According to writer and commentator Matt Lewis, the GOP might not turn out without President Donald Trump on the ticket. To make matters worse, Lewis doesn’t think Trump has any ability to bring voters out for down-ballot GOP candidates in the mid-term elections.
In a Monday Daily Beast column, Lewis explained that Trump might be doing well among Republican voters, to the tune of 85 percent, according to Gallup polls. Even with President George W. Bush’s party loyalty, 2006 was a disaster for the GOP. While the president might be paranoid about a primary challenge from inside his White House, with Mike Pence or Nikki Haley, *Lewis warned a fallout* with the GOP is the more likely scenario.
“Republican politicians will eventually discover that they can stand up to a Republican president without fear of reprisal,” Lewis said. “Since fealty to Trump has always been premised on a transactional calculation (as opposed to personal affection, shared goals, or mutual respect), the only thing binding them to Trump is the perception that their political base demands it. When that changes—and history suggests that this happens to even the most popular presidents—the levee breaks.”
Lewis explained that in some cases, all it takes is a single disaster. He cited President George H.W. Bush’s high job approval in March 1991. Yet, Bush became a one-term president. The voters who ultimately showed up to the polls, however, were furious at Bush for breaking his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge.
He cited anti-tax Grover Norquist said the decision to break his promise “’depressed the hell out of the [Republican] base’ because it was a fundamental breach of faith.’” Similarly, Trump’s broken promises are stacking up.
Thus far, the only thing he has been able to deliver is a tax cut to the wealthy that Americans see for what it was. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that the tax cuts have gotten less popular over time. A mere 27 percent of Americans think that the cuts was a good idea. In January it was 30 percent. A full 36 percent call it outright a “bad idea.” Republicans are now looking to pass part two of their tax cuts, but their own leaders are fearful it would give more ammunition to Democrats.
Lewis explained that Trump isn’t as noble as George H.W. Bush, “who believed he was doing the right thing” regardless of the politics of his tax increases. “Still, the defeat of ’41’ should serve as a cautionary tale for any politician who wants to take solace in their approval ratings,” Lewis wrote.
It could give Democrats an edge, but worse, it might spell a major hit for the GOP. Despite Trump’s approval climbing, Lewis wonders if perhaps those who don’t support the new far-right GOP are simply leaving the party. So, his approval is going up because the party is shrinking.
Finally, Lewis argued, “that there isn’t a huge correlation between the sophomore numbers and political resilience.” Both Bushes had high approval numbers, yet when it came to their mid-term elections, they lost big.