Skip to comments.Meet the Poor Republicans
Posted on 05/14/2005 3:33:42 PM PDT by neverdem
Last week the Pew Research Center came out with a study of the American electorate that crystallized something I've been sensing for a long time: rich people are boring, but poor people are interesting.
The Pew data demonstrated that people at the top of the income scale are divided into stable, polar camps. There are the educated-class liberals - antiwar, pro-choice, anti-tax cuts - who make up about 19 percent of the electorate, according to Pew. And there are business-class conservatives - pro-war, pro-life, pro-tax cut - who make up 11 percent of voters.
These affluent people are pretty well represented by their parties, are not internally conflicted and are pretty much stuck in their ways.
But poorer voters are not like that. They're much more internally conflicted and not represented well by any party. You've got poor Republicans (over 10 percent of voters) who are hawkish on foreign policy and socially conservative, but like government programs and oppose tax cuts. You've got poor Democrats who oppose the war and tax cuts, but are socially conservative and hate immigration. These less-educated voters are more cross-pressured and more independent than educated voters. If you're looking for creative tension, for instability, for a new political movement, the lower middle class is probably where it's going to emerge.
Already, we've seen poorer folks move over in astonishing numbers to the G.O.P. George Bush won the white working class by 23 percentage points in this past election. Many people have wondered why so many lower-middle-class waitresses in Kansas and Hispanic warehouse workers in Texas now call themselves Republicans. The Pew data provide an answer: they agree with Horatio Alger.
These working-class folk like the G.O.P.'s social and foreign policies, but the big difference between poor Republicans and poor Democrats is that the former believe that individuals can make it on their own with hard work and good character.
According to the Pew study, 76 percent of poor Republicans believe most people can get ahead with hard work. Only 14 percent of poor Democrats believe that. Poor Republicans haven't made it yet, but they embrace what they take to be the Republican economic vision - that it is in their power to do so. Poor Democrats are more likely to believe they are in the grip of forces beyond their control.
The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism.
But when you look at how Republicans behave in office, you notice that they are often clueless when it comes to understanding the lower-class folks who put them there. They are good at responding to business-class types and social conservatives, but bad at responding to poor Republicans.
That's because on important issues, the poor Republicans differ from their richer brethren. Poor Republicans aspire to middle-class respectability, but they are suspicious of the rich and of big business. About 83 percent of poor Republicans say big business has too much power, according to Pew, compared with 26 percent of affluent Republicans. If the Ownership Society means owning a home, they're for it. If it means putting their retirement in the hands of Wall Street, they become queasy.
Remember, these Republicans are disproportionately young women with children. Nearly 70 percent have trouble paying their bills every month. They are optimistic about the future, but their fear of their lives falling apart stalks them at night.
Poorer Republicans support government programs that offer security, so long as they don't undermine the work ethic. Eighty percent believe government should do more to help the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt. Only 19 percent of affluent Republicans believe that.
President Bush has made a lot of traditional Republicans nervous with his big-government conservatism. He's increased the growth of nonsecurity domestic spending at a faster rate than Lyndon Johnson and twice as fast as Bill Clinton. But in so doing, he's probably laid down a welcome mat to precisely these poorer folks.
Even so, Republicans have barely thought about how to use government to offer practical encouragement to the would-be Horatio Alger heroes. They've barely explored their biggest growth market. If Republicans can't pass programs like KidSave, which would help poor families build assets for education or retirement, then Hillary Clinton, who is surprisingly popular with poor Republicans, will take their place.
"You've got poor Republicans (over 10 percent of voters) who are hawkish on foreign policy and socially conservative, but like government programs and oppose tax cuts." Sounds like BS to me. Why would poor republicans oppose tax cuts. Even if the cuts include the most wealthy, why does this writer think poor republicans oppose?
And the latter believe that big government should and will take care of them.
From Al Gore onward, all they have to offer is condescension. Certainly they have no ideas to offer on any topic.
I can see helping those in NEED now that there are fewer churches to do the job, but I STRONGLY object to giving ANYTHING to those who are in WANT!! (That would be about 95% of the democrat base, BTW).
If all social programs ended tomorrow, I wouldn't care. I'd have a party. I would , though, bring those I find in NEED to a church group. They'll receive help, i.e., food, shelter and clothing - the basics.
I wondered why I claimed to be a Republican!
Well, I think the New York Times, the Liberal Elite, and the authors of this paper on Class and Voting habits are wayyyyyyy tooooooo class conscious.
Leave it to the snotty liberals to delineate everyone by CLASS.
And you thought pseudo-Royalty was dead...
Mr. Sager told his readers he had discovered "an immense scam perpetrated on the American people by a cadre of left-wing foundations and disguised as a 'mass movement.'" Foundations like Ford, Open Society, Carnegie, Joyce, and MacArthur, he noted, had spent some $123-million from 1994 to 2004 to secure passage of the campaign law.
More than $40-million of that money, Mr. Sager said, had come from the Pew Charitable Trusts, where the program officer in charge had been Sean Treglia. Mr. Sager quoted from a videotape of a lecture Mr. Treglia had given at the University of Southern California in which he explained just how Pew had built support for passage of the campaign law.
Mr. Treglia said the foundation had made grants to "create an impression that a mass movement was afoot -- that everywhere they [members of Congress] looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform."
To maintain the illusion of a spontaneous upwelling of support for changes in campaign financing, Mr. Treglia said he "always encouraged the grantees never to mention Pew." [snip]
My husband and I are conservative and we basically live paycheck to paycheck because I have stayed home to raise our children, and now I am helping my children by babysitting for them---and getting to spend time with my grandkiddies.
I love any tax cut that comes my way---and I have never, ever begrudged any wealthy person for their tax cuts...I think it is unfair to have the wealthy pay a tax rate close to 50% of their salary...
What needs to be done is reduce the social programs that suck the life force out of the hard-working people of any pay grade!
Here's the NYT on their never-ending quest to stir up a Marxist revolution.
If that doesn't sound like communist propaganda, I don't know what is. Almost reads right out of their playbook.
To that I say, come ON BROOKS! Aren't you one of the good guys?
What makes you say that? He's just describing the report linked in the first paragraph.
Agree, with your dissent- though I do believe that there is an enormous populist constituency in America that merely wants a level playing field.
Recently,Congress passed legislation that gave Drug Companies tax amnesty for money that they have been hiding overseas (e.g. manfacturing pills for pennies in Ireland, and selling them for dollars here). The tune of the tax amnesty was in the neighborhood of $81B- or a 5% tax rate.
Let them make as much money as they can-but close loopholds that help them avoid the same tax burden as the averaqe Joe.
Yeah. I think this article is another NYSlimes Hillary propaganda piece. It's designed to bring moderates to her table once she moves far enough to the right. "See? Even sensible Republicans have all agreed they support Hillary's moderate outlook on policy. Just look at our article dated 5/14/05. It's all right there."
The tax cut business is a major weakness in this otherwise reasonably well written piece.
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