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GOP Base Still Doesn’t Value Compromise

Among the general public recently there has been an increasing desire to see politicians compromise instead of sticking to their positions, but the Republican base still considers compromise a low priority. From Pew:

When Americans are asked whether they prefer elected officials who stick to their positions or those willing to compromise, the balance of opinion has shifted since early 2011. Currently, 50% say they like elected officials who make compromises with people they disagree with rather than elected officials who stick to their positions (44%). In March 2011, 54% said they preferred those who stick to their positions and 40% preferred those who compromise.

While a majority of Republicans say they prefer elected officials who stick to their positions (55% vs. 36%), the balance is flipped among Democrats and independents.

This is a large part of why the prospect of any major legislation in Obama’s second term is bleak.

Thanks to gerrymandering and natural sorting the number of actually competitive house is incredibly small. There are remarkably few House Republicans who are worried about their own general elections. The only major election worry for most House Republicans is a primary challenge, so they have a strong incentive to follow their base’s desire not to compromise.

The only possible political incentive for many House Republicans to take part in compromise is to help improve the overall Republican brand efforts to increase their chances of retaining the House or taking the Senate. Even that seems like it should be a minor concern in the short term.

The current design of the House districts provide a huge built-in advantage for Republicans. Combined with the fact that Democratic leaning groups are less likely to turnout a midterm election, it is very likely that the GOP will retain control of the House after the next election anyway.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at