Somebody Tell Marco Rubio What “Working Class” Really Means

At New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait looks at Senator Marco Rubio’s latest rhetoric. Seems that he’s going blue-collar in a big way:

“If I’m our nominee … [Republicans] will be the party of the bartenders and the maids, of the people that clean our rooms and fix our cars,” Rubio promises.

I'll give him this: his collar in this picture is actually blue.

I’ll give him this: his collar in this picture is actually blue.

Okay, sure. After Republicans ran a kajillionaire for president and lost badly the last time around, it stands to reason they’d try to get more blue collar support. And even though Rubio is hardly blue collar himself, his parents were hard-working immigrants. For whatever reason, in the world of presidential politics, that’s close enough to Rubio’s own experience that it counts in his favor, even though he’s basically a career politician.

But Chait points out that Rubio’s platform is the exact same trickle-down baloney that Republicans have been serving for decades now: tax cuts for everyone (that mostly benefit the rich), desperate attempts to make it harder for Americans to get health care, a call to raise the retirement age, and other policies that would immediately harm working-class Americans. As Chait says, “Rubio may be the most forthrightly pro–Wall Street candidate in the race.”

Sure, people might be fooled by the poverty tourism Rubio adds to his speeches. But just about everybody can tell that Marco Rubio’s policies are the exact same as every other Republican candidate we’ve seen in the last eight to ten presidential elections, with just one exception—Rubio’s policies are even more conservative.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.