How Much Longer Can Republicans Ignore Public Opinion?
That isn’t meant as a rhetorical question. I’d genuinely like to know whether Republicans are grappling with it, and how. That’s because the GOP finds itself trapped in a contradiction that will require that question to be dealt with sooner or later.
Some of the party’s most sacred principles lead to positions that are deeply unpopular. At the same time, many individual GOP lawmakers have clear incentives to continue to hold those positions. They come from safe districts where majorities agree with them, and standing behind them earns praise from conservative interest groups and media. Yet those positions — and their underlying principles — are damaging the party as a whole. Regular association with them may be increasingly damaging the party’s “brand” — Republicans lost the election in part because they were seen as patrons of the wealthy — and they constrain the party from reaching the compromise with Dems the public overwhelmingly wants, hurting its overall image further still.
The new Pew poll drives this home. It confirms again that Dems hold the middle ground in the fiscal cliff battle. But it goes further. Majorities broadly sees the Democratic Party as in line with their priorities on many issues and with their basic sense of how government should solve our problems.