Congressional Republicans will not turn on Trump until the right-wing media abandons him.

From a post at Washington Monthly by Nancy LeTourneau titled ”The Uneasy Relationship Between Trump and Wealthy Republicans”:

So where does that leave the Republican Party? It has become increasingly clear to me that the answer to that question doesn’t lie with families like the Kochs or the Mercers, but with the Murdochs. While their media empire doesn’t comprise the entire right-wing echo chamber, it is, at minimum, the center of it all, especially with Fox News and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. When/if Trump becomes a liability rather than an asset to people in the Murdoch family empire, they are the ones who have influence over what low-information white voters hear about politics. That gives them the power to alter the current dynamics.

I think Nancy is right, perhaps because her explanation here ties into my general theory of why Congressional Republicans continue to hang with and defend Trump.

The theory goes like this:

  1. In the face of shifting demographics, Republicans have, over the last several decades, adopted an electoral strategy that has them dependent upon voter suppression, gerrymandered districts, and an ardent but shrinking base of low-education white voters.
  2. Trump, aided by Russian propaganda and hacking, swept in and leveraged that base to take over the Republican Party and then found his way to the White House.
  3. As a result, Congressional Republicans, while not directly beholden to Trump, now find themselves electorally dependent on a base that is devoted to him.
  4. That base, meanwhile, exists within a media bubble that nurtures their grievances and supplies a steady drumbeat of pro-Trump propaganda, thereby eliminating any chance that they will be swayed by Trump’s corruption and illegal behavior.

So the question here is not “When will the Republicans turn against Trump,” but rather when the right-wing media will do so. Until that happens, Trump’s base will stick with him, and Congressional Republicans are stuck with him.