Republicans can learn something from Rhode Island about standing up for taxpayers as a winning political strategy.

I have written many time before about the efforts of Democratic Mayor of Providence Angel Taveras, who has taken on school teacher unions and other public sector employees in an attempt to keep Providence from bankruptcy.

I have not posted much about new Democratic State Treasurer Gina Raimondo.  She has led efforts at the state level to tackle the state pension problem, including proposing substantial reforms which are opposed by the unions which control the legislature.

A just released survey by Brown University finds Taveras and Raimondo to be the most popular politicians in the state by a wide margin, as reported by WPRI (h/t Political Wire):

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, is the most popular elected official in Rhode Island based on Brown’s polling. The mayor’s statewide job approval rating is up to 60%. Treasurer Gina Raimondo comes next with 58% approving of her job performance.

Who are the least popular?  The three biggest panderers:

  • Democratic U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, nemesis of the Tea Party movement, and down-the-line supporter of liberal Democratic initiatives.  He rates a mere 30% favorability.  His Republican opponent in November is Barry Hinckley.
  • Democratic Congressman and former Providence Mayor David Cicilline, who hid Providence’s problems until after he was elected to Congress, and who ran a “scare Grandma” campaign to get elected.  His favorability is a mere 15%.  His opponent in November is Brendan Doherty.
  • And “Independent In Name Only” Gov. Linc Chafee, who is an Obama campaign co-Chair (something he refused to be for George W. Bush when he was a Republican Seantor) and relentless opponent of enforcing immigration laws.  His favorability is 22%.

So in a Democratic State controlled completely by Democrats or quasi-Democrats, some Democrats are popular and some are not.  The popular Democrats are those who stand up to the public sector unions and on the side of taxpayers.

There’s a lesson here.