inessential by Brent Simmons

Party of the average guy

I follow politics the way other people follow football. (And sure, I have my favorites, but I have no plans to get partisan on my weblog.)

One thing I’ve found interesting lately is how the Republican party has become the party of the average guy, a position formerly held by Democrats. I’m not sure that Democrats have noticed the switch.

The Democratic party has become—in the popular perception—the party of Rhodes scholars and policy wonks, of complex solutions and nuance. The NPR party.

This goes against the thing many Americans feel: that “all men are created equal” means that no one is smarter than anyone else. Or, if they are smarter, it’s not fair to make other people feel dumb, and it’s not fair to make people feel ashamed of the things they like.

Republicans have as much as promised that they will never make anyone feel dumb. They will never make anyone feel bad for liking NASCAR and domestic beer and Terminator movies and reality TV.

The policies of Democrats may (or may not) be better for the average guy. But getting the average guy’s support is cultural politics. People ask, does this party (or this candidate) “get it,” or do they look down on us?