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Pew’s Validated Post-Election Poll Details Biden’s 2020 Win

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Overall participation in the 2020 election among U.S. adults rose seven points from 2016 to reach 66 percent last year. A new analysis of validated voters from Pew Research Center (which provides a bigger, more reliable sample than exit polls) built on several of the 2020 trends that have already been reported. Here're some of the key takeaways:

New 2020 Voters

One in 4 voters in 2020, or 25 percent, had not voted in 2016. About six percent of those new 2020 voters turned out in 2018, spiking participation in that midterm election. And voters who turned out in 2018 after skipping the 2016 presidential election were about twice as likely to back Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020.

But the 19 percent of new voters who came out in 2020 after skipping both 2016 and the midterms divided up almost evenly among Biden and Trump, 49 percent-47 percent. However, what was most notable about that group of new 2020 voters was the age disparity, writes Pew:

Among those under age 30 who voted in 2020 but not in either of the two previous elections, Biden led 59 percent to 33 percent, while Trump won among new or irregular voters ages 30 and older by 55 percent to 42 percent. Younger voters also made up an outsize share of these voters: Those under age 30 made up 38 percent of new or irregular 2020 voters, though they represented just 15 percent of all 2020 voters.

Third Party

Between 2016 and 2020, the electorate apparently got the memo that rolling the dice on a third-party candidate against Trump was effectively rolling the dice on democracy.

While six percent of 2016 voters cast a ballot for one of several third-party candidates, just two percent of the electorate voted third party in 2020.

Overall, third-party 2016 voters who turned out in 2020 voted 53 percent-36 percent for Biden over Trump, with 10 percent opting for a third-party candidate.

Suburban Voters

Biden made a solid nine-point gain with suburban voters, winning 54 percent of their vote compared to Hillary Clinton's 45 percent share.

This shift was also seen among White voters: Trump narrowly won White suburban voters by four points in 2020 (51 percent-47 percent); he carried this group by 16 points in 2016 (54 percent -- 38 percent).

Latino Voters

While Biden still won a 59 percent majority of Latino voters, Trump made double-digit gains among the demographic, winning 38 percent of them. In 2016, Clinton carried Latino voters 66 percent -- 28 percent.

One noteworthy feature of the 2020 election was the wide education gap among Hispanic voters. In 2020, Biden won college-educated Hispanic voters 69 percent to 30 percent. At the same time, Biden's advantage over Trump among Hispanic voters who did not have a college degree was far narrower (55 percent to 41 percent).

That's likely one reason that Democrats did so well with Latino voters in 2018, winning them 72 percent -- 25 percent, according to Pew. The higher one's education level, the more likely one is to vote in a midterm election.

Men Vs. Women

In 2016, Trump won men by 11 points, but in 2020 they split almost even between Trump and Biden, 50 percen -- 48 perecent, respectively. Women stayed roughly as loyal to Democrats in both presidential elections, with Biden garnering 55 percent to Clinton's 54 percent, but Trump increased his share of the female vote by five points in 2020 compared to 2016, 44 percent -- 39 percent.

As has been previously reported, Biden made gains among white men while Trump increased his showing among white women.

In 2016, Trump won White men by 30 points (62 percent to 32 percent). That gap narrowed to a 17-point margin for Trump in 2020 (57 percent to 40 percent). White women, a group sometimes categorized as swing voters and who broke nearly evenly in 2016 (47 percent for Trump to 45 percent for Clinton), favored him in 2020 (53% to 46%).

So in 2016, Trump won a plurality of white women, but in 2020 he won a narrow majority. Trump won a majority of white men in both cycles, but Biden trimmed Trump's margins in 2020 by nearly half. Overall, Trump's losses among white men and gains among white women decreased the gender gap among white voters.

White Non-College Voters

Biden gained five points among white voters with only some college or less, winning 33 percent to Clinton's 28 percent, while Trump's numbers stayed about the same at 65 percent in 2020 versus 64 percent in 2015.

Poll: Even White Republican Men Are Going Sour On Trump

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Don't tell the Republican Party, but Donald Trump isn't exactly killing it with one of his most loyal demographics: white men.

Trump's biggest blow, according to Civiqs tracking, has come from white male independents, where his favorables have dropped a solid 10 points since a post-Election Day high of 53 percent in mid-November. Now Trump is six points underwater with the demographic, 43 percent - 49 percent.

But Trump's favorable rating over the past several months also shows him losing steam even faster with white GOP men than with white GOP women. Among white male Republicans, Trump's favorables have dropped six points since Election Day, 91 percent to 85 percent while he only slipped three points among white Republican women, 92 percent to 89 percent. Here's the male side of that equation:

That also means Trump is now doing nearly a handful of points better with conservative white women than with conservative white men.

This whole trend among white men is super interesting, but let's focus on one particular aspect of it—education level. Trump is taking his biggest hit among white male Republicans and independents with higher levels of education. In fact, the more education, the worse it gets for Trump.

To take an extreme example, here's white male independents with postgraduate degrees, where Trump's unfavorables have jumped about 10 points since Election Day to 64 percent now.

And here's white male Republicans with postgraduate degrees, where Trump's favorables have plummeted from 84 percent on Election Day to 71 percent now.

The Trump era has been defined to some extent by Donald Trump's ability to defy political gravity, which makes this relative fall from grace among white men both notable and very interesting in the context of 2022. The Republican Party has doubled down on Trumpism at a time when Trump himself is losing favor with one of his most loyal demographics. And when it comes to winning the suburbs, Republicans don't seem to be doing themselves any favors.

Poll: You Won’t Believe What GOP Voters Say They Believe. Really.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The January 6 Capitol siege and voters' perceptions of what it represents have quickly become an inflection point for Americans—with Republican voters careening off the rails into a fantasy land far afield from the rest of the electorate.

New polling from Morning Consult/Politico on the insurrection inspired by Donald Trump and his supporters suggests the truth has simply proven too difficult for most Republican voters to absorb. So while nearly two-thirds of registered voters (64 percent) say Trump supporters were responsible for the attack, just 45 percent of Republicans agree (even as 80 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents say it was Trump supporters). Meanwhile, more than a quarter of GOP voters (27 percent) say opponents of Trump perpetrated the attack.

But the numbers concerning who GOP voters blame more broadly for the events that triggered the January 6 attack are even more stark. While 61 percent of all voters blame Trump, just 30 percent of GOP voters do—an 11 percent drop since January. A similar drop took place among the number of GOP voters who hold Republicans in Congress very or somewhat responsible for the events that led to the attack. Back in January, 34 percent of GOP voters said congressional Republicans were at least partially to blame, but now just 22 percent say that, while 50 percent of registered voters overall hold congressional Republicans responsible for the events that led to the siege.

What is most astounding is the fact that Republican voters are now more likely to blame Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for the events that led up to the attack than Trump and Republicans in Congress. Today, 41 percent of GOP voters blame Biden while just 30 percent blame Trump, and 52 percent of Republican voters blame Democrats in Congress while just 22 percent blame GOP lawmakers. Stunning—GOP voters are more than twice as likely to blame Democratic lawmakers rather than Republican lawmakers for the events leading up to the Jan. 6 siege.

Bar graph showing the share of GOP voters who hold Trump and Republicans in Congress accountable for the events leading to the Jan. 6 siege has dropped by double digits since January.


Among the broader electorate, views of who was responsible for the January 6 insurrection haven't shifted all that much, even as Republican voters became far less likely to hold Trump and congressional Republicans to account.

"What's happening isn't partisan polarization but asymmetric polarization, with Republicans separated from Democrats and independents on everything from whether the 2020 election results were legitimate, to assessments of how Trump handled and Biden is handling COVID, to views about how the economy is doing," said Amy Fried, chair of the University of Maine's political science department and co-author of a new book examining conservatives' distrust in institutions.

GOP voters are also at odds with the broader electorate on how important both January 6 and further examination of the attack are:

  • Fully 71 percent of all voters say it's either very (51 percent) or somewhat important (20 percent) to further investigate the Capitol siege, but just 46 percent of GOP voters agree
  • Overall, 41 percent of voters say too much attention has been paid to the January 6 riot, including 68 percent of Republicans, with just 36 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agreeing

But even as GOP voters have decreasingly held both Trump and congressional Republicans responsible for the January 6 siege, the rest of the electorate associates the rioters with the Republican Party even more so than earlier this year. Today, a 47 percent plurality of voters overall say the people who breached the Capitol are representative of the Republican Party, up from 42 percent in January, while a meager 17 percent of GOP voters say the rioters are representative of the party.

Bar graph showing that while a 47% plurality of voters overall say the rioters are representative of the Republican Party, just 17% of GOP voters agree with that, while 70% disagree.


Poll: Americans Love Democracy But Fear For Its Future

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

There aren't many polling questions these days that draw 90 percent-plus agreement, but Americans are united by one central idea: They believe the country should remain a democracy.

A newly released Daily Kos/Civiqs poll found that fully 93 percent of registered voters said they believed America "should remain a democracy." Just three percent favored "some other form of government," and four percent said they were unsure.

Another question also revealed a great deal of anxiety among respondents about the future of democracy in America. Asked if they feel worried the U.S. is "becoming less of a democracy," 87 percent expressed concern. Here's the breakdown:

  • Yes, very worried: 61 percent
  • Yes, somewhat worried: 26 percent
  • No, not too worried: 7 percent
  • No, not worried at all: 4 percent
  • Unsure: 2 percent

Those are pretty stunning numbers, frankly, about the level of alarm in this country over the seemingly tectonic political shift taking place, with just 11 percent saying they aren't concerned.

Where the consensus breaks down along partisan lines is on what represents a threat to U.S. democracy. The survey gauged respondents' views on both the GOP voter suppression laws being passed in the states and Democrats' attempt to pass voting rights legislation at the federal level, and it found an almost even split on which efforts represented an attack on democracy or a good-faith effort to protect it.

One question asked, "As you may know, Republican legislators in many states have recently passed new voting laws. Do you think these new laws are an attack on American democracy or an attempt to protect it?"

  • An attempt to protect American democracy: 44 percent
  • An attack on American democracy: 50 percent
  • Neither: 3 percent
  • I don't know enough to say: 4 percent

The next query stated, "Democrats in Congress are currently proposing new voting rights legislation. Do you think this legislation is an attack on American democracy or an attempt to protect it?"

  • An attempt to protect American democracy: 46 percent
  • An attack on American democracy: 43 percent
  • Neither: 3 percent
  • I don't know enough to say: 8 percent

The takeaway from this series of questions is clear: The overwhelming majority of Americans feel like the country is at a crossroads, but they are also split almost evenly about how to best protect U.S. democracy moving forward. The key difference, of course, is that perceptions on one side of the fault line have been almost entirely informed and driven by Donald Trump's baseless lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him when, in fact, he was the rightful loser.

Republican voters have basically bought into that narrative hook, line, and sinker, as many polls have shown. But this survey demonstrates just how effectively GOP lawmakers have seized on that baseless narrative to justify passing laws that will help them lock in minority rule at both the state and federal levels.

In Key '22 Senate Races, Republicans Already Face Headwinds

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Last year, Senate Republicans were already feeling so desperate about their upcoming midterm prospects that they rushed to wish Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa a speedy and full recovery from COVID-19 so that he could run for reelection in 2022. The power of incumbency is a huge advantage for any politician, and Republicans were clinging to the idea of sending Grassley—who will be 89 when the '22 general election rolls around—back to the upper chamber for another six-year term.

GOP fortunes have improved slightly since then, with historical trends improving their midterm prospects since Democrats now control the White House and both chambers of Congress. But the Senate map is still a long ways away from a gimme for Republicans, and several recent developments have brought good news for Democrats.

The first of those is a new poll from the Des Moines Register showing that nearly two-thirds of Iowa voters (64 percent) believe "it's time for someone else" to hold Grassley's seat versus the 27 percent who want to see the octogenarian reelected to an eighth term. Women voters were especially brutal, with seven out of ten saying they were ready to give Grassley the heave-ho.

Grassley's numbers with GOP voters lagged too, with just 51 percent committing to supporting him again, while just seven percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents agreed. Grassley's overall job approval clocked in at a meager 45 percent; it's his lowest level since 1982.

The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., upends Republican thinking that another Grassley run could help safeguard the seat. In fact, Grassley may be a liability in the general election, or GOP primary voters may choose an alternative. In any case, Iowa's Senate race could prove more competitive than Republicans had hoped.

Meanwhile, the GOP primary race for North Carolina's open Senate seat has been scrambled by Donald Trump's surprise endorsement of hard-right Congressman Ted Budd, according to Politico. Following Trump's input at the state party convention earlier this month, former North Carolina governor-turned-Senate candidate Pat McCrory rushed to dismiss the endorsement as falling "flat" in the room.

Now, retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr is coming to McCrory's rescue, reportedly arguing both publicly and privately that he is "the only one in the race" who can win the seat statewide. "Pat McCrory has a commanding advantage," Burr told Politico.

Burr, one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump of impeachment charges, also took a swipe at Trump's rationale, or lack thereof.

"I can't tell you what motivates him," Burr said of Trump. "I've never seen individuals endorse a candidate a year before the primary. That's unusual."

Judging by Budd's own internal polling, Burr has a point. McCrory enjoys far higher statewide name recognition, and he's leading Budd by about two dozen points, 45 percent to 19 percent. Another Republican contender, former Rep. Mark Walker, garners just 12 percent of the vote, with 23 percent still undecided.

McCrory, who has been meeting with GOP senators to make his case, is running as an establishment Republican. Budd obviously occupies the Trump lane now. It's a scenario that could easily leave one side or the other feeling resentful depending on which Republican prevails, and any result on the GOP side could wind up depressing at least some general election turnout among Tar Heel Republicans.

But that's the least of the GOP's worries, according to McCrory's camp, which is intent on catastrophizing the ultimate result of a Budd primary win.

"If Republicans want a majority in the U.S. Senate, they will nominate Pat McCrory," said McCrory adviser Jordan Shaw. "Otherwise, Democrats are going to take this seat and keep the majority."

New Study Shows Manchin’s ‘Bipartisan’ Approach On Voting Rights Is Misguided

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

When Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia shot down Democrats' signature voting rights legislation in an op-ed last week, he said that protecting voting rights "should never be done in a partisan manner."

But a new Brennan Center analysis of the voter suppression laws sweeping the nation shows what a preposterous and indeed hypocritical position that is. The center's examination of the 24 state-level voting restriction laws enacted as of early June proves the suppression efforts have been an almost exclusively Republican enterprise.

"Overall, we find that these new laws were enacted as part of an overwhelmingly partisan Republican push," reads the report. "Republicans introduced and drove virtually all of the bills that impose new voting restrictions, and the harshest new laws were passed with almost exclusively Republican votes and signed into law by Republican governors."

Still somehow Manchin insists that GOP lawmakers at the federal level are both interested in and fundamental to playing a corrective role to their counterparts in the states.

In Iowa, where one of this session's most restrictive bills passed on a party-line vote, Jennifer Konfrst, Democratic whip in the Iowa House of Representatives, is practically tearing out her hair over Manchin's intransigence.

"It is unfathomable to me that we would look at this issue and say we have to bring Republicans along, in this political climate, in order to make true change," Konfrst told The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein. "I don't see anywhere where Republicans are inviting Democrats along, or inviting Democrats to the table. Why are some Democrats saying 'I won't do this unless it's bipartisan?'"

Here's a snapshot of the Brennan Center findings courtesy of Brownstein:

  • 14 states have passed 24 laws restricting voting access so far this year (with dozens still pending in another 18 states)
  • 17 of those passed in nine states are deemed "highly restrictive" by the Brennan Center
  • All nine of those states are under unified GOP control with the exception of Kansas, where Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the law only to be overridden by the Republican-dominated state legislature
  • No Democrat co-sponsored any of the 17 bills
  • Not one Democrat voted for 13 of those 17 laws. Another three of those laws drew support from a single lonely Democratic lawmaker in the legislatures of Arkansas, Montana, and Wyoming. (The only highly restrictive bill to receive meaningful Democratic support was a voter ID law enacted in Arkansas)
  • Among all the state House/Assembly Republicans who voted on these 17 bills, just 12of 1,143 voted against them; among state Senate Republicans, just seven of 458 voted no on them.

Poll Shows 66 Percent Of Voters Don’t Want Trump To Run In 2024

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Fresh polling from Quinnipiac University has demonstrated two truths at once: Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2024, and he remains uniquely unpopular with a substantial majority of Americans.

The poll found that 66 percent of all Americans hope Trump won't run in 2024, while just 30 percent do want him to run. But Republican hopes reflected the exact opposite, with 66 percent saying they would like to see Trump run while 30 percent said they do not want him to do so. So Americans are 66-30 against Trump's candidacy, while Republicans are 66-30 in favor of it. It's probably not coincidental that 66 percent of Republicans also don't think Joe Biden's victory was legitimate according to the poll, while 64 percent of all Americans say it was legitimate.

More than eight in ten Republicans (85 percent) also said they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office who mostly agree with Trump.

"The numbers fly in the face of any predictions that Donald Trump's political future is in decline," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. "By a substantial majority, Republicans: (1) believe the election was stolen from him, (2) want Trump to run again, and (3), if they can't vote for Trump, prefer someone who agrees with him."

All that said, Trump being the de facto standard bearer of the party could prove perilous for the GOP. As we now know, it's entirely possible that Trump and/or members of his inner circle could be criminally indicted by year's end—a development that will not make the GOP's path to regaining a majority next year any easier.

Also, while two-thirds of Republicans are still gaga over Trump, nearly a third of GOP voters don't want him to run and also don't have any illusions about the fact that he lost the 2020 election—even as almost the entire party continues to push the Big Lie. Trump is polarizing and divisive, and not just between the two parties—he also divides the Republican Party against itself. That's not a dynamic any political strategist wishes upon their party, no matter how galvanizing someone might be for a majority of Republicans.

Poll: Voters Strongly Support Biden’s Families Plan

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

President Joe Biden has barely begun to roll out his American Families Plan, and it's already proving to be pretty popular, according to fresh polling from Politico/Morning Consult.

At base level, 58 percent say they either strongly or somewhat support the $1.8 trillion investment to improve the nation's child care, education, and paid leave programs. That support includes 86 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents, and 25 percent of Republicans.

But some of the individual components of the plan are more popular than the proposal as a whole.

  • Ensuring low- to middle-income families pay no more than seven percent of income on child care: 64 percent support, 22 percent oppose
  • Free preschool for all 3 to 4 year olds: 63 percent support, 26 percent oppose
  • Two free years of community college: 59 percent support, 31 percent oppose
  • $15/hour minimum wage for child care workers: 59 percent support, 31 percent oppose
  • Extending expanded child care tax credit: 57 percent support, 26 percent oppose
  • Two years of subsidized tuition at HBCUs: 56 percent support, 31 percent oppose

At least 10-18 percent of respondents were undecided on every one of those initiatives, so there's presumably room to grow support for them as the White House puts more time and energy into selling the package.

The two most popular items—a seven percent of income cap on child care expenses and universal preschool—also garnered solid GOP support, with 45 percent of Republicans backing the income cap and 42 percent supporting universal preschool. The popularity of individual initiatives may prove important if Democrats decide to fold certain pieces of Biden's jobs and families proposals into one package.

That's a solid start on an initiative that President Biden has only begun to explain to the public. It's also generally in keeping with the popularity of Biden's other trillion-dollar initiatives addressing the pandemic and jobs/infrastructure, though Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package typically polled in the 40s/50s with Republican voters.

Biden Cancels Billions For Trump’s Military-Funded Border Wall

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

President Joe Biden is cancelling billions in funding for construction of a wall at the southern border that had been authorized by his predecessor, according to The Hill.

Donald Trump had used emergency powers in 2019 to raid Defense Department coffers in order to fund his precious border wall after Congress declined to fully fund the project. Now the White House says some of the leftover funding will be used to help reverse the environmental damage caused by construction of the wall.

"Consistent with the President's Proclamation terminating the redirection of funds for border wall, no more money will be diverted from other purposes to building a border wall," a Biden administration official said Friday. "Today, the Department of Defense will begin cancelling all wall projects using the diverted funds, and will take steps to return remaining unobligated military construction funds to their appropriated purpose as permitted by law."

The move follows on Biden's immediate cancellation upon taking office of the state of emergency Trump had declared at the southern border. In total, Trump had secured some $16 billion for his precious wall, with about $6 billion of it being appropriated by Congress, according to the Associated Press. Now some of the $1.4 billion in funding that had been appropriated for the wall will instead be used to address environmental damage caused by the wall, including soil erosion in the San Diego area and increased risk of flooding in the Rio Grande Valley.

According to the AP, as of mid-January, the government had spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in work it had contracted to have done. Trump reportedly worked "feverishly" his final year in office in order to complete more than 450 miles of the wall.

In January, following the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Trump traveled to Texas to take one last sad little victory lap on the wall, declaring, "I kept my promises" on completing 450 miles of wall.

Based on the amount still under contract, another 214 miles would have been built, bringing the total to 664 miles.

But President Biden brought that chapter to a close on Friday. Good riddance.

VIDEO: Republicans Drop Dog Whistles For White Nationalist Bullhorn

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Just as soon as potential plans for the House GOP's breakaway "America First Caucus" became public last week, House Republicans quickly tried to distance themselves from it.

An early draft of the caucus platform, reportedly the brainchild of extremist Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, included a call for respecting "Anglo-Saxon political traditions." In part, it read, "History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country."

The inherently racist notion that immigrants are being "imported en-masse" has roots in white nationalist "replacement theory"—a sick new fascination among Republicans. The idea is that white people are being replaced by non-white people to the point of eventual extinction. But Republicans have added a political twist, framing it as a matter of political power.

"I have less political power because (Democrats) are importing a brand-new electorate," Fox News' Tucker Carlson theorized on Fox News earlier this month. "The power that I have as an American, guaranteed at birth, is one man, one vote, and they are diluting it."

Wherever there are references to "importing" people and "diluting" political power these days, Republicans are surely at hand, appealing to the basest and most abhorrent beliefs of their increasingly racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic base.

But full-on embracing the core principles of neo-Nazis and white nationalists just might have political consequences for Republicans. While the GOP's hard-right lunge clearly sells to an increasing share of the party's faithful, it also stands a chance of alienating some of its most reliable voters in non-presidential elections in the suburbs.

That's likely why House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy quickly sought to distance the party from the nascent plans for the "Anglo Saxon" First caucus.

"America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work. It isn't built on identity, race, or religion," McCarthy, a California Republican, tweeted late on April 16. "The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles."

Even Rep. Greene claimed she was the unwitting victim of a "staff level draft proposal from an outside group" that she hadn't even read. "The scum and liars in the media are calling me a racist by taking something out of context," Greene wrote in a tweet last weekend. Nothing but class.

But the fact of the matter is that Trump-era Republicans have entirely embraced nativist dog whistle politics for the last four years, and now they are following that political strain straight to the well of white supremacy.

In fact, the House Republican campaign arm and the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) super PAC—both closely associated with McCarthy—have made the promotion of nativist imagery and stereotypes central to their campaign messaging over the last couple election cycles. In response to McCarthy's "party of Lincoln" tweet, the pro-immigration group America's Voice compiled a montage of ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and CLF that expose the GOP's overt effort to employ racist themes as a way of stoking fear in white Americans.

Republican Ads Reveal a Party that Relies on Nativist Dog-Whistles

In 2020, ads from the two groups repeatedly employed racist stereotypes, accusing Democratic candidates of wanting to create a "sanctuary jurisdiction, even for criminals," voting to "protect illegal immigrant gang members," and supporting "providing safe havens for illegals."

More recently, Republicans have been capitalizing on the recent increase of migrant crossings at the border, a spike that's actually completely consistent with seasonal changes in undocumented immigration and a pandemic-generated backlog. But Republicans are eager to blame the rise on Democratic policies.

In a Fox News appearance on March 4, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned, "They're children today but they could easily be terrorists tomorrow." And on March 9, GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana baselessly hyped the notion that undocumented immigrants are bringing COVID-19 to the U.S. "There are superspreader caravans coming across our southern border," Scalise charged at a press conference where House Republicans sought to portray a crisis at the border. Of course, Republicans are simultaneously opposing the Biden administration's efforts to vaccinate undocumented immigrants.

But the next phase of the GOP's nativist push is a full-blown embrace of white supremacy. After Fox's Carlson devoted his April 8 primetime show to delivering an impassioned defense of the racist "replacement theory," Republicans followed up with a robust fundraising campaign, according to Peter Montgomery at Right Wing Watch.

On April 9, the Republican National Committee sent a fundraising text to its members that opened with, "Are you watching Tucker Carlson right now?" That must have gone well because on April 14, the RNC blasted out a fundraising email with the subject line, "Do you watch Tucker Carlson? He's absolutely right." On April 16, the RNC sent another email warning that Chelsea Clinton was "openly calling on Facebook to SILENCE Tucker Carlson" and asking for support to "help stop the left from censoring conservatives like Tucker Carlson." The Tucker Carlson solicitations are apparently a cash cow because the RNC is continuing to feature him.

What this tells us is that the GOP's most active base of grassroots supporters is eating up Carlson's promotion of neo-Nazi dogma and, not surprisingly, so are the white nationalists. The white nationalist site VDare has been cheering Carlson's recent monologues as among "the best things Fox News has ever aired," and "filled with ideas and talking points pioneered many years ago."

In a way, McCarthy may be right—Republicans have clearly dropped the dog whistle portion of their nativist appeals. Now they're just going for broke with an overt embrace of white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

Flash Poll Shows Vast Majority Agrees With Guilty Verdict In Floyd Murder

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A flash poll conducted in a three-hour window following the announcement of a guilty verdict for police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd found that the vast majority of Americans agreed with the jury's conclusion.

In the Ipsos poll conducted for USA Today, 71 percent of respondents said they agreed with the finding that Chauvin was guilty, and 62 percent said they planned on simply accepting the verdict with no further action.

Chauvin was found guilty on all three felony counts charged against him in the death of Floyd after kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Although higher numbers of Democrats and independents agreed with the guilty verdict, 85 percent and 71 percent respectively, a 55 percent majority of Republicans also did.

But the public was divided on Chauvin's motivation for the killing, with 40 percent saying he was guilty of murder while 32 percent said Chauvin's actions amounted to negligence. Just 11 percent viewed Chauvin's actions as an accident.

Not surprisingly, perceptions of Chauvin's motivations broke down along partisan lines, with 51 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of independents saying Chauvin's conduct amounted to murder, while just 26 percent of Republicans said the same.

Across the board, 61 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and independents said they planned on accepting the verdict without taking any further actions. Among Democrats, 25 percent said they would accept the verdict and participate in marches and rallies going forward, while just 15 percent of Republicans said the same.

Still, some 20 percent of Republicans said they reject the verdict, but only five percent of Republicans both rejected the verdict and plan to protest it.

Pew Poll: Biden Smokes Trump On Every Measure Of Performance

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Pew Research Center released a sprawling polling overview of Joe Biden's early presidency, and the reviews are pretty damn good—particularly given the polarized political environment in this moment of national crisis.

For starters, 59 percent of American approve of the way Biden is doing his job, while 39 percent disapprove—that marks an improvement of a handful of points over last month when 54 percent approved of his job performance.

Biden's job approval has clearly been helped by public perception of his work in bringing the pandemic under control and getting the country back to work—the job Americans chiefly hired him to do.

In terms of the vaccine roll out, 72 percent rated the Biden administration's execution as excellent (29 percent) or good (43 percent), though the survey was taken before the latest halt/review of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That widespread approval includes 55% of Republicans and Republican leaners—a pretty impressive feat for a guy who most of them believe wasn't duly elected.

The public also continues to largely favor Biden's $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, with 67 percent of Americans approving of the bill, including 36 percent who strongly approve. Just 32 percent disapprove of the relief plan, with only 17 percent saying they strongly disapprove. The relief plan also continues to divide the GOP base by income level, with fully 55 percent of lower income Republicans and Republican leaners approving of the bill, compared to just 18 percent approval among Republicans with the highest incomes.

The relief plan's high approval—which is entirely consistent with public approval of the plan before it became law—suggests people not only like the plan but are also pleased so far with its rollout. Indeed, a Civiqs poll earlier this week found that 80 percent of respondents had received their direct payments and some 90 percent of those who reported receiving the money said the amount was about as expected.

On a series of less tangible, more perception-based questions, Biden also seems to be doing relatively well, particularly when compared to the former guy.

A 46 percent plurality of Americans say they like how Biden is conducting himself in office, with just 27 percent saying they don't and another 27 percent expressing mixed feelings on the matter. In February of 2020, just 15 percent said the same of Donald Trump. Biden's significant improvement on the matter is due to him drawing less criticism from the opposing party—while 59% or Republicans said they don't like the way Biden conducts himself, fully 85 percent of Democrats disliked how Trump conducted himself.

A 44 percent plurality of the public also thinks Biden has changed the tone and nature of national political discourse "for the better," while just 29 percent say he has changed it for the worse.

In the final year of Trump's tenure, a 55 percent majority of Americans believed Trump had changed the tone of political debate for the worse, with just 25 percent saying he had a positive effect on political discourse and 19 percent saying he hadn't affected it either way.

Finally, Democrats in Congress are also dusting their GOP counterparts in terms of approval rating. Half of Americans approve of congressional Democrats' performance while just 32 percent approve of Republicans' job performance.

Overall, the American public is giving President Biden a pretty glowing review for how he has comported himself at the outset of his presidency. He is largely delivering on the promises he made and the job he was hired to do. While public perception is likely to get more complicated down the road, Biden has earned himself more political capital to spend rather than depleting his cache right from the start.

Treasury Cites Manafort’s Election Espionage In New Russia Sanctions

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

After four long years of the former U.S. guy being a lapdog to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin's bill is finally coming due for its years-long cyber espionage campaign against the United States.

The Biden administration said Thursday it was imposing a new round of sanctions to constrict the Russian economy along with sanctioning six Russian companies that aid Russian Intelligence services, according to The Washington Post. In addition, the administration is expelling ten Russian intelligence officers posing as diplomats in the U.S.

Alongside the punitive actions, the Biden administration formalized a series of previously reported accusations about Moscow:

  • It officially blamed the Russian intelligence services for the extensive SolarWinds cyber hack that compromised thousands of government agencies and private sector entities alike. "The Russian Intelligence Services — specifically the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) — have executed some of the most dangerous and disruptive cyber attacks in recent history, including the SolarWinds cyber attack," according to sanctions outlined on the Treasury Department website.
  • It charged that the FSB (the Russian intelligence service) was directly involved in the August 2020 chemical poisoning of political Putin foe Aleksey Navalny; and further said the GRU (the Russian military intelligence service) "materially contributed to the possession, transportation, and use of Novichok" in the March 2018 poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K.
  • Finally, for the very first time, the U.S. government connected the dots between sensitive polling from the Trump campaign being passed from Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik to Russian intelligence agencies. You'll recall, this was the polling Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort delivered to Kilimnik in an infamous cigar bar meeting. But now, the U.S. government is confirming that Kilimnik then delivered that information to Kremlin spy agencies. "During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy," reads a statement on the Treasury site. "Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

What the Biden administration did not confirm was the allegation that Russia had placed bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan in 2019, an intelligence estimate in which U.S. agencies had expressed low to moderate confidence. But the administration also didn't entirely dismiss the allegation; it simply didn't tie the forthcoming sanctions to it.

"But we do believe that this information puts the burden on the Russian government to explain its action and takes steps to address this disturbing pattern of behavior," the senior administration official said. "We expressed those concerns directly to the government of Russia."

According to the Post, "the package includes sanctions on all debt Russia issues after June 14, barring U.S. financial institutions from buying government bonds directly from the Russian Central Bank, Russian National Wealth Fund and the Ministry of Finance." The intended effect is to hinder Moscow's ability to raise money in global capital markets.

President Biden is walking a line with Moscow, trying to maintain open communication channels with the Kremlin while also drawing the line at its aggressive attacks on U.S. democracy and national interests.

"Our view is that no single action that we will take or could take in and of itself could directly alter Russia's malign behavior," Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer said. "But this is going to be a process that is going to take place over time, and it will involve a mix of significant pressure and finding ways to work together."

Packaging the punitive measures together is designed to allow the administration to move from a reactionary posture to a more proactive one.

"It's good to clearly message our priorities to Russia," Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told the Post. "By packaging a response to several things at once, the administration can get off the back foot and move on its agenda. What we don't want is to always be in response mode to Russia."

Major Law Firms Vow Action Against Voter Suppression

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Not only are American corporations readily ignoring Sen. Mitch McConnell's threats to shut their traps about voter suppression laws, now big law firms are getting active in the fight too.

Some 60 major law firms are uniting around an effort "to challenge voter suppression legislation and to support national legislation to protect voting rights and increase voter participation," Brad Karp, chairman of the heavyweight law firm Paul Weiss, told The New York Times.

Though the group has not been formally announced, Karp promised it would "emphatically denounce legislative efforts to make voting harder, not easier, for all eligible voters, by imposing unnecessary obstacles and barriers on the right to vote."

The firms are teaming up with the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit organization that has been tracking Republican legislation across the country, to strategize about which laws to file legal challenges against.

"We plan to challenge any election law that would impose unnecessary barriers on the right to vote and that would disenfranchise underrepresented groups in our country," Karp said. As one might expect, that includes the Georgia law, which has invited a flurry of fallout already for both the state and the Republican lawmakers who passed it.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center, told the Times the coalition of law firms put lawmakers "on notice" that unconstitutional and legally flawed laws will almost certainly result in legal pushback.

"This is beyond the pale," Waldman said of the GOP suppression laws. "You're hearing that from the business community and you're hearing it from the legal community."

Make no mistake, this is so far from over. On the heels of Major League Baseball pulling its All-Star Game from Georgia to protest the law, creators of the forthcoming Hollywood movie "Emancipation" about a runaway slave announced Monday that they would move production out of the Peach State.

"At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice," Antoine Fuqua, the movie's director, and actor Will Smith said in a joint statement. "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access."

But perhaps the biggest development emerging from the rash of GOP voter suppression laws sweeping the nation is the deepening rift between Republicans and the wealthy sector of voters and donors who have traditionally gravitated toward the GOP for decades.

We could be witnessing nothing short of a political realignment that stands to upend American politics as we have known it for more than a generation.

Risking Everything, Republicans Bet On Angry Trumpist 'Lifestyle Brand'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The Republican Party, this year more than any other since I've been covering politics, has become a fascination for me. While some readers here say it's all business as usual, it seems anything but to me. Sure, the underlying motivators of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ hate, and amassing wealth and power have been and continue to be driving forces for the party and are simply more transparent than ever.

But on the other hand, Republicans' roadmap to obtaining power is perhaps more murky than at any point in my lifetime. When Mitch McConnell comes out and starts threatening American corporations, a sea change is at hand.

In fact, what seems to have happened since Donald Trump receded from the national stage is that congressional Republicans and some state officials have had to effectively become him in order to keep his base voters engaged—or should we say, enraged. So now, just like Trump threatened companies that angered him, McConnell is doing the same. And just like Trump swindled his base voters into donating gobs of money to him, House Republicans are now running the same scam. Perhaps even more telling, House Republicans are essentially presenting those donor solicitations as if they are coming from Trump himself. (Of course, Trump also relaunched his own fundraising operation this week complete with "Don't Blame Me — I Voted for Trump" swag. Not a joke. So now Trump's base will be getting fleeced from multiple directions.)

But it's a stunning turn of events—the party that once kowtowed to corporate America is now publicly jeering at them. That schism will only deepen as Republicans grow increasingly and more glaringly out of step with the culture of young, diverse, upwardly mobile consumers American businesses hope to cultivate. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers are only getting more brazen and dug into their anti-culture politics. As I noted yesterday, Georgia's Republican House Speaker, David Ralston, defended the punitive measures they were targeting at their corporate detractors like this, "You don't feed a dog that bites your hand."

Ralph Reed, evangelical fire-breather and perennial GOP strategist, said the performative bellicosity had become the single most animating feature for Republican voters, describing it as a "virtue."

"It has become the overarching virtue Republicans look for in their leaders," Reed told the New York Times.

But the description of the GOP and its base that really brought it home for me this week came from Jonathan V. Last at The Bulwark. "Republican voters—a group distinct from Conservatism Inc.—no longer have any concrete outcomes that they want from government," he wrote. "What they have, instead, is a lifestyle brand."

That to me, is the best summation possible of the hollowed out, defunct, and unmoored Republican Party—it's no longer a political party, it's a lifestyle brand.

The questions I'm left with are: just how enticing will that newfangled lifestyle brand be to Trumpers; and can it appeal to the voters who still harbor a fondness for the political party they formerly belonged to? Because for all sorts of reasons, it's hard to imagine that Trump voters alone—even if they turn out readily in 2022, and it's a big if—will be enough to bring home big wins for Republibrand in the midterms.

There's already been signs of dissatisfaction within the GOP ranks since last November, though it's impossible to know exactly what to make of them. Identification with the Republican Party appears to have taken at least somewhat of a hit since last November and the Capitol attack, in particular, though it's not clear how significant or meaningful that hit is.

Bottom line—somebody's unhappy but it's hard to tell exactly who, how unhappy they are, and what that will mean for GOP turnout in the midterms. That said, there's nothing ideal about having a base that's a moving target and having almost zero data other than November 2020 to guide your turnout calculations.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Republibrand lawmakers is that they are courting two groups of voters that seem to be stylistically at odds with each other: angry Trumpers and suburbanites. I continue to be skeptical of the notion that the brass-knuckle tactics that have become a "virtue" for much of the GOP base hold nearly as much appeal in the more mild-mannered American suburbs, where people seem generally more inclined to want to work their jobs, spend time with family, and carve out a "comfortable" existence. Those folks typically want a growth economy that grows with their family, not a war on Major League Baseball at all costs or attacks on American businesses that interferes with their bottom lines. What suburbanites want is a measure of predictability so they can plan for the future with some measure of confidence that the world as they know it today won't be radically and fundamentally different from the world tomorrow. And nothing about the new Republibrand inspires confidence and stability.

Probably the best case study to date in how the new Republibrand will play in the suburbs during the midterms comes from the suburban vote in Georgia both last fall and in the January Senate runoffs.

In one instance, Trump is on that ticket and, in the next instance, Trump isn't. So we get to measure that difference. As an added bonus, both Republican candidates doubled down on Trumpism as they fought to win their runoffs. Sen. Kelly Loeffler went all in on racism, and Sen. David Perdue became the Trump mini-me of grift, notching a new stock-trading scandal almost weekly. Perdue also just decided to skip out on his debates with Democratic rival Jon Ossoff and he did so with impunity. In other words, both GOP candidates behaved about about as we can imagine many Republican candidates will in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Democrats ran like they were part of a political party, promising policy solutions aimed at meeting the needs of their constituents. One of their biggest promises, in fact, was passing a new coronavirus relief package that would include $2,000 direct payments.

In the runoffs, Ossoff ultimately defeated Perdue by just over a percentage point, 50.6 percent – 49.4 percent; while Democrat Raphael Warnock triumphed over Loeffler beat Loeffler by 2 points, 51 percent – 49 percent. But let's use Ossoff as an example since he was the squeaker.

In the general election, Joe Biden's win was powered by the shift among voters in the suburbs, college graduates, and high-income earners, according to turnout data from the New York Times. Here's how they shifted from 2016 to 2020:

  • High-income earners: +7 points more Democratic
  • Majority college graduates: +6 points more Democratic
  • Suburban: +6 points more Democratic

Biden won the state 49.5 percent - 49.2 percent. Ossoff ran a touch behind Biden, losing to Perdue 47.9 percent– 49.7 perent. It was good enough to force the runoff, but also left Perdue with a reasonable opening to win reelection.

But the two Democratic Senate candidates prevailed in January based mostly on two factors: increased Black turnout in both suburban and rural counties, and depressed Trump turnout. Suburban voters of all races, particularly those surrounding Atlanta, helped contribute to those wins, though the biggest demographic shift in turnout was among Black voters specifically.

But for our purposes, the Republican Senators didn't fare much better among suburban voters in January without Trump on the ticket and, in fact, mostly fared worse. In suburban Cobb County, for instance, Ossoff ran +10.54 ahead of Perdue (53.96-43.42) in the general election but did even better in the January runoffs, running +12.08 (56.04-43.96) ahead of Perdue. The same was true for the largely suburban counties of Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Henry—Ossoff won with a bigger margin than in November.

So if the Georgia Senate runoffs are any gauge, Republibrand didn't pan out so well for the GOP in suburban America, even as voter turnout among Trumpers sank.

In truth, it's nearly impossible to know how all this will play out in the 2022 midterms. But the GOP brand is evolving and its base will necessarily evolve too. There's just no way Republicans can continue down this path of radical transformation without it having electoral consequences for their base. It's a fascinating turn of events given that just several months ago GOP lawmakers in Washington had a chance to abandon Trump. Now they are doing their level best to embody him and recreate the electoral magic that cost them the House, the Senate, and the White House. It seems nothing short of desperate, but they have also concluded it's their last best option.

Worried McConnell Backs Off Threat To Corporate Leaders

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has had quite a week. On Monday, McConnell threatened American businesses with "serious consequences" if they spoke out against the rash of GOP voter suppression laws sweeping the nation. On Tuesday, he doubled down, saying, "My warning to corporate America is to stay out of politics." McConnell quickly added that he wasn't "talking about political contributions," because of course not. Effectively—"shut your traps and donate, or else the GOP will quit doing your bidding."

Perhaps being extorted isn't sitting so well with the GOP's corporate donor base. On Wednesday, McConnell tried to put a more genteel spin on his threat.

"I didn't say that very artfully yesterday," McConnell told Kentucky reporters, referring to his explicit threat. "They certainly are entitled to be involved in politics. They are," he conceded, referring to the corporations that have spoken out against Georgia's voter suppression law. "My principal complaint is they didn't read the darn bill," he said of corporate CEOs.

Gosh, golly gee, what a relief. For a second, it seemed as though McConnell had declared both the free enterprise and free speech of the corporate sector dead all in one breath. American businesses had to either toe the GOP line or suffer the consequences. It was quite a reversal for McConnell and Republicans, who have spent decades prioritizing the rights of corporations over the rights of everyday Americans, even when lives were on the line. But with corporate profits no longer aligning with Republicans' ongoing culture war, McConnell was drawing a line in the sand.

Let's be clear: The damage has been done. McConnell may be trying to soften the blow and give himself an out, but that threat was heard loud and clear in board rooms across the nation. And this is by no means the end of the story. The GOP's grievance politics will continue to be at odds with a culture that is rapidly outstripping Republicans and the increasing number of corporations trying to market to that culture.

The GOP Has No Vision, Weak Leadership, And Terrible Poll Ratings

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Ever since Donald Trump managed to get 74 million votes last November, Congressional Republicans have been obsessed with recreating that type of inflated turnout in subsequent election cycles despite the fact that Joe Biden beat Trump by 7 million votes. In fact, finding a way to lock in all those Trump voters has become some sort of white whale for the GOP.

As never-Trump Republican and The Bulwark founder Sarah Longwell told Markos Moulitsas and me on The Brief, Republicans are absolutely transfixed by that level of GOP turnout. "It's 74 million—they always say 75 million, but the reason they keep saying it over like it's a mantra is they can't believe that many people turned out for them," she explained.

But the vexing problem for Republicans now is: How can they possibly recreate 2020 turnout levels when Trump—the guy who lured a new slice of blue-collar voters into the party—is increasingly disengaged, and the corporatists running the party have no idea how to connect with his voters? That disconnect seems to have rendered congressional Republicans politically impotent in the past couple months—unsure about exactly what they stand for, who their constituency is, and how to reach that constituency.

That disorientation, for instance, resulted in a dazzling failure by party leaders to mount any response whatsoever to Joe Biden's first major victory as president—passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Sure, every GOP lawmaker voted "no" on the bill, but they were neither able to settle on one line of attack against the package nor translate that uniform opposition into any meaningful gains with voters. In fact, if anything, Biden's massive rescue plan only grew in popularity the longer it was litigated in Congress—an almost unheard of phenomenon by legislative standards.

While it's hard to quantify just how adrift Congressional Republicans are right now, examining the trend lines in Civiqs polling sheds some light on the topic.

As I noted in my column this weekend, ever since Joe Biden took office, the Republican Party's unfavorability rating has been registering at close to all-time highs compared to the past handful of years. Just after Biden's inauguration, the GOP's unpopularity peaked at 65 percent unfavorable and now rests at 62 percent unfavorable, with just 25 percent of Americans holding a favorable view of the party. By comparison, the Democratic Party is underwater by just six points nationally, with 50 percent viewing it unfavorably to 44 percent who hold a favorable view (click to view).

But what really sets the GOP apart is its lack of popularity among its own voters. While 88 percent of Democratic voters view their own party favorably, just 63 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of the GOP while 19 percent view it unfavorably. The party's favorability rating among Republicans plunged some 20 points following Election Day last November, when its favorables stood at about 83 percent among GOP voters. To some extent that fall from grace is a natural byproduct of losing a big election. The party also saw its favorables plummet following the midterm elections, when Democrats flipped a historic 41 House seats to regain control of the lower chamber (click to view).

The difference now is that the party's leadership is entirely divided amongst itself at a time when the makeup of the GOP base is still a bit of an enigma. Party leaders seem to realize that Trump attracted a new cohort of blue-collar voters, but they have no idea exactly how to appeal to them. So even as Democrats passed a bill that was largely popular among lower-income Republicans—63 percent of whom supported it—GOP lawmakers uniformly rejected the bill while railing about the great Seuss-Potato Head scandal of 2021.

The party also has no real leader to rally around who can steer it out of its current slump. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is epically unpopular among the GOP base, with just 22 percent of Republicans holding a favorable view of him. Former Vice President Mike Pence registers better than McConnell (because who wouldn't?), but even he garners just a 61 percent favorability rating among Republicans. It's perhaps telling that both McConnell and Pence took a major hit in popularity among the Republican base following the January 6 attack on the Capitol. In other words, in the view of self-identified Republicans, they were the people who failed the party, not Trump. Here are Pence's favorables among Republicans (click to view graph).

And while Trump remains the most popular figure in the party among Republicans voters at 88%, even his favorables have started to fall off a bit ever since Election Day. It's not earth-shattering fallout by any means, but one could imagine Trump's popularity among Republicans just continuing to slowly wane over time.

Perhaps more importantly in this moment, Trump seems to be a lot less interested in helping the GOP regain control of Congress than he is in punishing anyone who has proven disloyal to him. So while he's publicly made a show of cooperating with the GOP point people trying to win back the House and Senate, his most passionate pronouncements have been daggers targeting leaders like McConnell and Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican. Predictably, Trump is also still entirely consumed by his 2020 loss, so much so that he's now stealing microphones at Mar-a-Lago-based weddings and grousing about it to attendees.

The bottom line for the GOP is this—the only guy who still holds enough juice with base voters to perhaps improve their opinion of the party has no real interest in the party whatsoever.

This isn't a declaration that the Republican Party is dead. But it does mean the GOP finds itself with a very unique, if not unprecedented, set of circumstances heading into 2022: It has no real leader, no real message, and a fluid electorate.

So while GOP lawmakers are tickled silly over the 74 million people who cast a vote for Trump last fall, they are basically playing a blindfolded electoral version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey as they head into 2022.