Loyalty to Trump, no matter the cost, is the only binding principle of today's Republican Party.
After GOP losses piled up coast to coast in the 2018 midterms, Republicans buried their heads in the sand and refused to admit the obvious — that the party's loyalty to Trump has been a total disaster.
"Many of the lawmakers who lost their races or did not run again say the party has a profound structural challenge that incumbents are unwilling to fully face: Mr. Trump's deep toxicity among moderate voters, especially women," the New York Times reports.
Trump entered office with historically low approval ratings, and they've stayed low ever since. Trump's approval rating, which hovered in the high 30s and low 40's for most of his first two years, was barely above 40 in the lead-up to Election Day.
But Republicans are too afraid of Trump to speak up publicly.
Retiring Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) told the Times that the midterm losses were "a referendum on the president, but that's an extremely difficult proclamation for people to make because if they were to say that they'd get the wrath of the president."x
Rep. Steve Strivers, head of the GOP House campaign arm, told the Times before the election that "if we wake up on Wednesday and all those [suburban seats] have broken the other way, then it's legitimate to say it was Trump."
But this illusion of courage disappeared after the election. "I'm not playing the blame game," Stivers deflected when asked about his earlier comments.
Despite getting annihilated in the midterms, Republicans have showed no signs of changing course.
That included losses in reliably red districts like California's 45th Congressional District, located in Orange County. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), who won that district by 17 points in 2016, was one of Trump's staunchest defenders.
"He's the president of our party," Walters once said of Trump. "He stands for what we stand for."
Walters lost her seat to Democrat Katie Porter by almost four points.
At this rate, the GOP will embrace the same failed strategy in 2020 that helped them lose 40 House seats to Democrats in 2018.
"Now the party is Trump so we follow his lead," said retiring Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL).
Abject fealty to Trump is the only binding principle of today's Republican Party.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.