Since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, the Republican coalition has revolved around a delicate but durable balancing act. The ongoing drive to complete the GOP’s tax bill will test whether that balance can endure under the heightened stress Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency is imposing on it.
Over roughly the past 40 years, the GOP has pursued a two-track approach toward building its electoral coalition. First, Republicans have consistently targeted the cultural conservatism — and often the racial resentments — of the blue-collar, evangelical and rural whites who are most uneasy about the social and demographic changes remaking American life. Simultaneously, in the name of promoting capitalism and free enterprise, the party has targeted its economic agenda primarily at the priorities of the wealthiest earners and business.
To a far greater extent than his iconoclastic rhetoric as a candidate suggested, Trump in office has closely followed that twin path. Yet he has complicated this balance nonetheless by intensifying the pressure on each side of the fulcrum. CONT.
Ronald Brownstein, CNN