On the drive home since the election I have been forcing myself to tune in (and stay tuned into) the Liberal Talk show "team" that is on our local CBS affiliate. It is difficult. But I received an answer to a question that has haunted me. Why white blue collar workers, an important part of the the Reagan Democrat and Independents who in the past supported Bush, Reagan, and gave us control of the Senate for 12 years.
"Let the taxes go up, I don't care" was his message.
The even dumbfounded liberal hosts had to ask them why. His answer provides you with your homework, if you are a Republican seeking to win a state wide office in the "Bluetopia" regions of the North East, Great Lakes or West Coast. He answered
"we have been hearing cut taxes to create jobs for twelve years and it isn't working."
He is right, from his perspective as a resident of a blue state. This is where you have to understand that what sells in Arlington Texas or Montana won't work in the Rust Belt states. I was born in the Delaware Valley, and have lived in New Jersey since the early 1980's. I have prospered under Republicans and suffered under Democrats and I make the distinction at control of the legislature, not the President. But for all that time, and for the periods under which I have prospered mister blue collar white guy saw his opportunities shrink. Not one year can I recall where manfacturing jobs in the Delaware valley went up. Smoke stake industies have been replaced with distribution jobs, or simply disappeared. The number of jobs for skilled, semi-skilled and experienced labor has declined precipitously in spite of the Bush tax cuts. In spite of trickle down prosperity.
I am not a firm believer that the Reagan coalition is the path to the future. I am not certain when we look to those days the reason the Reagan Democrat/independent voted is properly positioned into one of the three legs. I assume this is the voter that is thought to be most attracted by the social conservative label. Well, the game has changed if it ever was the reason. And until Republicans present a solution that will offer this voter a future that doesn't involve moving to another state, winning control of the Senate or oval office will be out of reach.
So your homework assignment is to figure out how we can provide government help for this voter. I will make it simple, he doesn't want welfare. He wants to see smoke stack industries popping up on some of those empty "brown field" lots where factories used to employ tens of thousands at good to excellent wages. This won't happen without an advocacy plan championed by the Republicans. Republicans can't just improve the economy and hope for the best, Republicans must also target the creation of manufacturing opportunities in the region.
The Democrat's don't really offer anything for this voter. There is no free stuff in the bag for him. He didn't vote for Obama because he believed that the Democrats had Santa Clause, but because it was so easy to paint the Republicans as the Grinch. That has to change.
I am a Republican fighting an insurgency behind the blue curtain in New Jersey. We occasionally have local successes, and since we vote in an off year we have Chris Cristy. Like him or not for kissing up to Obama at a time when this state is in need. But we can't help win the Senate or the the Oval Office for you.And, it is your fault as much as mine.