This image from an 1877 Harper's Weekly seems particularly apropos to the situation Republicans find themselves in today. They are desperately clinging to majorities in the House and Senate which could easily disappear in the midterm elections next year -- and their base keeps nominating extremist and very unsuitable candidates (which the general public doesn't want).
John Bresnahan and Elana Schor have written a great piece at Politico.com on the dilemma the GOP finds itself in. Here is part of what they have written:
A first-term president and unpopular congressional leaders are pushing a controversial legislative agenda that sparks a nationwide movement from the infuriated opposition. Retirements are suddenly putting the majority’s safe seats in play. Party leaders jam major legislation through Congress on a partisan vote, and are in such a hurry to pass it they’re rewriting it by hand hours before a vote. They lose control of their message and can't find an easy way to get back on track.
Then comes a stunning upset in a Senate special election for a seat the majority party had controlled for decades.
That year was 2010, when Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in the Massachusetts' Senate race to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy previewed a tea party-fueled Republican revolution that swept the GOP into power on Capitol Hill.
But after Democrat Doug Jones’ upset in Alabama on Tuesday, it could also describe the political trajectory of 2017 — except with Democrats instead of Republicans on the winning side. . . .
Republicans ended up winning 63 House seats and six Senate seats in 2010, essentially wiping out a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill. It was a stunning result that no one thought possible in 2008, when former President Barack Obama led Democrats to a historic victory.
This year, President Donald Trump — who has the worst Poll numbers of any president this early in his term — is leading House and Senate Republicans into a midterm election where their majorities are clearly at play. And Jones’ victory on Tuesday left other Republicans wondering if it’s their turn to get wiped out by an angry electorate fed up with Trump and the GOP. . . .
Trump’s poll numbers are clearly scaring Republicans on Capitol Hill. He has a 24-point negative poll rating (32 favorable, 56 unfavorable), according to the latest Monmouth University poll. Obama never was this far down in the polls, and former President George W. Bush only reached those depths in his second term, amid a barrage of dismal news on the Iraq war and Republican scandals.
But it’s the generic “Republican vs. Democrat” poll that is most concerning for Republicans. Right now, Democrats have a 15-point lead, Monmouth said. For comparison, when Democrats won the House in 2006, they had a 10.5-point lead in the generic poll. . . .
One key similarity between this year’s political landscape and 2010 is the emergence of a network of anti-Trump resistance groups that swarmed GOP town halls earlier this year to fight against the party’s Obamacare repeal plans. Parts of the liberal resistance were consciously modeled on the tea party — but unlike the tea party, Democratic moderates have largely escaped the left’s ire this year.