they just don’t want to be discriminated against because they happened to have been born with a pale complexion. They want American trade policy that puts domestic employees first. They don’t want jobs shipped overseas by some “woke” corporation that seeks cheap unskilled workers, or lobbies Congress for lax labor laws and welcomes refugees and stepped-up legal immigration.
They want safe streets. They’ll tolerate leftist demonstrations and cherish free speech but aren’t willing to look the other way when criminals torch businesses and loot while the authorities make excuses for the cretins. They demand that schools teach the basics rather than concentrating on Critical Race Theory and setting aside bathroom space for transgender students. If their sons or daughters sign up to serve their country, they don’t want preferential treatment given to a few for sex-altering surgeries or special set-asides for homosexuals.
They want the American flag flying over U.S. embassies abroad, not a rainbow banner or the symbol for Marxist Black Lives Matter.
They enjoy the outdoors and the environment, not only because they probably were brought up with it, but because it’s relatively inexpensive (mostly) and can be shared inter-generationally. Common folk revere the Second Amendment. Yes, many of them are hunters, but they see their firearms as part of a God-given right to protect themselves. They respect the police, but they don’t want to have to rely on the government to guard their families if an emergency arises.
Working class folks are libertarians, not anarchists. They’re not anti-government, but they want a small, accountable, efficient government that is rarely seen and even more rarely heard from.
I know these things because I come from a working-class background. My father was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. My mother, too. He worked his way through school and flunked out his first year of study because he couldn’t balance a full-time job with his book requirements. Neither of my grandfathers earned a high school diploma. Both lived successful lives by most measures. And neither of them wanted anything from the government. Both were too old to be drafted into WWII. One of them worked seven days a week in the Long Beach shipyards during the war years, where he lost half his thumb in an accident. And still went to work the next day.
How does this relate to today’s political situation? Whenever we hear Nancy Pelosi or Chucky Schumer talk about proposing federal action to “lower costs” for “working families”, it’s all phony. Senile president Joe Biden came from a middle class background, but what does he know about the value of hard work? He’s been a DC swamp dweller his whole professional life. He’s likely never had anything to do with a payroll or signed a paycheck.
As the “big guy”, senile Joe leaves the management of his investment portfolio to son Hunter. Ronald Reagan started the working class on their journey towards the Republican Party. These were the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, the ones who took to his message of small government, more freedom, a strong American foreign policy and traditional law and order. It’s been said many times about The Gipper -- “He made me proud to be an American again.” Will anyone ever say this about senile Joe and the Democrat congressional leadership of our times?
Like Reagan, Donald Trump understood what makes these people tick. They appreciate hearing that Trump will negotiate on their behalf to ensure that America gets a fair shake on trade. They like knowing that their gun rights will be protected. They wouldn’t say it, but they probably are also comforted by the notion that the White House won’t be decked out in rainbow colors when a Republican is the occupant there. Not because they’re bigots, but because the president has more to worry about than pandering to some woke cultural special interest group.
Democrats always assumed that the working class would care about whether rich people pay their “fair share” of taxes, but these Americans just want a tax code that isn’t slanted towards the elites. And who are the elites in today’s world? Democrats! Similarly, they want to be reassured that the retirement system they paid into all of their working years won’t have been squandered by idiot politicians paying special interests for electric car charging stations.
They’d much rather pay a couple bucks a gallon at the pump and have the government mind its own business.
It’s no surprise that Republicans are on the verge of making the working-class into reliable GOP voters. My only question is, what took them so long? The Biden administration’s reaction to the world energy crisis and its refusal to vastly expand domestic production to dampen inflation reveals what Democrats are all about. The working man and woman are watching every move.
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