Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’
In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, the polling firm Echelon Insights decided to ask voters a simple question: Do they think the goal of politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the country’s survival as we know it?”
Only 25 percent of Republicans said politics is about policy; nearly half said it’s about survival. That’s today’s Republican Party in a nutshell.
I’ve had some recent conversations with Republicans who are trying to reform their party, to push it back toward policy and, in some cases, reality. But, for now, we’re governing with the Republican Party we have, not the Republican Party many want. So what does that Republican Party, the real Republican Party, believe?
Kristen Soltis Anderson is a Republican pollster, host of Sirius XM’s “The Trendline,” and co-founder of Echelon Insights. She has done some of the most in-depth surveys of Republican voters to date: the issues that animate them, the traits they look for in presidential candidates, how they consume information, their faith in Donald Trump and much more. So I invited her on my podcast, “The Ezra Klein Show” to talk about what today’s Republicans believe, and what that reveals about where the party is going next.
(A full transcript of the episode can be found here.)
A Top G.O.P. Pollster on Trump 2024, QAnon and What Republicans Really Want
A Top G.O.P. Pollster on Trump 2024, QAnon and What Republicans Really Want
Kristen Soltis Anderson has done some of the most in-depth surveys of the party’s voters to date. Her findings are unnerving.
I’m Ezra Klein, and this is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
We’ve done some shows recently with Republicans who are trying to change their party, to push back towards policy, and in some cases, push it just back towards empirical reality. Check out episodes with Yuval Levin or Ramesh Ponnuru to get a sense of what I’m talking about. But for now, the Republican Party is not what these reformers want it to become. We are governing, living with the Republican Party we have, not the Republican Party many might want. So what is that Republican Party, the real Republican Party, the Republican Party that that loves Donald Trump and wants to see him run again, what does that Republican Party believe? What do they prioritize? What do they emphasize in politics? What do they think all this is even about? Kristen Soltis Anderson is a Republican pollster and the co-founder of the polling firm Echelon Insights. She’s the author of “The Selfie Vote.” She is the host of Sirius XM’s “The Trendline.” She’s a Fox News contributor. Got a lot of affiliations, a lot of work, but she does excellent polling and analysis on the modern Republican Party and, to be honest, some of the most unnerving survey results I’ve seen in recent years come out of her firm. Some of the ideas about the Republican Party that make me most pessimistic, that’s out of her analysis. So I asked her on the show for conversation about what today’s Republicans believe and what that suggests about where the party is going next, not just in 2024, but beyond. As always, my email is [email protected] Here’s Kristen Soltis Anderson.
Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
So let me begin here. Your firm conducted an interesting poll that asked people whether they believe politics is about, quote, “enacting good public policy” or is it about, quote, “ensuring the country’s survival as we know it“? Only 25 percent of Republicans said it was about the enacting good policy, and almost 50 percent said it was about survival as we know it. Why?
In some ways, that doesn’t completely surprise me in that Republicans, I think, tend to look to government less as the solution to problems in the first place. And so, the idea of public policy as being the thing that will solve problems, you would expect that to be something Republicans believe perhaps less than Democrats. But I also think that part of what you saw animate the rise of Donald Trump within the party is a real sense among many in the Republican coalition today that they are under siege. And whether it’s a sense of losing cultural power or losing economic power, that many people who have gravitated to the right don’t just feel like what’s happening in Washington these days is, oh, a debate over what should the top marginal tax rate be or what’s your government spending look like or those sorts of things. But rather, they feel the way of life that they have known is changing rapidly. And that makes them very anxious. And that, I think, is driving a lot of their views.
You do a lot of focus groups with Republicans. So what does this actually look like? What would it look like for the country’s survival to be assured? What would it look like for the perceived sense of siege to end?
I think for a lot of Republicans, it would mean some combination of feeling like they’re able to practice their religion freely. There was some great research that was done by Henry Olsen on behalf of the Ethics and Public Policy Center that showed one of the most unifying beliefs of the Trump coalition was the idea that there is religious persecution of Christians in the U.S. these days. I think that’s a big piece of it and why you saw Donald Trump, despite his sort of personal ethical issues, still being quite beloved by evangelicals, that he sort of seemed as though he was somebody who was going to defend their right to practice their religion as they saw fit and not be told by the government that they couldn’t, or be told — and this is, I think, the crucial part — not just by government, but by other institutions — by schools that their children go to, or by the media, by their employers that they’re not allowed to hold certain beliefs. I think that that is increasingly why you see so many on the right talking about things like cancel culture, even though, in my research, I actually find that the term cancel culture isn’t something that rises up to the very tiptop of Republican concerns. I think there is, in some ways, the more libertarian, get the government out of my life and let me live, is still a strain that is very big within Republican circles these days, even as sort of economic libertarianism may be less in fashion than it was 10 years ago.
One of the things I wonder about is that my sense of politics right now is, Democrats, in general, feel — my view is correctly — that they have less political power than their numbers would suggest. And Republicans feel — also actually correctly — they have less cultural power. And I’m defining culture here very broadly, like the peak of business, the peak of people who make television, the peak of advertising agencies, and so on, than their numbers would suggest. And among Republicans, it seems to me this has created a bit of a question, if you’re a Republican politician, of how do you wield power to deal with the problems your base actually has? Because in general, there aren’t a lot of policy solutions to the people who make TV don’t think that making TV for you is the best long-term business strategy. And it seems to be driving Republicans in Congress down a bit of a weird path, where there’s just not a lot of actual policy they can offer. There’s more of a posture of fighting.
100 percent. So I’ve written two columns that sort of touch on this. One is to your earlier point that I think is exactly right, that Democrats feel a sense of, we ought to have more political power, considering the power we have in cultural spaces and Republicans feeling vice versa. I sort of abuse the theory of thermostatic public opinion, which is to say that typically, I think this is more applied to things like fiscal policy. But if, for instance, government start spending a lot more money, then the thermostat kicks in, and the public starts saying, whoa, whoa, whoa, spend less money. Or if taxes go up, then the thermostat kicks in, and the public starts favoring lower taxes. And that’s how you wind up with the back and forth Republican, Democrat thing shifting from decade to decade. But that in this case, if you have Democrats sort of reacting thermostatically to what they view as what, during the Trump era, was Republican control of the levers of power in government and sort of viewing the opposition as quite extreme, and therefore, I am more comfortable with my side being extreme as a counterbalance, in the same way that if, on a very frigid day, you open your window, the furnace is going to have to crank extra hard to counterbalance it, that you see, I think, Democrats reacting to or having reacted to the Trump era by moving much further to the left in response to what they saw was a very extreme threat. But I think Republicans, instead, the thermostat is broken and that they’re reacting not necessarily to things the government is doing, but what they feel is an encroachment on their values coming from, whether it’s Hollywood, big tech, the media, universities — you sort of, you name it. There’s that laundry list of folks that Republicans would love to rail against. And that’s who they say, look, these are the institutions that have moved and become more extreme. And as a result, I feel more under siege. I am more willing to accept an extreme candidate because hey, quote, unquote, “at least he fights.”
There two threads in there that I want to pick up on, and one of them is that I see a difference in the way Democrats and Republicans seem to respond to this moment. There was a lot after 2016, and even to some degree, after 2020, concern among Democrats that they were losing Trumpist voters, right? What did Democrats need to do at a high level to regain these white working-class voters in, say, Wisconsin? And there’s a bunch of things Democrats culturally didn’t do, but at the high levels of politics, among other things, they nominated Joe Biden, who was this white, old, more moderate guy from Scranton. I don’t see the same thing happening among Republicans. I don’t see a concern that they’re losing Democratic voters. I don’t see a concern that they haven’t won a popular vote in a presidential campaign more than once in the last seven or eight cycles. And I’m curious why you think that is. Because there’s one version of saying we are now being discriminated against and left behind, but also political coalitions have agency. They can try to win people back. And I don’t see that much of an emphasis on persuasion in the G.O.P.
To the extent that these days, you see discussion about expanding the coalition and bringing in voters who might be more available to the G.O.P. There is not as much of an appetite these days for winning back, say, college educated suburbanites, I think in part because there is a belief that there may just be too great a divide on some of these sort of values and culture type issues. Meanwhile, I think there is some more appetite you are seeing among Republicans for doing outreach to those in communities of color, who may not have college degrees and who you did see it, whether it’s in places like the Rio Grande Valley and Osceola County, Florida. But I also think this is one of the many sort of pernicious pieces of fallout from the whole, the election was stolen, issue. If you were a sort of Never-Trump Republican and you get to January 6, and you think we’re hitting rock bottom here — we’ve lost the Senate, we’ve lost the presidency, we’ve lost the House. We must do something to fix things. I liken it to the scene in “Jurassic Park” when Laura Dern goes to reset the park after they’ve discovered Dennis Nedry has mangled it, that she’s trying to get things back online. And as soon as she thinks, OK, maybe this is the moment when we get Jurassic Park online, the raptor jumps out of the side of the bunker, and you get that jump scare. And I feel like that’s kind of the — if you were a never-Trump Republican looking for the party to move on past everything of the last few years, you now instead have Marjorie Taylor Greene grabbing headlines. And you have absolutely no autopsy anywhere in sight. , So, in some ways, I would love for the Republican Party and think it’s important for them to take a look at why so many Americans who might be otherwise open to the G.O.P. just are completely uninterested these days. But I think as long as Republicans have a sense of, no, we’re still OK, we just have to keep fighting harder, that sort of introspection is not likely to happen in a big way.
You talked earlier about how the right is acting thermostatically against a sense that they’re losing power in all kinds of powerful, nonpolitical institutions in American life. And I want to talk about that a bit because one of the key things in politics is how people gain information. And the right’s informational universe has changed a lot in recent decades and narrowed a lot in recent decades. And it’s begun to have very strange outcomes, like, say, the rise of QAnon. How would you describe the differences between where Democrats get their political information and what political information they trust, and where and how Republicans get it and what they trust?
So I think it’s both a question of where people are getting their information and how much information they are getting. To the point you just made about sort of conspiracy theories like QAnon, there’s some really interesting data that AEI’s Survey Center on American Life put out a couple of weeks ago, where they took a look at to what extent Republicans believe various conspiracy theories — ideas that Antifa was mostly responsible for the attack on the Capitol or the QAnon conspiracy. And they find that Republicans who do not have a college degree are significantly more likely to view those conspiracy theories as accurate. And I think you’d also just find that voters of lower education levels tend to consume less news just in general. It is not as though they are all opting for some far-right source of news so much as they are more likely not consuming as much news as, say, a college-educated voter is, which may mean that they’re just coming across things on Facebook and social media. And they’re coming across things in passing or hearing it from friends and neighbors rather than necessarily hearing it directly from some conservative source of news that they’ve tuned into. The other thing to bear in mind is there’s a really interesting Pew study that came out a couple of weeks ago digging into people’s, sort of, news diets. And they found that the vast majority either are consuming news from a mix of places. They might be consuming news from local media sources, et cetera. Or they just simply aren’t consuming news that much. And it actually wasn’t dramatically different on the left, depending on how you were classifying different news sources. And I think Pew very smartly classified news sources for the study not on the basis of, does Pew think it’s a conservative or a progressive news source, but rather, is the audience of that news source predominantly conservative or progressive? So the big thing that this, I think, underscored for me is, things like Twitter is not real life, that those who are hyper-engaged super consumers of news are broadly not representative of the electorate, and that for me, it’s less is the problem — news sources on one side are the other espousing views that are leading people to conspiracy theories, but rather, it’s those for whom they have simply checked out of news entirely, but who, nonetheless, are picking up this information in other ways.
When I looked into this, I’ve always been struck by, as you say, there’s actually a lot more similarity in the mix of news that people on the left and right consume. Where there’s a really big difference is in what they trust. So there’s another Pew study. This one was in early 2020. And they asked Republicans and Democrats to rate their trust in, like, 30 different news sources. And Democrats trusted more than they distrusted 22 of them, including some center right ones, like The Wall Street Journal. Republicans only trusted seven. And that seems like a big part of this, that Republicans come into contact with a lot of news, but they’re primed to distrust things that they see in, say, The New York Times or in NBC News. Whereas a Democrat running into something The Wall Street Journal doesn’t automatically say, well, this isn’t true. It’s fake news. How big of an effect is that?
I think it’s undeniable that Republicans have a deeper distrust of media. There’s a study that I did on behalf of the Reporters Committee. It was a project on press freedom. Did it in partnership with a Democratic polling firm where we wanted to understand not just do Republicans and Democrats trust or not trust the media, but why. One thing that we found was pretty prominent, was we found about 72 percent of Republicans felt that media sources were too beholden to business and to money, and 70 percent that their only goal was ad revenue. So, in some ways, yes, the partisan concern, they don’t want to see Trump succeed was right up there at the top of the list. But on essentially statistically equal footing were concerns that the media is really just looking out for themselves and their own bottom line. And you see this pop up — Pew did a study on why Republicans were bristling against the news media’s coverage of Covid-19 last April. And one of the things they found was on questions of, do you believe that the media is getting you the information you need, are they largely accurate, Republicans were relatively split on those sorts of questions, certainly more skeptical of the media than Democrats were. But where the really big gap opens up is on the question of, was the media working for the benefit of the public? And Republicans overwhelmingly said no, they think the media was working to benefit themselves. I think it’s the sense not just that the media is left versus right, and that’s why I can’t trust them because they don’t agree with me, but rather, that they aren’t looking out for the right things, that their interests are not aligned with mine, and that they are looking for clicks and retweets and sensationalism, and that’s why I can’t trust them.
How much do you buy justifications like that as the root rationale or a added on rationale, which is to say that a lot of Republican officeholders and media elites were saying that the coronavirus is being played out, that it’s being used as a weapon to undermine Donald Trump. And so when that is the overall message, then you sort of need an explanation for why is the media playing up coronavirus. And so maybe it’s because they hate Donald Trump. Maybe it’s because of sensationalism and clicks and click bait. But to me, the hard question is always, are people developing this view because it is their view, or are they developing this view because it is the best way to square the information they’re getting from the sources they do trust and the information they see in the rest of the world?
The reason I’m inclined to believe that it is an opinion that they genuinely hold rather than one that they’re sort of backing into to accommodate for other beliefs is because it’s not exclusive to Republicans, that this is something that I will hear Democrats bemoan as well. Everybody’s got some kind of partisan gripe with the media. But things like beholden to business and money and the goals being sort of clicks, that’s not just a concern that is unique to Republicans or putting a nice gloss over some view that they think is otherwise that they need to be quiet about. I think that it’s an honestly held belief that they just feel like things often get kind of blown up or stretched out of proportion, and that the goal there is not getting accurate information across, it’s getting more clicks.
I agree with that in general. And by the way, I think people are — it’s very reasonable to think that the media is influenced by business models. I’m a part of the media. I think it is overstated. But I think it’s there, and it’d be ridiculous to ignore it. But broadly, there was a real effort among conservative elites to get their base to mistrust Covid reportage, which is I think a more specific thing. And you see it now. So youth polling that shows around a third of Republicans say they probably won’t get a vaccine compared to 11 percent of Democrats, for all the talk about vaccine hesitancy in, say, the African-American community, it’s Republicans who are the most vaccine hesitant, even though Donald Trump himself was actually pretty pro-vaccine the whole time he pushed Operation Warp Speed. That seems like a real consequence of Republican officeholders and elites endlessly telling their supporters that they can’t trust what the media’s telling you on Covid because now they don’t trust vaccines. How do you read all of that?
So vaccine hesitancy, it’s not a new phenomenon among Republicans. I think if you actually look at studies from pre-Covid, I don’t believe that the stereotype of sort of anti-vaccine folks being sort of very progressive preschool parents in Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily hold up in some of the data that I’ve seen. So that’s probably piece number one of it. But also, we then, in our survey, asked people, so if you say that you don’t want to get a Covid vaccine, why? And part of it is general vaccine skepticism. This was pushed through too fast. I want to see what happens when other people get it. But there was also an element of, I don’t want to get it because I don’t think I need it because I’m not worried about getting Covid. And that, to me, is very worrisome. And it is why I think both of those things — one is a pre-existing skepticism of vaccines that public health folks have been trying to tackle and uproot for a long time. But then specifically, around Covid, for folks that might say, yes, I would get a flu vaccine, but no, I’m not going to get a Covid vaccine because I’m not really worried about getting it, that’s why I think it’s so important that when someone like President Trump gets this vaccine, that that be shouted from the rooftops because it’s his voters that need to hear, even if you are like Donald Trump and he got Covid, that it’s important to get this vaccine, not just to protect yourself but to protect others.
One of the things lurking here is something that I’ve come to think of as like the polarization distrust cycle. And let me use the median Donald Trump as the example. But I think it speaks to this Covid issue, too. So Donald Trump as a politician was more extreme in his behavior, I think it is fair to say, than other past presidential candidates and presidents. And he then pushed the media and, in other cases, companies to take stands that they otherwise would have preferred not to take. He attacked people. He would say things that were more flagrantly untrue. He would engage in conspiracy theories. He would retweet the Twitter account @whitegenocide. He really tried to make the media into his enemies. Steve Bannon talked about making the media the enemy of the people or the opposition party as an explicit strategy. And so that pushed the media into a position that was pretty uncomfortable for a lot of these mainstream sources, which agonized endlessly over should we call things that are untrue lies or should we call that racism. But ultimately they do. And so then you have this cycle where the media seems more anti-Trump, more like what he says they are. And in reply, Trump attacks them more, which it makes it even harder for them to hold. And it is both the behavior of the politician and then the reactive behavior among the institutions that creates an understandable impression on the part of, say, Trump supporters that the media or, say, tech companies are against them, even though, in many ways, the media never wanted any of this. Or tech companies didn’t want to be dealing with whether or not they have to ban a Republican president from Twitter. Nobody wants to make that decision in a C-suite. And so you end up having this difficulty where I worry we’re in these cycles, where, as the Republican Party, in certain ways, gets more extreme, they force institutions to take stands they otherwise would have preferred not to take, which then creates more appetite among the base for their leaders to fight those institutions, which then creates more opposition within the institutions. And I don’t really know how you break that.
I think what you identified as part of that broken thermostat that I mentioned earlier in that it has engaged a lot of other folks in doing things they wouldn’t have normally done if Trump was not in the mix. I think this is part of why, in some ways, having a president like Joe Biden, who is quite boring, with all due respect to him, or a little bit more boring than certainly —
I think he would be thrilled with that description.
— than Donald Trump was, that a combination of that with a great deal of Trump era fatigue, both from progressives who just could not fathom another four years of the level of anxiety that they felt under a Trump presidency, but also even among Republicans who are somewhat sympathetic to Trump, but who would just like the circus to end. I do think that there’s going to be some breathing room for folks that sort of got themselves more engaged in politics than they would have liked to, to take a step back. However, I think you’re also likely to see, certainly over the next year or so, conservatives really looking for all of the sort of double standards that they can find and finding them quite easily. I mean, there was one that was making waves around conservative internet circles a little over a week ago about Joe Biden and him stumbling on the stairs of Air Force One, and conservatives sort of comparing the media coverage of that with the media coverage of things like Trump holding a glass of water awkwardly or Trump walking down a ramp at West Point uncomfortably, and the idea that when Trump walks down a ramp, it looks a little awkward doing it. There were enormous headlines. Is Trump OK? Let’s bring in this doctor to talk about what’s wrong with him. And yet, the headlines when Biden takes a spill — which, frankly, people trip all the time. It doesn’t have to be a thing that leads nightly newscasts. But this was one that I think conservatives were able to sort of point to and go, look, there is a clear double standard here in how both sides are being treated. And what I find when I talk to Republicans in focus groups about things like this and back during the Trump era, when I would say, well, do you want the media to be easier on Trump, to cut him a break, that it wasn’t necessarily that Republicans want the media to be non-adversarial, they just want to feel like that same pressure is being applied, no matter who is in power. And that, I think, is at the root of a lot of why Republicans say, I don’t trust the media. Because I think they’re being tougher on my side, and I think they go on vacation when the other side is in power.
I think there’s something to that, but I’m also very skeptical that the partisans of either side want the media to be tough on their side. I mean, that example, when I think of differences in how health was covered, the coverage of Hillary Clinton, when she was out on a hot day and got woozy, was overwhelming. I mean, it was days and days of around the clock coverage. And neither Trump nor Biden have faced scrutiny in the way that she did. So I mean, Democrats very much have this view that Hillary Clinton, for decades and then even in 2016, was covered as this uniquely, sometimes weak, sometimes powerful, sometimes calculating, sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes scandalous, sometimes et cetera figure. And so there’s this difficult thing. The media’s really big. And you can always pick out stories that you don’t like how they were covered or outlets that covered a story poorly or hyped a story or whatever. And so people end up having really weird, I think, views of how the media cover something. My view is, Hillary Clinton really was covered unfairly in the sense that the wrong things were emphasized. Her emails got more coverage than all of her policy proposals put together on the nightly newscasts. Donald Trump had a very weird and somewhat symbiotic relationship with the media. And on the other hand, I think if you — on the one hand, the media was not very interested in Joe Biden for a long time. And then I think that he gets somewhat softer coverage, mostly because he doesn’t antagonize people, and the media attaches itself to conflict. And Biden tries very hard not to create conflict, which turns out to be a good press management strategy. But on the other hand, well, it’s not that he gets so much great coverage either. It’s just that the media doesn’t quite know what to do with him because he doesn’t give them a lot to work with. So you end up talking a lot about the American Rescue Plan, which maybe isn’t the worst outcome here. But it seems to be the underlying dynamic in all of this, is that if you want to, you’re always going to be able to make a case, cherry picking different — people do not have an agreed upon umpire for who gets to decide whether or not a politician is getting covered unfairly. And as we know from endless social psychology experiments, you see coverage of your own side is much more unfair than you see coverage of the other side.
Absolutely, but I think a difference here is that for Republicans, it then rises to become an issue in and of itself that is a driver of their political behavior. So we, at Echelon Insights, we did a survey last month where we asked Republicans and Democrats to rate their level of concern around a number of different issues. And we offered a bunch of issues that we gave to both sides for them to rate how concerned they were. And then some sides, we issued things that are a little more kind of inside the family concerns. And among Republicans, the issue of liberal bias in the mainstream media was one of their top concerns. 57 percent said they were extremely concerned about this. The only issues that were close to as high on this metric were lack of support for the police or illegal immigration. And so, when it comes to — I think you would be much less likely to see on a progressive news channel a story about media bias against Hillary Clinton than you would, I think, in conservative circles. Because this is a perennial issue, it is not a new issue, but it is one that is really upsetting and drives a lot of these voters, something they feel is very concerning. It gets even more attention and more play.
So this gets to something you were saying a couple of minutes ago about one of the best things that can happen to turn down the temperature on politics is boring politicians. Joe Biden is a boring politician. If Republicans want a lot easier media coverage, they could run a more boring, staid politician in 2024. But you all have been doing a lot of polling about the 2024 field and where the party is. And my sense of that polling is it does not look like right now, Republicans are excited about running a more conventional politician, that the way they want to deal with media bias is to run somebody who will go to war with the media, triggering a lot of the same dynamics that are frustrating them.
I think that’s right. When we asked in our last month’s Echelon survey, we took a look at what folks say is absolutely necessary for them to support someone in a future Republican primary. And we find that the top traits that Republican voters say that they are looking for in someone in a future Republican primary election are someone who won’t back down in a fight with Democrats, someone who supports the Trump America First agenda, but also someone who will work in a bipartisan way to solve problems. So I think in some sense, they want someone who will fight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want someone who is going to just burn the other side down, no matter what. And actually, in Henry Olsen’s research that I mentioned earlier, he finds a similar dynamic that there’s one question where they ask, do you believe that Democrats are good people with the wrong ideas, or are they bad people? And they find a majority of Trump voters say, I think Democrats are bad people. But then when you ask them, do you want to work with the Democrats to solve problems, a majority of them say, yes, we should work with the Democrats to solve problems. Just because Republican voters are sort of consistently saying in surveys that they view the other side as a big threat, they don’t want their side to back down in a fight against them, that doesn’t mean that the notion of working together with the other side, when possible, has completely gone away either. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Which Republicans, in your view, are well positioned for 2024, and why, starting with Donald Trump?
Well, Donald Trump is pretty well positioned insofar as someone who initially was very far outside of the Republican establishment, he now has an iron grip over a lot of the sort of pieces of Republican apparatus. He is able to fundraise enormous amounts of money very quickly just on his name. And so, he’s enormously powerful in the party. We tend to find about 43ish percent — that’s in our most recent survey. About 43 percent of Republicans think of themselves as Trump supporters before being Republican. About the same number, about 43 percent, say that they would definitely vote for Donald Trump if the Republican primary were held today. And in fact, we’ve been tracking this number over the last couple of months. And actually, the percentage saying they would either definitely or probably support Donald Trump in a primary has actually inched up month to month. It hasn’t gone down. In some ways, absence has made the heart grow fonder for some Republicans. Perhaps they’re forgetting the things that had turned them off of Trump back in January. But he would be very formidable. However, we also ask a question where we take Trump out of the equation. We say if Donald Trump didn’t run, then who would you vote for? And on that question, this month, we find essentially a tie for coming in one 17 percent, one 16 percent, between Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mike Pence. And Mike Pence had actually led on this question for quite some time with a pretty soft mid to low 20s sort of number for a while. But DeSantis really, whether it’s in the wake of CPAC or what have you, just over the last two months in particular, has shot up from single digits up to now, he’s the leader in our most recent poll. And there’s a particularly interesting divide when you look at these results by Republicans who think of themselves as Trump supporters first and Republicans who think of themselves as Republican Party supporters first. If you think of yourself as Trump first, DeSantis is your guy right now. He is lapping the field. But if you are somebody who thinks of yourself as a Republican first rather than a Trump supporter first, actually, Mike Pence is far out in the lead on that angle. So it’s interesting to me that Donald Trump’s former vice president is actually not the candidate of choice of Trump supporters, whether that is that he’s not viewed as someone who will fight, whether that’s the sort of echoes of what happened on January 6. Clearly, there is now a divide in the party. And Ron DeSantis, rather than Mike Pence, at the moment, seems to be the one with the greatest support among sort of the Trump loyal base.
I suspect that a lot of listeners of the show, like probably most Americans, don’t know very much about Governor DeSantis to the extent they know anything about him. It’s that he was pretty dismissive of coronavirus early in the game. So what is it that Republicans who are supporting him, what are the highlights of how DeSantis is understood among Republicans or among conservatives?
So DeSantis came into office having upset Adam Putnam, who had been agriculture commissioner. He had formerly been in House Republican leadership. And he did something interesting, which is he ran as a very sort of Trumpist candidate. You may recall infamously there was an ad that he did where he was sitting down with his young child and showing them how to build the wall using blocks and was reading “Art of the Deal” to his child. And this was sort of sold by Republicans as though this is a sort of a funny — it’s supposed to be a lighthearted ad. It was met with horror among progressives, to be sure. But that sort of made some of his national name. And he also made lots of appearances on things like Fox News, et cetera. That was, in part, a big way that he put together his primary victory. But then as soon as he began to govern, at least before Covid-19, his agenda wound up being viewed as a bit more — moderate might not be the right word, but for instance, he got plaudits on some of the stuff he did regarding water quality in South Florida and protecting the Everglades. And as a result, I think was kind of getting some second looks from Republicans already saying, hey, he ran as a pretty Trumpy candidate, and yet he seems to be building a lot of bridges with folks in Florida on other issues. I think nowadays the appeal of DeSantis as a sort of inheritor of the Trump legacy is, in some ways, related to exactly this issue of, is the media treating him fairly versus progressives? The fall of Andrew Cuomo, I think, has been a very big animating factor in Republicans sort of rallying around DeSantis as the anti-Cuomo, as he handled Covid very differently. And they now point to him as a success story on keeping Florida open and yet, still, Republicans will tout what they view as somebody who resisted pressure from the national media to do things differently. That, in some ways, because DeSantis became the national media’s choice as the villain of the Covid-19 story, that, in some ways, endeared him to many Republican voters, who now see him as having bucked the trends or proved them wrong.
And DeSantis also strikes as one of these Republicans who understands that the party doesn’t care that much about your policy agenda.
He literally said so at CPAC.
Yeah, I was going to read this quote from him at CPAC where he says we can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy. We can do that, but the question is, when the klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you, will you stay strong, or will you fold? And that almost seems to me now to be the molten core of the Republican Party. Will you fight, which goes back to what I was saying earlier that it does not seem to me the Republican Party wants to move in the direction of a candidate who is going to allow or invite any of these institutions they worry about losing to climb down from their barricades.
I’m actually not sure that I agree with that. I think to the extent that these institutions climbing down from their barricades would represent any kind of a win, I’m sure Republican candidates would love to be able to take credit to say, hey, I fought institution X, and look, they backed down. So I actually, while I do share your concern that the temperature is only going to continue going up, that even as Donald Trump, even if he fully steps aside and decides not to run, that there is still a hunger for a fight on the right. But I don’t think that it is inevitable that the trajectory we have been on for the next four years has to continue. I don’t think that it’s inevitable.
So there’s a question, of course, of people who are leading in polls now. But you’ve done a lot of polling about where Republican voters care about. And when you think about that polling and you think about the people who might run, who do you think is well-positioned, who folks might not be thinking of?
It’s a good question. I mean, issues that Republicans are really caring about, issues like illegal immigration, issues like lack of support for the police, those were the two top issues in our poll regarding what things Republicans are specifically concerned about. When I think about folks on those kinds of issues, it’s hard for me, looking at the list of other potential candidates, to see any names that really jump out. But at the moment, I think if you are looking at the Republican Party, and you are saying, what does the party look like after Trump, if we are, in fact, moving into some kind of a quasi after-Trump moment, it does not strike me that anyone has really set themselves up to be a dominant force. You’ve seen Josh Hawley kind of try, but he continues to get, really, crickets in our polling. It doesn’t seem to be having resonance nationally with Republicans, even if perhaps they may say that they like him. In our most recent poll, he comes in receiving less than 1 percent of the vote. A lot of folks have talked about the idea of someone like Tucker Carlson. I mean, if you want to talk about those two issues, and I should disclose I’m a contributor to Fox News, but he’s somebody that we’ve added to our polls. And he comes in around 4 percent this month when we test him as a potential Republican nominee for president. But these are still — once you get out of the DeSantis and Pence lane, right now, it’s just completely wide open. You have 35 percent of Republican voters who say they are unsure. So I would watch and see, does anybody really quarter the market on talking about issues like what’s going on down at the border right now? That seems to be an issue that Republican voters are still extremely animated about. And it’s not yet clear to me who in the Republican field wants to talk about that issue as their number one issue, absent Donald Trump.
How big is electability as an issue? So in 2020, you have Democrats obsessing, from the moment they lose in 2016, about electability. They had just been in the White House for two terms, and they had won the popular vote in 2016. But losing the White House, they obsess about finding an electable candidate. Is that conversation happening on the right?
I think you can’t separate out the notion of electability from the notion of someone who fights. And let’s go back to the 2012 autopsy. Back in 2012, there was a big fight among Republicans about what was the reason why Mitt Romney lost, and what would it take to be electable? Because bear in mind, in the 2016 election, there was nothing Republicans wanted more strongly than to beat Hillary Clinton. So, arguably, electability was at the top of the list. So, how do you get an electorate that is focused on electability choosing Donald Trump as their person? That seems like a contradiction in some ways, doesn’t it? And yet, I think part of it was because on the one hand, you had sort of the Republican establishment, the folks writing things like the autopsy saying, the reason why we lost is that we were too far to the right. We weren’t moderate enough on issues like immigration, et cetera. We need to do more outreach to the political center. And on the other hand, you had folks like Ted Cruz, your sort of Freedom Caucus types that said, no, no, no, the reason why Republicans can’t win is that we haven’t been conservative enough. And so the path to electability is finding someone who is going to be able to motivate our base enough to turn out. And Donald Trump sort of blew up a lot of those assumptions about what constituted electability because he never tried to fashion himself as the most conservative candidate anyways. He came in and said, I will turn out the base, but here is how I will do it. I will do it by talking about immigration. I will do it by talking about things like national security. And that, for me, I just think when we think of the word electability, too often, we conflate it with someone who is going to be nice and moderate and appealing to a broad range. And there is, I think, a very large segment of the G.O.P. that views electability as, are you going to fire up my side and go find people who might have otherwise never participated in politics, but like this very unique message that you have?
But isn’t this a weird reputation for Republicans to have attached to Donald Trump? So Donald Trump, he does win in 2016, obviously. But he loses the popular vote and not by a tiny margin, but by a substantial margin. By the end of his presidency and by the dawn of the 2021 kind of governmental structure, Republicans have lost the White House. They’ve lost the Senate. They’ve lost the House. I would not take —
You’re not wrong.
I would not take the attitude from this that Donald Trump had the key to building an enduring governing coalition, that Donald Trump was the key to electability. I have some theories about what made Donald Trump potent in American politics. But it does just seem weird to me that Republicans aren’t a little bit more worried about their political standing, particularly given their fear of what would happen if given their defensiveness around other institutions to begin to really, really lose their political power, too.
I completely agree with you. I think there has been absolutely inadequate levels of soul-searching. And the level of alarm is not high enough among Republicans. And I think a large piece of this, as I mentioned before, is wrapped up in the idea that many Republicans believe that Donald Trump is actually the rightful winner of the 2020 election anyways. And so actually, Republicans would have won, and Donald Trump’s actually much more popular. Bear in mind this is a man who built his career over decades on the notion that he is a winner, and he is a successful person. And that’s why any time criticism would come after him, if somebody criticized him for not being conservative enough, it doesn’t matter. But you criticize something like his business record, that he’s not the biggest best in everything, that’s why he would always bristle and really fight back against that. Because inherent to the Trump brand is the idea that he is a winner, that he is successful. The idea that he has lost something is completely antithetical to the Trump brand. And that message has been received by many Republicans.
So let me give my theory of Donald Trump’s political success and see what you think of it. So, Donald Trump wins in 2016 by losing the popular vote, but having a very efficient voting coalition. And what he particularly does is he polarizes the electorate more aggressively along the lines of, in some tellings of this, education, particularly among white voters, and then there’s another version of this, which is voter trust. Education doesn’t seem to me to capture all of it. And these sort of lower education, lower trust voters are really heavily concentrated in electorally important states. David Shor, the Democratic data analyst, has made a lot of arguments around this. And so, if I were a Republican strategist, what I would be thinking about is, how do you, on the one hand, keep polarizing the electorate around education and trust, and on the other hand, not do it in a way that drives so much opposition against you, that you create a bigger coalition even than your electoral advantage can survive against? Is that the advice you would give? How do you read that?
Well, when we’re talking about trust, are you talking about interpersonal trust, or are you talking about trust in institutions? Because, again, it’s —
Talking about trust in institutions. And what I’m referring to here is the way in which we keep undercounting these voters and polls. Because even as pollsters like you try to control for education, even once you do the education control, a lot of these voters are not being captured by that control, but still are not picking up the phone to talk to a pollster. So among the institutions they don’t trust is your institution, and it is making it hard to get a correct sense of the electorate. But Donald Trump turning them out and their intense electoral efficiency was really key to him winning in 2016 and him coming anywhere close to winning, given his massive popular vote deficit in 2020.
Yeah, I think that the challenge for Republicans of relying on these low trust voters, despite them being distributed very politically efficiently, is, to what extent are they motivated by someone who’s not Donald Trump?
And again, this goes back to the question of Donald Trump having been a major global presence — love him or hate him — in media for decades, to where if you are somebody that does not watch very much news at all, you still know who Donald Trump is. He was omnipresent, his name ID nearly 100 percent. So I think there’s still a big question for Republicans. They’re stuck in this bind where they may not be able to win in a big way without Donald Trump’s name on the ballot, but they may not be able to win with him, and they may not be able to win without him. That is the bind they have been left in, in the post-Trump era, that the types of voters Trump brings out may not turn out for anyone else with an R after their name, even if Trump comes out and says, I endorse this person, I love them, they’re great.
Yeah, I wonder this a lot, whether or not Republicans have taken this idea that what Trump brought to the table is fighting. And Trump definitely did bring fighting to the table. But he also brought to the table a real entertainer sense of how to make people want to watch that fight. He brought a kind of shamelessness. He brought, as you say, 100 percent name ID. And when I watch some of the people who are trying to be like him, like, say, Josh Hawley, and who are just like, they really have taken fighting very literally so they’re just endlessly getting into fights with people, but it’s not entertaining. It’s not fun. There’s none of Trump’s delight in it. I do wonder if fighting is not — in the same way that education was not the right way of understanding these sort of lower trust voters, I sort of think fighting is not exactly the right way of understanding Donald Trump.
Well, and I think this is where you get to this odd dynamic of, on the one hand, voters consistently saying in polls, I think the other side is bad. I think they’re a threat, and I want to fight them. On the other hand, I think we should work with them, and I want to see bipartisan solutions. That I think there’s a second step to the Trump, he fights, message, which is he fights and he knows when to walk away from the table. But he knows how to put the pressure on at the table to get a good deal. Now we set aside whether he actually achieved this as president or not. But just sort of the Trump ethos around, like, what does fighting mean in his context, I think that’s different than folks that are trying to put on a Trump costume. And I also think — I mean, my general theory of voters, which runs contrary to what I encounter among a lot of political consultants, is I actually think voters are a lot smarter than political consultants often give them credit for. There have been times where I have come out of moderating a focus group and walked into the back room. And the other consultants and folks who are there are like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe how dumb these voters are. And I never walk away from a focus group thinking that, because people are busy and what have you. But I think that voters also have a very good BS detector when it comes to picking up someone that is trying to be a knock-off Donald Trump versus someone who is authentically spiritually sort of trying to achieve the same things. And so to the extent that someone like DeSantis can say, I fight, but also, look, here are the results that I’ve gotten in a place like Florida, if you’re somebody like a Hawley and you’re just picking a fight after fight after fight, you eventually have to show some wins in order for it to sort of complete the Trump narrative of why fighting matters. [MUSIC PLAYING]
If the Republican Party is coming to you to write an autopsy and they’re saying, listen, we don’t want to win by losing the popular vote and winning the Electoral College. We actually want to win the popular vote as Republicans. How should they change their strategy?
So I think that if there’s been anything positive that the Trump influence has had on the G.O.P. that is going to set it up potentially for the long haul is by hopefully reorienting the party to focus more on sort of working class Americans. Nowadays, the sorts of issues that I think used to be very animating, at least to establishment Republicans, are sort of no longer as much at the center of what the party is all about. I saw somebody tweet this the other day. They just said, if Republicans and swing voters are looking around and they feel like the world has gone mad, is there any way for the Republican Party to be the party of normal people? If progressive institutions are sort of captured by those who are extreme elites, who just live in an alternate reality and speak a very different language than sort of average Americans, is there a way for the G.O.P. to really position itself not in a bombastic Trumpist way, but in an authentically, we want to make sure the economy is working for people like you. We want to get a better deal for you economically. And we don’t think it means the government just printing a ton of money and sending checks. Here’s what we think that vision looks like. Very broadly, I think there’s actually a lot of potential resonance there. I think the challenge is, can that decouple itself from the baggage of the Trump era, how quickly can it decouple itself from the baggage of the Trump era, and to what extent are Republicans interested in having, as you mentioned before, some of these policy debates around, well, are we going to do the Romney child allowance? Are we going to do expanding earned income tax credit? And then to what extent is Biden, in some ways, doing all of these things already instead? So that the old reform econ agenda is actually being implemented, in some ways, by President Biden.
Is there a lesson from the fact that Joe Biden is very unpopular with Republicans, but the American Rescue Plan is actually reasonably popular, certainly for a Democratic giant spending bill, among Republicans?
I am fascinated by how little resistance or messaging was really done by Republican politicians or, frankly, the conservative media writ large. It just was not a fight that conservative elites chose to make. And that fight never really traveled down to others in the party. I mean, we tested this not even bringing up the word Covid relief. We actually just asked it in terms of the dollar figure. Do you support or oppose the recent $1.9 trillion government spending package that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden? 57 percent say yes. And I think this also goes along with Biden’s job approval being totally fine, being better than where Trump’s was for sure, but being particularly strong on issues of Covid, that fighting fights over things like the government is spending too much, to what extent is that a Romney era Republican message? It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s part of why you’ve seen some Republican elites sort of step back from really going after the Covid relief bill.
But my sense is Republican leaders have no idea what to do with this. They want to become, at least theoretically, a working class party. Some of them talk about economic populism. Josh Hawley was out there for a while with Bernie Sanders pushing for bigger checks. But then when the rubber hits the road on this stuff, the coalition has a lot of internal resistance to moving on it. I mean, Donald Trump was not able to get $2,000 checks when he had the Senate. And maybe Republicans would have won Georgia if they had. I think there’s a real possibility of that. And so it does seem to me that one difficulty for the Republican Party is that there are still enough of the old economic conservatism skepticism of government spending and printing money, that though there are people in that party who have tried to move it, whenever somebody actually gets close to pushing a policy that would do this, the party in the congressional group melts away from them.
I think part of what drives that is less about fiscal conservatism broadly and more — and this is actually a question that I’m going to add to my next month’s survey, so I don’t have a clean answer for you on this one right now, but it’s a suspicion I have, and I’m going to test it out — is that when you see Republican reluctance around things like Romney’s child allowance or what have you, is not that people are opposed to getting money. It is that in many ways, Republicans are worried about if the government puts this program into place, is it going to be money coming out of my pocket going to someone else? And in a moment, if they’re feeling economically stressed, if they’re feeling like — if you see all kinds of data about people being worried that the next generation’s not going to be better off, I think the idea of transfers from one person to another because someone else has had children or has done X, Y, and Z, that that’s the sort of thing where you’re going to begin to see, it’s not just about the dollars and cents being spent, but about the, wait, is this coming out of my pocket, where you’ll see some of that sort of old school fiscal conservatism, individual me as a taxpayer, kind of anxiety shining through. And I think that’s still very much present in the G.O.P.
Yeah, this is still going to be a problem for the G.O.P., as Democrats have learned many times. It’s easier to propose progressive economic policy if you’re willing to tax rich people for it because most people are not rich. But if you’re not, then at some point, it’s going to come out of your pocket, or it’s going to come out of the debt.
Well, you do see high taxes still popping up as — again, it was one of those top five concerns we found among Republican voters. The intensity around that concern was a little bit lower. Only 50 percent said they were extremely concerned. But there’s a big difference between high taxes for me and high taxes for wealthy individuals. I don’t think that the Republican Party writ large is — that their voter base is craving raising taxes on the wealthy, but they’re certainly more comfortable with it than Republicans in Washington are.
Right, and before we end here, I want to talk about that next generation for a minute. How do Gen Z and millennial Republicans differ both in size and in ideology from boomer and Gen X Republicans?
It’s a good question. When I take a look at, for instance, our ballot question, who’s the preferred candidate for younger versus older Republicans, it’s actually less clear that there’s some dramatic difference in who people prefer and where that younger Republicans are much more likely to say they’re unsure. There is not some clear vision for where they want the party to go that differs from where older Republicans are, so much as I think playing a little bit of wait and see. There are a couple of issues where there are really clear divides between younger Republicans and older Republicans. And climate race and gender are some of the biggest ones. Pew put out their first big report on Gen Z not too long ago, and they found that even when you just look among Republicans, it’s Gen Z and millennial Republicans who are much more likely to say climate change is real, it’s happening, we need to do something about it. They’re much more likely to believe in systemic racism, that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. They’re much more likely to, say, know someone who uses nontraditional gender pronouns. There are certain differences between young and old Republicans that exist. However, I think there are some stereotypes of younger Republicans like around issues like immigration, cetera, where I actually haven’t seen very big differences between younger and older Republicans, that young and old Republicans both are immigration hawks. And so, I think the issue that you see really gaining a lot of energy around at least young conservative activists are these kind of free speech on campus issues. This is the thing that any time I sit and do a panel discussion with young conservatives, it’s issue number one that comes up for them. I wonder to what extent that issue has resonance with those who are not on college campuses, to what extent free speech issues are animating for the very large portion of millennials and Generation Z who do not attend any college, much less a four-year institution. But that is an issue that I see really being something that young people on the right talk about a great deal.
And how about the size of these coalitions? So I think there’s a view, a stereotype that young people are always liberal. But it’s actually not true. Like Gen X, for instance, was pretty split and even a little bit Republican when it was younger. Republicans have been losing millennials and Gen Z-ers by shocking numbers to me in recent years. And party identity can be sticky over time. Do you see that as sort of epiphenomenal of this period, or do you see that as a real threat to the future of the Republican Party?
I think it’s a real threat to the future of the Republican Party. And I wrote a book six years ago all about it, called “The Selfie Vote,” that makes exactly that argument, that when I first began studying this topic of generational politics I was myself in my mid 20s and I would approach a lot of Republican consultants, saying, look, Republicans, we lost young voters by a 2 to 1 margin. And I would get dismissed as, oh, well, it was just Obama. It was just a temporary thing. This happens. Young people don’t vote anyways. They’re all more progressive. And data point after data point shows that a lot of those things are untrue. Yes, Barack Obama had a very outsized influence on engaging a lot of new, young people in politics back in 2008. But the shift away from the right from young people actually predated him. You can see hints of it popping up in the 2006 midterms that made Nancy Pelosi speaker the first time. You can see a generational divide beginning to open up there. Interestingly, if anything, the Biden era has muted some of these generation gaps. Some of the more recent polling I’ve seen on Biden’s job approval, I’ve seen one poll — I think it was Pew — that older Americans are sort of fine with him and younger Americans are sort of fine with him. And that’s very different than what we saw during the Trump years. So it’ll be interesting to me if Joe Biden is the one that sort of breaks down what has been at least a decade and a half of pretty deep generational polarization. The problem Republicans are going to have long term is that, at least for the oldest millennials — and now some of us millennials are approaching 40 — is that we’ve now got a couple of elections under our belt of having broken very heavily one direction. And as you noted, political identification is pretty sticky. There’s a lot of research on this front that says how you behave in your first couple of elections really just echoes throughout the rest of your life. And you can see this most acutely if you look at exit polls. And things are a little squirrely in 2020 because you have the two different exit polls. You have AP VoteCast, and you have — it’s a little hard to do apples to apples, but the voter bloc that has shifted furthest to the left in the last few elections is not actually the youngest voters. They’re coming in and kind of behaving pretty progressive. But it’s actually if you look at 30 somethings. As millennials move into that bloc and as the Gen Xers move out, it’s becoming more progressive as well. We’re getting older. We’re doing all of those things Republicans said were going to make my generation more conservative. We’re having kids and buying homes and paying taxes, and it’s not really moving the needle further to the right.
Super interesting. I think it’s a good place to end. So let’s do a couple book recommendations. And let me start here with, what’s a book you would recommend for people who want to understand the modern Republican Party?
So I recommend — this is actually an older book. It predates a lot of this, but I was just thinking about this morning — “Grand New Party” by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, which is not about today’s G.O.P. It’s, in some ways, kind of an alternate history. But it really diagnosis that the Republican Party is going to struggle if it doesn’t speak to the concerns of working class Americans. And it calls this long before Donald Trump is ever on the scene. And so even though it’s a book that is dated at this point, I think it still has a lot of resonance about what the party perhaps could have become a decade ago and perhaps hints of where a post-Trump Republican Party could go if it wants to be successful today.
What’s your favorite book on how voters think?
I love “Resonate” by Nancy Duarte, which is not actually a book about voters so much as it is about communication and persuasion broadly. It’s told through the lens of, how do you make a PowerPoint that grabs people’s attention, which is a no simple task, I can tell you as a pollster. But I recommend that book to anyone who wants to understand how do you communicate with someone in a way that is captivating and effective.
What is your favorite political science paper?
It is on the topic we were just discussing about kind of the stickiness of political attitudes and generations. It’s a paper from 1987 by Keith Billingsley and Clyde Tucker. It’s called “Generations, Status, and Party Identification, A Theory of Operant Conditioning,” which basically —
— just means that as you are young and first beginning to engage in the political process, you remember very clearly the punishments and rewards that you sense from taking certain political positions or views. And so the way your worldview is shaped when you are young tends to stick with you as you age politically.
And finally, what is your favorite children’s book?
I really love “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin. In some ways, it’s anti-spicy food propaganda because it suggests that giving dragons tacos makes them increasingly dangerous. But as a big fan of spicy foods, it is the book I tend to get for all my friends when they have kids.
I love that. All right, Kristen Soltis Anderson, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.
Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]
That’s the show. If you enjoyed it, please leave us a review on whatever podcast app you’re using, or send the episode to a friend. “The Ezra Klein Show” is a production of New York Times Opinion. It is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld, fact-checked by Michelle Harris. Original music is by Isaac Jones, and mixing this episode also by the great Isaac Jones.
“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.
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