Washington Post Admits GOP Turning Populist

Trump supporters display US flags and signs as the Minnesota chapter of the Council on Ame
KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Seventeen paragraphs into a May 23 article about the changing focus of the GOP, the Washington Post finally gets to the point:

“Corporate America is [the] Democratic Party,” McCarthy said in a late-April interview with the conservative think tank American Compass, laying out the new message: “The American worker is the Republican Party.”

A few paragraphs earlier, the two Washington Post writers noted:

A recent poll by the National Republican Congressional Committee, released to GOP members of Congress and obtained by The Washington Post, uncovered just how palatable higher taxes are among voters if they feed the populist anger against wealthy interests.

Voters in battleground House districts were split on Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. When it was noted the plan would be paid for “by raising corporate taxes and raising taxes on the wealthiest families,” support for it grew by six points, to 56 percent.

The same poll found 3 in 4 voters in battleground districts agreed with the statements: “The power of a few elites and special interests rigs the system against regular people” and “Government is run by the wealthy and big corporations that [are] only looking out for themselves, not us.”

Reformers face huge obstacles as they try to convert the GOP from a business-led party to a middle-class party. The most obvious obstacle is the role of donors’ money in funding GOP state parties and staffers and the GOP legislators’ campaigns.

But that trend is increasingly likely as business groups oppose any reduction in their privileges, especially their government-delivered supply of legal and illegal migrants into white-collar and blue-collar jobs.

Throughout former President Donald Trump’s tenure, business groups fought any cutbacks in the supply of labor — or of immigrant consumers and renters. That media-magnified uncompromising opposition helped shape the national debate — and the flow of corporate political spending — but it also helped widen the political gap between the GOP voters and its donors.

That gap helped elect Joe Biden, despite his promise to raise taxes on corporations, reduce law enforcement, supercharge labor migration, and stigmatize speech or policies that are disliked by progressives.

But labor migration is a huge economic, civic, and political threat to working Americans, and also to the GOP’s future. The GOP’s leaders eventually have to pick between a subset of donors or a majority of voters.

So far, the GOP’s reliance on corporate donors means the GOP leadership is putting out rival messages on migration and economics.

“The Biden Immigration Agenda sacrifices the interests of the American People in order to serve the interests of foreign citizens, criminal cartels, and ultra-wealthy multinational corporations,” says the April 12 messaging memo from Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), the head of the populist-minded Republican Study Committee.

On May 14, the House GOP picked a new conference chair to help coordinate the GOP’s message. The winner was Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), an establishment-backed member who has consistently dodged the high-impact economic harms of labor migration.

The Post argues that the GOP’s populist sympathy for President Donald Trump’s response to the election will make it difficult to “reclaim moderate, largely college-educated voters who were turned off by Trump while muddying an attempt to shift the national focus to the less popular parts of Democratic policies.”

But the establishment’s cheap labor policies are also aimed directly at college graduates. For example, West Coast investors partnered with Biden’s Democratic staff to include a dramatic section in Biden’s January 20 immigration reform bill. The section would smash the U.S. professional class by allowing every employer to hire an unlimited number of foreign graduates for white-collar jobs with offers of dangled green cards and citizenship.

Numerous polls show the public overwhelmingly rejects labor migration, even as it has positive personal views towards individual migrants and the 1950s “Nation of Immigrants” narrative. For example, a mid-May Ipsos poll of 1,176 adults showed that people with strong views on migration prefer less migration, not more migration.

The results were more lopsided when the Ipsos pollsters ask about migration and jobs. The question “When jobs are scarce, employers should prioritize hiring people of this country over immigrants” prompted 33 percent strong agreement and just seven percent strong disagreement. The overall result was 56 percent agreement to 15 percent disagreement.

Even some Democrats admit that immigration is a loser. Politico reported May 24:

Democratic data scientist DAVID SHOR was fired in 2020. Now, he’s got an audience in the [Joe Biden] White House and is one of the most in-demand data analysts in the country.

And he has been particularly outspoken on the issue of immigration, calling it “probably the least popular part of the Democratic policy agenda.” Shor says he strongly disagrees with some pollsters who argue that Democrats can and should lean into immigration issues, or at least not be scared to talk about them.

But migration is not the only issue that can unite white-collars and blue-collars against the establishment’s money.

GOP legislators are recognizing the public’s increasing worry about crime and have been spotlighting the Democrats’ corporate-funded culture war to impose divide-and-rule diversity on Americans’ solidarity-minded civic norms. Those two issues are blended by the Democrats’ support for Black Lives Matter, which has coincided with a massive rise in the urban murder rate and a resulting shift in house values — and rents nationwide.

Read the Washington Post article here.


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