Adversaries or Allies? Donald Trump’s Republican Support in Congress

Adversaries or Allies? Donald Trump’s Republican Support in Congress

by Karyn Amira, Lauren JohnsonDeon McCray, and Jordan Ragusa, College of Charleston

Donald Trump’s first year in office received unprecedented media coverage, with many wondering whether congressional Republicans were “adversaries” or “allies” of the president’s legislative positions. We explore this issue from two vantage points. First, we place Trump’s presidency in historical context by forecasting his Republican support with data from 1969 to 2016. We find that Republicans supported Trump’s legislative positions in 2017 at levels consistent with expectations, contrary to the views of some. Second, we explore the factors that explain why Republican lawmakers supported or opposed their party’s president. We find that conservative and establishment Republicans were more likely to support Trump, contrary to some claims, while female Republicans and those representing affluent, non-white districts were more likely to oppose Trump. We conclude by discussing the broader implications of these results, including the role of identity in contemporary American politics and the possible realignment of the GOP.

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