Republicans pivot, but back toward Trump: Going the way of the Whigs
Three-quarters of Republicans want Donald Trump to continue to play a prominent role in the Republican Party.
Twenty-one percent don’t, and they’re joined by 61 percent of independents.
Is this how the Republican Party goes the way of the Whigs?
“He may be down, but he is certainly not out of favor with the GOP. Twice impeached, vilified by Democrats in the trial, and virtually silenced by social media … despite it all, Donald Trump keeps a solid foothold in the Republican Party,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said.
Context, as always, is key.
Republicans, heading into the 2018 midterms, held the White House and both houses of Congress. Democrats won control of the House in those 2018 midterms, then took back the Senate with the pickups in the Georgia runoff and the win of the Biden-Harris ticket in the presidential.
Trump lost to Biden by 7 million votes, four and a half percentage points, a 74-vote margin in the Electoral College.
He did this as the GOP actually made gains in the House and nearly held on to the Senate, which is split 50-50, and has a Democratic majority only because Vice President Kamala Harris, in a quirk of our Constitution, is around to break ties when necessary.
What you could glean from these trends is: Trump was a drag, not a boost, to the Republican cause in the 2020 cycle.
One direction from here could be to take what Trump did well – stir up populist anti-establishment, anti-elite sentiment – and find a better vessel to carry that message forward.
There is no shortage of better vessels – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for one, stands out as one with bona fides with the base, with executive experience in a key electoral state.
The alternative is doing what it appears they’re going to do: essentially, to borrow from the classic “SNL” sketch, more cowbell.
Will the one in five Republican voters who held their noses and voted for Trump, twice, continue to support a party that shrugged its collective shoulders at inciting insurrection?
Three in five independents made themselves clear that they won’t.
More than half polled here think Trump is responsible for inciting violence against the government of the United States, and nearly half think he should face criminal charges.
That 75 percent of self-identified Republicans want that guy to be their guy says a lot about those folks.
That Republican leaders, now freed from having to pretend that Trump isn’t a daily embarrassment, don’t have the spine to begin the pivot back toward relevancy, shows that they’re not good at basic math.
You. Just. Lost. The. Election.
More of the same means you get 75 percent of what you got in 2020.
Seventy-five percent of what you got in 2020 means you become the Whigs by 2025.
Story by Chris Graham