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.
THe study says the number of Liberals has DOUBLED since 1999. I think Bush has polarized and cemented the hard Left into a concrete mass of irrationality:
I would prefer it if corporations paid as little income tax as possible because the lower the corporate income tax rate the greater the number of corporations that will come here to do business, which in turn means a more dynamic economy that will grow and create more jobs.
Say how are those subscription numbers going? Have they got you out on the street corner yelling, "Paper! Get your paper here!"?
Self-interest. These poorer Republicans get no direct and personal benefit from a tax cut, and quite frankly they're skeptical that tax cuts given to those wealthier, truly benefit them.
Because it wasn't what he wanted to hear.
Why does it matter if soemeone in need gets help from the govt or from a private source? If you were truly concerned about the need being met, that is. That aside, I think the article shows how easy the DNC could regain power if it would stop allowing the radical left(feminist, homosexuals) to be the face of it's party.
Because the amount of the tax cut is insignificant in their budget but cutbacks in government services are seen. What is a tax cut against trash collection being reduced to once a week ?
**The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism. **
**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.**
LOL! The Republicans work while the dims lounge and wait for welfare. No suprise there!
Isn't he their token conservative? One couldn't tell.
Class is reality.
Social conservatives are mostly blue collar former New Deal Democrats. They were never laissez faire libertarian types. They don't believe businesses are run by Dagny Taggarts and Hank Reardens. They believe businesses are run by Kenneth Lays and Robert Vescos.
Which is a good argument. However, there are oodles of poorer Republicans that fit the articles descriptiont that quite simply are skeptical. They're not the least bit convinced said companies will really come here to do business. They're not at all convinced that said companies won't continue to employ Chinese laborers at 1/10 the price, pocket that sweet tax break, leaving the working class Republicans watching as the CEO's and major stockholders hide money in offshore accounts.
Well, I'm a poor Republican.
I have 4 kids. I work 40 hours a week @ 10 buck an hour. My kids all have health care through the state, otherwise they'd have none. I have healthcare through my work. My wife has none. We don't have a bunch of extravagant extras, like stereo systems or computers. (I post from work or the library.) We are on food stamps, and they help out a LOT. We do not eat out, and we don't got to movies or blow extra money on crap like junk food.
Even though I hate what it costs everyone, I don't want social programs removed, but I DO want better controls on them...like NO ILLEGAL ALIENS getting welfare, food stamps, or state-sponsored health care. That'd save a lot of money.
Also...you don't work, you can't get anything.
I hate living like this. I am trying to find a better-paying job, but I was a dummy back 20 years ago and didn't finish college.
That's my story.
I don't undestand how anyone agrees with taxing the rich to give to the poor. For pete's sake, they worked for and it's their money!
You can sum up the answer to your question with one word: Trust. There are countless people on both sides of the fence who quite simply don't trust private sources to be there.
And of course as always, the article fails to acknowledge that the Rats obsession with gun control has played a major role in pushing lower income voters to the Republican party . I think Klinton's gun control initiatives were the worst thing that ever happened to the Democratic party .They just don't get it .
It sounds to me as though you're doing everything within your power to stay afloat, and my hat is off to you. I don't begrudge you a dime you get. I hope that soon you won't need assistance, but until then, I'm glad it's there for you and your family.
I wouldn't mind my trash being picked-up only once a week--in fact we could go back to doing it like we did when I was a kid---we had a trash barrel and burned it!!! LOL
I see your point, but I think if people could see a list with the CRAP that our taxes are going for, I think a lot of us would pick quite a few "luxuries" that we could do without---I dare say, if we cut just the "pet projects and pork" like having every single govt. building in West Virginia being named for Robert Byrd, the programs that most people consider necessary like Social Security wouldn't be the problem that they are now...
There you have it: it's all about values.
David Brooks is not a leftist. He's the new token conservative on the NY Times op ed page.
It's called resentment, plain and simple. A great example is a buddy of mine, who's wife needs some major dental work. They have insurance, but what insurance doesn't cover is still a fortune to them, so they're spacing her dental work out with some done this year, and a 6 month wait and some done next year. Now, pay attention, this is where the resentment grows and festers. They see that people on either side of them don't have this difficulty. The upper class can easily afford such things. The lower class gets it free. They on the other hand work hard, and suffer for it. In ways, they'd be better off poor and they know it.
And you are absolutely right. A point I never, ever tire of making is that the social conservative is the child and grandchild of New Deal Democrats and the grandchild of William Jennings Bryan Populists. He flatly does not trust the morals of big business and wants a government that will stick up for him instead of looting this country to the benefit of multinationals.
We live in a society in which zip code indicates your income. The blue collar Republican does not live in the same town as the rich pro-business Republican. He knows the rich pro-business Republican can just wall himself away from the problems he faces every day. He knows the rich pro-business Republican will never send his own son to war, can move his money offshore, and reeks of free traitor callous indifference to people like him.
As far as loopholes are concerned, could you give me an idea of what loopholes you are talking about. I see a big distinction between a 'loophole' that allows a company to keep money it has earned via a reduced tax rate versus a subsidy that is given to the corporation by the gov't from others earnings. I am in favor of the former as I would be in favor of any tax cut, while I am against the later which I actually see relatively little of going on
I truly hope your situation improves. This country has the social programs as you've outlined to help those in need, but they should not be a long term way of life. Everyone needs a hand once in a while and I don't begrudge anyone that. I totally agree that there has to be tighter controls on these programs, illegals SHOULD NOT be allowed to have access to these programs, however I fear that they know how to play the system better than any of us!
Exactly. And now with an ever increasingly frequency, we're even witnessing this corporation renigging on things like pensions. I don't think even a lot of freepers understand the shock that goes through the working class communities when something like that happens.
Thanks. I am doing the best I can, and someday I won't need any help from the state. Of that, I am sure. And once that happens, if I can help it....NEVER AGAIN.