In a study, Tilley found this second process—selective attribution—is stronger. People are more willing, in other words, to find someone else to blame than they are to squint and try to see their party’s bad policies in a rosier light.
And who do Republican voters blame when the entire government is stacked with Republicans? Why, Congress, naturally. Sure, some House members and senators might belong to your same party, but at least you aren’t responsible for their electoral victories—some schmucks in Janesville are. “If you voted for Trump quite recently, you’re not going to want to say he cocked everything up,” says Tilley. “But here’s a guy, Paul Ryan, I didn’t actually vote for him, but here’s a chance to blame someone else.”
Indeed, people seemed much more willing to blame Congress for the American Health Care Act than they were to blame Trump. Stat’s interview subjects thought the GOP put together the bill too hastily, while one Republican man in Kingston, New York, told the New York Times, “I liked the idea of repealing Obamacare, but I thought the Republicans would actually have a plan.” Not Trump, that is; The Republicans.
Americans might be less likely to hold the government responsible for things than Brits are, Tilley says, since America relies on the private sector for some things, such as health care, that are responsibilities of the state in other countries.