Magazine June 20, 2011, Issue

Dangerous Disaffection

Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., October 19, 1983 (Mal Langsdon/Reuters)
Losing blue-collar whites would wipe out the GOP

It is tempting to dismiss the Republicans’ recent loss in New York’s 26th congressional district. A “tea-party” candidate siphoned off conservative votes, and the Republican did not respond to the Democrat’s Medicare ads until they had already sealed her fate.

Doing so would be a mistake: Republican Jane Corwin’s defeat in New York is to Republicans what the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was to Democrats: a warning of impending disaster if the party maintains its course. Democrats in 2010 refused to see this, blaming their loss on poor turnout and a bad candidate. Republicans cannot make the same mistake.

Henry OlsenMr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

In This Issue



Special Energy Section

Books, Arts & Manners



Do the Jefferson

Too many tourists, too much traffic noise, swampy D.C. weather, the occasional grunt and scream as the cops tackle people for illegal Monument Dancing.


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