Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Lies the GOP Wants You to Believe About Working Class Voters

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently told Punchbowl News that "the uniqueness of [the GOP] today is we're the workers party, we’re the American workers’ party.” Similarly, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted that they are "the party of hardworking, blue-collar men and women." But what is the platform they're using to attract these voters? According to Rep. Jim Banks, chair of the House Republican study committee, it is all about anti-immigrant, anti-wokeness, and anti-big tech policies. 

In response, Steven Greenhouse, former NYT labor reporter, has written a piece titled, "How Biden Can Help Democrats Become the Party of the Working Class Again."

Democrats must resist complacency. They can’t stop fighting for the support of workers, no matter how ludicrous the Republican attempts at rebranding may seem. To do so, Democrats must deliver on their promises to workers — or else hammer home the point that Republicans blocked their efforts.

It is important to note that Greenhouse accepts the lie that the GOP has become the "workers party." But take a look at the numbers from the 2020 election. He points out that Trump beat Biden among voters without a college degree by 50-48. I'd call that pretty close to a tie. 

But it gets a lot more dramatic when you break the numbers down by race. According to NYT exit poll data, white non-college voters went for Trump 67-32. But nonwhite non-college voters went overwhelmingly for Biden at 72-26. That becomes significant when you take into account the fact that the so-called "working class" is 41 percent nonwhite and "by 2032, people of color are set to become the majority in this section of the labor force."

When Republicans claim to be the party of working class voters, what they're really saying is that they're the party of white working class voters. Perhaps now it makes sense why they have abandoned any pretense about an economic agenda to help working Americans and instead settled on launching a culture war that includes xenophobic policies related to people of color. 

Meanwhile, Biden and Democrats have an agenda that pushes back against those xenophobic policies (immigration reform, voting rights, etc.) while also fighting for economic policies that will increase opportunities for all working class Americans

Since they've always been part of the movement, this Labor Day let's remember to celebrate the contributions of working class groups like the United Farmworkers, the Black Pullman porters, and the Atlanta washerwomen. Haven't heard about that last one? Here you go (hat tip to my friend Denise Oliver Velez):

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, in spades. We're not talking about the working class having abandoned Democrats who don't care about them. We're talking about people who've turned against policies that favor them and turned to the party that blocks them every step of the way in order to punish the "government" that in some vague way favors people unlike them. If critics like Greenhouse think that a change in agenda can save the Democrats, they're way, way, way overdue to state what that change is. Without that, they're just buying into lies.

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  2. The GOP will continue to work an advertising campaign of division by, once again, claiming that every job that goes to a person of color is a job 'stolen' from a white worker. It's the expected messaging that will ring true with those whites who consider themselves to be the 'forgotten, ignored, and deplorable.' Problem is, they're no more forgotten, ignored or deplorable than the next guy but the R messaging and wild-added claims will continue to ring true for them because these folks want to see themselves as victims of an anti-white administration. The Democrats, on the other hand, need to launch a continual visual campaign of timely, on target ads that depict ALL Americans as benefiting from the Democratic party's work. Go ahead and declaim the false tax program of the tramp era, the corporate welfare and overwhelming tax rules that have caused the American promise to be borne on the backs of the middle class. Publicly decry the closings of rural hospitals, the absences of medical personnel in the face of Covid's infestations caused by Republican lies about vaccines and the need to get them NOW. News organizations need to cease the 'if it bleeds it leads' mentalities when they show screaming school board meetings, or flaming eyed people decrying the need to vaccinate all teachers, school personnel and public workers. It still isn't acceptable to rely on the falsities of 'bothsiderisms' even though the network news tries not to lose viewers because they need to find someone who is an opponent to the main issue speaker. And, thanks once again, Nancy, for bringing the '1881 Washerwoman Strike' to our attention. My students were wide-eyed and more open-minded after they studied this event. Who cares about washerwomen? changed to How can someone permit these women to work under those conditions for that pittance? Thanks again.

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