Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Hillary Clinton | Jeb Bush | John McCain | Marco Rubio | Rand Paul

GOP Hopefuls Emphasize 'Common Man' Background vs. Hillary

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2015 12:09 PM

In recent presidential elections, Republican nominees were dogged by the perception that they were wealthy, out-of-touch elitists. The 2008 nominee, Sen. John McCain, could not recall how many homes his family owned (seven) while 2012 candidate Mitt Romney (with a net worth estimated at $200 million) never fully recovered from the news that he said 47 percent of Americans were so highly dependent upon government that they would vote to re-elect President Barack Obama "no matter what."

Given the Democrats' success in portraying McCain and Romney as out-of-touch elitists, those in the 2016 GOP field are determined to emphasize that they are one with the common man and that the Democrats are the wealthy, out-of-touch elitists, The New York Times reported.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, for example, points to his parents, a stock clerk and a bartender, as he urges Americans not to forget landscapers, hotel kitchen workers, and "late-night janitorial staff."

The United States, he adds, is a place where "where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul refers to claims that Democrats care more about the poor. "If that's true, why is black employment still twice white employment?" he asks. "Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?"

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker likes to discuss his work flipping hamburgers at McDonald's as a young man, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Republicans should be the party of "the 47 percent."

And even former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush the wealthy son of a former president and brother of another former president has been sounding a more populist note on the campaign trail.

Visiting Puerto Rico last week, Bush denounced "elites who have stifled innovation and hampered economic growth."

Bush said he envisions a better economic future in which America "wouldn't have the middle class being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist because the haves and have nots is the big debate in our country today would subside."

For their part, Democratic partisans scoff at the notion that Republicans will make headway with this approach.

If Republicans "are just repeating the same tired policies, I'm not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough," said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist joining a super-PAC which supports Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Critics counter that the Democrats are deluding themselves if they think this sort of message can't work against Mrs. Clinton, a millionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car in decades.

The Republican approach is not that different from what Barack Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois, did to defeat her to win the Democratic nomination in 2008.
The National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke says that on the campaign trail, Obama sharply contrasted his record and background with Mrs. Clinton's.

"This is ridiculous," Obama said. "Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America's unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president."

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In recent presidential elections, Republican nominees were dogged by the perception that they were wealthy, out-of-touch elitists.
Hillary Clinton, Republicans, elitists, common man
Monday, 04 May 2015 12:09 PM
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