Trump drives wedge between GOP elite and the party base

trump-1

Establishment Republicans seem to be coalescing around the idea that the best way to cut the legs from under Donald Trump is to point out that on a number of issues, he directly contradicts longtime Republican dogma. “He’s not one of us, he’s one of them,” in other words.

The approach has at least three things going for it:

First, it’s somewhat true. Trump has argued that in a country as prosperous as the United States, there’s no reason to reduce entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He thinks wealthy Americans, hedge fund managers and corporations can afford to pay more in taxes; he doesn’t think Americans should have to forego needed medical treatment just because they can’t afford insurance. Unlike the official GOP, he is deeply skeptical about the benefits of free trade, and he believes that the current campaign-finance system, with its reliance on huge donations by 0.001 percent of the population, is an invitation to corruption. Those policy positions do indeed align him more with the Democrats than with Republicans.

Second, the Republican base typically shows no patience with those who deviate from the party orthodoxy. In a party in which labels such as “moderate” and “RINO” can be career-enders, Republican leaders have legitimate grounds to hope that by exposing Trump as a heretic they can gut him.

Third, they have no real alternative. Given the mood of the GOP electorate, attacking Trump because he has become “too Republican” on issues such as immigration is a strategy for disaster. Their best bet is to attack him where he can be accused of not being Republican enough.

The strategy does make one dangerous assumption, however: It assumes that the Republican base really and truly believes that entitlements need to be cut, that the wealthy pay too much in taxes, that money is speech, etc.  But what if a substantial portion of the base really DOESN’T believe those things? What if they have merely accepted those positions as tribal markers, so to speak — part of the accepted definition of what it means to be Republican — but without any real emotional commitment?

Put another way, what if those positions on largely economic issues have been imposed by the party elite as part of the GOP’s outreach to the business sector, and as consistent with the ideology of party intellectuals? What if the support for those positions among GOP voters is paper thin?

For example, party strategists and consultants, as well as the Washington establishment, strongly defend the concept that money is speech and that campaign donations ought to remain unregulated. As Mitt Romney put it, “corporations are people too!” Their stance isn’t surprising — the situation gives the Republican Party a financial advantage, and much of the party elite is getting rich off the influx of huge amounts of money into the system.

But in the new Iowa poll by the Des Moines Register, 91 percent of Iowa Republicans say they’re unsatisfied (51%) or mad as hell (40%) with the amount of money in politics. Just 7 percent say they are satisfied with the current system. Given that, I’m not sure that defending the rights of billionaires to spend freely on candidates — even Republican candidates — is the right issue to stress.

Likewise, in a national Pew poll taken last year, 59 percent of self-described conservatives said they opposed any cuts in Social Security benefits, just as Trump does, and in a Gallup poll this year, 42 percent of conservatives agreed that wealth should be more evenly distributed. In a YouGov poll, Republicans were far more antagonistic to free-trade agreements than Democrats, even though the GOP leadership strongly supports them.

In short, on the economic issues that divide Trump from the Republican establishment, Trump is usually closer to the base than are the elite.

Ross Douthat, the conservative columnist for The New York Times, sees those same stresses at work within the party. He writes:

“In a healthy two-party system, the GOP would treat Trump’s strange success as evidence that the party’s basic orientation may need to change substantially, so that it looks less like a tool of moneyed interests and more like a vehicle for middle American discontent.

In an unhealthy system, the kind I suspect we inhabit, the Republicans will find a way to crush Trump without adapting to his message. In which case the pressure the Donald has tapped will continue to build — and when it bursts, the GOP as we know it may go with it.”

Tis a conundrum.

Reader Comments 0

811 comments
Darken-Rahl
Darken-Rahl

I am not Trump fan, but he has at least figured out and tapped into what the GOP leadership and Washington elite class have not. The days of voting for the establishment's candidates are over. The reckoning has come due for all the pandering and empty campaign promises they made last time. Fool us once shame on us, there will be no 2nd chance this time. Bohner, McConnell, McCain, Graham and a whole host of others are going to be taken out with the trash!

lvg
lvg

@Darken-Rahl You are correct---when you have a party that accomplishes nothing in Congress for seven years but obstructionism and nonstop attempts to advance the teahead  and extreme fundamentalist agenda  and after aiding with the Bush catatostrophes previously ; youre right it is time to tear down the GOP circus tent and start a whole new circus from the ground up with Rinse a Peanus as the  ringmaster and Trump being head clown and acrobat.

straker
straker

Brosephus - "if all lives mattered now, as you claim, there would be no need for the BLM movement"


If the BLM movement showed as much concern for the thousands of lives lost each year to Black on Black violence as they do to the relatively few lives lost to White police, I might agree with you.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

So Bookman and Erick Erickson both are saying the GOP is doom. But who will be right and who will be wrong

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Oh, so now we've gone from this... 


""if white people will just change what they're doing, all will be ok...

It's a major part of it, yes."


To this...


"Why should anyone tell you what to do when nobody's said it's your fault?"


So, if it's not me who's the problem, but we've established a "major part" of it is white people, who exactly are you saying is the problem?  I suspect many of you posters are white.  Is it you?  Who exactly are these white people you speak of causing problems in the black community?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@fiftythreepercenter 

I never blamed you or said you personally was the problem.  Don't attempt to conflate what I've said with anyone else here.  I speak for myself, and they speak for themselves.

If you're not bright enough to realize this, nothing said to you even matters...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@fiftythreepercenter

I continue to be amazed at how much you insist on personalizing what is clearly a collective responsibility.

headin' upstairs.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@Brosephus @fiftythreepercenter That's where the problem lies, bro.  The claim was made a "major part" of the problem is white people, but when asked who you're talking about, nothing.  I've got news for you.... a nameless, faceless, undefinable white person isn't going to fix anything.  And while you libs are blaming this person who doesn't actually exist, nobody is fixing ANYTHING.  

LeninTime
LeninTime

Well, so far this is the only idea you libs have presented 

***
Because the distinction between 'libs' and whatever, that's the crowning distinction. 

Of all things.

Al things.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Well, so far this is the only idea you libs have presented of what I can do to help the black community.  


From our Einstein ed.. "Start with a fat tax on all the auslanders that come ITP to experience real life on the weekends. "


Not one post about how it's my fault.  You're pretty full of rhetoric, libs, not so much on anything useful.  SSDD.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Why don't you call organizations that help the black community and volunteer to help.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@fiftythreepercenter 
Why should anyone tell you what to do when nobody's said it's your fault?

You're the one making the claim that people are blaming you personally, so why don't you come up with your own ideas?

LeninTime
LeninTime

Let's have it, libbies. 

***
Clearly, the major distinction on which all things hinge is between 'libs' and ... whatever. Non-libs.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Jobs jobs jobs-


I would assume a strong negative correlation between violent crime and employment.  The stories are amazing of kids who somehow survived that inner city rough school and became successful but they are simply anecdotal. 

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@Cupofjoe some drug dealers are great entrepreneurs . . . just in the wrong business at the moment. but it's the business open to them given their contacts and all . . . if only folks like 53 would venture into the war zones of America and help them out . . . rather than locking themselves in outlying counties bemoaning the riff-raff they don't even have to come in contact with . . .

Brosephus
Brosephus

@Cupofjoe 
They are not anecdotal.  It's the way of life for much of Black America.  Since employment has been tracked, Black unemployment has always been twice the national average, even when people were tripping over jobs.

If you don't live it or see it everyday, then you probably don't know that.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

See what he did there?

I don't like being blamed for the problems in the black community??  

How do you break it to someone that they're not really quite that important? 

I'll try one more time. Yes, we white folks have to do the heavy lifting here. We have to welcome, rather than curse and demonize, those in the Black community seeking justice. We have to find ways to ensure better economic prospects for the least of our brothers (and sisters), disproportionate numbers of whom are Black.

We are the biggest voting bloc; we supply the biggest percentage of business decision makers and elected officials, and since we can't help but want instinctively to look out for "our own" and try to weasel out of our social contract by claiming that it's somehow Somebody Else's responsibility, we have to overcome this inclination.

I'm welcome to creative ideas from any political viewpoint as to how we might accomplish this. But no, we can't just collectively wash our hands and say "we tried" and pull up the drawbridge, hoping that the Right Kind of Black people are able to pay the price of admission to make our own neighborhoods look a bit more diverse, over time, as some kind of acceptable status quo.


Brosephus
Brosephus

@Visual_Cortex 

"How do you break it to someone that they're not really quite that important?"

When they self-identify as the most important person in the room/world, you can't break it to them.  Classic narcissism at play there, homie.  Sorry to break the bad news to you, but anytime something is said about White people, it IS personally about him.

straker
straker

Brosephus - "when Black lives are treated the same as all others, then 'all lives matter' will be achieved"


NO


All lives matter NOW, not at some idealized point in the future.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@straker of course all lives matter. but for the BLM protesters, black lives matter vis a vis their interactions with law enforcement. they'd like everyone to agree with that little statement so that possibly it can be put in practice . . . unlike now.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@straker When people recognize breast cancer month, Does that mean the people doesn't care about other forms of cancer?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@straker 

If all lives mattered NOW as you claim, then there would be no need for the BLM movement would it?  It would collapse on its own.

It basically boils down to supply and demand.  If you take away the supply, or need, for the BLM, then the demand for it will dissipate.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Brosephus @straker 


If its only supply and demand why no white lives matter?  More white people killed by police than any other race?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TetoLeo 

What's stopping White people from raising that issue themselves?  Why does BLM have to do that if that's not on their agenda?

Do White people get pulled over just because they made eye contact with an officer?  Do White people get stopped just because they're walking down the street?  How many times have you personally been stopped and questioned because you "fit" the description of someone else?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dnlj00LTRY

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Brosephus @TetoLeo 


I have personally been stopped 3 times by myself in my lifetime solely because I fit the description of someone else. When I was in college had kinda long hair, and with you being in law enforcement you are fully aware a level of profiling goes into many interactions and race isn't the only thing used in profiling. Many of my friends have been as well, black, white, Hispanic, and middle eastern.  I would say I have more black friends than any other if you took time to count them out and I would also say they are stopped for that type of thing at a higher rate.  I would also add that when we have been stopped together we all got treated the same good or bad.  From my experience in the types of situations where it was mixed races in the car the good or the bad came down to our attitude and what we looked like at the time

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

Since most murders are committed by someone of the same race as the victim (roughly 84% for whites, 93% for blacks, and 67% for white stranger homicides and 89% for black stranger related homicides) shouldn't BLM be more focused on those type of murders instead of the remaining 7-11%.  I mean if in fact their concern is for Black Lives Mattering?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TetoLeo 

BLM is focused on police interactions with the Black community.  That 84%/93% is immaterial to their argument or debate.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Brosephus @TetoLeo 


My point exactly.


Why allow 7-11% cause so much outrage with little to no fanfare for the other 89-93%


As well as the stats that show more white people are killed by law enforcement than black people are?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TetoLeo
What part of history do you not understand?  If that 7 -11% thing was something recent, then you'd have a valid point.  When it's a historical trend and constant aggravation by a group, you have to say enough is enough at some point.

As I said down below, study the history behind this, and you'll understand why people are fed up with things now.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Brosephus @TetoLeo 


My ancestors are from Ireland, Germany, Russian and Native American........


So who is it that I should distrust based on history, I'm confused? English? Scottish? Romans? Any and all Europeans, but then I'd have to distrust myself?


Or should I not worry about that history?  Or is there a time limit of history we should go back until?


Perhaps people focus too much upon the past?


If we keep chasing aggressors and those who victimized us or our relatives in the past we all end up distrusting and seeking revenge on everyone? 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Let's have it, libbies.  I live a good 40 miles away from the crime and drug infested areas of the ATL.  How is what's going on there my fault and what do  you want me to do differently to fix it?  Be specific on both questions.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"ut if you want to start trying to do something start by telling the po-po in your neighborhood and the hoods you know so much about to stop shooting first and asking questions later. "


The po-po in my neighborhood doesn't go to work every day in a hell hole full of crime and drug deals, so they're not likely to feel as threatened as the ones in the hood.  Telling them anything would be a waste of their time and mine.  Next.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@fiftythreepercenter Put away the white sheets that you sometimes wear? 


Otherwise, not sure you'd take any advice from anyone on how to improve your own life and those around you. 

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@fiftythreepercenter whatever dude. you have no role in the problem and nothing to offer as a solution. go lock your doors and your gates and stay away from the ATL. We'll all be better off for it. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@fiftythreepercenter 
Quit playing the victim card.  Nobody's personally blamed you for anything.  Geez...

Your constant attempts for victim sainthood are getting rather tiresome.