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The lethal contradictions of Trumpian politics

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

Trump is so hungry for "wins" that he is still pushing the Senate to pass any bill to repeal Obamacare. But enacting proposals along the lines of those that failed last week would be the worst possible outcome for Trump because they effectively break the promises he made to nearly 40 percent of his own sympathizers.

Senate Republicans who want to back away from repeal, at least for now, seem more attuned to how disruptive this issue is. But the looming battle over deep tax cuts tilted toward the wealthy will also split the alliance Trump is counting on for survival.

As Ekins concludes, Trump voters "hold different perceptions of justice in the political and economic systems."

Trump's coalition is by no means unique historically in bringing together constituencies with widely divergent views. Franklin D. Roosevelt, after all, won votes from Northern African-Americans and Southern white segregationists. On the other hand, the New Deal alignment was shattered when civil rights became a driving national issue.

Still, political leaders trying to hold diverse groups together need to demonstrate finesse and both the appearance and reality of successful governance. Finesse, needless to say, is not a Trump long suit. And every day that brings a new Trump revelation, new questions about Russia or sheer craziness (the Mooch interlude or the president's description of the White House as "a real dump") puts increased pressure on a rickety alliance that can only bear so much. When Trump most needs that base of his, it may no longer be there.

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E.J. Dionne's email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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