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.
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 .