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Derek Leadberry made an important observation in the comments section of Takimag.com concerning the bailout of the Big 3:
Politically speaking, Republicans do badly in states that deindustrialize. Think Massachusetts, which until the mid-50s had a strong, competitive Republican Party. The Massachusetts GOP went south as that state’s industrial jobs went south. Blue collar workers not only tend to have conservative views as long as they are paid well, industrial economies generate managers who vote and fund Republicans. When the industries left Massachusetts, the economy of that state turned to the effete, soft economy of Paul Gottfried’s Therapeutic State. Do conservatives want Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin go the way of Massachusetts? Count me as one who does not want the Republican Party crucified on a cross of Austrian economics.
Indeed Massachusetts is a good example of how deindustrialized states have become in effect, one-party states or where the local GOP has become incredibly weak. Michigan and Illinois are others and one could also cite New Hampshire and Conneticut as well.
For the most part in the North at least, the people who worked in heavy industry were Catholic/Orthdox immigrants from Europe. There were Southern white refugees and blacks but the strong majority were of this grouping. Yes, they belonged to leftist unions like the UAW and voted most Democratic but as Wallace and Nixon and Reagan showed their votes could be won with appeals on social issues, even on foreign policy (anti-communism) issues as well (Just think how badly Gerald Ford hurt himself when he said in a debate with Jimmy Carter ”There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”)
One would think all this would hurt the Democrats and in the past it did so. But the Dems have successfully, if not painfully, made the transition to being a post-industrial party, capbale of capturing voters of different races, occupations, and classes. The white working class vote was the swing vote in many of these states between traditional Republicans and Democrats since 1968. Now that this class is shrinking through job losses and retirement or are moving South to already strong Republican areas, traditional Republicans in blue states are left holding the bag, on islands in a Democratic sea.
Look at all the states that once had strong local GOPs or were the ancestral heartland of the party and now are shriveling up: New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin etc. All of these states were once a part of the industrial heartland of the North and Midwest.
Even in California this has become true when aerospace and defense industry jobs shriveled up in the 1990s. And when logging jobs disappeared in Washington and Oregon, well.. it’s the same pattern.
If the GOP wishes to be a Southern regional party, by all means that’s their perogative now that the South is pretty well industrialized and has lots of shiny new auto plants. But I wonder when Zel Miller is going to write his book on how the GOP became a national party no more.