After the American electorate wades
through the scintillating debate about which
presidential candidate is
less patriotic than the
other, some voters may
display an interest in picking one of them to vote
A recent article in The New
Republic argues that Mr. Bush`s main accomplishment
as the leader of the Republican Party has been to lose
the white working class base that has served as the
backbone of GOP presidential victories since the
saying for years. But what`s interesting
about the article, "White Flight" by
John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira, is
why the president has lost this base: The war in Iraq. [BUSH
LOSES HIS BASE. White Flight by John B. Judis &
Ruy Teixeira [free
As the authors note, "Alienated
civil rights movement, and later by
antiwar protestors and
feminists, white, working-class voters began
transferring their loyalty from New Deal Democrats to
conservative Republicans in the 1960s," and the
white working class—Middle American Radicals as
some started calling them not long after—"gave
large majorities to Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan
in 1980 and 1984, and George H.W. Bush in 1988."
As late as 2000, Al Gore lost these
voters like most of his recent predecessors. Today those
happy days may be gone forever.
Patriotism and dislike of
or Muslim, foreign or domestic—are among the main
sentiments that drive these voters, which is why they
dropped away from a Democratic Party that seemed to
treason. When the
9/11 attacks came along, no group was more
supportive of strong measures against the nation`s
enemies than white Middle Americans, and no group liked
Mr. Bush`s initial response more than they did.
In June, 2003, as the authors note,
just after the war with Iraq was over, Gallup polls
showed that "65 percent of white, working-class
voters thought it was `worth going to war` in Iraq,
while only 33 percent disagreed."
But by late May, 2004, a year later,
"only 52 percent thought the war was worth fighting, and
46 percent thought it was not." Among white workers
with some college background, the swing "was even more
dramatic," with approval of the war dropping "from
70 to 30 percent in favor of the war to only 52 to 46
percent, a 34-point swing."
That swing on the war doesn`t
necessarily tell you who these voters are going to
support, but there are polls that do—or might, if the
Republicans don`t wise up.
"In late May and early June [of
this year]," the authors write, "Gallup polls
showed white, working-class voters, who had favored Bush
over Gore by 17 percent in 2000, favoring him over Kerry
by an average of only 50 to 42 percent."
Mr. Bush still leads, but nowhere
close to where he used to be among these voters—or where
he needs to be if he`s going to win the election.
And the news for him may be even
worse than the figures show.
As Mr. Judis and Mr. Teixeira point
out, these Middle American voters "make up the
bulk of voters in many
battleground states." In states like West
Virginia, Missouri and Pennsylvania, they are anywhere
from 60 percent to 74 percent of the electorate. "If
white, working-class voters in the battleground
states by more than ten points, he should
carry most of them. But, if his advantage falls
below this margin, he will be in trouble. And that`s
what seems to be happening."
The Gallup poll figures they cite,
as they also acknowledge, are national figures, but in
the battleground states Mr. Bush needs to win, these
voters are traditionally more Democratic anyway. There
"one has to assume Bush`s margins are
even smaller—and perhaps non-existent."
That`s the arithmetic. The flesh
and blood of the question is more graphic, as the
interviews the authors had with Middle Americans show.
Most say they supported the war at first, and most
continue to sport
flags and patriotic bumper stickers.
But their views of the war have
changed. "They shouldn`t have gone over there,"
says one man; "But now I don`t think we had any
reason to go over there," says his wife. "I don`t
think it is helping us at all," says another. "I have
just one thing to say," a housewife tells them.
"Bring my son home."
These are not
left-wing peaceniks. They are the spinal cord of the
nation—and of the GOP.
Thanks to George W. Bush, that cord
is beginning to snap.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,
America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available
Americans For Immigration Control.
for Sam Francis` website. Click
here to order his monograph,
Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American