Warning Signs for the GOP

Trump Maladministration

Bloomberg reports that the GOP’s own internal polling has told them that the tax cut trick isn’t working.

A survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee has led the party to a glum conclusion regarding President Donald Trump’s signature legislative achievement: Voters overwhelmingly believe his tax overhaul helps the wealthy instead of average Americans.

By a 2-to-1 margin — 61 percent to 30 percent — respondents said the law benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families,” according to the survey, which was completed on Sept. 2 by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The result was fueled by self-identified independent voters who said by a 36-point margin that large corporations and rich Americans benefit more from the tax law — a result that was even more lopsided among Democrats. Republican voters said by a 38-point margin that the middle class benefits more. …

… The RNC study says Americans worry the tax law will lead to cuts in Social Security and Medicare, concluding that “most voters believe that the GOP wants to cut back on these programs in order to provide tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.” It attributes that finding to “a fairly disciplined Democrat attack against the recent tax cuts.”

The fact that Republicans keep trotting out and saying we’ve got to cut Social Security and Medicare to balance the budget possibly also contributed to the public perception that Republicans plan to cut Social Security and Medicare to balance the budget. Just a guess.

Graphic from GOP internal poll

Still, since it’s about the only trick Republicans have, they plan to continue to use it.

Still, Republican leaders continue to try to sell the law. They’re planning on holding a floor vote in the House next week for a second phase of tax changes that would make the individual changes permanent. Since it has a slim chance of passing the Senate, the effort is seen as a political messaging tool to remind voters of the cuts and force Democrats to take an uncomfortable vote against tax relief for middle-class Americans.

“We promised more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks. And we delivered on that promise,” House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said in an email, adding that Americans are “better off now” under the tax changes.

For a few days Republicans in Missouri were running television ads of Donald Trump making fun of Claire McCaskill for voting against his tax cuts. That may not work even in Missouri. I think many middle-income voters have noticed that they really aren’t any better off, even though Republicans keep telling them that they are.

Paul Waldman:

The reality is not in dispute. Around two-thirds of the benefits of the tax cuts went to those in the top quintile of taxpayers, with about 20 percent of the benefits going to the richest 1 percent. By 2025, when the cuts are fully phased in, the top 1 percent will get 25 percent of the benefits. (See details here.) The centerpiece of the plan, furthermore, was a gigantic corporate tax cut. Republicans promised that this cut would produce a wave of investment and wage increases for workers, but so far the only wave that has resulted is a tsunami of stock buybacks benefiting wealthy shareholders, which is exactly what liberals predicted.

Those facts are available to anyone who might seek them out, but most people aren’t going to. What people do notice, however, is that their paychecks didn’t look much bigger after the tax cut. Maybe they’re getting a few more dollars a week, but it certainly wasn’t life-transforming.

See also The Trump Tax Cuts Did One Thing: Give Rich People More Money.

Trump’s hard-core supporters will continue to believe they’ve all gotten rich and down is up and fairies are real and white makes right, but the percentage of the population that falls into that camp really is shrinking.  The couple of bucks working folks may have gained in tax cuts have been offset by increases in health care, gas and other costs of living. Republican messaging is telling them they are all better off because of Trump, but they aren’t.

I have long said that the American people can easily be fooled about matters like foreign polcy that are outside their personal experience. But when it comes to things like their own income that they deal with in their own lives, sooner or later they figure things out. Will Republicans figure out that their tax cut trick isn’t working? Or will they push ahead with more tax cuts?

But we’re not done with the internal poll. The poll has told Republicans that Nancy Pelosi is more popular than Donald Trump. That ought to terrify them.

Another poll is telling them that Brett Kavanaugh is the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee in the history of polling Supreme Court nominees. Some of them may worry that if they push through his nomination they may take a bigger hit in the midterms than they were already anticipating, but they’re probably going to push it through anyway. Why? Maybe they think it’ll be their last chance to get a corporate/GOP toadie on the Court.

After being held in check for a few days, Trump finally started badmouthing Christine Blasey Ford. Well, a snake is a snake, right? You knew he’d go there. He can’t help himself.

However, a law professor guy named Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. argues in the New York Times that there could be plenty of grounds to impeach Kavanaugh even if he’s put on the court. And a lot of Dems in Congress are vowing that they will re-open investigations into Kavanaugh if they re-take the House or Senate, even if he’s already on the court.  As I wrote a few days ago, there’s a lot of hinky things about Kavanaugh beside the assault allegation that seem to have been shoved under a rug.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. aj  •  Sep 21, 2018 @3:48 pm

    Problem is NY times is running anonymous leak story probably from WH (fox machine) that Rosenstein was trying to tape trump and invoke 25th. That is validate fox conspiracy nonsense and impeach Rosenstein, then mueller.

    We learn trump declassified at behest of Fox news.  So fox and bill shine are running country for Putin to keep trump in place. 

  2. Tom_b  •  Sep 21, 2018 @4:04 pm

    A non-scandal, Rosenstein. Anybody who has NOT contemplated the 25th Amendment with reference to the Illegitimate Imbecile is no doubt playing with way less than a full deck himself.

  3. moonbat  •  Sep 21, 2018 @4:05 pm

    Rachel pointed out that there is no statute of limitations on attempted rape in Maryland, so that's a possibility, if Ford wanted to pursue it.

    Impeaching Kavanaugh is like impeaching Trump – it doesn't mean anything if there aren't enough senators to vote to convict.

  4. csm  •  Sep 21, 2018 @4:55 pm

    There really are no good options for the GOP at this point. 

    If they confirm Kavanaugh without waiting for Ford to testify because they want to deny the FBI investigation, they run the risk of her filing a complaint in MD and having the whole thing getting blown up with Kav being the first SC justice under criminal indictment.

    If she testifies, and I hope she does regardless, and is compelling as I’m sure she will be, the political cost for confirming Kavanaugh may be too high, even for them.  

    They might ram him through regardless of the hearing outcome, but the longer this drags on, the higher the political cost.  And it was starting to stink even before the Ford allegations. If they can somehow get Kavanaugh to withdraw – he wasn’t McConnell’s choice, and probably for the reasons we’re seeing now – they’ll piss off the base and it won’t be enough time to get this done with another wingnut before the midterms, where there’s the outside chance they could lose the senate, and its game over.

    Given their machinations to deprive Obama of a vote on Garland, and their resulting hypocrisy with Kavanaugh, karma may be coming around to bite them hard.  The best part is, trying to be slick they’re doing it to themselves.

  5. Tom_b  •  Sep 21, 2018 @5:53 pm

    Another “up-standing” (so to speak) Republican bites the dust:

    https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/09/21/knoblach-ends-campaign-amid-abuse-allegations

  6. Swami  •  Sep 21, 2018 @9:59 pm

    1 minute and Grassley is going to pull the plug. Oh, Boy!

  7. Swami  •  Sep 22, 2018 @1:46 am

    Well, the deadline for Dr. Ford to comply with Grassley's demands has passed and as things stand now, the vote to move Kavanaugh's nomination out of committee is scheduled Monday morning. Things aren't looking good for the repugs. With all this confusion there is only one sure fact that I can ascertain in all this…That fact is:  Anybody who so much as even rubs shoulders with Trump ends up getting the their reputation left in ruins.

    The thought that Trump could be responsible for putting the first known attempted rapist on the Supreme Court is mind blowing. It's really a sad situation watching integrity vanish wholesale from the halls of Congress.

     You know, ignorance really is bliss. 

  8. aj  •  Sep 22, 2018 @8:21 am

    We are in deep shit when a NYT report generated by the right wing conspiracy swamp is about to create a crisis. And the media echoes it as if it is fact. Trump wants to pretend doj and fbi are corrupt and getting the times to report that as fact is true propaganda manipulation.

    Hannity , Pirro, Dobbs are telling Trump what to do. Shine the fox inside the WH is very dangerous. Roger Ailes  and Putin seem to be puppet masters. It appears they created a crisis and then Hannity walked it back, telling trump not to fire Rosenstein.

    When government  becomes as fragile as this, it is not too much to say this may be our last election.

  9. Dennis Croskey  •  Sep 22, 2018 @8:54 am

    Here in Kansas City, we were seeing the anti-Claire ad with the Trump footage quite often, but it's gone dormant for some time now. Was a horrible commercial, even for the GOP. Trump's speech was slurred and about the level of a ten-year old (not exactly breaking news, I know). If there really was anyone on the fence, that ad would've driven them away from Hawley.

    Hawley's commercials seem to be making Claire's case as well as hers are. He has another terrible ad running now–he talks to the camera about how awful things have gotten recently in government and big business all over the country. He doesn't seem to realize whose party controls most of the country right now! 

  10. aj  •  Sep 22, 2018 @9:01 am

    One of the ways this 'story' is revealed to be untrue is it mentions going to Kelly. Priebus was chief of staff in May 2017 when this allegedly occurred. So this is a made up conspiracy story designed to allege corruption at DOJ..

  11. Joseph Auclair  •  Sep 22, 2018 @3:49 pm

    Time to rehabilitate the idea of court packing.

    They shatter convention to get their way.

    About time we did.

    Otherwise, kiss over a century of progressive achievements goodbye.

  12. Tom_b  •  Sep 22, 2018 @4:26 pm

    Clinton took flak over the term “deplorables”. If anything, the term was overly genteel:

    https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/22/court-filing-alleges-ex-trump-aide-drugged-woman/