- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008



Even though Sen. John McCain lost his bid to be our 44th president, almost half of America’s voters voted for him and for other Republicans. Why did so many “common people” — as Teresa Heinz Kerry called them during the 2004 election — vote for the party that according to the Democrats does not represent their interests? First of all, most Americans are religious. They believe in God. Twenty percent of Christians in the United States say they talk to Jesus every day. America’s Orthodox Jews and observant Muslims also pray and talk to the Almighty daily. They all believe that the contemporary Democratic Party, dominated by its secular left, disrespects the God-believing, the God-beseeching and the God-fearing.

Second, while they may not know who the Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman was, they do understand basic economics. They instinctively know that they owe their jobs and their living standards not to government and to socialism, but to capitalism and to profit-making businesses. They realize that while government may tax wealth, and use the money it gets to pay for public employees and public programs, government does not create wealth. Wealth is created only by and in the private sector.

The environment is a third area in which the common people differ from the elites. They may not have read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. But they accept his thesis that old species perish constantly and that new ones emerge to take their place. So why, they wonder, are we spending millions of taxpayer dollars to save the Northern spotted owl and the snail darter sucker fish? Like their wealthy brethren, the less-than-wealthy do not want to see America’s old-growth forests cut down. But neither do they want government restrictions on logging other trees, which they view as a renewable commodity and a source of good-paying jobs.

Bilingual education, affirmative action, and patriotism are other issues that affect their voting behavior. They think it’s absolutely crazy for states to give driving tests in languages other than English. And they are palpably annoyed whenever a telephone prompter says: “if you want to continue in English, press 1.” My late mother-in-law, whose English was so good that she did the New York Times crossword puzzles in ink, was born abroad. She used to say that if we had had bilingual education in the 1920s she’d “be speaking Yiddish with an American accent and English with a Yiddish accent - and neither language well.”

Then there is affirmative action. The Democrats still have not convinced most Americans that affirmative action isn’t a quota system. Until they do, more and more lower-income voters - unable to afford expensive private schools, or convinced that they’re being discriminated against because they’re not black, Hispanic or female - will turn to the Republican Party.

The women’s movement has also done its share to create Republican voters. Each time it denigrates women who prefer and can afford to stay at home, calling them “just housewives,” it helps produce more female Republicans.

Moreover, most Americans cherish disagreement and tolerate dissent. But they cannot abide left-wing attacks on the sacred symbols and traditions of the United States. To them, the Pledge of Allegiance is a patriotic affirmation of their faith in the American Dream, not a recitation of American jingoism. To them, our flag symbolizes “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” not Michael Moore’s “crappy country.”

There is another reason why less wealthy, less educated, and less verbal Americans gravitate toward the Republicans: They hate the Democrats’ addiction to euphemisms. To them, unwed mothers are unwed mothers, not never-married single moms. Illegalaliens are illegal aliens, not undocumented immigrants. Islamic terrorists are terrorists - not (I am indebted to Daniel Pipes for this list): assailants, bombers, captors, commandos, criminals, extremists, fighters, guerrillas, gunmen, hostage-takers, insurgents, kidnappers, militants, perpetrators, radicals, rebels, or separatists.

Finally, most Americans think that people who blow up men, women, and children are evil. And they’re not afraid to call them that.But even after September 11, many Democrats find it hard to let the word evil pass their politically correct lips. They think there are no evil people in this world - only misunderstood and oppressed ones.

These are some of the reasons for why millions of Americans desert their presumed socioeconomic class and vote Republican. Until the Democratic Party alters that reality, or adjusts to it, it will always have to worry about the next election, the one in which enough Americans bring victory to the Republican Party.

Edward Bernard Glick is a professor emeritus of political science at Temple University.

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