Political leanings shift for demographics over time, despite major party values remaining the same for over half a century. Former President Donald Trump accelerated the shift by having a large draw to middle class and working class Americans.
Contributing writer to Working Class Perspectives, John Russo joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why this political shift has occurred. He also discussed what is happening with Amazon workers in Alabama.
How conservative politics have infiltrated the middle class
While the Democratic Party still wins the vote of the middle and working class, Republicans have been chipping away at this influence for decades, using emotional appeal and other tactics to attract new voters.
Russo likened the shift to what has happened in the once manufacturing powerhouse town of Youngstown, Ohio, where auto manufacturing reigned supreme. The surrounding area has become largely conservative, despite failed promises from state Republicans.
He said this has happened across the country, where middle and working class Americans have found a home in social politics. Republicans have captured this arena by focusing on resentment and perceived “wins” against common foes.
This was also accelerated by more polarized media, such as on Fox News and on radio programs like the Rush Limbaugh Show, which could be heard nationwide.
Organizing a union in Alabama
Russo said a strange phenomenon is happening in Alabama, as Democrats and Republicans are both supporting the workers at an Amazon facility in their effort to organize. He added that they are supporting the workers for very different reasons.
Democrats are supporting the Amazon workers just like they have supported any workforce in their fight to organize. They are working on legislation such as the PRO Act to help others organize too.
On the other hand, Republicans are supporting the workers to score points against Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Russo said this is because Bezos and Amazon tend to be sympathetic to socially liberal causes. These same Republicans will vehemently oppose the PRO Act and any other legislation that promotes unionization.