Republicans are like a battered spouse who refuses to leave the relationship. Donald Trump has insulted, humiliated and bashed them, but Republicans are sticking by their man. They’re sure that either he will change or they will change him. He won’t but they’re too scared or brainwashed to leave.
According to recent polls, Trump still enjoys 75% or more support from Republicans. Nothing he does seems to make them leave. In just the past month, he’s pardoned a man who brags about violating people’s rights, called white supremacists “fine people,” attacked GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and threatened to pull out of free-trade agreements.
On matters of foreign policy, he’s lost the respect of our western allies while coddling the Russian dictator. He used twitter to make idle threats against North Korea, exposing his lack of a plan to deal with the Hermit Kingdom. European and Asian leaders don’t take him seriously but to Republicans, he’s still the man.
Trump’s throwing traditional conservative principles under the bus. He’s still threatening to pull out of NAFTA, ending years of GOP support for free market trade policies. He prefers Putin’s authoritarianism to western Europe’s liberal democracy. He’s as responsible as anyone for the failure to repeal Obamacare and, so far, hasn’t delivered on any significant policy proposals.
Still, the GOP sticks with him. At a fundraising dinner in South Carolina this week, the Republican US Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, proclaimed, “Thank God for Donald J. Trump!” Who knows what she’s thanking him for.
Trump’s supporters are willing to overlook his past and his failures. He was a Democrat for much longer than he’s been a Republican. He was pro-choice much longer than he’s been pro-life. He’s been married three times and bragged about cheating on his wives.
But all of that is okay with Republicans. They’re sure that he’ll change. If they just love him enough, they can get him to treat them better. It’s all a dangerous lie. This dysfunctional relationship will not end well for the GOP–or the country.