National Review arrived in my mailbox. Between eating Dominos, entertaining Nancy, and watching '80s hokey horror flicks, I dove into it to see what info I could gleam.
Dangerous Disaffection by Henry Olsen in the June 20, 2011 issue is a prime example of why I subscribe and read National Review.
The one sentence that sums up the article the best:
Republicans can't reform entitlements if they are seen as motivated by money or as imposing their abstract vision on hard-pressed Americans' reality.
Mr. Olsen posits the GOP needs blue-collar voters or it could be wiped out. This is absolutely true.
What voters see is a function of where they sit. When working class voters see services cut that they rely upon and feel they pay for through their own taxes, they tend to notice and resent - and as the GOP found in New York and Wisconsin - reject.
What voters see and where they stand are a function of where they sit
Here are a few highlights.
- Republicans must be worried about losing the Blue Collar vote in NY-26
- To win, Republicans must learn what makes Joe Six-Pack tick
- Recent Pew poll divides voters into eight typologies, one dubbed "Disaffecteds" which is 77% white and 89% without a college degree; they oppose the left and distrust the government - but being against the left does not mean they embrace the right. Two-thirds are independent
- Disaffecteds prefer bigger government and services and aren't worried about the deficit, putting them at odds with the conservative GOP base. Disaffected prefer a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, which are DOA with the conservative GOP base.
- Social Security and Medicare are sacred.
- Only 19% support the Tea Party and believe the US should focus on domestic issues.
- These positions probably come about because they know they are less skilled than others and are extremely prideful. The pride leads them to resist being treated like pawns regardless of where the pressure comes from - "big business, big government, or big anything." I'm looking at you, Republicans.
- Republicans must demonstrate genuine sympathy for the working class (I'm looking at you Republicans in Florida and Wisconsin who simply appeared to look at working class voters and say "we're whacking this" and appeared to resist any type of input - there's a reason your polls are in the toilet).
- Republicans must emulate Reagan's rhetoric of making the average American feel special and unique. Reagan understood voters - all humans, actually - resist radical change and bend over backwards to resist it. He shaped his rhetoric around this and was built upon genuine empathy.
Republicans simply must rope the blue-collar working class back into its fold. We can't rely on Tea Partiers and what amounts to 30% of less of the electorate to win. We must understand working class voters and their concerns and demonstrate how conservatives policies are in their interests to preserve and protect what they have and what they expect.
Sound policy is sound politics.
I always tell candidates - as this article does - just because voters reject the opposition doesn't mean they embrace you and you should never read that into election results.