This Presidential election year is especially agitating, for obvious reasons. But the number-one irritant remains the same: Political ‘experts’ who think they know what kind of people belong to country clubs, and how they’ll vote.
There are many things that make my blood boil each time a Presidential election year rolls around. This one is especially agitating, for obvious reasons. But the number-one irritant remains the same: Political “experts” who think they know what kind of people belong to country clubs, and how they’ll vote.
This year, there’s been plenty of commentary trying to gauge the political temperature of “country club Republicans,” aka the “traditional wing” of the GOP. One newspaper column started out this way: “Listen to Francis Louis Charbonneau Jr. talk about his political world view, and the words that pop into your head are ‘country club Republican.’“
The column went on to describe Charbonneau as “the chief executive of an aerospace consulting company…he has an MBA in international finance…his family pedigree tracks generations of success.
“Toss in a picture-perfect wife and two kids, and Charbonneau is about as traditional a Republican as they come,” the column continued, before then revealing the shocking news that Charbonneau is backing Donald Trump this year.
The one thing this columnist omitted when painting the picture of this man, however—and that he also failed to mention about other people he described later in the column as “establishment Republicans” who are also backing Trump—was whether any of them actually belong to a club. (The column also failed to acknowledge that Trump himself owns a lot of country clubs, which would seem to make the fact that he had their support somewhat less shocking.)
No doubt, all of the people who were mentioned in the column may very well be club members. But that part of their profile, and their political leanings, are not dots that can be connected so easily, or painted with such a broad brush—especially if you’ve been paying attention to the fact that the makeup of country-club memberships has been changing just as significantly as many people’s political preferences.
But based on how frequently I continue to see the term used during this year’s endless stream of political babble, I’m afraid we won’t be rid of it anytime soon. Perhaps, in fact, you should follow the lead set by Wikipedia and revamp your membership criteria to fit that impeccable source’s definition:
“Some of the characteristics attributed to country club Republicans are higher-than-average income or inherited wealth, fiscally conservative opinions but with liberal, moderate or indifferent views on social issues such as abortion, censorship and gay rights, and more likely to have attended prestigious colleges and universities.”
So sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Millennial—it appears from your application that your income’s only slightly better than average and furthermore that you worked hard to earn it all yourself. You also have strong opinions about censorship and you both went to State U.—may we suggest that you and your kids consider using the local recreation center?