Charles F. McElwee examines the relationship between the Republican Party and working class Americans. He suggests at The American Conservative, that the GOP needs to offer the working class something for their votes, i.e. border security, social support, job security or other benefits working class Americans are seeking. Without capitalizing on the success Trump has had winning over working class voters forgotten by Democrats, the GOP may be in for a long winter. McElwee writes:
Conservatism is evolving from its post-World War II origins. Republicans witnessed last year how Trump’s voting base had shifted towards expanded health care access, crackdowns on monopolistic sectors, tax increases for the wealthy, and a prudent foreign policy. They maintain a traditional conservative disposition on social issues, but their economic outlook is more in alignment with the New Deal era than the Republican Revolution of 1994. Preserving this coalition will require an inclusive approach.
“The working class earns its living with its hands or its backs; its members do not exist on welfare payments; they do not live in abject, swinish poverty, nor in safe, remote suburban comfort,” wrote Hamill in his New York piece. The core of his observation remains timeless, but many of those hands and backs have gone idle as hope for their economic prospects slips away. It’s difficult to forecast whether the working class will even stick with Trump (a question that may be answered by the tax cut deal). But what is clear is that the administration must respond to the needs and aspirations of the working class. It must enact policies that address economic and social needs, from border security to job security. It cannot take their support for granted, the fatal mistake made by the Democratic Party. The working class’s flirtations with Republicans will continue only if the GOP offers them something in return.
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