With their 247 seats in the House, the largest GOP majority since 1930, Republicans should have no problem pushing their agenda and agreeing upon a speaker to lead them. But here’s the rub: The Republicans are victims of their own success – gerrymandering success. Their commanding majority in the House is to some extent artificial. Only a few House Republicans represent districts where they hear divergent views, a situation that reinforces their mistaken belief that a majority of Americans agree with them and their agenda for the nation. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed more Americans believe the Democrats are better able to handle domestic policy issues and only 32% of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party. Another Pew poll showed that only 23% of Americans identify as Republicans. More than 40% of voter csonsider themselves independents, and when they are asked to say which party they lean toward more often and are included with strong partisans, only 39% of Americans say they favor GOP views versus 48% who agree with Democrats.
A Pew poll conducted in late September — just after the House voted nearly along party lines for a measure to end funding for Planned Parenthood — shows 60% of Americans believe funding Planned Parenthood should be maintained.
That gets us to the problem facing Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who has offered to be speaker, but is demanding party unity if Republicans want him to take the job. The Freedom Caucus, whose conservative members will tolerate nothing but absolute allegiance to their conservative mission, are holding the speakership hostage and trying to dictate how Mr. Ryan could manage the House.
The way these members see the world is directly attributable to how they got elected.