Thomas Frank has it ass backwards. What the Republican Party got right was not in convincing working class Americans to vote against their economic self interest. Rather it was in convincing the Democratic Party that it needed to “triangulate” itself into ideological no man’s land in order to win. As Princeton’s Larry Bartels has demonstrated, http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:yivC-gX3DSMJ:www.princeton.edu/~bartels/kansas.pdf+Larry+Bartels&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=ca the white working class has not abandoned the Democratic Party. Indeed, they voted for Kerry in stronger numbers than they did JFK or Hubert Humphrey. Nor do the worker class voters place more attention to social issues than economic issues; the opposite it overwhelming true. Working class voters place far more of emphasis on economic issues than do any other segment of voters. Indeed, the higher up the economic ladder one goes the more emphasis voters place on social issues and the less on economic ones. In 2004 well to do placed 10 times as much importance on social issues than did the working class.
Little wonder then why white rural worker class voters overwhelmingly favor Clinton over Obama. She gives them a lot more meat and potatoes then he does. Conversely the much more socially liberal Obama plays much better with urban well off then she does. If the Democrats are going to win the next election, they need to combine the strength of both. They need to become more socially liberal and more fiscally liberal.
What holds true for the Democrats holds doubly true for the Liberals in Canada. There is not a large segment of affluent evangelicals standing in the Liberals way the way there is for the Democrats in the States. The Liberals need to return to 1968. They need to offer universal social programs (e.g., universal dental care and Pharmacare) and social liberalism (e.g., legalized marijuana, euthanasia and perhaps even prostitution) on steroids. This is what won them every province, save Alberta, in1968. They need to be reminded how wrong a cynical Liberal's forecast was when he said the Liberal slogan for the 1968 election should be the following. "For abortion, homosexuality and easy divorce - vote Liberal!"