Appealing to the Parenting Class
Yuval Levin has written a piece that is getting some attention around the web. In it, he identifies what he calls the “parenting class” as being the new group to whom politicians will need to appeal:
The worry of middle- and lower-middle-class families arises from a genuine tension between the two things they most eagerly strive to do: build families and build wealth. That tension, and the disquiet it causes, is especially acute for parents. Indeed, Americans in the middle class and what used to be called the working class would be better conceived of today as the parenting class. Their concerns and aspirations are no longer focused on their standing in the workplace, as they were when our political vocabulary was coming of age, but on balancing the pursuits of family and prosperity.
The members of the parenting class do not live on the edge of poverty. But they are anxious about their ability to meet their high aims, like affording a decent college for their children, getting the most from their health care dollar, and (in our increasingly older society) meeting the needs of their aging parents.
This is the anxiety of a successful capitalist economy filled with individuals who want to lead good lives. It is an anxiety produced by the kind of society conservatives seek to promote. It therefore calls for a response from the right, from those who share the aspiration to balance families and free markets…this aspirational anxiety should be the focus of a conservative domestic policy agenda, and the lens through which conservatives understand their challenge in the coming years.
He has his own ideas as to how conservatives can address the concerns of this group. It’s well worth the read.