Rep. Walters loves Trump’s agenda, but poll shows Californians don’t

Donald Trump

"When I see candidates embracing Trump, it's like watching people in life boats paddling toward the Titanic," said one political operative.

A majority of Californians disapprove of Trump’s handling of every major policy issue and are especially unhappy with his job performance related to health care, race relations, and the environment, according to a new Berkeley IGS poll. One of the few Californians embracing the Trump agenda is embattled Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), who has spent the last year and a half supporting virtually every aspect of the Trump agenda, siding with Trump 99 percent of the time.

In the poll, Trump’s overall approval rating in California is just 31 percent, with 67 percent disapproving. In Walters’ backyard of Orange County, which was once a Republican stronghold, Trump’s approval is only 38 percent, with more than 6 in 10 disapproving. Judging by her voting record, Walters’ priorities appear wildly out of step with the priorities of her constituents.

The poll dug deeper, asking Californians about how Trump is handling 12 different policy issues, ranging from the economy, to immigration, to dealing with Russia. While a majority of Californians disapproved of how Trump handled each issue, three topics registered disapproval from at least 7 in 10 Californians: health care, race relations, and the environment. On every one of these issues, Walters is more aligned with Trump than most California residents.

Republican health care policies were the biggest factor causing an estimated four million people to lose health insurance since 2016. Walters voted to repeal Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, and in favor of Trumpcare, the Republican alternative. That bill would have caused an estimated 24 million people to lose their health insurance. Additionally, it would have removed protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and decimated efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

When that bill failed, Trump and Walters settled for changes to the ACA tucked into the deeply unpopular Republican tax bill. Those changes, and other Republican policies, are set to increase premiums by up to 30 percent next year in California, and up to 90 percent over the next three years in some other states.

When it comes to race relations under the Trump administration, one former Republican staffer for a California member of Congress said, “The reality is Trump’s brand of xenophobia is toxic to what little is left of the Republican Party in California.” Trump started his campaign calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, and continues to use harsh and racist rhetoric when discussing immigrants, including uncouth language when referring to Haiti and African countries.

In September 2017, Trump rescinded DACA, the legal protections program established by President Obama for children brought to the United States.

Yet through all this rhetoric and harmful policies, Walters steadfastly stands by Trump. “It is very important that Republicans back the president,” she said in October 2017. “He’s the president of our party. He stands for what we stand for.” This new poll shows Californians largely disagree, with 1 in 3 Republicans disapproving of Trump’s handling of race relations, along with 95 percent of Democrats.

On the environment, both Trump and Walters support more oil drilling off the coast of California. Before the Trump administration made the announcement to seek to open up more of the American coast to oil companies, Walters urged him to go for it. A record-high 69 percent of Californians oppose more oil drilling, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, which has polled on the topic since 2003.

Despite sitting in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton, Walters has aligned herself squarely with Trump. Yet California seems squarely opposed not only to Trump, but also how he handles every policy issue.

“When I see candidates embracing Trump,” said one Democratic operative, “it’s like watching people in life boats paddling toward the Titanic.”