More thoughts on our state of disunion. Now that we’re a solid year into Trump’s Presidency it’s clear that the Republican base has rallied around Trump, so it’s probably time to ditch any hopes that the Republican Party might split, or that moderate Republicans would reign in Trump, or that Trump himself might rise to the occasion and elevate himself to become a tempered political statesman.
This is not to say that all Republicans love Trump or even that they agree with him, it is simply to say that whether Republicans love him or hate him, they have to deal with the fact that the Republican Party is the party of Trump. We all do.
A recent poll shows that 83% of Republicans approve of Trump, and of those Republicans polled, 65% approve strongly of the Tweeter in Chief. This confirms what I suspect, from watching the reactions of Republicans and conservatives. Not all Republicans/conservatives agree with Trump on everything, but they see him as their best shot at getting unpopular legislation passed. On the issues, lined up one by one, most of the nation wants progressive or liberal ideas, which means that for those on the right, the time is short. If they want to remake government in their own image, they’ve got to play ball with Trump.
But the persistence of support for Trump also confirms what we’ve been seeing from Fox News and talk radio, and from interacting with our Republican family members and friends and pro-Trump supporters. The mainstream conservative media has become enthusiastic members of the Trump Fan Club. And as goes conservative media, so goes the Republican Party.
The Republican base is firmly in the hands of Trump, despite filling his cabinet with the wealthy and with corporate cronies, despite failing to enact any meaningful health care reform, despite innumerable gaffes, inflammatory racial comments, among so many other rather “un-Presidential” moments. It seems safe to say that there is nothing that could discredit Trump, in the eyes of his base. This only confirms the point that Trump himself made: I could walk down 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose voters.
Or perhaps more to the point: Conservative media has become an uncritical, pro-Trump echo chamber. Republicans and Trump-enthusiasts are simply dismissing any news or any ideas that run counter to the pro-Trump narrative.
There is good news, though. Only 34% of those polled said that they would be inclined to vote to re-elect Trump, and other data in the poll indicates that the public trend continues: most people do not agree with Trump and/or don’t like Trump.
Defeating Trump means defeating the Republican Party, and the next step in that process is the 2018 midterms. There is a good amount of anti-Trump momentum out there, but that’s only going to take us so far.
As we learned in 2016, we are at a moment in American political history when people want something to vote for, not merely someone to vote against. The anti-Trump movement of the past year has probably gone as far as it’s going to go. We now need progressive politicians with spirit and vision to take out the cronies who now occupy Washington.