Publisher's note: This post, by Ray Nothstine, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.
For many, President Donald Trump was supposed to be the most divisive figure in Republican Party history. Most of us remember the panic and constant fretting from so many in the establishment as Trump steamrolled his way to the nomination and then the presidency. While he's certainly divisive on the Left and with a segment of vocal conservatives, Republicans are generally supporting him en masse. Trump even likes to remind supporters of that, claiming his approval with Republicans is at a whopping 95 percent
. There's certainly ample evidence
he's more popular than past Republican presidents with the party's base.
While I'm not sure of the poll Trump is citing, a new Civitas Poll
points to a perception that North Carolina Republicans are indeed unified. At least more so than in past years.
Trump has already potentially unified Republicans around current U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, whose unpopularity with GOP voters was notorious before he flopped towards unwavering support for the president. Don't believe me? Just check out past Civitas Polls
showing Tillis's unpopularity.
A few months ago, while talking with enraged callers on the radio in eastern North Carolina, I was at least skeptical Tillis would secure the GOP nomination. There was palpable anger with the first-term senator and former speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
The Civitas Poll
is showing Tillis the obvious favorite to win. Garland Tucker, a former challenger to Tillis, cited
the impeachment dynamics and Tillis now being a staunch defender of the president within the Senate as the primary reason his bid could no longer be successful. Tucker, like others, is skeptical Tillis will continue his conservative ways if he wins re-election.
More importantly, it stands to reason that the more Trump is attacked through the impeachment process it could bolster unity within the GOP, not just in North Carolina but across the nation. It's certainly proven to be a fundraising bonanza for Republicans
The unity question is also interesting because of the oft used narrative, whether it be through the media or social media, that Trump does not have the support of elements of his party. Suburban women and establishment figures within the beltway are so often cited as dissenters of the president's tone or agenda. At any rate, the national narrative continually pushes the notion that Trump is overseeing and orchestrating a shrinking and vanishing Republican Party
. Trump is making a push to reach more minority voters for 2020
and in many states, he already bested the previous nominee Mitt Romney on that front in 2016
. It's at least likely, he can improve upon those numbers in 2020.
There is little doubt that Trump mobilizes and unifies his opposition, but North Carolina might just be a state that shows just how much his party is solidly unifying behind him.