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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The GOP’s Tough Dilemma: Voters Still Want Trump

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

The main strength of a political party is its voters. Without them, there is nothing. And the majority of Republican voters are more loyal to Trump than they are to Congressmen.

Republican bosses have had enough. Or at least that is what comes to us from their gestures and official statements. The leader of the party’s senators, Mitch McConnell, “plans to never speak to Trump again.” The same as the vice president, Mike Pence, whom his associates had never seen “so angry.” The resignations of the presidential cabinet continue to happen and if you open a newspaper you will only see indignation and fiery defenses from the institutions.

The landscape, however, is somewhat more complex. The main strength of a political party is its voters. Without them, there is nothing. And the majority of Republican voters are more loyal to Trump than they are to Congress, according to a HuffPost and YouGov poll and the most elementary observation of recent years. The question is whether this leadership of the tycoon will be cracking, or if it has already, after the events of recent days. At the moment there is no proof of this, but we are seeing very interesting movements within the game.

When Trump announced his campaign in June 2015, Republican bosses treated him exactly the same as Democratic bosses. They referred to him as a demagogue, a liar, a narcissist, and a half-haired would-be tyrant. Every time someone suggested they could end up as a nominee, they laughed. That would not happen in Lincoln’s party. The polls that put him ahead were only a reflection of his fame, nothing more. A good Republican would be elected.

This attitude, however, began to change around the spring of 2016, for two reasons. The first, Trump had managed to connect with millions of voters and was pulverizing his opponents. And the second, that, despite his crazy promises and his vitriolic behavior, he was willing to abide by the party’s agenda. Especially the tax cut and the commitment to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. In this regard, the billionaire would give carte blanche to Republican think tanks that selected judges. This was very popular. So conservative leaders decided to swallow the castor oil: they accepted Trump.

Since then, people like Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell have moved in a very narrow space. In public, they pretended that everything was going well. In private they were sweating cold, Trump’s antics made them nervous. Graham tried to become the man who whispered to the president. He played golf with him and tried to influence his policies. Then Trump did what he wanted. He humiliated him. Graham kept trying. Over the years we began to see the same pattern repeat itself. When Trump did one of his, most congressmen were silent for a day or two, then condemned him with a cold statement, and later supported him again.

The reason is Trump maintained control of the bases and therefore of the party. The bases were his knife in the neck of the congressmen. At a sign of this, voters could turn their backs on almost any Republican. Whenever elections were held in a state, the candidates competed for Trump’s favor. Those who received their support often won or were well positioned. There were exceptions, and Trump has bragged about it a lot, but the pattern is real. That is why the Republican Party of 2021 is much more like Trump than the one of 2016.

It is a spell that remains even now. Last Wednesday, of the 211 Republicans in the House of Representatives, 147 objected to Joe Biden’s certification of victory. The same night of the assault on the Capitol, they continued to allege suspicions of fraud, when of the 62 lawsuits filed, only one triumphed, referring to a voting deadline in Pennsylvania. Senior officials in the Trump administration, along with the Supreme Court and the electoral authorities of the 50 states, have reiterated that they were a fair election.

The percentage of Republican representatives who objected to Biden’s victory, curiously, is similar to the percentage of Republican voters who think there was electoral fraud: more than 70%. A YouGov poll shows that almost half of voters, 45%, sympathize with the attack on Congress.

The party still notices Trump’s cold razor, his bases, on the neck. Ask Lindsey Graham. After breaking with Trump as a result of his incitement to insurrection, he has been screamed as a “traitor” at the Washington airport. Senator Mitt Romney has known this for a long time. Trumpistas insult him in the streets, call him a traitor, harass him by ladies without a mask. This is going to be your destination indefinitely. From a grassroots point of view, Trump represents the People. And turning your back on Trump is turning your back on the People.

So this is the crossroads for conservatives. Those who break up with Trump are taking an immediate political risk. Perhaps in the long run the play will go well for them. Public opinion may adjust and they can turn the page, elect manageable candidates, revert to their old conservative and orderly party luster. Or perhaps Trump somehow maintains voter loyalty, destroying those who are leaving him right now.

The congressmen who remain faithful may be saving their skin, at least for now. The 2024 elections are near, Trumpism will continue to circulate in society and receiving its banners can provide good political returns. This would be the strategy of Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley, the senators more outspoken in their endorsement of the president. They would like to inherit his baton. Or they are simply convinced that there was a fraud and that Trump has been right all these years.

However, the Republican Party has lost power in both houses of Congress. An appropriate moment, the cyclical crossing of the desert, to organize their ideas, carry out some purges and try to take from Trump the knife that has held them, hostage, for four years. They may have seen the storming of the Capitol, and the end of Trump’s presidency, the right opportunity to break free.

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