It's still a marvel to many of us that Republican leaders decided to gift their party to a man who is presently ripping it apart at the seams. GOP leaders, particularly at the federal level, had the perfect opportunity following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to cut Donald Trump loose and rebuild their party with fresh ideas. Trump had already done them the favor of dismantling the traditional conservative agenda. It would have been an ideal time to take stock of what was working and not working and retool what the party stood for. For anyone with even an ounce of leadership skill and a smidge of entrepreneurial spirit, it could have been an exciting time of renewal.
But no. No leadership, no fresh thinking. Instead, Republicans in positions of power tied themselves to a mad man who doesn't give two craps about the party. It was the coward's way out, but new Civiqs polling this week sheds more light on why the Republican Party is where it is.
Asked whether they identified as pro-Trump, anti-Trump, or otherwise, right-leaning respondents who were pro-Trump still far outpaced the other wings of the party. Here's the breakdown of the general population when asked, "Do you consider yourself...":
- A pro-Trump Republican: 31%
- An anti-Trump Republican: 5%
- A Republican who does not have strong feelings one way or the other about Trump: 9%
- I'm not a Republican: 55%
- Unsure: 1%
The partisan breakdown of that question showed 74% of Republican voters identifying as pro-Trump along with 23% of independent voters calling themselves pro-Trump. Here's the data.
Partisan breakdown of voters favoring/rejecting Trump
|A pro-Trump Republican
|An anti-Trump Republican
|GOP, but no strong feelings on Trump
|I'm not a Republican
(Note: Please don’t ask me to explain the 2% of self-identified GOP voters who say they aren’t Republicans.)
In a separate question, 70% of Republican voters said GOP candidates for office "should be supporters of Donald Trump," while just 3% of GOP voters said they should oppose him. Another 14% of Republican voters said GOP candidates should simply "not pay attention to Trump," suggesting they wished their party would just ignore him and move on.
It's worth noting that the GOP's wholesale support of Trump since Jan. 6 has likely only increased how much appetite Republican voters have for Trumpian views and candidates. But certainly Republican voters' strong underlying support for Trump also helped convince GOP leadership to make the irresponsibly craven political calculation that doubling down on Trumpism was the way to go.
With domestic political leadership like that, who needs international enemies?