Because Democrats attempted to keep Obamacare deficit-neutral, someone had to pay. Voters might have thought that privilege would go only to the rich. But substantial numbers of middle-income Americans are finding that the new law, rather than delivering a benefit, is taking something away from them. Some are losing money, as their premiums rise; others are losing coverage, as their plans are cancelled.
Voters may accordingly be newly receptive to the Republican message of skepticism about big government. But an opportunity is not a silver platter.
Writing in The American, Henry Olsen scans Andrew Levison’s new book “The White Working Class” for clues about how Republicans can appeal to this group. Levison, a liberal, hopes to help Democrats craft their messages, but his research is consistent with that of Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics and others suggesting that white voters without college degrees are more hostile to free enterprise and small government than many Republicans would like to believe.
Members of the white working class, Olsen notes, are “suspicious of the idea that business leaders and financial experts have their interests at heart. ... Well over half believe that business makes too much profit and that Wall Street does more to hurt than to help the economy. Three-quarters believe that a few large companies hold too much power. These voters do see government as a problem, but they also believe that big government is not the only obstacle in their paths.”
Working class whites strongly oppose free trade, immigration, and even (by 50-39) attempts by government to encourage “traditional morality.” Sean Trende calls them Perot voters. They don’t support the idea of big government, but they believe government should do more to help the needy, even if it means increasing deficits. Half agree that the poor’s lives are hard because government benefits don’t go far enough.