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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Proto-Trumpism

An earlier post looked at the gap between conservative intellectuals and the GOP base. Perhaps Trump is not changing the GOP rank-and-file so much as reflecting views that were already there.

Two years ago, Anne Kim wrote a prescient article at Republic 3.0:
Pew’s survey, which involved more than 10,000 adults nationwide, divides Americans into eight different “political typologies.” Among Republicans, Pew found a split between so-called “business conservatives,” whom Pew describes as “traditional small government Republicans,” and “steadfast conservatives,” who hold highly conservative positions on social issues such as immigration in adding to being critical of government. The major difference between these two groups of conservatives, Pew found, is that “steadfast conservatives,” unlike “business conservatives,” are also “critical of business and Wall Street.”
These differences especially play out on the issue of trade. While 68 percent of business conservatives say that free trade agreements are “good for the United States,” only 39 percent of steadfast conservatives agree. Moreover, Pew finds, these steadfast conservatives outnumber their business conservative sisters and brethren. Pew found that steadfast conservatives make up 15 percent of registered voters – versus 12 percent of registered voters who consider themselves business conservatives. Moreover, steadfast conservatives are more likely to be politically engaged than their business conservative counterparts.
A year ago, Pew reported:
There are wide partisan differences in views of immigrants’ overall impact on the country today. Majorities of Democrats (62%) and independents (57%) say that immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans see immigrants, on balance, as making positive contributions to the country; far more (63%) say that immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care.
Republican views on this question have turned more negative over the last year. The share of Republicans who say immigrants strengthen the country has declined from 42% in March 2014.
In 2013, Pew reported:
The largest partisan gaps are over aid to needy people both in the U.S. and abroad. Seven-in-ten Republicans (70%) say foreign aid should be decreased, compared with just a quarter (25%) of Democrats. Similarly, while 56% of Republicans say spending on unemployment assistance should be decreased, just 13% of Democrats agree.
...
Conversely, while Republicans are more supportive than Democrats of cutting funding for Medicare, Social Security and food and drug inspection, these remain minority positions within the GOP. More Republicans want to increase, rather than decrease, funding for Social Security (35% vs. 17%). And Republicans are as likely to say funding for Medicare should be increased as to say it should be decreased (24% vs. 21%).