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Is the GOP Losing by Winning?

A new WaPo/ABC News poll was all the rage today as it showed what everyone already knew. President Donald Trump is unpopular with everyone but those who voted for him.  Despite a few issues, President Trump maintains the worst approval/disapproval rating of any President in modern history…

The president’s approval rating stands at 42 percent, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight Eisenhower. Trump’s 53 percent disapproval rating is 14 percentage points higher than Bill Clinton’s 39 percent disapproval in April 1993, the worst before Trump.

This really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.  Besides a few pivots on military issues, Trump has done pretty much everything he said he was going to do on the campaign trail.  While many are shocked he may be the first politician to keep is promises.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that his unpopular opinions on the campaign trail are also unpopular in the White House.  It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that by keeping his promises he has held onto almost everyone that voted for him…

There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent. Among Republicans, it is 84 percent. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96 percent say supporting Trump was the right thing to do.When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.

The press, of course, is focusing on his dismal approval numbers while completely burying the lead.  If Trump faced Hillary Clinton again, according to this poll, he would…again.  Once again, this should not be surprising.  Trump’s base was always much stronger than Clinton’s and now that she has proven to be an exceptionally flawed candidate it’s unlikely many would vote for her again.  However, it is far from smooth sailing ahead for the GOP.

Another poll, this one from NBC News, finds some troubling news for the GOP…

A new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll finds 57 percent of the public saying that the government should do more to solve problems and meet the needs of Americans, versus 39 percent who said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

That’s the highest share yearning for a more active government since the poll began asking voters about the role of government in 1995

As this poll points out, this is the largest amount of Americans looking for the government to solve their problems since Bill Clinton declared the era of big government over.  This is not good news for the GOP, especially conservatives.  Even though the GOP has won almost every election since 2010 if they are losing the battle of ideas, what is the point?  However, it is possible that there is a completely logical explanation for this and it really comes down to one thing, hypocrisy…kinda.  Allahpundit, from, explains…

Is it part of the Trumpian drift towards making big government great again on the right? Maybe independents were open to bigger government on the merits even in 2010 but, because many of them identified as right-wing and disliked Obama, they reacted negatively to a question that asked whether government should do more. Now, with Trump in charge and vowing to spend a trillion bucks on infrastructure, they don’t need to hide their sympathies as much.

If independents and even moderate Republicans are only against big government when Obama (or any democrat) is in office.  They aren’t really against big government they are only against Democrat government. This could explain a lot.  One of the biggest complaints from conservatives is that when the GOP gets in office they act like democrats.  While that is correct, it might actually be what voters want.  Last week, Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a great article about the less than ideological purity of most voters…

That’s also true of most voters, especially when it comes to foreign policy. An adviser to President George W. Bush once remarked to me that a lot of people thought Republicans backed Bush because of the Iraq war, when in reality Republicans backed the Iraq war because of Bush. In the absence of detailed and deep convictions on a foreign-policy issue, voters will side with the politicians whose side they usually take.

This shifting view of big government really messes with many conservatives heads.  When we are out of power are popularity skyrockets.  This leads to false sense of power and popularity.  Once in power, we believe we still have the majority if voters on our side who want to shrink government. However, once we regain power all our anti-government allies quickly switch sides.  This new found love of government leads to the GOP trying to make government work (which it never does).  When it inevitably fails, the GOP gets voted out of office and round and round it goes.  The question for the GOP is not if they are losing the battle against big government  It’s figuring out how far back they are in the race.

This reminds me of my favorite P.J. O’Rourke quote, “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

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