Moderate Democrats say they have long been advising freshmen from conservative districts that breaking with the party is a key to survival — even when it means splitting with a popular president.

“I’ve been trying to tell at least those freshmen who belong to the Blue Dogs, ‘Vote your district, don’t get swept up in what the president wants, don’t get swept up in what leadership wants, and you’ll never have a problem,’” said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.).