Wooing the working class - Macleans.ca

Wooing the working class

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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.