Travel among earnest liberals and anti-Trump conservatives in self-imposed exile, and you’re likely to be asked one urgent question: When will the GOP have had enough? By “enough,” they mean of the Republican Party’s leader, President Donald Trump. And by “the GOP” they mean congressional Republicans. In truth, this is an unfair question; it sets impossible standards for the Republican Party’s representatives and fails to appreciate the remarkably independent course they’ve already struck. It isn’t hard, however, to envision a scenario in which the foundation that has kept the president upright—the outwardly solid support of his party in Congress—begins to buckle. The ingredients for such a storm are already in place.

Republicans in Congress have earned the right to be frustrated by the fact that so few have noticed their efforts to encumber the president. There are, at present, four GOP-led congressional fact-finding investigations probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election cycle, including allegations that the Trump campaign had improper links to the Kremlin. A broad swath of the party’s congressional membership has expressed support for the special counsel’s investigation into the case, shrugging off the White House’s effort to cast the investigation as a political witch hunt.

When asked about the president, Republican legislators are inclined to provide reporters with quotes that read more like brushback pitches than expressions of unqualified support for the administration. It’s hard to read a dispatch on the state of politics in Washington without tripping over a quotation from unnamed GOP lawmakers rending garments over Trump’s mishandling of the presidency and the party’s electoral mandate. This is unprecedented, and it’s going all but unnoticed by those who cannot seem to distinguish subtle subversion from collusion.

Similarly, Trump’s most avid critics have prematurely written off the GOP electorate as hopelessly enamored with Trump. They’re not. Voters are transactional and, for any Republican who expects more from a president than posturing and occasionally irritating his ideological adversaries, the Trump era has not delivered.

According to a CBS News survey released on Tuesday, self-described Republicans are souring on Trump at a rapid pace. In late April, 83 percent of GOP voters approved of Trump’s performance. Today, just 72 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job in office. Those are danger-zone numbers. They’re similar to those that led Republican congressional candidates to turn on George W. Bush in a futile effort to save their careers ahead of the 2006 midterms, at which point the GOP lost control of both chambers of Congress.

The opinion-polling landscape in June hasn’t been kind to Trump. A YouGov/Economist poll found Trump with an overall approval rating of just 39 percent with only 78 percent of Republicans in support of the president. A full third of GOP respondents revealed to Reuters/Ipsos pollsters that America was on the wrong track with only 76 percent approving of the job Trump had done as president (only 40 percent described their support as strong). A Hart Research Associates/POS survey saw Trump’s approval among GOP voters plunge 10 points in just one month from 82 to 72 percent.

Republican members of Congress are not lemmings, and they will be disinclined to jog off a cliff in service to an unpopular president with few accomplishments under his belt. The minute Trump begins to repulse both persuadable independents and the voters who make up the Republican base is the minute the floor collapses out from under him.

The GOP will get some indication on Tuesday of just how dissatisfied the Trump-skeptical GOP base is with Republican governance. Voters will cast ballots in two special elections to fill House seats vacated by members of Trump’s cabinet.

In South Carolina’s 5th District, a Democrat-held seat since Reconstruction that fell to the GOP in 2010 is up. The race has flown under the radar, and the GOP is expected to take it easily. As the control group, these voters will demonstrate how much of a swing away from the GOP there has been in rural and agricultural South absent external pressures.

The story is much different in Georgia’s 6th District, where tens of millions of outside dollars were spent on the race between a young Democrat and the former GOP secretary of state. The affluent Atlanta suburbs have never been friendly toward Trump—Marco Rubio won the district in Georgia’s presidential primary, and Trump beat Hillary Clinton there in November by just 48 to 47 percent (Mitt Romney won the district with a 23-point margin over Barack Obama in 2012).

The Democratic candidate’s lead in head-to-head polling has dwindled as the district’s natural dynamics have reasserted themselves, but this remains a tossup race.  Considering the district’s 8-point Republican lean, according to the Cook Political Report, that fact alone should send shivers down Republican spines. If the party were to lose this district, they’d lose a seat held consecutively by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Senator Johnny Isakson, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Democrats in the Trump era have had a habit of rescuing the GOP from their own mistakes. Barack Obama’s former communications director Dan Pfeiffer cravenly exhorted his fellow Democrats to take their eye off the Russia probes and instead focus on health care—a sentiment with which Hillary Clinton’s former communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, apparently agrees. If Democrats dedicate themselves to polishing Obama’s legacy and reminding Republican voters why they vote Republican, they will put a stop to the GOP’s lingering divorce from Trump. At least, for a time. The GOP is starting to see the president as less of an asset and more of a liability with a substantial portion of their own voters. That’s critical mass, and it’s approaching faster than most anticipated.

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