WaPo throws cold water on GOP ‘in collapse’ narrative after report of ‘unprecedented exodus’

A large number of Republican voters have reportedly abandoned the party in the wake of the tragic riot at the U.S  Capitol on Jan. 6.

Recent reports on the alleged “unprecedented exodus” have sparked questions about the GOP’s future in the wake of a presidential election loss and control of the U.S. Senate. But The Washington Post surprisingly countered the premise, noting the GOP is “not a party in collapse.”

“More than 30,000 voters who had been registered members of the Republican Party have changed their voter registration in the weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters attacked the Capitol — an issue that led the House to impeach the former president for inciting the violence,” The Hill reported.

“The massive wave of defections is a virtually unprecedented exodus that could spell trouble for a party that is trying to find its way after losing the presidential race and the Senate majority,” the outlet added.

These “defections,” as The Hill termed them, have popped up to varying degrees in Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, Maryland, Florida and Colorado.

And, The Hill adds, “In all of those areas, the number of Democrats who left their party is a fraction of the number of Republican defectors.”

University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald noted that the trend was small relative to the number of voters at issue, but still ran counter to the way things ran before the election.

“Prior to the election, the trend was in the opposite direction, there were more Republicans that were registering,” McDonald told The Hill. “It’s not just like it’s a little blip, it’s also a blip in a different direction than we’ve seen in previous years.”

Now, you likely won’t find many news outlets more hostile to Republicans than The Washington Post. And in its analysis of this phenomenon, the Post says not so fast.

Following the riot, the Post reported on Wednesday, “Rumors that the Republican Party broadly is paying a price for the violence have a specific sort of appeal, a sense of justice aligning itself as expected. The implication is obvious: Thousands of Republicans are fleeing the party, so it better straighten out. It had better change its behavior soon or risk collapse!”

“Eh, not really,” the Post added.

For one reason, citing Arizona as an example, the Post noted that it is clear “more Republicans than Democrats are switching their affiliations in the state. What isn’t clear is how that compares historically to changes in the state. Maybe after most presidential elections there’s a similar shift away from the losing candidate’s party. It’s hard to tell.”

“What we can say is that the trend in recent years has been away from parties and to political independence anyway,” the Post observed. The paper referred to data from both Gallup and the Pew Research Center that indicate for years within the electorate “the density of Republicans has dropped,” and was most noticeable “not under Trump but in the second term of George W. Bush’s presidency.”

Besides Arizona, the Post also studied this trend in Pennsylvania. In the end, it noted Democrats swapped parties, too. Just not at the same rate. In Arizona, “for every three Republicans who left to become Democrats, a Democrat left his party to become a Republican,” while in Pennsylvania, “for every three Republicans leaving the party there, two Democrats became Republicans.”

“This is not a party in collapse,” the Post argued.

“All of this should be considered in another context: There are a lot more than 10,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania and Arizona. In fact, the number of Republicans (and Democrats) switching parties constitute only a small fraction of the total pool of voters in each state. In both Arizona and Pennsylvania, a larger percentage of the Republican voter pool switched than of the Democratic pool, but hardly at levels that threaten electoral success.”

Moreover, “Given the extent to which the party seems to once again be coalescing around (former President Donald) Trump” – a reference to 45 Republicans in the Senate who voted to reject the impeachment trial – “it also seems unlikely that such a change is looming.”

And if you need more context: 74 million people voted for Trump.


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