This has been driving me nuts for months. I’ve stewed over it, researched as much as possible, rolled it around, and looked at through different lenses and angles. I have even written about it a couple of times. But today Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell finally provided the key that turned the lock.
Here’s what’s been driving me crazy, and apparently it’s been driving pundits and analysts far smarter than me nuts too, cuz they’ve been circling the same drain I have. How can a three time loser, 2018, 2020, and 2022, twice impeached, under state indictment in New York, facing federal indictment in Washington, and state indictment in Georgia, manage to maintain a 72% popularity rating among GOP voters?
Now, let’s be clear, a 73% popularity rating for a former President running for a second term is nothing to write home about. At his zenith, Trump’s popularity among GOP registered voters was a whopping 91%. And as former RNC Chair Michael Steele, who should know, “If you’re the party leader, and your polling drops below 80%, you might want to start making political funeral arrangements.”
Try this. In a poll a few months ago, while 63% of GOP voters supported Trump in 2024, 48% wanted somebody else to run. In n new poll of GOP voters, a stunning 63% said that the J6 insurrection wasn’t a factor for them either way, 23% said that a candidate should support the insurrection, and only 15% felt that a candidate should oppose it. and while Trump is cruising in early 2024 polling, his high water mark is 53%, and he has already lost three GOP state convention straw polls to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. So how is his partywide popularity still at 73%? It makes no sense.
Apparently not to anyone else either. Trump has almost the entire GOP caucus lives in mortal terror of Trump. Even already declared opponents in the 2024 primaries, excepting possibly Asa Hutchinson won’t touch the sexual abuse judgement with fire tongs. Pundits are saying that after being dormant, Trump is using fear and persona to reestablish dictatorial control over the party.
But that just doesn’t sound right. How can 48% of the GOP want somebody else to run, and yet Trump has 73% support? Established pundit wisdom is that Trump has quashed the moderate revolt, and is bringing them back into line for 2024.
But that doesn’t sound right, and not to Eric Swalwell either. And I think he hit it on the nail tonight on MSNBC. Swalwell said tonight that Trump isn’t kowtowing those moderate GOP voters into line, he’s actually losing them! In the last four years, registered GOP party affiliation has been dropping like a stone. They’re either becoming Democrats, or far more likely, have registered as Independents. Which means that the moderate or weak GOP voters won’t be included in the polls, since they’re not registered GOP voters anymore.
And that’s how these reputable pollsters can be presenting numbers that are both accurate, as well as fatally skewed. Pollsters take the registered GOP voter list, and pick random names from it, relying on getting a fair blend of everything from the farthest right to the farthest left of the GOP. But thanks to Trump, there is. no. moderate. GOP left anymore, they’re all Independents. So any poll sample they pick is almost guaranteed to be solid Trump supporters.
Which is terrible news for the GOP on two fronts. First, it’s a statistical fact, the GOP is smaller today that it was on election day of 2016. Trump is driving moderates out of the GOP in a modern political version of The Trail of Tears. And if he’s driving away white suburban moderates, then it’s little wonder he lost the Senate in 2020, lost an extra seat in 2022, and barely gained an ungovernable majority in the House in 2022. Which spells potential disaster for the GOP House in 2024.
But it’s even worse for the GOP’s presidential chances in 2024. After all, it was Trump who drove all of the moderate and soft voters from the party. And if Trump is the GOP standard bearer in 2024, how many of those refugees are likely to suddenly come flocking back to the GOP to vote for him in 2024?
As ye sow, so shall ye reap. from the day Trump rattled and clanked down that schlock gilt escalator in Trump Tower, he has monolithically worked to change the GOP into the MAGA party of Trump. And by all appearances he has succeeded. And in so doing, has created a rump party of racist, sexist, seditionist morons who don’t have the numbers to win a national election. And thanks to his antics, he succeeded in rolling over the upper levels of at least two states to Democratic control that he will need in 2024, and neutering a 3rd, Pennsylvania. Moron.