Wooing the working class


Patrick Muttart, one of those often credited with bringing Stephen Harper to power, turns up in a bit of American election analysis, hailed in this case as “perhaps the world’s leading expert on working-class voters in English-speaking countries.”

He has found that in each country, working-class voters may form the base for successful center-left governments but are crucially responsible for the rise of center-right leaders like Harper, Australia’s John Howard, and Margaret Thatcher … He emphasized that working-class voters do not fit neatly on the traditional left-right continuum. They are fiscally conservative, wanting low rates of taxation and wanting government to live within its means, but economically populist, suspicious of trade, outsourcing, and high finance. They are culturally orthodox but morally moderate, in the sense that they don’t feel their lives will change much because of how social issues play out. They are patriotic and supportive of the military, but suspicious of foreign adventures.

Most importantly, they are modest in their aspirations for themselves. They do not aspire to be “type A business owners”; they want to go to work, do what’s asked of them, not have too much stress in their lives, and spend time with their families. They want structure and stability in their lives so that things are taken care of and they don’t have to worry.


Wooing the working class

  1. One measure of the heavy emphasis
    on strategy is who matters most in the PMO, and who is missed when they leave.
    One of Harper’s close collaborators says the biggest change in the PMO over
    Harper’s years was not the exit of two chiefs of staff, Ian Brodie and Guy
    Giorno. It wasn’t the departure of two clerks of the Privy Council, Alex Himelfarb
    and Kevin Lynch. No, the hole Harper has been unable to fill was left when
    electoral strategist Patrick Muttart left in 2009 to work in the United States.

    “The one difference with big
    structural implications is when Patrick left,” this senior Conservative says.
    “To call him the marketing strategist is an under-pitching of his role. He has
    a whole discipline and methodology for keeping track of today but keeping an eye
    on the big picture. I still don’t think they’ve replaced him in the