Friday, October 25, 2019

Not "Downscale" But Midscale: That's Today's Republican Party

Used to be that the Republican Party was an upscale party, writes Michael Barone. You could tell that by the way that the upscale media wrote.
Sixty years ago, when the Democratic Party was dominated by Southern whites and Northern factory workers, major newsmagazines and newspapers were complacently Republican and snidely condescending about Democrats.
But now, of course, the "major newsmagazines and newspapers" are complacently Democratic and snidely condescending about Republicans. Now the Republican Party is a downscale party.
From the Eisenhower years to the Reagan years, it was centered on the relatively affluent. Since the 1990s, it has been changing, tilting more toward the religiously devout and economically downscale.
That's a problem, writes Barone, because "a downscale party attracts articulate attackers and lacks institutional support." Well, yeah. Nobody said it would be easy.

But I contest that Trump is making the Republican Party into a "downscale" party. I would say that the key to the Republian Party from Nixon to Reagan to Trump is that it is a "midscale" party. It is the party of people without college degrees but with jobs and families and houses and cars.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party has become clearly an over/under or "upscale/downscale" party. It is run by white college graduates and their religious preferences for gender fluidity and climate change but it clearly advocates for the helpless: minorities and immigrants and people without marriages and jobs and homes.

Actually, the left has been doing this ever since Marx and the Fabian socialists in the mid 19th century. It's just that until the baby boomers came along the left was considered not quite out of the top drawer. But now they teach socialism in college, so it must be out of the top drawer.

Back in the 70s President Nixon made clear that he represented the "Silent Majority" and Vice President Agnew criticized the media as "nattering nabobs of negativity." The media didn't appreciate that then, and they don't appreciate being called "fake news" today.

When I went to a presidential caucus in the outer Seattle suburbs in 1980 the Bush backers like me were "upscale." I was struck by the Reagan supporters; they all looked like they worked in the skilled trades. Not "downscale" but "midscale." And there were more of the Reagan supporters so we sent Reagan delegates to the County Convention, and us Bush supporters were perfectly content with that. In fact, I thought to myself at the time: "Wow! Something is stirring in the heartlands."

Of course, all this makes perfect sense according to my reductive Three Peoples theory. These days the Democrats represent the People of the Creative Self and the People of the Subordinate Self, and Republicans represent the People of the Responsible Self.

If this is so then it makes complete sense that the creative sort of people would befull of creative plans for completely redoing healthcare from the ground up and completely redoing energy from the ground up, and getting all creative with gender. But it makes complete sense that middling sort of people would not be happy with this creative project. Middling sort of people want a stable world where they can wive and thrive: work at a job with a decent wage, with wife or husband and home and family. Subordinate people are just interested in collecting the crumbs from the lord's table. All the creative stuff blows right past them; just show me the money.

But I would have a few words with the creative people, to remind them of a significant fact. It is one thing to have a great idea. It is another thing to have a great idea that works. From my Maxims:

We forget that for every success story there are dozens of failures.
Most successes are a consequence of second, third and fourth attempts.
The world is full of good ideas. What it needs are good ideas that work.
So, your chances are that your brilliant creative idea is not quite up to snuff, old chap. It is probably best to try it out on your friends for a while before demanding to try it out on the whole country or, in the case of climate change, on the whole planet.

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