T Nation

The Vanishing GOP Voter

A very interesting article.

Excerpts:

[quote]he county�??s new wealth and diversity have created important new social problems. The schools are stressed. The roads are choked. Land use is more contentious. As Fairfax has evolved toward greater inequality, it has steadily shifted into the Democratic column.

The Democrats Tim Kaine and Jim Webb won almost 60 percent of Fairfax�??s votes in, respectively, the 2005 governor�??s race and the 2006 U.S. Senate election. Democrats dominate Fairfax�??s local government.

In 2004, Fairfax voted for John Kerry over George Bush, 53 percent to 45 �?? the first Democratic presidential victory in the county since the Johnson landslide of 1964. Don�??t imagine that this is a case of the shanties voting against the mansions. Kerry won some of his handsomest majorities in the fanciest of Fairfax�??s 99 precincts.

In fact, Fairfax�??s Democratic preference is typical of upper America. In 2000, Al Gore beat George Bush, 56-39, among the 4 percent of voters who identified themselves as �??upper class.�??

America�??s wealthiest ZIP codes are a roll call of Democratic strongholds: Sagaponack, N.Y.; Aspen, Colo.; Marin County, Calif.; the near North Side of Chicago; Beacon Hill in Boston. (Palm Beach, at least, remains securely Republican.)

There is a long list of reasons for this anti-Republican tilt among the affluent: social issues, the environment, an ever more internationalist elite�??s distaste for the Republican Party�??s assertive nationalism. Maybe the most important reason, however, can be reduced to the two words:

�??Robert Rubin.�?? By returning to the center on economic matters in the 1990s, the Democrats emancipated higher-income and socially moderate voters to vote with their values rather than with their pocketbooks.[/quote]

[quote]Conservatives need to stop denying reality. The stagnation of the incomes of middle-class Americans is a fact. And only by acknowledging facts can we respond effectively to the genuine difficulties of voters in the middle.

We keep offering them cuts in their federal personal income taxes �?? even though two-thirds of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes, and even though a majority of Americans now describe their federal income tax burden as reasonable.

What the middle class needs most is not lower income taxes but a slowdown in the soaring inflation of health-care costs. If health-insurance costs had risen 50 percent rather than 100 percent over the Bush years, middle-income voters would have enjoyed a pay raise instead of enduring wage stagnation.

John McCain�??s health plan, which emphasizes tax changes to encourage employees to buy their own insurance rather than rely on employers, is a start �?? but only the very beginning of a start. Some Republicans have brought great energy to this problem.

In the Senate, Robert Bennett of Utah has written a bill with the Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden that would require employers to �??cash out�?? employer-provided health care �?? and then midwife a national insurance marketplace in which employees would join plans that offered more price control and price transparency.

Mitt Romney in Massachusetts put an end to the tax disadvantage that hammers consumers who buy health care directly rather than through their employers. Rudy Giuliani proposed a federal law to enable low-cost insurers in states like Kentucky to sell their products across state lines in high-cost states like New Jersey.

But it remains unfortunately true that the Republican Party as a whole regards health care as �??not our issue�?? �?? and certainly less exciting than another round of tax reductions.

Unlike liberals, conservatives are not bothered by the accumulation of wealth as such. We should be more troubled that the poor remain so poor. With all due respect to the needs of employers, Republicans need to recognize that the large-scale import of unskilled labor is part of the problem. [/quote]

[quote]At the same time, conservatives need to ask ourselves some hard questions about the trend toward the Democrats among America�??s affluent and well educated.

Leaving aside the District of Columbia, 7 of America�??s 10 best-educated states are strongly �??blue�?? in national politics, and the others (Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia) have been trending blue.

Of the 10 least-educated, only one (Nevada) is not reliably Republican. And so we arrive at a weird situation in which the party that identifies itself with markets, with business and with technology cannot win the votes of those who have prospered most from markets, from business and from technology.

Republicans have been badly hurt in upper America by the collapse of their onetime reputation for integrity and competence. Upper Americans live in a world in which things work. The packages arrive overnight. The car doors clink seamlessly shut.

The prevailing Republican view �?? �??of course government always fails, what do you expect it to do?�?? �?? is not what this slice of America expects to hear from the people asking to be entrusted with the government.[/quote]

And the finale:

[quote]Equality in itself never can be or should be a conservative goal. But inequality taken to extremes can overwhelm conservative ideals of self-reliance, limited government and national unity. It can delegitimize commerce and business and invite destructive protectionism and overregulation.

Inequality, in short, is a conservative issue too. We must develop a positive agenda that integrates the right kind of egalitarianism with our conservative principles of liberty. If we neglect this task and this opportunity, we won�??t lose just the northern Virginia suburbs. We will lose America.[/quote]

My questions: Are this guy’s concerns valid? Is the Republican party losing its grip on America for the reasons stated? What do you guys think is the solution to all of this?

No. The reason that people are going over to the Democratic party is because they are being spoon fed a pile of crap so deep that they are having trouble getting out.

People are not being taught how to succeed. People see others succeeding, and make the assumption that they must be taking advantage of them. When the fact is that your success or failure is your responsibility.

There are people out there wondering why their dish washing job pays less then the doctor who spent 14 years, and 6 figures of debt learning their skills.

And there are people taking advantage of this way of thinking. If you don’t have money, it must be the fault of the people who do. And if you do have money, you should feel guilty, and responsible for those who don’t.

About 15 years ago, I read about a statistic that I doubt has changed much. As an economy improves, the number of economic news stories drops, and the percentage of negative news stories increase.

So no matter what is going on with the economy, you are going to hear about how terrible it is.

This article mentioned that employer spending on employees increased 25%, but much of that increase was consumed by the costs of health care. This author does not consider this to be income. It is a benefit, but does not count.

In other words more money is being spent on the employees, but that does not count. I would like to know why.

Class warfare does nothing to help anybody. Instead of blaming the wealthy, we should try to focus on teaching people to become wealthy.

In 2005 it was said that if the Dems lose another election cycle they will cease to be a national party. Popularity of political parties come and go.

Natural evolution. When people get to the top, they get lazy. As their position then erodes, they create bigger and bigger government, to try and stop the erosion. A party of bigger government must gain from that.

Americans actually love big government and nanny-care, as long as they get to vote for the nannies. Most people love gentle slavery and not having to make decisions. That’s why they created gods and governments.

I’d have to agree with Hedo.

Popularity of the parties waxes and wanes over time.

The basic premise of the author’s treatise: Inequality among a population=more Democratic Voting; More Equality among a population=more GOP voting; seems strained and convoluted in its defense.

(Maybe I need to read it a few more times!)

Mufasa

[quote]The Mage wrote:
No. The reason that people are going over to the Democratic party is because they are being spoon fed a pile of crap so deep that they are having trouble getting out.

People are not being taught how to succeed. People see others succeeding, and make the assumption that they must be taking advantage of them. When the fact is that your success or failure is your responsibility.

There are people out there wondering why their dish washing job pays less then the doctor who spent 14 years, and 6 figures of debt learning their skills.

And there are people taking advantage of this way of thinking. If you don’t have money, it must be the fault of the people who do. And if you do have money, you should feel guilty, and responsible for those who don’t.

About 15 years ago, I read about a statistic that I doubt has changed much. As an economy improves, the number of economic news stories drops, and the percentage of negative news stories increase.

So no matter what is going on with the economy, you are going to hear about how terrible it is.

This article mentioned that employer spending on employees increased 25%, but much of that increase was consumed by the costs of health care. This author does not consider this to be income. It is a benefit, but does not count.

In other words more money is being spent on the employees, but that does not count. I would like to know why.

Class warfare does nothing to help anybody. Instead of blaming the wealthy, we should try to focus on teaching people to become wealthy.[/quote]

I’d actually say the guy agrees with you, to an extent.

The pay raise DOES count, the writer is saying the problem is the employees don’t FEEL it, and therefore, end up blaming the GOP (when it isn’t really there fault). So he proposes that the only way to “save” the party (and avoid hyper pandering to the fundies at the same time) is to help the people “feel” the benefits of the Republican economy.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
I’d have to agree with Hedo.

Popularity of the parties waxes and wanes over time.

The basic premise of the author’s treatise: Inequality among a population=more Democratic Voting; More Equality among a population=more GOP voting; seems strained and convoluted in its defense.

(Maybe I need to read it a few more times!)

Mufasa[/quote]

I don’t really think that was the basic premise, but it does come off that way. I don’t really think the article was speaking in general terms, it was focuses on what is going on TODAY.

The author thinks that the people as a whole haven’t been able to visualize the benefits of the economy of today. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with inequality, and I do believe he thinks it can coexist with a GOP run government, but only if the GOP can visualize to the inequal that they are getting benefit from the small-government free-market system.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
The Mage wrote:
No. The reason that people are going over to the Democratic party is because they are being spoon fed a pile of crap so deep that they are having trouble getting out.

People are not being taught how to succeed. People see others succeeding, and make the assumption that they must be taking advantage of them. When the fact is that your success or failure is your responsibility.

There are people out there wondering why their dish washing job pays less then the doctor who spent 14 years, and 6 figures of debt learning their skills.

And there are people taking advantage of this way of thinking. If you don’t have money, it must be the fault of the people who do. And if you do have money, you should feel guilty, and responsible for those who don’t.

About 15 years ago, I read about a statistic that I doubt has changed much. As an economy improves, the number of economic news stories drops, and the percentage of negative news stories increase.

So no matter what is going on with the economy, you are going to hear about how terrible it is.

This article mentioned that employer spending on employees increased 25%, but much of that increase was consumed by the costs of health care. This author does not consider this to be income. It is a benefit, but does not count.

In other words more money is being spent on the employees, but that does not count. I would like to know why.

Class warfare does nothing to help anybody. Instead of blaming the wealthy, we should try to focus on teaching people to become wealthy.

I’d actually say the guy agrees with you, to an extent.

The pay raise DOES count, the writer is saying the problem is the employees don’t FEEL it, and therefore, end up blaming the GOP (when it isn’t really there fault). So he proposes that the only way to “save” the party (and avoid hyper pandering to the fundies at the same time) is to help the people “feel” the benefits of the Republican economy.

[/quote]

The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
The Mage wrote:
No. The reason that people are going over to the Democratic party is because they are being spoon fed a pile of crap so deep that they are having trouble getting out.

People are not being taught how to succeed. People see others succeeding, and make the assumption that they must be taking advantage of them. When the fact is that your success or failure is your responsibility.

There are people out there wondering why their dish washing job pays less then the doctor who spent 14 years, and 6 figures of debt learning their skills.

And there are people taking advantage of this way of thinking. If you don’t have money, it must be the fault of the people who do. And if you do have money, you should feel guilty, and responsible for those who don’t.

About 15 years ago, I read about a statistic that I doubt has changed much. As an economy improves, the number of economic news stories drops, and the percentage of negative news stories increase.

So no matter what is going on with the economy, you are going to hear about how terrible it is.

This article mentioned that employer spending on employees increased 25%, but much of that increase was consumed by the costs of health care. This author does not consider this to be income. It is a benefit, but does not count.

In other words more money is being spent on the employees, but that does not count. I would like to know why.

Class warfare does nothing to help anybody. Instead of blaming the wealthy, we should try to focus on teaching people to become wealthy.

I’d actually say the guy agrees with you, to an extent.

The pay raise DOES count, the writer is saying the problem is the employees don’t FEEL it, and therefore, end up blaming the GOP (when it isn’t really there fault). So he proposes that the only way to “save” the party (and avoid hyper pandering to the fundies at the same time) is to help the people “feel” the benefits of the Republican economy.

The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

[/quote]

Monthly would work too. But it will never happen because if it did the dems (in their present form) would be gone forever. Talk about a riot on your hands.

The democrats have always had a lot of success in running candidates who talk conservative at home and vote liberal in Washington. I can remember Howard Metzenbaum coming home to Ohio at election time and sounding like Pat Buchanan. It was frustrating as hell.

He was easily one of the most liberal senators but with the help of the friendly local papers and the advantages of incumbency … he’d act like Rambo every 6 years and then disappear in DC until the next election. I think the new media has helped Republicans a lot on this front.

I guess what I’m saying is when liberals start running as straight up liberals AND winning … that’s when I’ll be scared.

Webb is a decorated veteran (The media has given me the impression that he is anyway) … he comes off like a hawk and a tough guy. I remember reading Rahm Emmanuels (sp?) strategy for the 2006 midterms … of recruiting Iraq war veterans … gun rights supporters, etc, etc to run against reps in swing districts.

Strickland here in Ohio looks and sounds like a republican …

But there’s always those great moments in national, high profile elections where there’s a lot of media scrutiny and at some point the mask slips and you get that great glimpse of the reality.

Obama and the “bitter clingers.”

Kerry and the windsurfing and the Evian and the “can I get ME a huntin’ license here.”

It’s tough to pull the act off for a full year …

[quote]The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

[/quote]

I’ve often wondered why more employers don’t do this. It seems to me that they bear part of the responsibility for educating their employees about the business climate of the United States. Maybe they don’t bear the responsibility, but its in their interests to do so.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

I’ve often wondered why more employers don’t do this. It seems to me that they bear part of the responsibility for educating their employees about the business climate of the United States. Maybe they don’t bear the responsibility, but its in their interests to do so. [/quote]

Am I understanding you right? Employers can’t do this - they are required by law to remit payroll taxes the following week.

[quote]bald eagle wrote:
PRCalDude wrote:
The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

I’ve often wondered why more employers don’t do this. It seems to me that they bear part of the responsibility for educating their employees about the business climate of the United States. Maybe they don’t bear the responsibility, but its in their interests to do so.

Am I understanding you right? Employers can’t do this - they are required by law to remit payroll taxes the following week.
[/quote]

Yeah. The post was already up before I though about it further.

Still though, it would be in an employer’s interests to let the employees know how much tax overhead they’re paying, which the employees could be reaping in extra pay instead of giving to the government to be wasted.

[quote]bald eagle wrote:
PRCalDude wrote:
The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

I’ve often wondered why more employers don’t do this. It seems to me that they bear part of the responsibility for educating their employees about the business climate of the United States. Maybe they don’t bear the responsibility, but its in their interests to do so.

Am I understanding you right? Employers can’t do this - they are required by law to remit payroll taxes the following week.
[/quote]

Why can’t employers do this? Why can’t they just issue 1099’s instead of W-2’s? (I think they’re 1099’s. I can’t remember.) I mean, in IRS terms, what defines an independent contractor or non-employee or whatever?

Probably becuase people don’t know what a republican is anymore. I just seems like it would a fairly easy message to relay.

Cut corportate taxes - point out that we are number 2/3 in the world for taxes on corportations. Attach this to alarmist statistics on jobs leaving the us.

Deregulate health insurance - statistics on how much could be saved in premiums and what employers could pay employees rather than health insurance providers.

Deregulate healthcare - show people the savings that could be had on basic medical services if the AMA is realed in a bit.

Cut gov’t programs - detail saving from cutting wasteful programs

Cut international welfare and military spending - This is a tough one for republicans but detail cost savings.

Private accounts for SS - Show people that the money they have paid in is gone and may not be available to them without taxing their children and grandchildren into poverty.

Simplify tax code or move to consumption based tax. Detail estimated fraud. Detail tax $ lost to undocumented income. Detail savings per family for those that acutally pay taxes. Something like 10% sales tax rather than 40% of your income.

Remove protectionist tarriffs and subsidies. Estimate food price increase and tax savings if farm bill is burned. Estimate average savings per family per year by opening artificial trade barriers.

Educations vouchers replace direct aid to schools and universities. This should be no-brainer. How about a chart showing increased money spent vs. decline in international standing. Detail success of private unorthodox or inovated schools. Sylvan, etc. Ask why only the rich should have access to innovative education.

Some of these are better suited for national politics but the same can be done with local politics. The problem is that nobody knows what we are wasting and what bad policies cost the average american family. I just can understand why republicans aren’t on top of this?

[quote]rainjack wrote:
The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.
[/quote]

I agree 100%. See, RJ, we’re not so different after all! :smiley:

[quote]dhickey wrote:
I just can understand why republicans aren’t on top of this?[/quote]

This is basically what I took from the article <_<

By the way, interesting timing on the article - party identification is down to a one-point difference:

[i]In the new survey, more voters call themselves Republicans. Now 48% say they’re Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party; 47% say they’re Republicans or lean to the GOP.

Not since February 2005, right after Bush’s second inauguration, have Republicans been within a single point of Democrats in party identification.

What’s more, voters by 48%-45% support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, the party’s narrowest advantage this year.[/i]

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-09-07-Inside-poll-GOP_N.htm

This is quite a shift - looks like the weakened brand name of the GOP has had some life breathed back into it. I wonder what the catalyst is…

When my grandparents were young (a long, long time ago), they registered as Democrats. However, as time, and Party priorities changed, they are now more in-line with the Republicans, even though they are still registered Democrats.

I don’t have any facts or articles, but I wonder how much this comes into play.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
bald eagle wrote:
PRCalDude wrote:
The easiest way to get employees to “feel” their benefits is to do away with payroll withholding taxes.

Make the employee pay all of his social security, medicare, and income taxes once a year.

Not only would he recognize a immediate boost in take home pay of at least 7.65%, but when it comes time to pay taxes, he will know exactly how much of his money the government is stealing.

I’ve often wondered why more employers don’t do this. It seems to me that they bear part of the responsibility for educating their employees about the business climate of the United States. Maybe they don’t bear the responsibility, but its in their interests to do so.

Am I understanding you right? Employers can’t do this - they are required by law to remit payroll taxes the following week.

Yeah. The post was already up before I though about it further.

Still though, it would be in an employer’s interests to let the employees know how much tax overhead they’re paying, which the employees could be reaping in extra pay instead of giving to the government to be wasted.
[/quote]

They already see it on their check stub. But it is still not the same as depositing the whole “gross” amount and then turning around and writing a check to the gov.