The key dynamic now: Republicans support Trump

This Upshot piece from Kyle Dropp and Brendan Nyhan is essential reading for understanding the current political dynamics.  As I’ve been saying in far more abbreviated form, forget overall opinion, the key right now is that Trump has strong support among Republican voters.  Here’s two key graphs (and an aside to say I hate that it’s easy to embed a twitter photo, but NYT makes it hard to embed their images):

And the analysis:

Despite the growing protests against President Trump’s executive action on refugees and other people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, relatively few members of his party have spoken out against the policy — a familiar pattern since the election. To date, no congressional Republicans have consistently resisted Mr. Trump or his agenda even though his approval ratings are already historically low for a new president.

Although some Republicans may fear a voter backlash in the midterm election, the greatest threat to re-election for most G.O.P. members of Congress is still a primary challenge. That’s what many legislators probably fear they will get if they oppose Mr. Trump, who is viewed overwhelmingly favorably among their partisan base, according to polling data…

While many Republicans face risks if they publicly oppose the president, relatively few have to worry about being defeated in a general election. In the House of Representatives, for instance, only a small number of party members represent districts won by Hillary Clinton. For most of them, a primary challenge is a far greater threat — one that several anti-Trump Republicans are already anticipating. Republicans are also heavily insulated from public opinion in 2018 Senate races, which feature only two G.O.P. incumbents who are seen as potentially vulnerable in the general election…

However, 54 percent of registered voters in districts represented by Republicans viewed Mr. Trump favorably compared with only 42 percent who view him unfavorably. More important, people who identify with the party overwhelmingly view him favorably. In districts represented by Republicans, fully 87 percent of registered Republicans view Mr. Trump favorably.

Support for Mr. Trump in G.O.P. districts is even higher among registered Republicans who are extremely interested in politics (94 percent favorable), identify as strong Republicans (92 percent favorable) or say they are very conservative (94 percent favorable). These groups are especially likely to vote in primaries and are key constituencies in nomination contests for higher office. As a result, they wield disproportionate influence on legislator behavior. [emphasis mine]

When those graphs above change, that’s when the current dynamic changes.  Until then, get used to largely unchecked, horrible presidenting.

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No more vending machines!

Among my favorite signs at the protest yesterday, “fear is the mindkiller.”  Of course, should really be irrational fear, and that is sure as hell what we see with xenophobia and refugees.  From the Financial Times:

Taking it to the streets

Or the front of the airport terminal, as the case may be.  Was very excited to have our very own refugee ban protest at the Raleigh-Durham airport yesterday.  For the first time ever, the whole Greene family went to a protest together.  As I said on Facebook, the family that protests together, stays together.  It was a great crowd and all the kids seemed to enjoy the energy of it.  Oh, yeah, and it felt good to stand up for our beliefs.  Here’s the N&O story.

Outside RDU’s Terminal 2, chants including “No ban, no wall” and “refugees are welcome here” were heard throughout the three-hour protest. Cheers rang out every time a new airport shuttle carrying demonstrators arrived, adding to a crowd that airport officials estimated at more than 1,000. With a permit originally approved for only 150 people, the crowd grew so large it shut down traffic to the upper level of the terminal.

And, count on Dallas Woodhouse with absurd comments:

The head of North Carolina’s Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse, said that the United States will always welcome immigrants but that the president is installing a system that “puts America first.”

“We will make sure the people entering this country, broadly speaking, do so legally and within the rules,” Woodhouse said in a phone interview. “The first question we’re going to be asking is does this person coming here serve the interest of the American people? Do they want to cause harm to us?”

Woodhouse said there are imperfections in the travel ban that would be fixed.

“When you have a president that is fundamentally reasserting a strong patriotic system that puts American interests first, there’s always going to be some details that need to get worked out,” Woodhouse said.

Competent people work out the details first, or at least try to.  And “a strong patriotic system”?  Please.

Anyway, here’s a couple of photos.  As for the great slogan on David’s sign, you’ll not be surprised to learn I thought of it, given my need to call out false Christianity.  But my wife came up with adding the #alternativefacts, which makes it 100x better. Evan came up with “Dump Trump” on his own :-).

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Not Normal (vol. XXII)

Worth pointing out how abnormally unpopular Trump is early in his presidency.

Of course, the large majority of Republicans still supports him.  As long as that’s the case, he can wreak plenty of havoc.  Once that drops below 50% among Republicans (probably unlikely, but if anybody can do it, it’s Trump), Republicans in Congress starts abandoning ship and things get really interesting.

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