Friday, May 28, 2021


On the day that Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a bill that would have created a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, we learned about this poll:
... a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll ... found that less than half of Republicans (41 percent) say supporters of then-President Donald Trump who gathered on Jan. 6 at the Capitol to rally against the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory bear “some” or “a great deal” of the blame for the subsequent riot, which left several people dead and more than 140 injured. Less than a quarter (23 percent) blame Trump himself, and most (52 percent) say he is “not at all” to blame.
This is appalling -- although not obviously not surprising by now. But a small percentage of Republicans understand the truth -- 23% grasp that Trump deserves blame for what happened on January 6, and 41% have at least some understanding that Trump's supporters were the rioters.

Polls on many issues show that Republican voters -- sometimes a majority -- disagree with party dogma. According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, 51% of Republicans support increasing the minimum wage, although Republicans in Congress are unalterably opposed. A Pew poll last month found that 70% of Republicans support background checks for all gun purchases, and 37% support an assault weapons ban. Even in Texas, only 56% of Republicans support allowing the state's residents to carry handguns without permits or licenses, according to a Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll (overall, 59% of poll respondents oppose this); a bill making this legal has nevertheless passed the Texas legislature and awaits the governor's signature (and he will sign it).

A Pew poll says that 35% of Republicans believe abortion hould be legal in all or most cases. Republicans officeholders, at every level of government, are dong what they can to make abortion unavailable. A Politico/Morning Consult poll says that 32% of Republicans support an infrastructure program financed by increases in corporate taxes and taxes on people making more than $400,000 a year. Republicans in Congress won't hear of it.

All of these are policies that have majority support overall -- but the majorities include a certain segment of Republicans, and those Republicans will never vote against Republican candidates, not even if they vote to block a 1/6 commission, reject any minimum wage increase, support all efforts to loosen gun laws, oppose abortion in all cases, and refuse to support taxes on the rich to pay for infrastructure projects.

Democrats should try harder to persuade these Republicans that their party has become dogmatic and extreme, but it would be nice if the moderate voters themselves would realize that the party for which they regularly vote doesn't reflect their beliefs.

Although, of course, on some level it does reflect their beliefs: the belief that Democrats want to turn America into a big government socialist hellhole, with open borders and with critical race theory running rampant. Republicans are told scare stories so the small percentage of them who might be open to Democratic ideas never even dream of voting for Democratic candidates.

It works -- but if Democrats could try to fight fire with fire, by telling them that their own party is extreme and crazy (which is true), maybe they'd at least ask themselves whether they want to continue being loyal Republican voters. They're a small minority of the GOP electorate, but they're enough to tip the balance of power.

The GOP is destroying America -- but it can't accomplish that goal without the votes of non-dogmatic Republicans. How can those voters' predilections be changed?

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