Even as President Donald Trump's approval numbers keep heading downward and Democrats maintain a significant eight-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, the Republican Party keeps floating ideas that two political scientists describe as a potential political "death wish."
Writing in the New York Times, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that the GOP is taking a completely unorthodox approach to governing in the months heading into a major election.
"Top Republicans in Washington are pulling out all the stops to do unpopular things and avoid doing popular things," they write. "Their main proposals — more tax cuts for the rich, corporate legal immunity, pushing the post office into bankruptcy — have strikingly little support... Meanwhile, they are resisting highly popular measures, such as additional relief for states, localities and ordinary workers, that would almost certainly increase their likelihood of holding onto power this fall."
Hacker and Pierson call this development "genuinely scary" and say the GOP might figure that it can hold on to power in a polarized environment despite pushing a politically toxic agenda.
"As the stalemate wears on, it becomes harder and harder to avoid the simplest explanation for Republicans' poisonous positions: They are devoted to them, and they think they can get away with them," they write.