Poor and Working Class People Are Not Stupid

Lynn Parramore, writing in new deal 2.0, quotes some illuminating Wall Street Journal statistics on income class vs. voting preference, and concludes, “poor and working class people are not stupid.”

This reminds me of my father, who spent his working life as a railway postal clerk, a good job during the Depression years, when he was the sole support of a young family. He was a smart man who wanted to be a chemist, but he kept faith with his family during all those hard years, and did what he had to do.

He clearly saw, throughout his career, that whenever Republicans were in power, they would usually block postal employee raises. Being opposed to Republicans was a simple equation for him, as it continues to be for me.

Being a Democrat, however, is no longer as simple as it used to be.

The following chart, with Parramore’s comment, shows that it nevertheless remains a simple choice for a lot of working people today:

Voters who said their income is…

Less than 30K per year voted 58% for Dems, 40% for Repubs
30K – 49,999: 52% for Dems, 45% for Repubs
50K-74,999: 46% for Dems, 52% for Repubs
75K – 99,999: 43% for Dems, 56% for Repubs
100K-199,999: 43% for Dems, 56 for Repubs
Over $200,000: 36% for Dems, 62% for Repubs

“Notice that as soon as you pass the average household income level in the United States, which is currently around 50K per year, you see voters trending Republican.

“What to make of this? Well, poor and working class people are not stupid. They know darn well that Republicans are out to put the squeeze on them. Make no mistake: they’re plenty mad at Democrats for all the bank-centric bullshit and backroom deals. They are outraged that the same crooks that got bailed out are now kicking them out of their houses.

“But they aren’t fooled by the phony populism that the Right is spewing. They know that between the two parties, the Democrats at least have a vestigial memory of standing against the brutal income inequality, exploitation, wage depression and ripping of social safety nets that the Right has come to think of as the norm.”

That’s a sad but accurate word, “vestigial.” Not only is the Democratic memory of opposing income inequality “vestigial,” so too is the Democratic spine.

We’re still waiting for FDR to return.

See Parramore’s full article here.

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