SPOTLIGHT

Holding the GOP-Base Line

With a deeply polarized country, Trump can’t afford to lose his base.

President Donald Trump hands the pen he used to sign H.J. Res. 38 to Kevin Hughes, General Manager, Murray Energy Corporation, second from right, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The president is surrounded by coal miners and members of congress including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., right, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, left, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio. third from left,
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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Kyle Trygstad
Feb. 17, 2017, 10:01 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Trump has done little in his first four weeks in of­fice to ex­pand his ap­peal bey­ond the base of sup­port­ers who got him an Elect­or­al Col­lege vic­tory, and the un­sur­pris­ing res­ult is the con­tinu­ation of his deeply po­lar­ized im­age.

A na­tion­al sur­vey re­leased Thursday by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter found 56 per­cent of adults dis­ap­prove of the job he has done as pres­id­ent so far. Of the 39 per­cent who ap­proved—which is 14 points worse than the next low­est first month of the past five pres­id­ents—84 per­cent were Re­pub­lic­an or leaned Re­pub­lic­an and just 8 per­cent were Demo­crats or leaned Demo­crat­ic.

If Trump thinks he has no shot at win­ning over more Demo­crats after his per­form­ance dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, then keep­ing that GOP base num­ber high be­comes more im­port­ant than ever to get con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans to con­tin­ue to sup­port his agenda.

That ex­plains why Trump is hold­ing a rally Sat­urday. Fur­ther, Trump il­lus­trated his fo­cus on the Re­pub­lic­an base Thursday dur­ing the ex­tens­ive open­ing state­ment of his East Room news con­fer­ence, seem­ingly ig­nor­ing the fact that even the red­dest dis­tricts also have Demo­crats.

Re­gard­ing the volumes of people who have showed up re­cently to the town hall meet­ings of Re­pub­lic­an con­gress­men to ex­press their in­terest in keep­ing Obama­care, Trump said, “They’re not the Re­pub­lic­an people that our rep­res­ent­at­ives are rep­res­ent­ing.”

Kyle Tryg­stad

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