Do Republicans realize that when they call working class Americans stupid and insult veterans that need care, they are mocking their base?
As illogical as it seems, the Republican party is trying to position itself as the voice of the working class. Are they for real or is it just another scam? One way to find out is to observe how the Republicans in government and their hangers-on in the media treat the Americans that they want to entice into their party’s tent, and how respectful they are of those already inside. Do they further the cause of working people, veterans, and others whose support they’re courting? Or are they still mercilessly mocking their base for political gain, despite the red meat they throw to the red hats on Trump’s continuing campaign circuit? Let’s take a look at some prominent examples.
The party that sings the praises of coal miners (while supporting the sort of pro-business deregulatory agenda that puts those same miners in mortal danger) would do well to listen to their own message when it comes to working class Americans. Not all hardworking Americans are rural red-staters. Plenty of them are urban: grocery clerks, warehouse workers, and …bartenders.
Earlier this year, Pat Robertson dissed House freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), calling her a “a young woman with no particular education to speak of, who’s had a career, I believe, as a, what is it, a bartender?” It’s a jab that Trump has used as well. Just a bartender, one of those hardworking, salt-of-the-earth Americans that the GOP wants to seduce. Even though AOC graduated with honors from Boston University, she credits bartending for honing her razor-sharp BS filter, one of those “common sense” skills that people outside of the ivory tower are supposed to possess in spades. If GOP politicians respected their base, they’d know that.
It’s too bad that the right wingers casting shade on Ocasio-Cortez for being unable to afford expensive Washington apartment rent don’t have the common sense to know that they’re also mocking their base for having trouble affording housing, too. Have they forgotten that the heartland is listening? AOC hasn’t; that’s why she’s going to talk to the coal miners herself at the invitation of fellow House Rep Andy Barr (R-KY).
Another group that the GOP only appears to favor are our Americans in uniform. At every opportunity, from football games to public holidays, active duty military and veterans figure highly in patriotic displays. However, the sentiment is largely superficial. When push comes to shove, right-wing politicos are mocking their base in combat boots just as surely as they insult the ones in work boots. When active duty military need care packages filled with tools to do their jobs and other inexpensive lifesaving equipment while the Trump administration boosts spending on Abrams tanks that the Pentagon says it doesn’t want and can’t use, it’s pretty clear that defense contractors are the Republican base, more than the people doing the actual fighting.
Wounded veterans are also on the conservative sh!t list. Remember the campaign former Tea Party affiliated representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) waged against former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, attacking Duckworth for “talking too much” about her service? That ugly streak is still visible in Donald “I like people who weren’t captured” Trump’s rhetoric, and more recently, Fox News talking head Pete Hegseth’s vile effort to paint any veteran who, unlike him, needs VA services as suckers of the public teat.
“Veterans are moochers who lack personal integrity” is becoming a Fox News talking point, which means it’s well on its way to becoming a Trump narrative. What will happen then? Will Trump supporters forget that they once respected veterans more than just about anyone else as they rush headlong into making them the next “welfare queens” or will they at least have some cognitive dissonance over it?
So when conservative pundits tell you that they support working class Americans and if you work hard you can be anything you want to be, when they tell you they want term limits so citizen-legislators will bring “real world” experience to Congress, remember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And when they tell you that our military, our wounded warriors, and our veterans are worthy of respect bordering on veneration, remember Tammy Duckworth. See past the rhetoric, look at what they really do. The GOP is mocking their base daily yet still taking their votes for granted. How long will Republican voters tolerate the abuse?