Dear Poor and Middle Class Republicans: ….Why?!

When I meet someone who’s wealthy and Republican, I “get it.” Why wouldn’t someone vote for a party that’s actively trying to cut their taxes and make it easier for them to become even more wealthy? While I get morally why a wealthy person might not vote Republican, I’m not ashamed to admit that I understand the greed and selfishness factor that might lead someone who’s rich to vote for the GOP.

But what I don’t get are poor and middle class Americans who call themselves Republicans.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Is it gay marriage? Is that really why so many poor and middle class Americans vote Republican? Is that really that big of an issue? Because if it is, please, can one Republican voter tell me how gay marriage has impacted their life? I’m not saying that sarcastically, I would really like a legitimate answer to that question.

Maybe it’s abortion. Okay, I get that abortion is a trickier subject. Even most progressives wouldn’t consider themselves “pro-abortion.” But at the end of the day, shouldn’t women be able to control their own bodies? And even if you don’t think that they should, our Constitution and Supreme Court say otherwise.

Oh, I know, it’s guns! That one is hard to argue. The GOP is definitely the pro-gun party whereas Democrats aren’t exactly charter members of the NRA. I’m not saying that Democrats are anti-gun, we just believe in sensible gun regulations. We tend to notice that whole “well regulated” part of our Second Amendment. And I’ve still yet to have a Republican explain to me how a disorganized group of armed citizens constitutes a “well regulated militia.” But okay, I’ll give it to Republicans, they are much more pro-gun than Democrats.

Is it the Republican opposition to government programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare? Well, that wouldn’t make any sense. Tens of millions of conservatives themselves rely on these programs. What kind of a fool would support a party that wants to cut their own benefits? Not only that, but millions of children are dependent upon these programs to survive. And if the GOP is the party of “Christian values,” how would cutting programs that children rely on just to eat represent those values?

Perhaps its the whole “We Support Our Troops” moniker Republicans frequently use. Though I’m not sure how sending over 4,400 Americans to die in Iraq based on a lie constitutes “supporting the troops.” Nor do I see how blocking a veterans bill because you’re trying to play partisan politics with the legislation “supports the troops,” either. Oh, and did you know, when Republicans push for cuts to government programs, those cuts adversely affect both active and former members of our military who rely on these programs?

There’s always their “love for our Constitution.” Well, considering many of these conservative states (especially in the south) are almost always on the wrong side of history when it comes to unconstitutional issues we’ve faced as a nation (slavery, denying women the right to vote, segregation, civil rights, gay marriage), I’m not exactly sure how they can claim they’re “advocates for Constitutional values” – since they always seem to oppose the rights it grants many Americans.

Is it because Republicans say they’re the party for small government? This is a party that wants to tell women what they can do with their own bodies; pass a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage;  build a giant wall between the U.S. and Mexico; force millions of Americans to abide by laws based on a religion they don’t follow; and make it legal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation. How exactly is any of that “small government”?

Ah, then there’s always the “fiscally conservative” claim. If a president from your party hasn’t balanced the budget since the 1950’s, how can you claim to be the party for “fiscal responsibility”? Keep in mind the last 2 two-term Republican presidents (Reagan/George W. Bush) left office with our national debt much higher than what it was when they took office. Which is extremely ironic considering Republicans consider Reagan their “fiscally conservative icon.” I’m not sure how nearly tripling our national debt in eight years constitutes being an icon for fiscal responsibility.

It goes back to what I said, when it comes to poor and middle class Republican voters, I just don’t get it. The party supports almost nothing that benefits these individuals and, in fact, supports policies that go against their own interests. Think about it, last November when Republican pushed for cuts to SNAP benefits just before Thanksgiving, how many millions of Republicans saw their benefits reduced?

But I guess if you holster a gun, hold a Bible and wave a flag, that’s all it takes to fool millions of Americans into thinking you’re on their side – even if almost nothing you support as a political party actually benefits them in any way.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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