A very interesting article.
[quote]he countyï¿½??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 Fairfaxï¿½??s votes in, respectively, the 2005 governorï¿½??s race and the 2006 U.S. Senate election. Democrats dominate Fairfaxï¿½??s local government.
In 2004, Fairfax voted for John Kerry over George Bush, 53 percent to 45 ï¿½?? the first Democratic presidential victory in the county since the Johnson landslide of 1964. Donï¿½??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 Fairfaxï¿½??s 99 precincts.
In fact, Fairfaxï¿½??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 ï¿½??upper class.ï¿½??
Americaï¿½??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 eliteï¿½??s distaste for the Republican Partyï¿½??s assertive nationalism. Maybe the most important reason, however, can be reduced to the two words:
ï¿½??Robert Rubin.ï¿½?? 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 ï¿½?? 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 McCainï¿½??s health plan, which emphasizes tax changes to encourage employees to buy their own insurance rather than rely on employers, is a start ï¿½?? 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 ï¿½??cash outï¿½?? employer-provided health care ï¿½?? 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 ï¿½??not our issueï¿½?? ï¿½?? 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 Americaï¿½??s affluent and well educated.
Leaving aside the District of Columbia, 7 of Americaï¿½??s 10 best-educated states are strongly ï¿½??blueï¿½?? 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 ï¿½?? ï¿½??of course government always fails, what do you expect it to do?ï¿½?? ï¿½?? 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 wonï¿½??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?