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Poll’s Warning for GOP: Back the Trump Agenda or Face Defeat in 2018

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

“You dance with the one who brung you to the dance.”

The wisdom of that old political adage might seem outdated in this age of expensive consultants, focus groups with instantaneous tracking of reactions, and micro-targeting of voters.  But the McLaughlin & Associates poll released this week reinforces the wisdom of that adage for any Republican who wants to avoid defeat in the 2018 primary season and in the general election that follows.  

The message of that McLaughlin poll could not be clearer or simpler for Republicans as they choose in the coming weeks between the agenda of President Trump and the agenda of the Beltway insiders:  The base that brought you to the dance supports the Trump agenda.Dance with your base and win.Dance with the Beltway and lose.

To be fair, elected Republicans face many practical pressures inside the Washington Beltway.  There are always K Street lobbyists for various special interests and for large corporations wanting special favors, all offering generous campaign contributions.

And there are the Alinskyite Democrats and their leftist media threatening personal attacks, smears, and ruin for anyone who crosses their socialist agenda.

And then there are some old hands who have learned to thrive in that environment, whose advice is to tell the folks back home anything they want to hear but do the bidding of the Beltway insiders in order to survive.

Candidate Trump called all of that a swamp, promised to drain it, and stunned most of the political experts with a victory those experts said was impossible.  And now Republican officials are doubtless hearing from those same experts that the Trump phenomenon is a fluke, an aberration, and that the smart move is to wait it out.Maintain your distance from the Trump agenda and it will all go away

But the McLaughlin poll of likely voters tells a different story.  Here are just a few highlights:

  • Voting to increase the debt ceiling without new constraints on spending will make 62% of voters less likely to vote to re-elect a Member of Congress.
  • “Bailing out health insurance companies without repealing Obamacare” leaves 53% overall less likely to re-elect a representative, and only 29% more likely.That 53% figure jumps to 67% among Trump voters.
  • Conservatives (70%) and Trump voters (67%) are less likely to support a Member of Congress who has failed to support President Trump’s efforts to vet immigrants more carefully, especially those from countries with a strong terrorist presence.
  • Refusing to repeal the burdensome Obamacare mandates and taxes leaves 75% of conservatives, 68% of Trump voters, and 66% of Republicans overall less likely to vote to re-elect a Member of Congress.
  • Eighty-five percent of likely voters still believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental right, even if it offends some people.  Only 9% support restrictions on speech.  That is not good news for the proponents of political correctness, or for those who bow to its dictates.
  • In stark contrast to the impression one gets from the leftist news media, when voters are reminded of the violence of the ANTIFA protesters, 81% of conservatives and 63% of voters overall oppose ANTIFA.  Only 21% overall support them. 
  • And, as things stand now, 49% of likely voters see the Republican Leadership as “supporting the swamp that President Trump promised to drain,” with only 22% seeing them as helping to drain that swamp.

And those are just the highlights. 

Now here is the point that Republican officials cannot afford to miss.The issues of concern to the GOP base – conservatives, self-identified Republicans, and Trump voters – are the same kinds of issues that gave rise to the Tea Party movement in 2009 and led to GOP victories in 2010 and 2014.  The Trump phenomenon is not just a fluke, but is instead a sign that the sleeping giant of mainstream America is waking up and demanding that Washington get control of our spending, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare, and stop giving in to the stifling demands of political correctness.  Trump’s agenda is their agenda. 

Elected officials who have not helped to carry out the Trump agenda will not only be going against President Trump; they will also be pitting themselves against the movement that elected him. 

The Democrats have become increasingly radicalized and unified since the 1960s.  And when Democrats are in power, they enact their socialist agenda.  Their voters get what they vote for, with no waffling and no excuses. 

And, even with all its internal debates, the Republican party is still the political vehicle for the center-right mainstream.  But mainstream America is beginning to wonder why the results they are seeing do not match the rhetoric they heard during the campaign.Why is it that the Democrats can enact the socialist agenda but the Republicans cannot carry out the agenda of mainstream America?

Looking at the McLaughlin poll, “the Democrats won’t let us” will not play well during the primaries, let alone in the general election.

The music is starting for the 2018 election.Base or Beltway.  Choose your partner.

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