Already, we've seen poorer folks move over in astonishing numbers to the G.O.P. George Bush won the white working class by 23 percentage points in this past election. Many people have wondered why so many lower-middle-class waitresses in Kansas and Hispanic warehouse workers in Texas now call themselves Republicans. The Pew data provide an answer: they agree with Horatio Alger.
These working-class folk like the G.O.P.'s social and foreign policies, but the big difference between poor Republicans and poor Democrats is that the former believe that individuals can make it on their own with hard work and good character.
According to the Pew study, 76 percent of poor Republicans believe most people can get ahead with hard work. Only 14 percent of poor Democrats believe that. Poor Republicans haven't made it yet, but they embrace what they take to be the Republican economic vision - that it is in their power to do so. Poor Democrats are more likely to believe they are in the grip of forces beyond their control.
The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism.
And that's what it comes down to. This is why, behind anything else, I first gravitated toward the republican party. Republicans might want a hand up, but democrats want a hand out. Frankly, I dunno how it's even possible to be a child of immigrants who make it in thsi country and not be a republican. I can't even imagine the numbers of us who have stories about how our parents carved out a living and a life here through hard work and steadfast dedication. They asked for nothing from the government other than a chance to work and prove themselves and through their labors they won a brighter future for themselves and their children. If they were all farging democrats, they'd be living in a slum somewhere on welfare whining about how The Man keeps them down.