But where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a dangerous political provocateur, the GOP base sees a fighter who is defending them and their values — against the cultural oppression of the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood and against a political establishment in Washington that bends the rules for everyone but them.
And, where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a radical nationalist who threatens the American melting pot at home and the abdication of U.S. leadership abroad, the GOP rank and file, including some skeptical of Trump, see a jobs-focused president pursuing a largely traditional GOP domestic and foreign policy agenda.
The Republican civil war is real. The institutions that make up the party, from Congress to think tanks to prominent members of the conservative media, continue to resist Trump’s populist strain of Republicanism and his takeover of the party.
But for the most part, the voters that empower those institutions feel differently.