Putting Republicans in Perspective by Social Class
Table of Contents
- What determines upper class, middle class, working class, and poor?
- How Political Parties Connect With Class
- Reasons The Poor & Working-Class Connect With Republicans
- Contradictions Showing the Counterproductive Nature of the Poor & Working Class Supporting Republican Party
- Big Government
- Rugged Individualism of the Super-Rich
- Economic Policies
- Political Instability and Polarization
- Christian Nationalism
- The Blinding Effect of Republican Politics
The relationship between social class and political affiliation is confusing, but not for the reasons many believe. Politics can be complicated and nuanced with balancing interests, such as the Democratic party being a collection of various groups who see the party as their best option in a two-party system. In contrast, conservative voters rally together regardless of the self-destructive act of supporting a party that in many instances worsens their outcomes. One of the most confounding questions is: why do many working-class and poor individuals support the Republican Party? To answer this question, we must understand the relationship between the party’s socioeconomic classes.
What determines upper class, middle class, working class, and poor?
The US class system is an economic hierarchy where mobility is primarily influenced by financial means. Unlike rigid structures such as caste systems, the class system allows for movement between classes, predominantly driven by wealth accumulation. The United States’ class system is broadly divided into the upper class, middle class, working class, and the poor. While wealth is the primary determinant of class, other factors can also influence class status.
The upper class, the highest social stratum, consists of individuals who are either wealthy or come from prestigious backgrounds. These individuals often wield significant authority, control substantial wealth, and command vast resources. Entry into this class can be achieved through wealth accumulation, but acceptance is not guaranteed. For instance, individuals with “old money,” a term referring to inherited wealth often associated with high-status families like the Kennedys, may reject newcomers despite their wealth. Various social structures, such as Blue Book Societies that track socialites and debutantes, reinforce these divisions. Membership in these groups cannot be bought; it must be earned.
The middle class, positioned between the lower and upper classes, is the most debated class due to its subjective nature. Many individuals who might be classified as working class are earn enough to be considered middle class. Additionally, some working-class individuals self-identify as middle class, further complicating the classification.
The working class comprises people who, despite being employed, hold low-paying jobs and have limited economic security. This group often lives close to the poverty line and has access to few resources.
The poor consist of individuals who lack sufficient resources or financial means for self-sustenance. They are often characterized by a lack of financial opportunities, homelessness, and substandard living conditions. Their circumstances often render them incapable of self-care.
How Political Parties Connect With Class
There is a significant influence of political parties on social class, involving various aspects of social, economic, and political life.
Social class can affect political choices and preferences. It helps explain why some people have different political leanings, such as their views on immigration, nationalism, law-and-order policies, and economic redistribution. Class position shapes perceptions, values, and attitudes, which in turn affect political choices.
Stratification sheds light on this influence, suggesting power can take various forms, including social prestige, economic class, and political party affiliation. Each aspect of power not only affects its own domain but also influences the other domains of social prestige, economic class, and political party affiliation.
Moreover, education, which is often associated with social class, has been found to correlate with political party preference. For instance, a positive correlation has been observed between years of schooling and Republican party preference. If you come from a higher social class, you are more likely to go to college partly because you can afford it. However, education also exposes individuals to different ideas, values, and perspectives, which may influence their political orientation.
In the case of poor and working class, these party influences make Republican affiliation seem confusing but upon closer examination of the reasons Republicans win these voters actually makes sense.
Reasons The Poor & Working-Class Connect With Republicans
This is because poor and working-class individuals may have less access to education, and therefore may be more susceptible to the appeals of populist or nationalist rhetoric that the Republican party often employs. Alternatively, they may vote for the Republican party out of a sense of resentment, alienation, or distrust of the political establishment.
Perception of Economic Policies
Some working-class voters believe that Republican economic policies, such as tax cuts and deregulation, will stimulate business growth and, in turn, create jobs. They may also be frustrated with the tax burdens and costs of regulatory compliance for small-business owners.
Cultural and Social Issues
The Republican Party often aligns with conservative views on social issues, which can resonate with working-class voters. These issues can include religion, gun rights, abortion, and immigration.
Race and Nationalism
The party’s stance on issues related to race, nationalism, and immigration can also influence certain voters. For instance, rhetoric appealing to white nationalists or depicting immigrants as job-takers can persuade voters.
The Republican Party is often seen as the party supporting traditional religious beliefs and conservative family practices. Many working-class individuals, including immigrants, are devoutly religious and may align with these values.
Some working-class voters may feel alienated by what they perceive as a liberal elite that looks down on them. The Republican Party’s rhetoric often positions itself against this perceived elitism.
Desire for Change
Some individuals may vote for the Republican Party out of a desire for change or dissatisfaction with their current circumstances. If voters feel liberals have failed to make changes desired, they can become part of the swing vote.
There are many factors that can play in party choice, such as geographical location, cultural background, personal beliefs, and more. For example, individuals within the same social class and religious culture may not consider alternatives due to indoctrination from class and faith.
Yet, Republican party choices display contradictions that seem so obvious as to be impossible to ignore.
Contradictions Showing the Counterproductive Nature of the Poor & Working Class Supporting Republican Party
The party often criticizes the concept of “big government” when it comes to social justice or safety nets, emergency relief, science education and research, safety, and environmental regulations. However, they support the idea of a strong government when it comes to funding wars, paying business subsidies, or legalizing morality. Clearly, Republican opposition to “big government” is selective and inconsistent, since they favor government intervention when it suits their interests or agenda.
Rugged Individualism of the Super-Rich
The party promotes the idea of rugged individualism, especially in relation to the super-rich. They point to these individuals as if this less than 1% is the ideal that everyone can achieve. Yet these individuals are the ones that the Republicans desire to give tax breaks, or their corporations, who expect the poor and middle class to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work hard without the benefit of support policies that advance the general welfare, such as education, social justice, and financial and business support. Conservatives praise of rugged individualism is hypocritical and unrealistic, as they reward the wealthy and punish the poor.
The party mostly represents large financial interests, such as rich people and corporations, and tends to be against social programs such as welfare, education benefits, free healthcare. However, many working-class people and the poor are least likely to benefit from these policies, revealing the party’s economic policies as harmful and unfair since they favor the rich and neglect the poor.
Political Instability and Polarization
The party claims to support freedom and the Constitution. They believe conservatism maintains tradition and provides stability. Yet the party has been increasingly controlled by religious zealots, contributing to political instability, violence, and heightened polarization. The Republican party’s political values are contradictory and dangerous, as they undermine the very principles they claim to uphold.
The party claims to represent many diverse people and the Constitution, which guaranteed freedom of religion, but at the same time has no issue infusing laws with Christian values, such as the overturning of Roe v Wade, which reduces every woman’s freedom and impacts the poor the most since they must shoulder the bill when forced to carry pregnancies to term. Republicans are intolerant and oppressive, as they impose their beliefs on others and violate their rights.
The Blinding Effect of Republican Politics
The reason the poor and working class look to the Republican party forms in the illusion that these politicians have some magic cure to problems. Republican politics always holds the answer, such as fixing the economy by expanding business with tax breaks for corporations and the affluent that allow investment and money to purchase services that create jobs – because investing in poor communities simply doesn't pay. They promise to ensure Christians have the sanctity of the family by protecting them from the evil 7% of LGBTQ+IA who threaten them. Yes, they have all the answers, like protecting freedom of religion by allowing Christians to legally bulldoze individual rights.
Conservatism is a self-centeredness wrapped inside a greed so strong for the promise of more money, lower taxes, and a Jesus-loving world, it blinds the supporter to the all the contradictions between Republicans' word and action, self-destructive policies, and just plain nonsense. It is a selfishness so strong, supporters dumbly sit in poverty or break their backs, awaiting promises to be filled and life to get better. No one could be this stupid but half the country forms this reality.
Anyone with a modicum of sense, understands perfectly this description, as the Republican lie stings their eyes with truth.