(UnitedVoice.com) – Something changed in 2020. As Democrats courted corporate and wall street donors to amass a fortune to defeat Donald Trump, they became the party of the elite and big money. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Democrats significantly outraised Republicans. To compound it, Democratic Super PACs outspent conservatives significantly. Yet, Trump may have narrowly lost in battleground states — all the results are not final yet — and Republicans picked up seats in Congress and state legislatures.
When evaluated holistically, Trump and Congressional Republicans raised a higher percentage of money from small donors than Democrats. President Trump raised 45% of his donations from small donors, the best ever recorded by a Republican president. This suggests that Republicans are now the party of the working class, not the Democrats. It also indicates that the majority of Americans didn’t support liberal or socialist policies. Instead, they wanted more of the same economic policies that benefited them during Trump’s presidency.
Are Republicans the Party of the Working Class?
After the election, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) declared that the GOP is now a “multiethnic, multiracial, working-class coalition.” Populist issues like jobs and economic prosperity, in contrast with socialist proposals from Democrats, helped drive the working class to the Republican Party in states like Florida.
Illegal immigration, trade, and burdensome regulations affected jobs and small business growth during the Obama administration. It was the slowest-growing economy in the history of the United States. Much of the push to adopt working-class policies came directly from President Trump.
Trump saw explosive economic growth during the first three years of his presidency. The economy’s successes included jobs so numerous there weren’t enough people to fill all the positions. The impact was an increase in wages for the first time in decades for the lower and middle classes.
Republicans Shouldn’t Revert to Old School Policies
If Republicans want to increase the working-class base, they will need to avoid the old school temptations under a potential Biden administration. Deficits, spending, and entitlement reforms are important, but they were silent on those issues during President Trump’s first four years. If the GOP goes hard on those issues, it could undermine gains made with those who are beginning to see Republicans in a new light.
Republicans will also have to show America how their policies are the right ones to help recover from COVID-19. Much of the damage caused to the economy, creating the blight on the working class, is still coming from harsh shutdowns in Democratic-led states such as California and New York. More shutdowns could be enacted in other Democratic-led states in the coming days and weeks.
Talking about the national debt doesn’t mean much to those financially struggling to get by right now. According to estimates, 64% of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. Millions are out of work with unemployment benefits set to expire on December 26 if Congress doesn’t do something to extend the CARES Act.
What Should Republicans Do?
Over the next few years, Republicans ought to consider reforms that could strengthen workers and families. Pushing back against liberal policies like the Green New Deal and free stuff is a good start.
However, the messaging should be more about the benefits of counter proposals that help people both short and long-term. Perhaps the biggest argument the GOP could make is that liberal programs won’t create long-term sustainable new jobs or small businesses on which the working class depends. Instead, they will force people onto more government dependency. When asked if that’s what most people want, they will say no. But wants and needs are two different things.
President Trump’s economy during the first three years of his presidency was achieving success with working-class families. Republicans should be pushing policies that expand on his record and resist bad liberal ideas at all costs. However, they shouldn’t turn to talk of deficits and spending just to block a potential Biden administration. Instead, they should interact with the working-class and show how to help them achieve their American dream through sound policies.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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