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“Now Rubio has a simpler message: These are my people. I will fight for them. It beats the perennial Republican approach of theorizing about incentives and the capital gains tax.”
 
Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party?
By Christopher Caldwell
February 8, 2021
The New Republic

 
It took the election of Donald Trump in 2016 to show many Republicans that the left-behind were part of their constituency, maybe the most important part. … [Now] a party of upper–middle-class traditions and inclinations finds itself left alone with the working-class parts of Trump’s base, in a society where the deck is more stacked against the working class than it has been since the nineteenth century. The party’s survival depends on protecting the interests of these voters, and yet few Republicans have given much systematic thought to how they might do it. The task has fallen largely to three senators: Hawley, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. … 
 
The [2017 tax reform] bill also swapped out certain tax cuts promised to corporations in order to pay for an increase in the child tax credit. But even this last, fairly modest tax benefit required a fight, including a threat from Marco Rubio to vote down the entire package if it were not included. ...
 
At age 49, he is among the very youngest Americans able to remember when it was not just possible but expected that people in jobs like this would be able to own their home and raise four children. ...
 
Now Rubio has a simpler message: These are my people. I will fight for them. It beats the perennial Republican approach of theorizing about incentives and the capital gains tax.
 
Among Senate Republicans, it is Rubio who has laid the biggest bet on working people. … 
 
The core of his agenda, said Rubio, “is the availability of good-paying jobs that allow people to raise families, to retire with dignity, to live in safe and stable communities—that’s where life is lived.” It is a more philosophically sophisticated way of talking than most Republicans are used to, but it is not far from the party’s preoccupation with “social” issues. If you care about those, you should care about inequality, which can mean the blighting of community and loss of social capital.
 
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