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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Why GOP’s ‘Class Warfare’ Meme Will Tank…Again

The Republicans’ message du jour buzz term on the eve of President Obama’s SOTU is an oldie, but not-so-goodie: “Class Warfare.” Steve Benen explains it well at Maddowblog:

…Obama is prepared to focus on the growing wealth gap, economic inequalities, the concentration of wealth at the very top, and the fact that the recovery’s prosperity has not been broadly shared. And yes, the predictable, knee-jerk response from the right is to complain about “class warfare.”
But whether congressional Republicans are comfortable with this or not, it was Mitt Romney who told RNC members last week how concerned he is that “the rich have gotten richer” and “income inequality has gotten worse.” It was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who complained about a year ago, “Right now, the top 1 percent in this country, the millionaires and billionaires the president demagogues so much, earn a higher share of our national income than any time since 1928.”
Is it “class warfare” when a Democrat notices these national challenges, but sound thinking when a Republican notices? Or does it only count as “class warfare” because the president has presented a credible proposal to do something about it?

Good questions. Many a progressive Democrat would welcome a little more class conflict, since the gap between the super-rich and working people has grown alarmingly under Republican tax policies, union-bashing and wage stagnation.
In addition to their hypocrisy on the topic, Republicans have never gotten a lot of traction with the ‘class warfare’ meme. They hope to win over some small businessmen and women with it, but there is little evidence that ‘class warfare’ hysteria wins much support with this particular constituency. It’s pretty much a preaching-to-the choir ditty, of little interest to persuadable voters who are looking for substantive answers.
It’s equally unlikely that working families struggling to pay their bills and get their kids a better education are going to have much sympathy with the GOP meme-mongers ‘class warfare’ finger-pointing. Odds are they will find President Obama’s expected SOTU message calling for tuition-free community college, paid family leave, and a more significant middle class tax cut of considerably more interest.

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