If the GOP wants to win, it needs to champion the middle class
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The midterm elections — and the evolution of the Democratic Party into a deeply illiberal collection of the intolerant and deluded — ought to scare everybody into the arms of the Republican Party. 

Look, for instance, at some of the new House committee chairmen. At the Oversight Committee we have Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsLawmakers dedicate Oversight room to Cummings, unveil plaque Oversight Committee room to be dedicated to late Rep. Elijah Cummings House wants documents on McEntee's security clearances MORE; at Judiciary, Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Trump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify MORE; at Intelligence, Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment House Intelligence lawyer Goldman leaving committee Schiff presses top intel official to declassify part of report on Khashoggi killing MORE; and at Financial Services, Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMaxine Waters: Gang members have 'more integrity' than 'street player' Trump Maxine Waters blasts Trump as 'mafia boss' over Stone case Democrats highlight lack of diversity at major banks in new report MORE. Add to that mix representatives like “democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and party juggernaut Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment MORE

Truly, it more closely resembles a haunted house than a House of Representatives. 

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And if that isn’t frightening enough, consider the group queuing up for a run at the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. The top 15, as ranked by The Washington Post, include charlatans like Michael Bloomberg, Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules MORE, Terry McAuliffe and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Bloomberg campaign lobbied Yang for endorsement, possible VP offer: report Warren calls for changes to presidential pardon power, pledges to create clemency board MORE. In the top three positions are Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Bloomberg campaign lobbied Yang for endorsement, possible VP offer: report Biden looks to shore up lead in SC MORE, who conjures up links between ICE and the KKK; Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBloomberg: 'I'm going to stay right to the bitter end' of Democratic primary race The Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Sanders holds 13-point lead in Fox News poll MORE, or Chief Spreading Bull, as Howie Carr calls her; and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBloomberg: 'I'm going to stay right to the bitter end' of Democratic primary race The Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE, the most fossilized and humorless pol in the country. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but are you kidding me?

Despite the obvious need for the voters of this country to squeeze such people until they squeak, it’s no sure thing that will happen. How can this be, you ask? Just look to the NeverTrumpers, the neocons and the GOP elite.

It is these illuminati, and their fanboys at large, who deliberately or unintentionally are running interference for the Dems. Aided and abetted by CNN and MSNBC, they persist in doing so in the guise of “conservatives.” Worse still, many stand as obstacles to any update of Republican policies, so desperately needed in a nation that is now so evenly — and perilously — divided.

It is often said that the GOP needs greater support from African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. That is both true and obvious. What is less obvious are the ways to get there — especially with all ethnic groups and races, and particularly who are middle class (or at least aspire to be).

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Take the fraught issue of taxation. Why do the Republicans persist in promoting legislation that adds to the riches of the very wealthy? Why not just lower taxes on the middle class, and perhaps raise taxes on the super rich? A large number of them detest the GOP, and for those who don’t, who is to say even they wouldn’t appreciate a tax bill that landed with both feet on the Buffetts, Steyers, Bloombergs and Soroses? 

The much chronicled decline of GE, once seen as the very epitome of the kind of corporation that Republicans lionize, provides a useful example of the threat to the GOP when big corporations get a pass from the party elite no matter the impact on the middle class.

Writing last year on the occasion of Jeff Immelt’s retirement after 16 years as CEO of GE, Timothy Carney scathingly recalled the error of his ways:

Throughout (his) years, Immelt’s game was cozying up to government. [...] GE invested in businesses and technologies that depended for profits on mandates, regulations, tax credits, and handouts and then invested in lobbyists to ensure those favorable policies. Immelt was a political entrepreneur from start to finish.

In 2005, Immelt created “Ecomagination,” a venture that would try to find ways to profit off green energy and similar ideas. When former President George W. Bush in his 2007 State of the Union address laid out eight technologies he wanted to subsidize, at least seven of them –including “clean coal” – were GE specialties.

Then came the Wall Street bailouts and Obamacare, which Immelt said marked a “reset” of capitalism. “The interaction between government and business will change forever,” Immelt wrote in [GE’s] 2009 annual report. “In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.”

And how did all that work out for the company and the country? GE spent more than any other company on lobbying during Immelt’s tenure, its stock fell 27 percent, and its American work force declined by 21 percent.

So, as Carney put it, Immelt’s GE harmed its customers by lobbying for laws like the one that led to the end of the inexpensive and popular incandescent light bulbs, harmed its shareholders by “destroying value in the company,” and “laid off more workers than it hired.” 

And the beat goes on. On Nov. 16, CNBC’s Market Insider published a piece with the title “GE was once America’s most valuable company. Today it is fighting junk-bond status.”

For the first eight of the 16 years that Immelt headed GE, George W. Bush was president, and Republicans controlled the House and the Senate for four years, from 2003 to 2007. Do you remember the White House or congressional Republicans holding Immelt’s or GE’s feet to the fire during that time? 

Neither do I. 

Patrick Maines is former president of The Media Institute.