NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

WHICH PARTY REALLY APPEALS TO THE MIDDLE CLASS?

November 10, 2004

The Democratic Party is out of touch with working-class America and Republicans have worked at connecting with those who feel their party has left them, says New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Indeed, farmers, factory workers and waitresses who once supported the Democrats are turned off by the upper-class, liberal, elitism peddled by their former party, and many feel they have more in common with the Republican Party.

For example:

  • Rural, working-class people in Yamhill, Oregon, have come to identify Democrats as caring more about spotted owls than loggers.
  • Evangelical Christians, who make up one-third of Americans, perceive the Democrats as hostile to their faith and will often vote Republican instead.
  • Gun owners are leery of Democratic candidates -- in some cases, even those who own guns; Idaho's Democratic candidate Alan Blinken, who owns 24 guns, still lost to his Republican rival two years ago.
  • Furthermore, Idahoans have not forgotten President Clinton's environmental policies; for instance, they considered his proposal to introduce 25 grizzly bears over the opposition of local property owners to be high-handed.

Finally, while some voters may support civil unions for gays, most Americans disapprove of gay marriage outright, an issue which Democrats simply "neutralized," to their peril, says Kristof.

Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, "Living Poor, Voting Rich," The New York Times, November 3, 2004.

For text (subscription required): http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/opinion/03kris.html

 

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