Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The party of the rich?

Studies show that, increasingly, it’s the Democrats. Class appears to be diminishing as a political divider, replaced, perhaps, by one’s attitude toward government (upper middle class civil servants aren’t exactly hostile to it) and one’s stance on moral issues. I’d like to think that the fact that Democrats have lots of wealthy supporters will mean that they’ll become sensible on economic policy, but a lot, of course, depends upon the source of the wealth (trial lawyers not being known as friends of productivity, for example).

Update: For another view, go here: as long as Democrats can be identified as the party of tax-and-spend, the wealthy have the incentive to vote their pocketbooks with the Republicans, but if taxes are essentially off the table (as they have been in recent years), the "natural" advantage Republicans have goes away. What happens if the Democrats begin to think about raising taxes again?

Discussions - 7 Comments

This is just another argument for why we need Huckabee leading the GOP ticket. It used to be that Republicans were the party of the Rich and Upper Middle Class that hoped to become rich. The old Democratic party was the party of the poor without the hope of being rich and the lower middle class that hoped to be rich but was fooled into thinking that Democrats provided the most opportunity. Today, that has changed. Democrats are the party of the rich (who have no hope and are merely trying to hold onto what they have) and the poor (who have no hope of being rich and rely on social programs). Republicans are the party of upper and lower middle classes, some of which are affluent and some of which are quite poor, but all of whom have the hope of bettering themselves. To conclude, the GOP is a poorer party than it used to be, and we better have someone who speaks their language if we are to win. Enter Mike Huckabee.

Just to note here in Chapel Hill that many Saab's, BMW's, Volvo's, etc. you will notice stickers supporting John Edwards, Obama and so on. Die-hards here still sport their Kerry/Edwards stickers from '04.

The few Bush/Cheney tags are on old pickup's or domestic vehicles.

Income in Orange county is above average with property taxes sky high. My condo was at +$3000 p year.

Oh by the way, voter registration is +60% Democrat to 30% Republican.

Seems like that study is spot on.

They're not just "the party of the rich," they're "the party of the depraved." Well to recall that.

Good points in the original post, especially about "the source of the wealth." The Dems are indeed becoming the party of the rich. At the same time, they have a lock on many millions of downscale voters, especially blacks and Hispanics but also many whites. It is an excellent situation for them, and there is no reason why it cannot continue indefinitely. The Republican party has a difficult choice. It can consciously work to build more support among the white working class and lower-middle class, mainly through social issues. Or it can play for an increased share of the affluent by giving up most of the social issues -- like abortion, but not only abortion. Either strategy, however, has the potential not only to gain, but also to lose, quite a few votes. The liberals have succeeded in making the current GOP nearly unacceptable to enormous swaths of the American elite, not only to liberal ideologues. At the same time, the GOP has failed to make up for the melting away of elite support (a 40-year process that began in 1964) by clearly branding itself as a Middle American party. Middle American and elite values aren't necessarily as far apart as some voters and analysists think, but it's perceptions that matter. The elites see the GOP as a party of rednecks; and, year after year, see fewer and fewer of their peers voting for Republican candidates (the occasional Chris Shays or Arlen Specter don't count). They also see fewer and fewer of their peers vigorously asserting or defending conservative/Republican views. Romney, as a rich Northeasterner who clearly has no feel for the social concerns of Middle America and is most at home with free-market economics, has some potential to pick up more elite votes than Bush has received. Rudy, who is patently lower-middle class, might nonetheless gain elite votes by remaining relatively liberal on "choice," "gay rights," and (I would bet) the environment. But it is not clear that either can rebuild sufficient support among the Middle American base. Fred Thompson was the natural candidate for that base. But he isn't getting the oxygen, and even in the unlikely event he's nominated, Fred cannot compete in any Northeastern state, or in the kind of elite suburbs around the country that the GOP has been losing. Arthur Branch may live in New York, but Ol' Fred clearly doesn't.

David, your careful avoidance of Huck doesn't make him go away.

I don't expect Huck to go away. He loves campaigning and knows he is a plausible veep candidate. For both reasons, he will hang around for at least two more months, showing his stuff. I'll even go out on a limb and say he can possibly win Iowa. He will not win any other early state, and therefore is very unlikely to win the nomination. Even less does he deserve it. See Jonah Goldberg's Nov. 21 piece at National Review online (nationalreview.com). He nails him pretty well. As, I believe, did John Fund in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.

Both parties cater to the rich in one way or another.

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