June 27, 2016

MR. 30%:

Some Republicans buck (and duck) Trump (Catherine Rampell, June 27, 2016, Washington Post)

In one particularly revealing question, the poll asked Republicans and Republican-leaning independents how they think GOP leaders should respond when Trump says something they disagree with. Should these leaders speak out, or should they avoid criticizing the party's likely nominee?

Nearly two-thirds -- 62 percent -- said that party leaders should speak up and criticize Trump.

At first blush, this might seem surprising. Typically, after a party nominee emerges, there's pressure to circle the wagons and defend him, warts and all. Or at very least, to avoid weakening him. Those who do anything to hurt the party's November chances could be branded traitors to the cause.

An earlier Post poll, conducted in May, asked parallel questions of partisans about how confident they were that their party would come together in the name of defeating the opposing candidate in November. Among both Republicans and Democrats, strong majorities (at least 8 in 10) said they believed such defensive party unity was in the offing. The responses were similar in a comparable poll question asked in May 2008.

And yet now Republicans seem to be actively rooting against wagon-circling.

There are two likely reasons for this.

For one, the candidate's warts have grown bigger, uglier and potentially more cancerous.

Unlike predecessors John McCain and Mitt Romney, Trump has proudly and repeatedly insulted Hispanics, women, blacks, Muslims and other demographic groups that the party knows it needs to attract to have any chance of long-term survival. It's one thing to try to spin a secretly recorded comment about the mooching "47 percent," or an insensitive gaffe about "self-deportation"; it's another to defend remarks that most Americans deem racist, such as Trump's comments about a judge of Mexican heritage.

Posted by at June 27, 2016 7:52 PM