It was pretty quiet last night during President Trump's whirlwind tour of Los Angeles, from LAX to Beverly Park to Downtown.
Republican politicians from Southern California were especially mum. Few appeared to have met with the president except for San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter. “A lot of my constituents see me and President Trump on the same page with issues because we are,” Hunter told Take Two’s A Martinez.
With midterm elections just eight months away, most other Republicans may have wanted to keep their distance.
“The president’s unpopularity is sky high here in California, said Mike Madrid, a political consultant with GrassrootsLab. “Most Republicans, with few exceptions, are mostly keeping their distance trying to disassociate themselves with the president. Which is not uncommon with President in power during midterm elections… this however seems to be a little bit more impactful…. ”
There's a lot riding on the mid-term elections for the GOP. Democrats are making a mad dash to take back control of the House in November. "In most... competitive districts specifically, his unpopularity is becoming a wedge issue where voters are going to decide whether or not they’re going to be supporting the candidates down-ticket for congress," said Madrid. "Even in these very red districts-- very Republican seats, there’s clearly a surge in medium to lower propensity democratic voters and a weakening in the republican base."
The vitriol towards Trump has the potential to wear away at Republican supporters. Races and special elections across the country have shown a consistent swinging towards Democratic candidates. "What you’re starting to see is a hemorrhaging of the Republican base. College-education Republican women especially are kind of softening very quickly to the president and his policies and his administration," added Madrid.
For California voters, it isn't a single issue that drives the divide. There are a handful of issues that are putting space between local Republicans and the White House. "Immigration is one of them. It has everything to do with women’s rights, LGBT issues, environmental issues, even tax policy," said Madrid. "And now, trade policy. In California, where free-trade, NAFTA, open markets have done remarkable things for our local economy. There just does not seem to be a list or an area where somebody isn’t bothered by something that is going on."