Sharing some of the comments I receive from readers again, here’s an emailed letter that arrived from a fellow named Joshua:
“Your Steven Sachs column is very well done but, in my opinion, your quip, ‘these days integrity seems as rare as a Trump-defying Republican,’ is the very type of divisive and inaccurate statement that we could all do without these days. I am a registered Republican and I am not a Trump supporter. I didn’t vote for him. Perhaps you meant, ‘Trump-defying Republican politicians,’ but even that would be a wholly inaccurate, broad-brush stereotype, given that our very own governor falls into the Trump-defying category as do many other well respected Republicans. You could come up with better analogies than ones that further divide us . . .”
I appreciated Joshua’s letter, a civil message from that rare, openly Republican Republican who has a generally favorable view of my column. But I still have to disagree with his complaint.
I’m not trying to be divisive. I’m merely representing reality — Trump is still considered the leader of the Republican Party for good reason: All polling shows that the vast majority of registered Republicans still support him while significant majorities believe Biden was illegitimately elected. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan might be opposed to Trump, but Hogan is a rare bird in the torched Republican landscape, and other elected Republicans who defied Trump are considered outcasts.
Joshua is correct: Republican politicians are horribly spineless when it comes to Trump. Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach him for his role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol last Jan. 6. That level of Trump loyalty, however, is reflective of Republican constituencies. A Washington Post poll in December found that only 27% of Republican voters believe Trump bears some responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack while 40% of Republicans believe violent action against the government is sometimes justified.
Please remember that Trump was impeached twice but never convicted because so few Republicans dared to hold him responsible for his offenses.
Remember also that 147 House and Senate Republicans (including Andy Harris of Maryland) voted to overturn the results of the November 2020 election. The last poll I saw on this — from UMass Amherst — had 71% of Republican voters refusing to accept Biden as the legitimately elected president. The poll also found that “Republicans continue to defend the events of Jan. 6 and those who perpetrated the attacks on the capitol, with 80% describing the events as a ‘protest’ [and] more than a quarter (26%) deeming the pro-Trump horde ‘patriots.'”
it’s true that the vast majority of Republican politicians support Trump, but they do so because of what the polling indicates and their constituents tell them. While support for another Trump run in 2024 has fallen a little among Republicans, a majority still thinks it’s a good idea.
So, all things considered, my metaphorical quip (“rare as a Trump-defying Republican“) is pretty much on-time and pithy, and in my business — commentary — you never cut pithy.
Maybe Joshua should ask himself this question: “Why am I still a registered Republican?”