Friday, November 23, 2012

The Republican Party & The Working Man

This Blogger was born in what once was one of the nation's five steel centers, before the steel industry went to China and other countries.   And, while my paternal grandfather experienced the American dream, owning a successful grocery store and associated businesses, I had many relatives, with little or no education, including my maternal grandfather, that worked in the steel mills, the foundries, or the auto plants.   They were joined by millions of other immigrants who came to America for a better life. 

Socialist President Franklin Roosevelt was their hero because he was for the "common man", or so it seemed even though the New Deal probably prolonged the Depression.   These were very hard working people with solid values that included the notions of faith and family.  Most to them did not go on Welfare, or what they called Relief because of their pride; but instead worked multiple jobs if necessary to support their families.   60 years ago these people strived to own a small home, with one bathroom, a car, a TV set and a washing machine that were viewed as luxuries.  There was no such thing as vacations away from home.   They focused on holidays with family and church activities.

One of my aunts always referred to the Chevy, their first car, which they bought in 1952, as the "working man's car".   She actually made this reference as criticism because her younger and slightly better off sisters and their husbands owned Buicks, Oldsmobiles, or even Cadillacs, which were more expensive.   The blue collar working man and woman is considerably better off today as a result of two incomes in many cases; but they continue to live pay check to pay check using credit, which my relatives would never have used 60 years ago, to support a life style that they really can't afford. 

It is these people that still vote for Socialists that gave President Obama two election victories.   While about 50% of Americans pay no income taxes at all, not all of them are on Welfare and Food Stamps.   Sadly, many Republicans just don't know how to talk to, or relate to these people.   Mitt Romney thought the recent election was all about the economy, the budget deficit and the National Debt and that was true for the 48% of Americans that voted for him.   But, if that was true for most Americans, Obama would have been defeated.  The fact is that to the blue collar working man and woman in America, the election was about day to day survival.   This Blogger saw that first hand with my own parents.  

This really relates to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to get very nerdy.   People cannot think about bigger issues that seem far off when they are focused on putting food on the table and trying to figure out how to provide their families the basic necessities of life like clothing, housing, medical care and paying for gas and utilities.   If Republicans are going to win national elections, they must recognize that there are a whole lot of people in the United States, usually poorly educated, that are just barely getting by trying to support their families.   These people wrongly look to government for solutions, when government is often the problem, not the solution.   We have to do more helping these people see this reality.  However, today, it is what is and has been so since Franklin Roosevelt. 

While Republicans should remain true to our Conservative values,  we must build a bigger tent that includes our base, some percentage of hard working minorities, especially Hispanics and more single women and young voters.   This means that we must adopt nuanced positions that attract the other 5 - 8% of voters we need nationally to win elections.   We need the Reagan Democrats, blue collar Mid Westerners that cling to their guns, faith and family in our tent.    These people are values voters and they should be voting Republican.  It is time that Republicans start talking to blue collar working men and women and others that vote for Socialists in ways that are important to them.  This is just Sales 101. 

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