Santorum and Colorado

David Brooks (whom I do NOT respect, either as an intellectual or as a writer) devotes his column today ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01… ) to Rick Santorum. He leads off saying:

The Republican Party is the party of the white working class. This group – whites with high school degrees and maybe some college – is still the largest block in the electorate. They overwhelmingly favor Republicans.

Colorado has a good deal in common with Pennsylvania, especially in the form of dry dirt farmers in the plains and mining-dependent mountain men and women in the West. Pennsylvania has been described as Alabama with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at either end, just as Colorado might be described as Alabama divided by Denver (but not, certainly, Colorado Springs, which might be a candidate for state capital if that decision were being made today).

The white working class here as elsewhere is largely Republican … why? That must be the compelling question for every nominal Democrat to answer.

It’s certainly not because the party represents its economic interests. Au contraire, those who worship at the altar of St. Ronald can mark the start of the real concentration of wealth from Ronnie’s campaign kickoff–in Mississippi, symbolizing his role as Mr. Roll-Back: roll back the economic and social gains of the black working class (since replaced by the Latino working class, now described as “illegals”).

The success of Reagan lay in breaking down the separation of church and state, and with a purpose in mind: to take voters’ minds off economics (the real essence of politics) and to focus on social issues with a biblical flavour, whether it’s sexuality or the perogatives of the Father presiding over his half-starving, fully ignorant family living in Everyman’s 3BR2BLRDRK castle.

That narrative has not changed one bit over the past four decades. Republicans continue to represent the interests of a tiny minority that controls the finances not just of Wall Street but of corporate America working (or unemployed, as the case may be) on Main Streets from Altoona to Limon to Grand Junction. Republicans continue to succeed in disguising this contradiction by focusing on “social” issues, from equal rights to … well, from equal rights in all their manifestations. For the Republican faithful streaming to caucuses in Iowa tonight, this really means recoiling from the notion that their neighbors with darker skin might possibly be their equals and be entitled to the same privileges and social security as the shrinking white minority.

It’s impossible to escape the issue of race in the Republican mantra. Attacks on “welfare” are a poorly disguised substitute for attacks on “blacks.” Everyone knows that the hated “illegals” are Hispanic, not Chinese or European. I’ll not even mention the origins of the “birther” campaign to discredit Obama.  Every single Republican, without exception, is wed to this concept: “Get their minds off economics by focusing on fear of their darker neighbors.” It’s no accident that Iowa looms large in Republican campaign plans…a state with a combined “minority” population of around 10% vs about 29% nationally.

How does one refocus the attention of these white working class voters on the real challenge to their social standing, their entry into the middle class, their advance above and beyond peonage?

Obviously the Democrats don’t know. Once they find out, we will have a chance for a real political dialogue about the Main Issue confronting our society: the Rule of Mammon and how to end it.

2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. nancycronk says:

    Most of my huge extended family in the midwest is exactly as you described. It’s been a head-scratcher my whole life. They are good, generous people who are manipulated into believing the GOP looks out for them. Add to that the NRA propaganda which is constantly fed to them (“Obama wants to take away your guns”) and you pretty much summed up vast areas of rural and suburban voters in this country.

    Improving Democratic messaging is everything. As long as Democrats hire college graduates who cannot step outside of their own socioeconomic station to see the cultural realities that explain how people vote, we will continue to have this problem. The voters you identified will continue to see Democratic candidates as elitists under the existing paradigm.  

    • dukeco1 says:

      Improving Democratic messaging is everything. As long as Democrats hire college graduates who cannot step outside of their own socioeconomic station to see the cultural realities that explain how people vote, we will continue to have this problem. The voters you identified will continue to see Democratic candidates as elitists under the existing paradigm.  

      You are right about this.

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