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Trump has come to represent something fundamental about the Republican Party – the growing gap between its leaders and its political constituency. Even if he disappears, this gap is reshaping the GOP.Many use code language, and some – like Trump and Mike Huckabee – reject it outright.Trump, on the other hand, knows that it is not possible to be too tough on the issue in the Republican primaries. Traditional GOP leaders like Jeb Bush and John Kasich have continued pushing an approach to immigration grounded in pragmatism and generosity, but the party is with Trump and Ted Cruz on the issue. A poll this week found that half of Republican voters think Trump is the presidential candidate best able to handle the immigration issue – almost five times the share any other candidate received.Trump has cannily exploited this gap between Republican voters and leaders. Perhaps a more charismatic politician like Marco Rubio or a clever conservative like Ted Cruz can somehow close it.
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