Check out this poll released today by Bloomberg. When Republican voters were asked whether Donald Trump or Paul Ryan better matches their own view of what the GOP should stand for, they responded as follows:
Republican leaders should take this result very seriously as they start to think about what the post-2016 GOP will look like. Given all that has happened to Trump this fall, it’s telling that over half of the Republican base still believes he represents their views better than the GOP establishment’s most nationally recognizable figure.
Why is this? While policy differences may play some role, I think voters’ affinity to Trump is primarily due to his focus on the concerns of ordinary Americans — rather than the elite class — as well as the Republican Party’s overall inability to oppose the reshaping of America by progressives during the Obama era.
If the GOP cannot adapt itself to take these concerns into account, the party is unlikely to win over these voters in future elections. In fact, 2016 could very likely play itself out all over again.
Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles Project.