Thursday, November 09, 2017

Tax reform is more of a religion than a political strategy

Prevailing wisdom is that the Republicans must pass the tax bill, or else they will suffer horrible consequences in the 2018 election. Tuesday election results seemed to solidify that conclusion in a lot of Republicans' minds.
“I think it simply means we’ve got to deliver,” Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday. 
 And given the party’s epic collapse on repealing Obamacare earlier this year, there’s a pervasive anxiety among lawmakers that they’d better do something big before voters sour on them for good.

“Oh yeah. If we face-plant on health care and taxes,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), “I don’t want to see it.”
I just think that conventional wisdom is wrong. Voters are not pushing for this tax bill.. In many polls, the tax bill is unpopular. A lot of it depends on how you ask the question, but even in the polls that show the strongest level of support is slipping as more details of the plan come out.  Why do so many Republicans think that passing a tax bill giving massive breaks to big corporations will help them win in 2018?

I know what you're going to say: the donors! That's what everyone says. But the donors aren't the ones who decide if Republicans will hold onto Congress. Sure, the donors fund the campaigns, but that doesn't always translate directly into votes. There are abundant examples of the better funded candidate losing. While money can be a huge advantage it's not like the Democrats won't have funding next year.

It just seems like these conventional wisdom Republicans have it backwards. Money is important because it can be used to influence voters. But it is the voters that decide elections. If your only accomplishment is something that the voters don't like, money won't solve the problem. The way to solve the problem is to stop doing unpopular things. While a lot of the Republican agenda is unpopular, surely they can find something that will correspond with their principles and won't be hated by the voters they will depend upon last year.