During the 2016 election, Donald Trump made clear that he was not your typical politician. In fact, Trump ran on a message of “draining the swamp”, promising to purge DC of the entrenched establishment if elected. Ultimately, it was a message that resonated with the voters, leading to his historic November victory.
Of course, draining the swamp was never going to be an easy task. Since taking office, Democrats have obstructed Trump’s agenda at every turn. However, the last few months have made clear that the swamp is occupied by more than just Democrats. Establishment Republicans have also been a thorn in the president’s side, parting ways with his agenda at crucial moments.
For many in the establishment GOP, the theory is that they have to distance themselves from an unpopular president. Instead of doing the right thing for Americans, these career politicians already have their eyes set on the next election. However, new polling shows that this strategy could actually be a major mistake.
A new poll for Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, posted on Twitter by Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s pollster during the 2016 presidential campaign, reveals they are losing faith in Congress faster than they are in Trump.
— Tony Fabrizio (@TonyFabrizioGOP) August 22, 2017
Since taking office, Trump’s approval numbers among Republicans has only slipped slightly. On the other hand, Republican support of the GOP Congress has tumbled 14% in just a few months. The numbers suggest that instead of Trump, many Republican voters assign blame to the GOP congress for the lack of progress. For those that believe distancing themselves from Trump will help them, polls are showing the exact opposite.
The slide comes at the same time as the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare failed in the Senate. During that vote, three establishment Republicans parted ways with the GOP and voted no on the bill. However, that move appears to have been extremely unpopular with the base.
In all, Trump’s agenda still enjoys broad support among the electorate. Instead of distancing themselves from the president, the GOP establishment should work with him to pass the much needed reforms they’ve been promising for years. If they don’t, they could end up facing the backlash of Republican voters.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]