Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Working Blue

In yesterday’s WSJ, Gerald Seibargues that while Republicans will likely not embrace Rick Santorum as their standard bearer in 2016, they would be foolish to ignore the message that he’s trying to get across in his latest book “Blue Collar Conservatives”:

Implicitly, Mr. Santorum's analysis recognizes one of the underappreciated trends in current American politics: the extent to which the two parties have undergone an identity switch Increasingly, college-educated and upper-income Americans, once assumed to be a comfortable fit as Republicans, have become core elements of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, blue-collar whites, once the core of the Democrats, increasingly have become Republicans.

That can be seen in a look back at Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling this year. In all polling conducted this year, half of those who identified themselves as Republicans had family incomes below $75,000 a year. And in the most recent Journal/NBC News survey last month, white working-class voters were more likely to identify themselves as Republicans than Democrats by a 37% to 35% margin.

Mr. Santorum is arguing for a GOP agenda that better reflects this rank and file. But the broader underlying problem for both parties lies in the indications that a populist uprising could be brewing among these folks.

This is not your father’s Democratic party. And it’s not his Republican party either. The GOP needs to recognize this reality and act accordingly.