I noticed a bumper sticker some time ago that read: “Ex Republican – Ask Me Why.” But I felt I knew. And that person has been joined by many others these past three years, including conservative thinkers like George Will. That isn’t fake news.

Yet what also isn’t fake news is the midnight assistance crisis that just occurred – which the president and his congressional supporters helped construct.

And it makes me wonder how poorer backers of the president and the Republican Party, who have modest, meager or even non-existent incomes these days, feel about their loyalty when they see that Republicans kept stimulus payments to individuals as low as possible — to $600 (grudgingly raised from the $300 they first proffered) — while Democrats introduced legislation months ago asking for $2,000 to help them, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Dec. 30 blocked advancement to?

Then prior to that, watching the president leave the bipartisan stimulus package unsigned, because he suddenly wanted the same $2,000 payments as Democrats (which he never mentioned during Congress’s negotiations, and whose delay resulted in the loss of extended unemployment benefits to countless workers). How is that not seen as hurtful to Republicans in financial need?

I think the answer is that the new Republican Party has been pulling the wool over the eyes of its less wealthy supporters for some time, choosing instead: To associate any help for struggling families with rising socialism; to spread unthinkable conspiracy theories; and to offer mute stoicism in the presence of others’ suffering in order to keep their (friendly) mountains of unearned income secure.

Paul Baribault, Lewiston


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