Rasmussen Reports, the only polling company to correctly call the 2016 presidential election popular vote result, is consistently querying likely voters by phone and internet to keep up with public opinion on a number of political subjects.
A little over a year into the Trump Administration Rasmussen is now detecting some interesting trends. Historically the term "RINO" has been used as a derogatory epithet by conservatives to describe GOP office seekers who profess a right wing ideology while campaigning, then "evolving" and "growing and maturing" into moderates and even liberals when they assume the mantle of office, particularly in Washington DC.
A recently completed Rasmussen poll of likely Republican voters found that a "new breed" of grass roots RINO is emerging with characteristics totally different from the older definition of the term.
These new RINOS are faithful GOP voters who are identifying less and less with the party's historic leadership and more and more with President Donald Trump. This may explain Trump's success at regional stump speeches such as his recent visit to Michigan.
Rasmussen reports that some 60 percent of GOP voters polled have persistently complained that DC solons are out of touch with the party base yet they kept getting reelected because of the power of incumbency. The Trump revolution appears to have changed that.
C-Span, Trump's propensity to "tweet," his affection for decentralized voter rallies and certainly the internet have all liberated grassroots Republicans from the information filter maintained by the liberal media.
Criticism of Trump by the Bush family, Romney and McCain just doesn't register with the base. Paul Ryan quitting as speaker? Rasmussen found only 30 percent of GOP voters cared. Nevada GOP Congressman Joe Heck belittles Trump? Heck is off to "heck" and gone!.
Objectively speaking Trump has either done or tried to do what he promised on the campaign trail in marked contrast with RINO congresspersons. Even with Republican control Congress was too dysfunctional to come up with an alternative to Obamacare; it failed to deal with illegal immigration or DACA; and although it lowered taxes it got sucked into approving an outsized spending measure which ballooned the deficit.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who was the only GOP vote against the spending bill, said: "When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power it seems there is no conservative party."
Intrigued by the senator's observation Rasmussen tested it with the public, and found 42 percent of likely voters (not just Republicans) in this sample agreed with Sen. Paul, 34 percent disagreed and a sizable minority of 23 percent were undecided.
So here's a thought: Ever since Trump took the oath as president pundits, talking heads and self-appointed experts have been looking at out year election histories and predicting a "blue wave" next November in which the GOP Congressional majorities are swept out of office.
Rasmussen is among them, showing a five-point lead for Democrats in the generic ballot for congressional seats. Hoping to catch that wave Democrats are recruiting candidates who are "attractive" to voters including many with recent military experience.
If the "new" RINO Republicans, those who care less about party and more about accomplishment, support moderate Democrats who are not beholden to minority leaders Pelosi and Schumer, the result could be a mixture of solons who would compromise and work with Trump to carry out a mutually agreed agenda.
That's what happened during the Bill Clinton administration. The stars could again be in alignment.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.