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Don’t dismiss GOP’s conservative base

by | Jul 23, 2015 | Opinion

By Robert Romano

Fed up with the establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C. selling out to President Barack Obama on issues like funding his executive amnesty?

Think presidential candidates like Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush are a part of the problem by offering little to distinguish themselves from Democrats?

Thinking about voting for Donald Trump?

If so, you are likely part of a growing number of Americans who are growing increasingly frustrated with the ineptitude of Republicans to lead their own party with policies their conservative political base actually supports.

Yet, to read the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, if you share this frustration, you are a “WHINO” subscribing to a “pasty dogma.”

It gets better: your frustration is actually “a deeply stupid view of the world” and “you owe it to yourself and to your country to be a better citizen, and maybe read a book.”

Oh, and while you’re at it: “The base should get a hobby.”

Like what? Canceling your subscription to the National Review? Walking a precinct? Talking to your neighbors? Inviting some like-minded friends over and developing an action plan about how to take our country back?

In the meantime, the last decade has proven to be an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Party, led by a marked collapse in Republican Party identification, research from Gallup reveals. Self-identified Republicans have dropped from a high of 39 percent in September 2004 to just 25 percent today.

In the meantime, the downtrend in Republican self-identification directly corresponds to the uptrend in independents, from 28 percent to 41 percent today.

See a trend?

The findings are similar to another report, “Analysis of Party Self-Identification in America,” by Norman Analytics and Research for the Market Research Foundation. This independent analysis showed 45 percent were self-identified independents in October 2014, confirming Gallup’s result of 43 percent average for 2014.

The key finding: “Independents are nearly twice as likely to have conservative views as liberal ones.”

In the Market Research Foundation study, 35 percent of independents considered themselves to be economically conservative, compared with just 14 percent saying they were economically liberal. The rest fell in between.

Meaning, the uptick in independent self-identification directly coinciding with the decline in self-identified Republicans indicates that new independents are more likely to be disaffected Republicans.

The two studies also confirm more recent findings by pollster Pat Caddell. In an interview with Breitbart News’ Robert Wilde, Caddell reported that “the alienation among Republican voters is so high,” and that conservatively” a quarter to one-third of the Republican party are hanging by a thread from bolting.”

In a recent poll Caddell conducted, 84 percent of GOP voters and leaners said they were less likely to support a member of Congress who voted to use taxpayer money to implement Obama’s amnesty.

Meaning, the disaffection is real.

Conservatives undeniably make up the base of the party. And Republican leaders ignore or dismiss them at their own peril.

There are many reasons why folks out there are losing faith in the GOP and other conservative movement leaders. The outright contempt they display from time to time for those they depend on to turn out is one of them.

Williamson in his piece correctly identifies the Tea Party as a challenge to Republican leadership. Yet base Republican voters are not the story. Nor are they the problem.

The lack of leadership — the void that candidates like Donald Trump are exploiting — is. Whether he is successful or not, Trump, with his strong stand against illegal immigration, represents a growing frustration with Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. and other presidential candidates who are viewed as part of that problem.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

 

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