Why middle class support for Republicans?

I certainly understand folks who support the Republican platform for ideological reasons. But I’m confounded at why people of modest means support their economic policies. Am I incorrect in my perception that the working “middle” class has seen pretty incredibly rough times these past 8 years? Have federal funds been flowing to those red states to keep them in the fold? Is a couple hundred dollar tax refund sufficient to make folk forget every other negative economic development?

I often hear conservative folk complain that Dems will raise our taxes/cost jobs. But even prior to this recent crisis, it seemed on average folk were losing jobs, losing benefits, losing homes, paying higher prices, and working harder and harder for less.

Am I mistaken in my perception that what has historically been considered the middle class has shrunk and come to have far more in common with the poor than the wealthy?

Is there a rational basis for middle class Americans to feel they would do better economicaly under a Republican platform than Democrat?


Republicans are the party of Capitalism. Democrats are the party of Socialism.

This is not to say that either party is competent, but guessing that either is equally inept, you might as well vote with the one who follows what you do, inept or not.

They are instructed that they’re more patriotic if they vote R. Smart ones go, “Yeah, right,” and vote D.

At least part of the answer is that people like others to speak to an idealisation or projection of their aspirations of themselves, rather than their current reality.

Joe the plumber is a perfect example. He had vague ideological commitments to flat tax. But he wasn’t interested in using impartial reason to equally critique John McCain’s progressive taxation policy. He was instead, I think, clearly emotionally unsatisfied with Obama’s narrative about those earning over $250,000, which didn’t speak to this nebulous future notion of Joe as the deserving rich business owner. The fact that Joe was not rich, and likely will never be rich, and that he would be objectively better off under Obama’s cuts was completely beside the point. He wants to see himself as rich, so that narrative is good. Just look at his very first words to Obama - which wasn’t about tax brackets, it was “do you believe in the American dream.” It’s very telling.

You can see this prosperity narrative dynamic at play on this very site, with completely hyperbolic attacks on the “socialism” of progressive taxation, and the crime and alleged ruinous consequences of having tax relief for the middle class and indifference to those relief for those over $250,000. Now, some of these people will have vested ideological structures in their head for this discordance, some really will be doing a fiscal calculation in their self-interest, but many, many other aren’t in that category but nonetheless want to vote consistently with the possibility that they will be in that position one day.

You’ll notice that the Obama campaign doesn’t talk about lower class people despite there being good evidence he cares about this group. The reason is because lower class people like being addressed as middle class or average, and the middle class like being addressed just as aspirationally.

I think the patriotism factor may have a lot to do with it. I tend to see a lot more display patriotism among the working class and lower middle class than among those who are economically comfortable.

Working and lower-middle class people are probably more likely to have fserved in the military. Vets and former military tend to lean right in politics.

The agenda of the left is often nuanced, and can’t often be summarized easily in a few words or short sentences. The right’s agenda seems more soundbite-friendly; “drill baby drill” and the like, which is more comprehensible to those that aren’t highly educated.

Ton of info on income distribution here. Wealth distribution is another matter.

I think the aspiration/unrealistic self-perception is a big part of it. Working stiffs don’t mind seeing the rich get richer, because they dream of one day being rich. Just seems so unrealistic, tho.

Among the many numbers I saw, was a record of household income over the 30 year period 73-03.
a family at the 20th percent experienced + 28.4% increase
a family at the 50th percent experienced + 29.9%
a family at the 80th percent experienced + 62.6%
a family at the 95th percent experienced +73.8%

Other numbers (the Giri index) reflected that the US is one of few developed countries where wealth disparity increased over the past couple of decades.

When middle class folk complain of potential wealth redistribution, they always fear that their wealth will be redistributed to those poorer than them. What has acutally been happening, tho, is that the poor and middle class have seen their wealth redistributed to the wealthy.

Heck, I can accept that as a natural - and even desired - result of capitalism. Survival of the fittest. But it just seems odd to hear so many folks of modest means express economic perceptions so at odds with reality.

Can you say “tax and spend”? I’m not going to claim that the Republicans are a shining example of fiscal discipline, but some of them at least make an effort. When the Democrats are in power, budget problems seem to get “solved” by raising taxes.

A rational basis lies in the belief that markets always make a comeback and the Democrats will only make things worst.

Oh God. Has there ever been a tax increase that a Democrat has been against? Obama saying no new taxes for people who make less than $250.000.

I want any Democrat to stand up and say for the record that they believe that.

Also I have noticed no mention of raising existing taxes from the new Messiah.

In reality, the problems don’t just get “solved”, they get solved. Clinton not only had a budget surplus several years, he produced the biggest surplus in history and so was well on the way toward eliminating the national debt by 2012 if Democrats had retained office. Today, the Republicans have left us with a $10.3 trillion dollar debt! They’ve gorged themselves on our children’s, our grandchildren’s, and our great-grandchildren’s futures and had the contemptible chutzpah to leave them with the bill. That level of extreme fucktardom has never before been seen. Yet today, that’s the Republican way.

And it will remain so they finally learn that helping the rich get richer and to hell with everyone else fucks up the entire economy (see, for example, Trickle-Down Economics Doesn’t Work)

There’s something much worse than “tax and spend” – it’s “don’t tax yet spend anyway”!

At the national level, I think both parties are to blame. I’m pissed off at my state politicians, all “true blue”, who have just fucked me over with increased taxes, again. It’s a ratchet effect. When times are good, they spend the increased tax revenues. When times are bad. they declare a fiscal emergency and raise taxes. This time they raised sales and “sin” taxes, a nice way to fuck over the common man.

First, I contend, along with many, that the Republican party simply excels at getting people to vote against their own best interests.

But they don’t do that with reason, which would be against the Republican Party’s best interests. Truth is one tool they have to do without.

Lower and middle-class voters vote Republican in part because they (stupidly) envision themselves being rich one day (“I just know I’m going to win the lottery soon!”), and part because the Right’s ugly politics of hate and fear bypasses whatever rationality they posses to appeal directly to their limbic systems.

In a 2000 Time poll, nineteen percent of people thought they were already in the top 1% of earners!

No, reason is not the Republicans’ friend. Hate and delusion are their mainstay because they work. All they need is to come up with some sane-sounding bullshit to give their voters the pseudo-intellectual cover they need to vote their hatred even while they imagine they’re being rational.

Some Republican cover stories that work well for them? (1): “Democrats = tax and spend”. (2) “Barack Obama pals around with terrorists”. (3) “Obama isn’t like you and me (wink wink, nudge nudge)”.

You get the idea.

I’d say I’m lower middle class on strictly income level although I count my blessings and consider myself pretty fortunate. I have a lot of friends who vary from my level to upper middle class.

Most of us know someone with a sense of entitlement and who work the system to have others pay a portion of their bills. Lot’s of middle class American’s have a sense of “pay your own way” There’s no problem with helping someone out through hard times and reaching out to someone in need. It’s the idea that some people don’t seem to think they should have to put forth their best effort when it comes to taking personal responsibility for their own life. Once you’ve seen that and had acquaintances or family members who let other taxpayers support them you can identify with part of the conservative message.

There are a lot of working class “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” folks who don’t see lot’s of social programs as a good thing. IMHO that’s the message, accurate or not, that resonates with hard working self reliant middle Americans.

Yeah, I didn’t like the bailout either.

You do know that Obama is a Democrat, right? Because I’m pretty sure that he has in fact stood up and said for the record that he believes that.

Two hundred fifty dollars? Crap!

One of the lines you see occasionally on conservative boards is something like: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a conservative running this year?

No doubt the Republicans have been spending like, well, like Democrats.

But the Democrats would be a lot worse especially under Obama.

Also to get back to the OP, things were pretty good until two years ago, when the Democrats took control of congress and that’s where the real power is in dealing with the economy. And if you look up the statistics you’ll see that unemployment was pretty low by historical standards, up until the last year or so.

And the biggest cause of the current mortgage crisis is the Democrats pushing for more money to people who couldn’t pay back the loans. Where did they think it would end up?

Also remember that 9/11 cost the country about a trillion dollars. And we’ve been safe now for seven years. Compare that to five attacks on the US and its properties during the previous administration.

So all in all, I’d love to have a government committed to lowering taxes and regulations. McCain and Palin aren’t perfect, but Obama is downright scary.



In short, Americans don’t care about money. If they did they wouldn’t be middle class.

I know a few. Funny thing is, they’re staunch Republicans. Now, I’m not suggesting that they’re representative, but their mindset seems to be that *they’ve *“got some temporary issues” (is fifteen years temporary?) while *other *people are lazy nogoodniks.

My observation is that many, many people are petty enough to vote specifically to keep anyone else from getting a tiny sliver of the pie that they’re absolutely sure will someday be theirs, once their awesome special brilliance is finally recognized.