Republican Radicalization on Policy Issues

Paul Waldman in the American Prospect observes a Republican radicalization on hot-button policy issues embraced by the Obama administration.

For example, “clear majorities of the public have long favored a path to citizenship … But that has changed, because Republicans have changed. As the Post described [a Quinnipiac poll] results, ‘Although [Republicans] supported citizenship over deportation 43 to 38 percent in November 2013, today they support deportation/involuntary departure over citizenship, 54 to 27 percent.'”

“That’s an enormous shift, and it provides an object lesson in a dynamic that has repeated itself many times during the Obama presidency.”

Waldman argues that when an issue like immigration or health care becomes a top agenda item by the Obama administration, “you get a particular cycle. Elite Republicans take their place in the fight against Obama; then rank-and-file Republicans follow along; then pushed by their constituencies, the officeholders harden their positions, which in turn pulls their voters farther to the right, and on it goes. The particularly intense loathing Republicans at all levels have for Obama feeds the cycle, pushing them toward not just disagreeing with him on particular courses of policy but rejecting the underlying principles he holds.”

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