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The American Independent

Most vulnerable GOP congressmen run away from their own failed tax scam

The Republican tax giveaway to corporations has turned into a midterm albatross.

By Eric Boehlert - May 07, 2018
UNITED STATES - MARCH 7: Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., walks up the House steps for final votes of the week in the Capitol on March 8, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Originally designed to be the Republican Party’s savior for the midterm cycle, the GOP’s historic tax giveaway to billionaires and corporations has morphed into an electoral albatross.

It’s gotten to the point where lots of Republicans in close races don’t even want to talk about the bill.

“The most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the tightest congressional races in the November elections are talking less and less about the tax cuts on Twitter and Facebook, on their campaign and congressional websites and in digital ads, the vital tools of a modern election campaign,” Reuters reports.

What the news organization found was that social media messages Republicans are posting to constituents about the tax bill have fallen more than 40 percent since January.

And for Republicans in especially tough re-election races, the pro-tax rhetoric has plunged more than 70 percent.

“All told, the number of tax messages has fallen by 44 percent since January. For several congressmen in tough reelection fights, Steve Knight in California, Jason Lewis in Minnesota, and Don Bacon in Nebraska, messaging is down much more — as much as 72 percent,” Reuters stated.

A GOP spokesman acknowledged to Reuters there has been a “downtick” in tax-bill rhetoric because members have moved on to other issues.

There are at least three problems with that spin, though. First, Congress passed virtually no laws of significance under Trump, so it’s not as if members are knee-deep in legislative heavy lifting.

Second, Trump’s spring of nonstop scandals (Russia, Stormy Daniels etc.) has completely obliterated any GOP effort to host a national discussion about taxes. Trump’s erratic behavior makes it nearly impossible for Republican to focus a public debate on taxes.

And third, most voters just don’t like the Republican tax bill and don’t think they’ll ever benefit for it. Nationally, just 27 percent of Americans approve of the bill.

Let’s face it, if the GOP tax bill had been a roaring success, would the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, be quitting next year?

No way.

Meanwhile, Trump, who enjoys the largest megaphone in the Republican Party, doesn’t seem to care about the issue and won’t commit to any sort of extended campaign to try to sell the doomed legislation.

Last month, Trump traveled to West Virginia for what was billed as a “Roundtable Discussion on Tax Reform.” But he quickly ditched his prepared remarks about taxes, called them “boring,” and turned the event into ugly political rally.

Another huge problem for Republicans in terms of using the tax bill as midterm weapon is that local taxes remain high in state such as New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. And that’s where 10 of the 17 most competitive congressional races are this year, according to Reuters.

Also, the GOP specifically designed the legislation to target voters New Jersey and New York, where voters will pay more and where Republicans face many competitive races.

Indeed, in New Jersey just 19 percent of voters think their taxes will go down, thanks to the GOP bill.

Suddenly, it’s Democrats who want to talk about the GOP tax bill during the midterm cycle.


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