Traditional conservative groups that have long dominated Republican Party politics have found themselves locked out of the White House on crucial issues on which President Trump goes his own way, most glaringly on get-tough trade policy and his use of tariffs to squeeze trade rivals.
But in the era of Trump, most of these powerful conservative advocates do not entirely buck the president and have swallowed their pride to support pro-Trump candidates who also break with free-trade orthodoxy.
“The landscape is changing,” said former Rep. David McIntosh, president of Club for Growth, an organization that scores conservative voting records in Congress and prides itself on taking on any lawmaker who does not adhere to free market, limited-government principles.
He said the landscape hasn’t forced his group to abandon its allegiance to free trade, but the Club for Growth is taking a broader view of a president and candidates with whom it agrees more often than not.
“The key part of any Republican or conservative group right now is to support the conservative policies of the president and to make it clear they are going to fight the liberal Democrats who want to take him out and eliminate it,” said Mr. McIntosh.
Trade isn’t the only policy issue on which traditional conservative groups disagree with Mr. Trump. Some strike a more conciliatory stance on immigration. They support amnesty of some illegal immigrants in exchange for border wall funding without the major changes to immigration laws that Mr. Trump wants.