The key dynamic now: Republicans support Trump
January 30, 2017 1 Comment
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.