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January 13, 2005

Class Conflict in the GOP

The dominant power of corporations in decision-making by Bush and the GOP Congressional leadership is being roundly denounced, surprisingly by rank-and-file Republicans.

One example is The Crisis of 'Sam's Club' Republicans, which analyzed the split between country club and "Sam's Club" Republicans:

The rich still vote for Republicans in large numbers, but they're not the party's heart and soul. To win elections, the GOP increasingly relies on socially conservative voters of modest means.
And they may be losing that support.

One issue where visible fractures are appearing is over jobs and immigration. Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo is leading the charge against Bush's immigration plans using class warfare rhetoric:

"Why is this so important to the president?" Tancredo said. "Is it just the corporate interests who benefit from cheap labor? Do they have such a strong grip on our president so that he is actually willing to put our nation at risk, because open borders do put our nation at risk?"
Tancredo heads the House Immigration Reform Caucus, which had 71 members in the last Congress and promotes anti-immigrant policies. It's a scapegoating approach to the problem of lost job quality -- blame immigrants rather than bad labor laws -- but it reflects the emerging dissent in GOP ranks against its corporate wing which loves having the combination of exploited immigrant workers combined with terrible labor laws that lower living standards for all workers.

Conservative Democrats think they should avoid "class conflict" language but it's clear that some Republicans think such language is exactly what's needed to mobilize their working class base. And if Democrats don't deploy such rhetoric on behalf of labor standards and job creation, they will keep losing that working class base to anti-immigrant demagogues denouncing the corporate elite and social conservatives denouncing the media elite.

Posted by Nathan at January 13, 2005 07:45 AM