The contours of this election are very easy to understand. Most voters are not consistently Right or Left. They don’t like the status quo in Washington and are starving for a new vision. Unfortunately, until we break out of this binary idolatry, the alternative – the “something new” – will always be the party out of power. So the question for Republicans is: in or out of the Swamp? A new poll sheds light on the danger of Republicans voting to continue the current leadership.
A grassroots group, the Ear to the Ground Listening Project, commissioned a poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted by McLaughlin & Associates and shared with Conservative Review. On the one hand, the poll shows a generic ballot lead for Democrats, as most other polls do. But does that mean voters want extreme liberalism over commonsense conservatism, transparency, border security, and health care freedom?
Of course not. Among other critical findings, the poll shows that 60 percent, including 63 percent of independents, believe it is important “to eliminate the influence of the network of DC-centric professional bureaucrats, media, and insider elites.”
But with Republicans in charge in Washington, voters view the current GOP leadership as the belly of the Swamp and the consummate insider elites. When asked what is the top impediment to draining the Swamp, 42 percent of voters said it was the GOP, just behind lobbyists as the top impediments listed by voters.
Thus, conservatives run the risk of losing an election because they have failed to drain the swamp and are now defined by it. Only 15 percent of Republican voters and just 3 percent of Independents said they trust the GOP to keep its promises. Contrast that to 65 percent of Democrat voters who say they trust their party to keep its promises. Among conservative voters, a clear plurality felt that the GOP is supporting the Swamp rather than draining it. It should therefore come as no surprise that there is such an intensity gap between the two sides and Republicans are on the losing side of a 15- to 20-point swing in the special elections.
Another consistent theme from the poll results was that although Trump’s personal favorability is under water, on the issues, he is much more popular than the GOP Congress, not just among Republican base voters but even among independents. The GOP leadership is the least popular part of government among independent voters.
With such lackluster support for the party from its base voters and independents who are naturally not enthralled with the Democrat agenda, how can Republicans expect to survive this election without a major change?
What’s worse is that independent voters who propelled them to power in 2010, 2014, and 2016 all want change. By a margin of 60-31, voters said they want a new congressman and would not vote to re-elect the incumbent, but among independents, that margin is 70-19, even more pronounced than among Democrats.
But again, we must ask, does this mean independents want liberal Democrats promoting socialism and open borders in office?
When asked whether they supported efforts by sanctuary cities to disobey federal immigration law, voters opposed them by a margin of 52-37. Among independents? 54-33.
This demonstrates that while there is a growing and energized contingent of left-wing voters in this country, conservatives can match their intensity by rallying Republicans and independents around new leaders and a new agenda designed to fight the status quo, even with Republicans in charge. However, if they just elect the same leaders such as Kevin McCarthy, they will be swallowed up in a wave of liberal voters without any intensity on the Right and with independent voters drifting to the “alternative” by default.
The only path forward is for existing conservative members and candidates running in primaries to pledge to oppose the status quo Swamp leaders like McCarthy and commit to voting for Jim Jordan as speaker. They should commit to a new contract with America built upon transparency, reforming programs, ending the illegal alien fleecing of the taxpayer, cutting out the special interest cartels in health care and other areas of the economy, and term limits.
One thing is clear: If Republicans commit to the same leaders and the same agenda, they won’t have to worry about picking the next speaker next year. If they align with the Swamp, voters will treat them as the Swamp and make that decision for them.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.