A conservative dark money group is spending millions to attack popular progressive measures.
The conservative dark money group American Action Network (AAN) released a deceptive poll on Tuesday that has been quickly weaponized by the Republican Party to attack progressive ideas growing in popularity, including the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
The goal of the polling is to reinforce one of the party's key 2020 campaign messages, by insisting that Democratic policies are "socialism." The "socialism" trope has been used by Republicans for decades, including an effort in 1961 by Ronald Reagan to promote Medicare as the path to a socialist dictatorship.
AAN admitted in its release accompanying the survey that it had to play linguistic tricks to get the results it wanted.
"In order to fully persuade the public, it is crucial that conservatives explain what the left's socialist policies are and the consequences these ideas would have on their lives," they wrote.
The official Twitter account for the Republican National Committee attempted to amplify the poll on Tuesday.
"2020 Dems continue to spew socialist policies—but a new American Action Network survey shows that when voters are informed of the consequences of a gov't health care takeover, opposition increases to 60%," they wrote. "Americans know socialism doesn't work."
Politico reported that an accurate description of the Green New Deal, as a plan to "address climate change income inequality," polled favorably, with 48% supporting and 46% opposing.
"It sinks when Republicans start describing it as potentially costing '93 trillion dollars' and hiking energy bills by $3,000. It goes then to 32% support and 61% oppose," the outlet noted.
A fact-check earlier in the year found that the "93 trillion" used in AAN's polling was "bogus."
"Republicans claim the 'Green New Deal' would cost $93 trillion — a number that would dwarf the combined economic output of every nation on Earth. The figure is bogus," Politico reported in March.
AAN spent a reported $27 million during the 2017-2018 election cycle to promote Republican members of Congress who supported the tax scam legislation.
According to AAN's ads, GOP members of Congress fought "for middle-class tax cuts and a simpler, fairer tax code." But economic data showed that the tax legislation did not help the economy to grow, and in fact largely benefited the most wealthy Americans.
AAN has been closely affiliated with House Republican leadership and their affiliated PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund. They do not disclose their donors but have worked to elect Republicans. The new deceptive poll is part of that ongoing campaign.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.