The myth of the reluctant Republican

Object of their affection

It’s always seemed hard to square the insistence of many that Trump is some kind of anomaly who doesn’t reflect Republican principles and politics and we’ve previously understood them with the willingness of Republicans – from voters to elected officials to political appointees – to go along with him, at least for a while. This charming belief that Trump is unusual in anything more than style comes from people on the left and the right, and it’s persisted for more than two years despite anything to suggest it’s really true.

Judd Legum takes the myth apart in this piece from his newsletter:

If Republicans in Congress opposed Trump’s policies or his tactics, they could express that with their votes. This has not happened.

In July, Trump demanded several Democratic Congresswomen of color “go back” to “the crime-infested places from which they came.”  It was an extraordinary racist attack on four elected representatives and U.S. citizens. A few days later, only four Republicans in Congress voted to condemn his remarks.

In other words, 98% of Republicans in the House of Representatives effectively endorsed Trump’s racist diatribe against their colleagues.

In contrast, 227 Republican House members (95%) and 51 Senate Republicans (100%) voted for Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.

Republicans love Trump. In some ways his unhinged personality makes it easier; they get something to criticize him for, making themselves seem more reasonable to voters while falling in line with deeply unpopular economic policies.

Along with this we’ve heard a lot of claims that there are disenchanted GOP voters who just need a “reasonable” Democrat to jump ship. But what makes the Democratic choices “unreasonable?” Failure to follow Trump’s economic lead and endorsing policies that would slow down the growing wealth gap and provide tangible benefits for middle- and working-class people.

In other words, they want Democrats to give them someone who’ll do just the same things, but politely.

(You should subscribe to Judd Legum’s newsletter, by the way. It is smart and insightful and doesn’t bombard your mailbox.)

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