The Republican Worker’s Party will not work. President Donald J. Trump’s (R-New York) proposal to turn the Grand Old Party (GOP) into a worker’s party is an absurd fantasy that will fail.
There are many reasons the Republican Worker’s Party project faced doom from the beginning. However, three deficiencies stand out.
1. The classic American working class Trump is trying to attract no longer exists.
America still has vast numbers of workers but the blue-collar manufacturing class of the mid-20th Century is receding into history. For instance, the number of manufacturing jobs in America was 12.839 million in May 2019, The St. Louis Federal Reserve estimates.
Yet Worldometers estimates the United States population at 329.093 million for June 2019. Thus, the traditional working class is a tiny minority in America. I cannot see how Republicans can win national elections by appealing to such small numbers of voters.
Meanwhile, the number of manufacturing jobs is shrinking fast. The St. Louis Fed estimates there were 17.296 million manufacturing jobs in June 2000 and 12.839 million in May 2019. Consequently, there will be even fewer “workers” for Republicans to appeal to.
2. Most American workers do not think of themselves as working class.
Instead, almost all Americans ranging from the guy begging by the off ramp with an “I’ll work for food” sign to Bill Gates think of themselves as “middle class.” Indeed, almost all American workers consider themselves middle class.
Thus, the very term working class is likely to drive voters away. To explain, in America the words working class conjure up images of an obnoxious, ignorant, rude, beer-swilling, racist, boor, with a big gut, poor hygiene, and no fashion sense.
I think branding themselves as a “middle-class party” will do Republicans far more good. Americans love being middle class but hate being working class. In America, working class is a condition that your grandfather overcame, not an identity.
3. Working class excludes too many people.
Finally, the very words working class exclude too many Americans. For instance, African-Americans, immigrants, intellectuals, the college educated, the rich, rural Americans, people of color, conservatives, libertarians, gays, many evangelicals, gig economy workers, white-collar workers, Jews, Mormons, and the self-employed to name a few.
A smarter strategy for Trump and company is to brand the GOP as the American party; but be vague about what “America” is. Remember, that marketing ploy worked wonders in 2016. So why abandon it for a term that only appeals to a few Marxist romantics?
Any attempt to rebrand the Republican Party as the worker’s party will only help Democrats. If Republicans want to win elections, they must stop using the words, workers, working, and working class.