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Topic of the Day: Despite election edge, GOP deeply divided

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 10:03 a.m. MDT

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks about energy at the Heritage Action for America 2014 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, in this Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 file photo.  (Charles Dharapak, Associated Press) Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks about energy at the Heritage Action for America 2014 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, in this Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 file photo. (Charles Dharapak, Associated Press)

While the GOP has an election edge going into the 2014 midterms, the party is deeply divided on key issues, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The nationwide poll that was conducted Feb. 19 to 23 shows that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and that “Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party over whether it is too conservative or not conservative enough, and many are discouraged about the party’s future.”

Though the poll indicates that Republicans are in a better position thanks to independent voter support, it also shows that more Americans agree with Democratic policy positions.

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, echoing the poll’s results, says that Republicans are too focused on the health-care law and some in the party know it.

“Nearly every advertising dollar being spent against Democratic congressional candidates is going toward pounding them on the new health-care law,” Tumulty writes. She adds that conservatives like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal think this strategy could miss the mark.

“I think that’s a huge mistake,” Tumulty quotes Jindal as saying. “If we want to earn the majority, we have to be offering detailed policy solutions, detailed ideas of what we would do differently. I don’t think it is enough to say, ‘Just repeal Obamacare.’”

Similar to Jindal’s approach, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Kelly Ward said in a memo that the House Democrats’ campaign organization blasted to its e-mail list Wednesday “that fixation on repealing the ACA comes at their own peril, as the political landscape around the Affordable Care Act has shifted in Democrats’ favor.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Feb. 26 distancing himself from those Republicans like Jindal who want to take a more cautious approach.

Hannity asked Cruz, “What do you think is happening … That the party seems more divided than I can ever remember?”

“Well, I think that’s true, but you have to pick some battles to fight,” Cruz responded. “You don’t win elections by rolling over … you win elections by drawing a line in the sand.”

He mentions the pattern of trying not to pick fights among D.C. establishment Republicans and their Democrat colleagues, but he says that is why the GOP keeps losing elections.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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