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Winning the Middle Class
I happened across “The Party’s Problem,” by Ramesh Ponnuru (December 3), while browsing online articles about the recent election.

I am a lifelong liberal Democrat (68-year-old Caucasian male) who voted for Obama, and I think that this piece was one of the most intelligent and perceptive pieces of thinking I’ve read about the political situation in the United States. Mr. Ponnuru nails the reality that many pols seem to miss — that middle-class people don’t mind entrepreneurs’ becoming wealthy, and do expect even lower-class citizens to work for a dollar, but also want government to help middle-class citizens have the opportunity to make a living, raise a family, and enjoy a few perks such as a vacation or a decent car. A lot of GOP rhetoric suggests to middle-class voters that the GOP wants to take away college loans, Social Security, etc.

I would pay keen attention to a right-centrist Republican candidate who had a reasonable plan for helping the middle class and who vowed to keep government out of my private life.

My compliments to Mr. Ponnuru for a refreshing read.

Richard Posner
Selden, N.Y.

Not a Permanent Loss
NR’s editors certainly get it right when they say, “Conservatives suffered a terrible defeat on November 6, and there is no point pretending otherwise” (“Learning from Defeat,” December 3). We are well advised to double down, fight harder, pick our candidates better, and make our case more effectively.

But Democrats are rather premature in suggesting that conservatives should return to their role of loyal opposition. A win is a win, as Democrats well know, but their 2012 victories are weak as water. Republicans still control the House, meaning they have the power, if only they have the courage, to defund Obamacare. Thirty of the 50 governors are Republicans, and a majority of state legislatures are Republican.

President Obama’s 2012 reelection was unusual. About 7 percent fewer people voted for him in 2012 than voted for him in 2008. Only FDR came close to this feat, dropping about 6 percent between his third and fourth elections. Also, of presidents running for reelection, 17 have won; only nine have lost. Since Andrew Jackson, winners of a second term have always won a higher percentage of the popular vote than they did the first time.

The election is over, but the battle for control of the federal government is not.

Clark Larsen
Holladay, Utah

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