If the GOP wants to win, it needs to champion the middle class
© iStock

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 CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings reports surgery was a success, will return to campaign trail The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump MORE; at Judiciary, Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE; at Intelligence, Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJohnson: Whistleblower 'exposed things that didn't need to be exposed' Schiff knocks Mulvaney over failure to testify in impeachment probe Impeachment hearings likely to get worse for Republicans MORE; and at Financial Services, Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersHouse passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell White House, McConnell come out against House bill on Ex-Im Bank Divides over China, fossil fuels threaten House deal to reboot Ex-Im Bank MORE. Add to that mix representatives like “democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and party juggernaut Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls on Trump to testify as part of impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony Perception won't be reality, once AI can manipulate what we see MORE

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


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 HolderPelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Obama celebrates 'great night for our country' after Democrats' victories in Virginia and Kentucky MORE, Terry McAuliffe and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE. In the top three positions are Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisIf we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE, who conjures up links between ICE and the KKK; Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Elizabeth Warren tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan Warren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' MORE, or Chief Spreading Bull, as Howie Carr calls her; and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat 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).


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.