The GOP’s Lesson of 2016: Betrayal Has Consequences

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Hamsphire (photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Hamsphire (photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 2.0)

If a good friend or family member cheats you or sells you out to an enemy, that betrayal generates powerful raw emotions and anger. When your friend turns his back on you, it stings and you want to do something about it. I mention this psychological point because, once again, there is exit poll data that should shake the governing and donor class of the Republican Party to its very core.

According to CNN 58% of Republican primary voters in Michigan said they felt “betrayed” by the Republican Party. That’s astonishing! And the result has been high in every state where the question has been asked.

Everyone is celebrating the higher turnout in the primaries this year. Voting in Michigan broke a 40-year record. Some precincts ran out of ballots. But is the high turnout evidence of excitement in the GOP? Or is it evidence of the grassroots trying to teach the establishment a lesson?

The results speak volumes: Donald Trump is first and Ted Cruz is second. Just look at their combined totals from last night. Together, Trump and Cruz took:

62% of the vote in Michigan,
73% of the vote in Idaho,
75% of the vote in Hawaii and
83% of the vote in Mississippi.

The voters who feel betrayed include a significant percentage of evangelicals, who don’t think the party seriously fought to defend their values, from life to marriage and now religious liberty.

There are Tea Party movement advocates too, who thought the party was serious about limiting the size and scope of government.

And, most notably, blue collar families whose angst and discontent rest on two pillars — one is culture and the other economic.

Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.