Is the GOP Once Again the Party of the Working Class?

A steelworker in Huntington, W.Va., on Aug. 30, 2016. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

With the ongoing litigation over the 2020 presidential election, its final outcome is not entirely certain. Yet we do have conclusive evidence that Republicans cleaned house in the House of Representatives and played enough defense with endangered Senate Republicans to, at a minimum, hold 50 seats.  I believe that Republicans will win at least one of the two Georgia seats to retain control of the U.S. Senate. The country would be well-off for it.

It is becoming harder to argue against the idea that Republicans are once again the party of the working class.  With Democrats steeped in racial politics, defunding the police, and pushing a “Green New Deal” that would destroy Rust Belt state workers in the fossil fuel industry, Democrats have gone so far to the left that they just can’t identify with average Americans. Republicans are pushing for rational energy policy, a law and order agenda, in addition to low tax policies that put more money in working Americans’ pockets. The shift was evident in the results from Election Day 2020.

Many in Congress are pushing the Republican Party, led by the likes of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), to become a “multiethnic, multiracial working-class” party and to shift away from the traditional embrace of big business (i.e., to get back to their roots). The Washington Times editorialized on November 5, 2020, that “on Election Day, in response to exit poll data coming out of Florida indicating that President Trump had garnered the support of Hispanics and Blacks, Josh Kraushaar, a columnist at National Journal, tweeted, ‘The path forward for the GOP: multiracial working-class party.’ To which Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, responded: Uh, yea.’” The Times reported that according to the Edison Exit Poll, President Donald J. Trump increased his numbers from 2016 with every race. 

Republicans in Congress have an opportunity in the next two weeks to address a working-class issue that will help many Americans struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. The end-of-year funding package is expected to impose a new deadline to finish work for the year on December 18, 2020. Before that date, there is expected to be an omnibus spending package to wrap up the appropriations for the fiscal year 2021 while including about $1 trillion in new coronavirus spending. While the big focus is on direct payments to American taxpayers and a new infusion of money to “lend” struggling businesses, we saw in the last package that money intended to help small businesses and Americans in need of aid went to big business – not small. I’m a small business person and I am sucking wind, as are many of my colleagues. I’ve not seen a dime.

House Republicans led by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) recently wrote a letter to leadership pleading for Congress to address the pending multiemployer pension crisis in the coronavirus bill. According to one of the letter’s signers, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a number of House Republican are concerned “that multiemployer pension plans across the nation are facing significant and debilitating funding shortfalls, putting the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on the path towards insolvency within the decade.” They argue that the “leadership (should) find common ground on a bipartisan solution to this crisis and prevent retirees’ from losing their hard-earned pensions, while making structural improvements to shore up the multiemployer pension system.” This is an issue of concern for many working-class voters.

Senate Republicans strongly support this effort. This effort is likely to be led in the Senate by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and has jurisdiction over the issue. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have been leaders on this issue, and this may end up being a legacy issue for Sen. Alexander.

The goal is to make the case that some version of a solution to the multiemployer pension crisis be included in the coronavirus relief package. Sens. Grassley and Alexander are leaders on crafting a compromise. This is an issue that will help prove to voters that Republicans care about working-class Americans while Democrats push things that we can frankly hold off on at the moment, like ridding America of fossil fuels and lighting things on fire.

Think about it this way. Left-wingers are on the streets of many American cities rioting against capitalism and pushing the Democrats so far to the left that they only care about the (NON-organic) left-wing agenda dominating their party. Republicans won big in the House and Senate because Republican, Democratic and independent voters don’t want to defund the police – they want Congress to pay attention to helping out average American issues like jobs, taxes and the economy.

Sanity, people. Please. Whatever your affiliation. If we are to survive, we cannot afford otherwise.

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